Got questions about faith, religion, theology or anything related to the Catholic Church? Fr. Francis will answer them here.
你有信仰、宗教、神學或與天主教教會有關的問題嗎? 程明聰神父在此為您解答。



Is it a sin for someone to forgo treatment for cancer, if statistically, the chances of survival with treatment is extremely low and the patient does not want to go through the pain of ineffective chemo? If someone raises this idea to a loved one to consider, would that be a sin?
Fr. Francis: Whether it is a sin or not is not clear cut. It depends on a number of factors. I hope the following considerations may enlighten you.
Fr. Francis: Whether it is a sin or not is not clear cut. It depends on a number of factors. I hope the following considerations may enlighten you.

A cure is when reasonable hope exists that a sickness will be healed. A treatment is when there is no certain cure, but the pain may be eased, or symptoms controlled or reduced, or the body may be given a chance to reduce or overcome the sickness.

Cures should always be sought if they exist and are feasible. Treatments, however, depend on if the benefits exceed the suffering they may incur.

Treatments that have reasonable hope to succeed, that the pain it causes will subside after a reasonable period of time, that will significantly remove the patient from danger of death, that will gain for the patient more functionality and autonomy, etc., are treatments that should be sought when feasible.

Treatments, however, that would gain only a few extra days or weeks with significant increase of pain, or would remove the patient from remaining conscious, or treatments that are largely exploratory with no known significant improvement, are considered to be extraordinary and non-obligatory.

Besides, the cost of the treatment may put an otherwise affordable treatment to some, to become extraordinary for those who cannot afford it. Also, the age of the patient may change the consideration: a painful exploratory cancer treatment is extraordinary for a 80-year-old, but quite desirable for a 18-year-old.

For decision as such, the patient should have the freedom and the right to decide. In the occasion where the patient is going to lose his/her competency to make decision, a medical power of attorney who understands the patient’s values should be authorized in a timely fashion in order to safeguard his/her interests.
Aug 18, 2017
耶穌為甚麼特別選擇了保祿?是否因為他教育程度較好、有羅馬公民權方便傳教?感覺上保祿甚至比大部份宗徒更了解耶穌的救世工作,得到厚眷。畢竟保祿之前是迫害者,他又是如何得到教會的信任?
Fr. Francis: 要說天主特別揀選了保祿,其實天主也特別揀選了你。因為天主創造每一個人都是獨一無二的。我們每個人都獨特地分享了天主一部份的無限和光榮,所以我們都是不能重複或被取替的;
Fr. Francis: 要說天主特別揀選了保祿,其實天主也特別揀選了你。因為天主創造每一個人都是獨一無二的。我們每個人都獨特地分享了天主一部份的無限和光榮,所以我們都是不能重複或被取替的;也是這樣,我們都是基督奧體的一個肢體,要以我們每人的獨特光榮去互相補足成全,合起來彰顯基督的完滿光榮。

所以,天主是否特別揀選了保祿?當然是。是否特別因為他的獨特條件可以拓展教會?當然是。但這為伯多祿、若望、其他宗徒、甚至你和我,亦絕對同樣都是!

至於保祿是否比其他人,甚至其他宗徒更明瞭耶穌和祂的福音?這個就很難說。因為你這樣說只是因為你沒機會閱讀過他們的事蹟和寫作而已。或者說,保祿其中一個獨特的光榮就是他有機會及能力寫那麼多書信,流傳後世。

至於保祿如何得到教會的接受,我在這不回答了。我邀請你細心閱讀宗徒大事錄。你應該會在那裡找到答案。
Aug 18, 2017
《若望福音》六章五十一至五十八節中,耶穌提及誰「嚼」我的肉就活在祂內,請問這「嚼」字是甚麽含意。有人說領聖體後應放在口內讓祂溶化而不應咬碎,但在一個信仰分享會中,講者說領聖體後應咬及咀嚼,請問在這方面教會的教導是怎樣呢?
Fr. Francis: 在《若望福音》六章五十一至五十八節,耶穌講論聖體的真實,論及人必需要吃祂的肉和喝祂的血,為了強調我們不只是象徵式的吸取祂,而是要真真實實的吃喝祂的聖體聖血,祂由五十四節開始改變了祂用的動詞:
Fr. Francis: 在《若望福音》六章五十一至五十八節,耶穌講論聖體的真實,論及人必需要吃祂的肉和喝祂的血,為了強調我們不只是象徵式的吸取祂,而是要真真實實的吃喝祂的聖體聖血,祂由五十四節開始改變了祂用的動詞:

在五十四節之前,祂用的吃字是「esthio」,即普通我們人吃飯,或吸取的意思。

但在五十四、五十六至五十八節,當猶太人抗議祂怎能叫他們吃人肉時,祂改用了「trogo」,即咀嚼或咬啃,是一個通常只用於動物咬啃食物的動詞。
耶穌這樣做,是要強調要得到永生,單是聆聽是不足夠,因為我們可以說聆聽就是「esthio」;但「trogo」就不可能是其他行動,而一定是要真實吃下東西了。

我們知道這解釋是毫無疑問的,因為當時的猶太人也是這樣明白了,便抗議這教導太生硬,不能接受。耶穌不但沒有挽留他們,反而加重語氣,而因此很多人不再跟隨祂,甚至對祂的門徒也問:你們都想離開了嗎?

當然,我們後來知道,耶穌是指要吃祂無血的真實聖體聖血,而不是吃祂的光榮身體的血肉,但這聖體聖血又真是祂的光榮身體、寶血、靈魂及天主性。
至於我們今天領聖體,是否可以咀嚼呢?當然可以。問題不在於咬嚼與不咬嚼,而是在於內心的虔敬。

我記得小時候香港讀小學時,老師說不少恐怖的故事,說甚麼曾經有人咬了聖體,口腔流血不止,要到辦告解後才止血。這種故事,我認為,不但沒有推動人瞭解福音,也未必使人愛聖體,甚至培養了一種恐懼和罪惡感呢!

我反而會提倡:咀嚼時真正的伏求耶穌進入內心,誠意領受祂所許諾的永生,誠諾重新去跟隨祂,可更為有益。
Aug 18, 2017
Can we receive Eucharist when we obtain absolution from a priest in confession but HAVE NOT completed all the required penances? Are we still in a state of mortal sin?
Fr. Francis: The requirement for the completion of penance after confession is that it should be done and should be done soon. There is no restriction on receiving Communion while the penance is pending.
Fr. Francis: The requirement for the completion of penance after confession is that it should be done and should be done soon. There is no restriction on receiving Communion while the penance is pending. The absolution is efficacious so long as the penance is completed afterwards.

However, if the penance is not subsequently performed, especially when it is due to neglect or deliberate avoidance of the penitent, not only may it incur a grave sin against the Eucharist, but it would invalidate the confession. One must confess this failure, as well as re-confess the sins from the invalid confession.
Aug 11, 2017
非教友的靈魂可以諸聖相通功嗎,受惠於我們的祈禱嗎?我父親並非教友但我一向都有奉獻彌撒給他的靈魂。有人告訴我,因他不是教友,他是不會收到這些奉獻的。那麼我奉獻彌撒幫不到他的靈魂早日升天堂嗎?
Fr. Francis: 我不知道誰告訴你非教友是不能得益於我們的祈禱的,這想法是絕對不正確的。請你放一萬個心,我們為非教友的祈禱和彌撒奉獻,是絕對能幫助他們的。
Fr. Francis: 我不知道誰告訴你非教友是不能得益於我們的祈禱的,這想法是絕對不正確的。請你放一萬個心,我們為非教友的祈禱和彌撒奉獻,是絕對能幫助他們的。

很簡單的一個例證:在耶穌受難星期五的禮儀中,有一個特別隆重的為世界祈禱的禱文,當中有十節,除了為教會和信友,也有特別為猶太人,其他宗教人仕,非宗教人仕,無神人仕和國家領袖等的祈禱文。

加上,沒有領洗並不代表沒有得救進入天堂的可能,所以,讓我們放膽祈求罷。
Aug 11, 2017
聖母知道耶穌的贖世計劃嗎?還是把見到的默存心中反覆思量直至升天後才全面理解?
Fr. Francis: 聖母是人,不是神。她要知道任何事,都跟我們完全一樣。唯一的分別是她沒有原罪,又是耶穌最忠心的門徒,所以她比我們都留心耶穌的教導,也因而更容易聆聽到天主的旨意。
Fr. Francis: 聖母是人,不是神。她要知道任何事,都跟我們完全一樣。唯一的分別是她沒有原罪,又是耶穌最忠心的門徒,所以她比我們都留心耶穌的教導,也因而更容易聆聽到天主的旨意。

再者,她比所有人多了三十年跟隨耶穌,所以在耶穌行第一個神蹟時,她就已經先知先覺到那是祂要開始使命的時刻。再到她於十字架下時,她也早已明瞭這並不是所有人都以為的絕望,而她是能確實希望復活,並清楚相信這就是她愛子來救贖人類的勝利時刻。

所以在十字架下,她可以明瞭當耶穌要她做若望的母親,其實是要她做全人類的母親和教會的母親,而她也因此就在那天起與門徒一同祈禱,一直到準備他們領受聖神。

所以,聖母並不是全知,而即使有甚麼特殊啟示,更重要的是她比任何人都接近耶穌。
Aug 11, 2017
If one wants to choose a Christian name to baptize, is it mandatory that one must choose from the names of Roman Catholic patron saints?
Fr. Francis: The practice of choosing a baptismal name goes back many centuries and is still recommended today universally. Lesser known is that one may choose yet another name at the occasion of every sacrament that confers an indelible mark on the soul, namely baptism, confirmation, diaconate ordination, priestly ordination, episcopal ordination as well as papal election. Also, one may choose a name when making religious vows or solemn promise of virginity.
Fr. Francis: The practice of choosing a baptismal name goes back many centuries and is still recommended today universally. Lesser known is that one may choose yet another name at the occasion of every sacrament that confers an indelible mark on the soul, namely baptism, confirmation, diaconate ordination, priestly ordination, episcopal ordination as well as papal election. Also, one may choose a name when making religious vows or solemn promise of virginity.

The name chosen may be taken from two sources:

1. The name of a known saint of the Catholic Church, canonized or otherwise (since not all accepted saints have been canonized) or the name of a virtuous biblical person, or variations of their names. The idea here is to adopt a patron saint that is particularly inspiring to the person that he or she may better follow Christ by befriending and imitating the patron saint.

2. The name of a virtue or Godly gift, like Patience, Faith, Grace, Joy, etc. Again, the idea is to inspire the person to strive for holiness by growing in particular virtues.

Otherwise, why do we call it a “Christian” name?
Aug 04, 2017
我是一名天主教徒,但有些問題困惑了我很久。天主創造了世界,這是事實,但我想知到天主來自哪裡?祂又是怎樣得到如此巨大的能力的?祂是否有創造地球以外的生命?如果有,祂為何不告訴我們或在聖經裏提及?沒有的話,那祂為何創造我們乃至整個世界?
Fr. Francis: 天主是從何而來?天主在出谷記自稱為“I am Who I am”,即“自有者”。祂不是從甚麼地方來,或是甚麼其他力量創造了祂,祂就是「存在」本身,祂就是「是」本身——在所有之前祂就是,就存在。
Fr. Francis: 一.天主是從何而來?

天主在出谷記自稱為“I am Who I am”,即“自有者”。祂不是從甚麼地方來,或是甚麼其他力量創造了祂,祂就是「存在」本身,祂就是「是」本身——在所有之前祂就是,就存在。

從哲學角度來說,真正的神不可能來自別處或別人或被其他力量所創造,因為如果祂是這樣,就代表祂不是全能,而是有比祂更大的先祂而存在,那祂就不是天主了。

至於祂從何得來全能,是祂自有就是全能的了。要是祂不是,那祂也就不可能是天主了,而是賦予祂全能的才是天主了。但那賦予祂力量的又是誰呢?最後還是要有一個自有的全能者,那祂就必然是天主了。

但若是沒有全能者呢?那就甚麼都不能存在了,因為沒有一件可見的東西不是有開始和終結的,而這些東西,只可以使一個東西演變成另一個東西,卻絕對不能使東西由無變成有,那任何的東西最終是從何而來的呢?那就只有自有者才可由無創造有了。

二.天主有否創造外星人?

這問題現今是不可能回答的,因為要我們遇到他們,或面對天主時才可能知道。問題反而是:天主教是否相信天主有可能創造外星人。這個可能性,天主教是絕對接受的。

至於天主如果有創造外星人,為甚麼不告訴我們知道?這個就很難回答了,因為我不是天主呢。如果天主所有的心意和原因我們都可以那麼容易參透,那祂就不是天主了。

但我相信,如果天主有創造外星人,而在祂的計劃中有意要我們相遇,祂一定是有祂的時間表的,也是有原因為甚麼我們至今還未遇見。

至於如果天主並沒有創造外星人,那又為甚麼創造一個那麼大的宇宙去容納我們,那不是很多餘和浪費嗎?我不相信天主做事是沒有原因的,所以即使沒有外星人,宇宙那麼大一定有它的用處,只是我們未知道罷了。可能是用來提醒我們有多渺小而不要自大,或使我們知道天主為愛我們不惜創造整個宇宙使我們讚嘆,或是用來預備更多稀奇的領域等待我們將來去探察,或是其他我們現在不能理解的原因。

宇宙有多大,我們直至今天也無法量度;宇宙還有幾多我們從未認識的新奇事物,那就更加不可想像。但這與創造它的天主相比,卻又是不如一文, 這實在使人不能不讚嘆天主的偉大高深,而祂竟愛了我們,並親自降世,死亡和復活來救贖我們——一文不值的我們,令我又不能不向祂讚美、跪拜和欽崇。天主,祢真偉大!
Aug 04, 2017
我和丈夫都是基督教徒,我們的婚姻一直有問題。老公一直有婚外情,三次。我很矛盾。我該怎麼做?
Fr. Francis: 首先,我懇求上主助佑你們,我呼求聖神助你丈夫能切切實實棄絕這個罪根,亦祈求聖神能使你們倆都願意接受婚姻輔導。婚姻問題往往不是單方面,也不是單單外表行為的對錯那般簡單,而是往往涉及兩人個別在溝通上,在性格上,在成長上的不同和需要,所以絕不能可以在這裏三言兩語可以解決,而是要專業婚姻輔導和牧靈上的持續支持。
Fr. Francis: 首先,我懇求上主助佑你們,我呼求聖神助你丈夫能切切實實棄絕這個罪根,亦祈求聖神能使你們倆都願意接受婚姻輔導。

婚姻問題往往不是單方面,也不是單單外表行為的對錯那般簡單,而是往往涉及兩人個別在溝通上,在性格上,在成長上的不同和需要,所以絕不能可以在這裏三言兩語可以解決,而是要專業婚姻輔導和牧靈上的持續支持。

而可能也不只是他的問題,而在你方面也可能有些習慣是負面上影響他的。所以你們兩個都可需要輔導。

再者,也不能單靠靈性上的方法。當然,你的牧師可以幫助他去明瞭婚姻的價值和通姦的傷害。但持續不能自拔,那就可能指向一些癮癖或行動或意志上的不能夠,是需要專業人仕的幫助,而不能自己突破的。

所以,你的丈夫首先要能面對他在忠貞方面是犯了錯,而且要改過,就需要接受別人幫助,而你也要願意跟丈夫一起去接受輔導。

如果丈夫不願意,那你可能要慎重考慮自己繼續與他一起,是否能助他擇善棄惡。通姦是一種精神虐待,配偶是無義務長期生活在虐待中的。這不但不能幫他,反而往往變成縱容,令他以為他的錯是沒有後果的。但這些種種決定,最好還是先與你們的牧師商量較好。
Aug 04, 2017
請問我們是否做任何事都要放天主在第一位,包括家人和家庭都要放在天主之後?
Fr. Francis: 在瑪竇福音10章34-38節說:「你們不要以為我來,是為把平安帶到地上;我來不是為帶平安,而是帶刀劍,因為我來,是為叫人脫離自己的父親,女兒脫離自己的母親,兒媳脫離自己的婆母;所以,人的仇敵,就是自己的家人。誰愛父親或母親超過我,不配是我的;誰愛兒子或女兒超過我,不配是我的。誰不背起自己的十字架跟隨我,不配是我的。」
Fr. Francis: 在瑪竇福音10章34-38節說:「你們不要以為我來,是為把平安帶到地上;我來不是為帶平安,而是帶刀劍,因為我來,是為叫人脫離自己的父親,女兒脫離自己的母親,兒媳脫離自己的婆母;所以,人的仇敵,就是自己的家人。誰愛父親或母親超過我,不配是我的;誰愛兒子或女兒超過我,不配是我的。誰不背起自己的十字架跟隨我,不配是我的。」

這番話聽來很刺耳,但若看看前文後理,我們可以肯定幾點:

– 耶穌的確要我們把祂放在父母親人之上,因為祂是道路,真理和生命。唯有祂才有永生,而離開了祂,我們就一無所能。

–祂卻說若把祂放在第一位,就會使我們與其他人有分離的可能,包括我們最親的家人。這裏的意思是因為我們的親人可能不願意或未能接受真理,若是我們怕衝突或不和諧就輕易放下我們的信仰,那麼我們不但自己不能活出基督賜予的自由,也更加不能以生活的福音去感動我們的家人了。

–事實上,我們可能可以對我們的家人很好,但總也不能比耶穌對他們更好。我們也不能比幫助他們去認識基督以能獲得救恩更好。

所以,耶穌要我們把祂放在第一位,並不是要我們棄絕親人,而是要我們以祂愛我們的愛去愛我們的父母家人。要做到這一點,我們首先可要願意先跟隨基督的教導和榜樣,而放下其他從親人,家庭和文化中的錯誤方法。

而我們也要記着:耶穌的方法並不是偏激的,或暴力的,或惡言對抗的;耶穌的方法是溫和的,忍耐的,關懷的,諒解的,真誠的,以自我犧牲來成全他人的。
Jul 28, 2017
請問聖體齋是否一定要在領聖體一小時前不能進食,除了吃藥例外?如果只差五分鐘又領受了聖體是否犯了罪要告解?
Fr. Francis: 教會對有關守聖體齋的教導,是要在領聖體前一個小時不吃不喝,除了清水和藥物。此例只限於所有能守齋的人,若果有人因為年齡或健康的原因而不能守齋,那就不用守了;如有糖尿病,需要不時吃東西的,絕對不該強守齋。
Fr. Francis: 教會對有關守聖體齋的教導,是要在領聖體前一個小時不吃不喝,除了清水和藥物。此例只限於所有能守齋的人,若果有人因為年齡或健康的原因而不能守齋,那就不用守了;如有糖尿病,需要不時吃東西的,絕對不該強守齋。

教會立這個規定,是好讓我們能以實際的行動,來幫助我們在身體和靈魂上都有適當的時間去準備彌撒。齋戒是要我們清心,以方便我們祈禱默想,更有助我們在彌撒前去查察我們的良心,有否需要去在彌撒前先辦告解。

所以,若跟着這規定背後的深意,就知道「一小時」並不是一個默守成規的60分鐘或3600秒,而是要反省自問,有否每次參與彌撒前做好身體和靈性上的準備了。

身體上的準備:早些到聖堂,容許自己寧靜下來,看看是日讀經,和有足夠時間辦妥告解。

靈性上的準備:祈禱,把生活的煩擾交托於主,省察有否需要辦告解,為主禮及講道的神父或執事祈禱,邀請天主在此台彌撒給你指引。

我想,一小時應該不夠用了。

最後,若果聖體齋真的不夠一小時,要問問自己為甚麼?難道一小時前還不知道要去彌撒麼?如果是真的自己的疏忽,下次就不要領聖體了,並要在告解時告明。但如果你真的很需要領聖體,那你也可以告知主禮神父,他是可以寬限批准你的。當然,如果他不批准,那就要神領聖體了。
Jul 28, 2017
如果在星期三和星期五的守齋日有應酬,改在別的日子守齋和做補贖,是否可以的呢?如果不想家人不滿,星期五選擇做補贖來代替不吃肉可以嗎?
Fr. Francis: 其實,教會對有關齋戒方面,並不希望我們變得默守成規的。齋戒是一種自願選擇的犧牲,是一種奉獻,是一種靈修,而並不是一個規矩。正因如此,教會已經不再以罪罰來要求我們每星期五守齋,而將之變成一種不可或缺的善功和靈修生活,要我們每人自願選擇。
Fr. Francis: 其實教會對有關齋戒方面,並不希望我們變得默守成規的。齋戒是一種自願選擇的犧牲,是一種奉獻,是一種靈修,而並不是一個規矩。正因如此,教會已經不再以罪罰來要求我們每星期五守齋,而將之變成一種不可或缺的善功和靈修生活,要我們每人自願選擇。

每人的情况,每人靈修的階段,使我們齋戒的能力也有分別。雖然齋戒的價值是沒有其他善功可代替,教會教導我們,若真的不能在週五齋戒,也可以刻意做一個特定的善功來補償。

所以如果週五有不能避免的應酬,可以考慮週四守齋和週五加做些善功。

至於如果是配偶或家人不願意一同守齋,可以考慮照常煮家人吃的食物,而自己不吃肉便可。但如果配偶對此安排強烈反對,那就需要慢慢感化。除非是聖灰週三和受難週五,否則不要強制要齋戒。要知道,承受逆景也是一種齋戒,甚至是更偉大的齋戒呢。

至於默主哥耶聖母指示的週三跟週五的齋戒,那就更加需要天主的恩寵才能守。特別遇到經常需要應酬或配偶的阻攔,就應該多求聖母安排,並隨其安排而回應。

最後,我自己也嘗試盡量週三和週五守清水和麵包齋,但因為週三有團體晚餐,只能普遍地在週三守半天麵包齋,晚上就盡量安排厨房煮魚吃。我又經常出外傳教,除了可以提醒別人週五該守齋,很多時候實在不能要求吃甚麼。耶穌卻在福音裏要求:「他們給你吃甚麼,就吃甚麼。」所以除非是很相熟的人,我也不要求別人特別遷就我,就吃他人準備的就行了。自己就將之奉獻,並找機會以行動和祈禱來加做些善功就可以。
Jul 21, 2017
為什麼神父每天都要開彌撒?
Fr. Francis: 首先我澄清,神父是沒有必要每天慶祝彌撒的,但教會卻強烈鼓勵每個神父應該每天慶祝彌撒。這個原因有許多,我只選擇兩個聖經裏的啟示:
Fr. Francis: 首先我澄清,神父是沒有必要每天慶祝彌撒的,但教會卻強烈鼓勵每位神父都每天慶祝彌撒。

這個原因有許多,我只選擇兩個聖經裏的啟示:

第一,在格林多前書11:25最後晚餐的敘述中,保祿記載耶穌要求我們以彌撒紀念祂 “as often as possible”。

第二,宗徒大事錄2:46,說教會剛誕生時,信友就已經每天在聖殿裏讚美天主,並在家中擘餅,這明顯就是慶祝彌撒了。

從以上兩段聖經看來,可見在最初宗徒就已明瞭耶穌在最後晚餐的教導,就是要他們每天都慶祝彌撒,而教會的歷史記載也是如此。

至於在神學角度,為甚麼耶穌會有此教導?那是因為耶穌雖然一次而永恆的奉獻了自己,我們卻是生活在時間裏的,所以仍需要每天重新領受耶穌一次奉獻的恩寵。彌撒正正是耶穌賜給我們作為連繫祂永恆的救恩和我們今天的需要之通道。因此我們會祈求:「求祢今天賞給我們日用的食糧」,因為每天天主也有新的恩賜,我們都需要重新去領取祂,免得我們忘記祂而失足跌倒。

彌撒並不是重複耶穌的犧牲--那犧牲只有一次而永遠的在十字架上完成了。彌撒的重複,卻使我們能超越時空的再次進入同一而唯一的救贖恩寵;不是耶穌一次的犧牲今天已無效,而是我們很容易每天都背棄天主,所以需要頻常的重新去領取救恩的食糧。

不單只這樣,教會和神父每天慶祝彌撒,也是為着要對抗世界每天的邪惡和黑暗。我們每次參與彌撒,就是連同整個教會,代表全人類,去把耶穌在十字架上戰勝罪惡和死亡的救恩,傾注在今天的一切痛苦中,為使全人類得到醫治,救贖和聖化。

我相信就是這樣,耶穌在瑪竇福音向我們許諾:「我和你們天天在一起,直到世界的終結。」那就是指祂在每天彌撒和聖體真實的臨在了。
Jul 21, 2017
耶穌基督跟門徒共處三年多的時間,為何當耶穌死後復活時,門徒竟然認不出耶穌的樣子呢?是他們欠信德嗎?
Fr. Francis: 耶穌復活後,根據聖經所載,的確有不少以前跟祂朝夕相對的人認不出祂來,這包括祂的門徒,宗徒和瑪利亞瑪達肋納。但也不是每次他們都認不出祂,如在若望福音記載中,祂在復活日晚上和復活第二主日晚上對宗徒的顯現。
Fr. Francis: 根據聖經所載,耶穌復活後,的確有不少以前跟祂朝夕相對的人認不出祂來。這包括祂的門徒、宗徒和瑪利亞瑪達肋納。但也不是每次他們都認不出祂,如在若望福音記載中,祂在復活日晚上和復活第二主日晚上對宗徒的顯現。

聖教會並沒有一種說法去解釋這事。所以事情的真相,那怕要你到天堂時才可知曉。

不過,不同人有不同的說法:一些說耶穌復活的身體是有客觀上的改變,所以雖然是同一個身體,但卻已經被光榮化了,因此,我們的視力已再不能盡覽祂的真像,而所以不容易認出祂來。

有些說是耶穌故意使他們認不出祂。就如在路加福音耶穌顯示給往厄瑪烏的那兩個門徒,聖經說明是耶穌使他們認不出祂來的,為的是要教導他們一些更重要的事--要他們學習愛而不依負祂可見的臨在。

還有一些說法認為是他們主觀的問題:他們還在尋找已死的耶穌,所以就認不出復活的主了。這個說法在若望福音描述的瑪利亞瑪達肋納中最為明顯,而往厄瑪烏那兩個門徒也可能是如此沒有認出復活的耶穌。

當然,真相可能是以上三點加起來,又或是完全超出我們的想像的也無不可。
Jul 14, 2017
主基督的復活戰勝了黑暗死亡,《黑夜之中放光明》、《基督得勝》等聖歌令我們很振奮。同時世界的戰亂仍在,甚至有人凶殘至以小孩作襲擊對象,讓我慨嘆人的惡可以去到這個地步。天主好像沉默不語,默許事情發生。 我明白基督徒應保持對光明的盼望,但對旁人應該如何解釋世界現狀與光明的應許之間的差距?還有我們該如何讓自己保持信德?
Fr. Francis: 痛苦這個問題,我已經不是第一次在這裏嘗試回答,試想想以下幾點:

為甚麼每次見到罪惡,我們都埋怨天主,好像是天主的責任?世界有罪行,是因為人濫用自由,而不是天主呢。
Fr. Francis: 痛苦這個問題,我已經不是第一次在這裏嘗試回答,試想想以下幾點:

為甚麼每次見到罪惡,我們都埋怨天主,好像是天主的責任?世界有罪行,是因為人濫用自由,而不是天主呢。

說天主不該容許罪惡,那祂就必須不容許所有犯錯的機會,那麼我們可能人人都變得像很善良,但就從此再沒有真正的自由了。而沒有了自由,就是我們看來很良善,很彼此愛護,我們卻絕對再不能去愛,因為愛是自由選擇的。而沒有了自由和愛的能力,我們就再不是人,只是牲畜而已。所以天主容許人犯罪,是因為天主尊重人性,和真正的愛我們。

天主可不是䄂手旁觀。祂至少做了兩件事。

第一,祂以聖子耶穌的身份來了。耶穌來並沒有拿走痛苦,而是來分擔我們的痛苦,並分享祂的永生。祂告訴我們現世是有痛苦的,需要我們努力,邁向我們更重要、永恆的來世,那就是永生的所在。

就是這緣故,祂擁抱我們的痛苦和罪惡到死亡絕望的終極,真正的為我們死了。耶穌又藉着祂不能死的天主性,去到陰府永久破壞了地獄囚牢之門,把所有希望天堂的人帶出來,領到天國。最後,又使祂的肉身復活、升天。這一切,就是跟我們說,痛苦最可怕,莫過於死,但最終也不能奪去我們的生命,也不能奪去我們愛的能力。

此外,耶穌在十字架上,讓我們知道,痛苦雖然是邪惡和沒有意義的,但卻可以化成為別人所需而奉獻的犧牲。耶穌在十字架上,不就是把所有的罪和痛苦,自願地奉獻給主,懇求祂寬恕我們,因而獲得了我們的得救嗎?既然我們有很多時不能逃避痛苦,就必須背着我們的十字架,跟隨我們的老師所做的,為別人的皈化奉獻自己。

所以天主第二個對痛苦和罪惡的回應,就是召叫了你和我。耶穌命令我們:「要彼此相愛,如同我愛了你們一樣。」要化解痛苦和罪惡,唯一最人性,並最天主性的方法,就是無私、全為對方得救的愛;而這種愛,必需要你和我願意自我犧牲,如同耶穌一樣。

這個工程,並不是黑暗和悲苦的;相反,是很鼓舞和充滿希望的!要知道,第一,如上述所說,我們是有耶穌和我們一起,領我們進入永生,我們本身就不能失敗也不能被威脅了!因為死是我們進入永生之門,我們可把痛苦化成獻給天父最有效的犧牲,還有甚麼可害怕?

第二,雖然我們不能直接改變人心,並要耐心等待對方自由選擇,但當一個靈魂因着我們的努力而皈依,那就是一個永恆的靈魂得釋放了,也就是一個無價的勝利。而最神奇的,當我們把痛苦為別人所需而奉獻時,我們並不知道天主會施予給誰。祂自然會用來幫助最有需要的人。到我們進入天堂時,我們就會發現有一大群我們這樣幫助了的人等待着我們,為我們祈禱和打氣呢!
Jul 14, 2017
我發現基督教聖經在舊約裡通常用「耶和華」作上帝的名字,而天主教聖經舊約裡通常以「上主」作稱呼,而甚少用「雅威」二字。既然天主的名字是雅威,為何天主教徒稱呼天主為「上主」而非「雅威」呢?
Fr. Francis: 那是因為你只看一個版本的天主教聖經而已。如果你看英文的天主教聖經,有些版本,如 “Jerusalem Bible” 或 “New Jerusalem Bible”,它們都用 “Yahweh” 「雅威」的。不過,...
Fr. Francis: 那是因為你只看一個版本的天主教聖經而已。如果你看英文的天主教聖經,有些版本,如 "Jerusalem Bible" 或 "New Jerusalem Bible",它們都用 "Yahweh" 的。

不過,有很多聖經,不單是天主教的版本,不用「雅威」是有原因的,乃是因為他們有禮貌之故:

因為它們都知道猶太人不願直稱天主的名號,而基督徒又與猶太人有極深的關係,他們是我們信仰上的大哥哥,而耶穌和聖母都是猶太人,所以我們都尊重他們而不輕率的直稱天主的名字。

當然,作為天主教徒,我們不像猶太人,是可以使用「雅威」的名字的。但我們的確該向猶太人學習他們對天主聖名的尊重,因為天主的名字是有威力的,是能創造和拯救的,是絕對不可褻瀆的。
Jul 07, 2017
天主的名字是「雅威」還是「耶和華」? 「天主」、「神」、「上帝」的稱號有什麼分別?
Fr. Francis: 簡單的答案:兩個都是。它們不是兩個不同的名字,而是兩個不同的翻譯。在舊約希伯來原文,是不用vowels的,要能讀書,就只有靠記憶,如 "Ths s m hm" 就是"This is my home"。所以雖然天主在出谷記啟示了自己的名字,也只是寫為YHWH。若果沒有人告訴過你怎樣說,是沒有可能知道的。
Fr. Francis: 若要問天主的名字是「雅威」還是「耶和華」,簡單的答案就是兩個都是。它們不是兩個不同的名字,而是兩個不同的翻譯。

在舊約希伯來原文,是不用母音(vowels)的,要能讀出,就只有靠記憶,如 "Ths s m hm" 就是 "This is my home"。所以雖然天主在出谷記啟示了自己的名字,也只是寫為 "YHWH"。若果沒有人告訴過你怎樣說,是沒有可能知道的。

再加上他們對天主的名字的極度尊崇,就是經師們讀到此字,也會改讀 "Adonai"(上主)或 "Elohim"(天主),所以普通的以色列人是從來沒機會聽過此字的正確讀法的。只有每年一次的贖罪節,司祭長進入去至聖所內,才會讀出天主的名字。

但在巴比倫毀滅了耶路撒冷後,約櫃失踪,大部份的智識份子被殺後,古希伯來文也沒有多人懂怎樣讀。當時剩餘的經師和司祭,便嘗試在聖經上加上母音,以免後世再沒有人能讀聖言。

但在 "YHWH" 這字上,卻出現了兩組母音:"YaHoWaH" 和 "YaHWeH",前者就變成了基督教通用的「耶和華」,後者就是天主教和東正教採用的「雅威」。

在今天的經文研究工作中,普遍來說,都接受兩者,但也有以下的發現和論說:

雖然很多的次數是寫作 "YaHoWaH",但每次 "YHWH" 和 "Adonai"(上主)一并出現時,"YHWH" 就必然改寫為 "YaHWeH"。這令許多專家認為,“a,o,a”這組母音,並不是指正確的讀音,而是以 "Adonai" 的母音來提醒讀者不要直稱天主的名字,而要讀 "Adonai"。但當兩個字一并出現時,就沒理由讀 "Adonai Adonai",而只該讀一次,所以正確的母音就可以寫下了。

我自己認為,這理論可信性很高。

而作為天主教徒,也該採用天主教的版本呢!

至於第二個問題,請參考 http://askfrfrancis.org/qa/difference-between-god-and-lord
Jul 07, 2017
我的本堂神父因擔心聖體被一些外教人拿走,或褻瀆(以前曾在其他堂區發生;在我的聖堂也曾被發現座位上放著禮儀書,內夾著聖體,估計是外教人出於好奇,事後不知如何處理,所以這樣做。),因而暫取消領聖血,目的是要見到領受者立即放入口;我絶對尊重本堂神父決定,亦覺兩者對教友神益一樣;但有教友不滿地問我:那又怎樣解釋,經上,耶穌說,你們大家拿去喝,這一杯就是我的血……。 我應該如何回應他呢?
Fr. Francis: 在香港近廿年興起了教友拿聖體去自己點聖血,這個在法國和某些國家也有發生。我明白這個新習慣是為着想教友能領聖爵,又怕他們不想飲人口水,又怕不知道要用多少酒,三個考慮下想出來的辦法:這樣,用很少的酒,人人喜歡就可以領,又衛生。
Fr. Francis: 請見 http://askfrfrancis.org/qa/why-take-bread-only-during-eucharist

唯一與以上回答的不同,是在香港近廿年興起了教友拿聖體去自己點聖血,這個在法國和某些國家也有發生。我明白這個新習慣是為着希望教友能領聖血,但又怕他們不想飲別人的口水,又怕不知道要用多少酒,三個考慮下想出來的辦法:這樣,用很少的酒,人人喜歡就可以領,又衛生。

但卻有以下問題:
1. 這方法其實在教會禮儀法定中是禁了的,本篤十六世在他的Post-Synod Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis 中特別強調,教友是不可以自己拿聖體去點聖血的。若是因為衛生的原因,可以考慮不派聖血。
2. 正確教會教導領聖體和聖血的方法,是首先吃下聖體,然後接受聖爵直接由杯中喝聖血。另一個方法是神父先將聖體點了聖血,然後直接放在教友口中。
3. 這兩種方法,都較容易去肯定教友領聖體時就把祂吃下,而不會有拿作其他用途的危險;有些情况下,更可以鼓勵教友口領聖體。
Jul 07, 2017
在聖體降福時,神父不會直接用雙手舉起盛載著聖體的盛器皓光,而是用白布將雙手包著才舉起,這儀式有什麼意思?教友可否在皓光接近時用手觸摸呢?
Fr. Francis: 這條白布叫作“humeral veil",譯“披巾”或“披肩”,是早在九世紀已有在羅馬的禮儀出現,但要到十九世紀才在天主教各地全面使用。原本其用處繁多,但基本上是用來使雙手拿着禮儀器皿時不須接觸它們。
Fr. Francis: 這條白布叫作“humeral veil”,譯作「披巾」或「披肩」。這禮儀早於九世紀已在羅馬出現,但要到十九世紀才在天主教各地全面使用。原本其用處繁多,但基本上是用來使雙手拿着禮儀器皿時不需接觸到它們。這原因大概有二:
1.以表示對禮儀器皿的尊重,特別是因為它們都是用來放耶穌聖體或聖血的。
2.在聖體降福時,這披巾表示耶穌對聖體降福,而不是神父或執事在降福。

因為彌撒禮儀的改變,現在已經很少有機會於彌撒時使用披巾。通常,披巾會特別使用於隆重禮儀,如聖體巡遊,朝拜聖體和隆重聖體降福等。

從以上可見,披巾是用來提升禮儀的隆重性和區分耶穌與主禮的分別,而不是一定要穿披巾才能觸摸禮儀器皿的。

至於平教徒能否觸摸聖體皓光,這個問題可有點奇怪了。聖體降福通常是在祭台上舉行的,所以神父很少會讓聖體皓光拿得太接近教友的。即使在聖體巡遊時,如果讓教友接觸,神父會機會失手掉下皓光,更加不用多說要當心有人想褻瀆聖體。即使嚴格來說,接觸聖體皓光並非不容許或本身屬褻瀆之舉,但基於以上原因,我相信很少神父會容許平教徒這樣做。
Jun 30, 2017
為何在平日彌撒中,祝聖餅酒成聖體聖血後,教友只領受聖體(餅)但沒有一同領受聖血(酒)呢?
Fr. Francis: 教會教理清楚教導,當神父祝聖酒餅時,酒餅兩者都完全變成了耶穌基督的聖體,聖血,靈魂及天主性;不是餅變成聖體,酒變成了聖血,而是餅的每一個微粒都是耶穌的聖體,聖血,靈魂及天主性,和每一滴酒都變成耶穌的聖體,聖血,靈魂及天主性。每一份是整個耶穌,而全部亦只是一個耶穌。
Fr. Francis: 教會教理清楚教導,當神父祝聖酒餅時,酒餅兩者都完全變成了耶穌基督的聖體、聖血、靈魂及天主性。這就是說,不是餅變成聖體,酒變成聖血,而是餅的每一個微粒都是耶穌的聖體、聖血、靈魂及天主性,同樣地每一滴酒都變成耶穌的聖體、聖血、靈魂及天主性。每一份是整個耶穌,而全部亦只是一個耶穌。所以,我們領聖體時,也同時領受聖血和耶穌的靈魂及天主性,並沒有缺少耶穌的神恩。

至於為甚麼教友很少能領受聖血?自梵二大公會議後,教會其實是鼓勵在適當的場合應當讓教友可同時領聖體和聖血,以圓滿可見的經歷。而事實上,也有不少地區甚至每台彌撒都有派發聖體與聖血的。根據梵帝岡的指引,這些機會應用以提升某些禮儀的隆重性,如聖週四和聖體聖血節。至於不是每週都派發,是因為派送聖血有它本身的不便和問題:
–不是每個人都能或想領聖血。有人因為怕或不能攝取酒精,也有人是因為不願觸碰到別人的唾液。
–如果不多人領受聖血,這個原先為表達共融的聖事就會弄巧反拙。
– 要教友領受聖血便要預計需要用多少酒,這是很難準確預測的。問題是也不能預備太多,因為多了不能留,一定要全喝完。
– 聖血容易打瀉
– 若人數多又很難實行派送聖血,因為所需聖杯很多,也要額外增加送聖體聖血員。
– 派聖血後更要花不少時間和工序去嚴謹地清洗。清洗工序絶不能馬虎,否則可能會褻瀆聖體。
以上種種原因都是沒有每週派送聖血的原因。
Jun 30, 2017
有一位教友,他認為自己常常聽到天主耶穌在他心中說話。但他心中也有疑惑:是自己在自言自語,還是真的是主耶穌在對他說話呢?又或是那都是魔鬼的騙言呢? 他應如何去分辨那些聲音是否來自上主?
Fr. Francis: 這個是一個辨別天主聲音的問題。首先,我們要記着:天主的確是會每天和我們交談的,雖然未必真是以聲音傳遞訊息給我們,但卻會透過寧靜,默感和其他的安排使我們能知道祂的心意,所以我們對某些人特別能聽到祂的聲音,是該絕不為奇的。
Fr. Francis: 這個是一個辨別天主聲音的問題。

首先,我們要記着:天主的確是會每天和我們交談的。雖然祂未必真是以聲音傳遞訊息給我們,但卻會透過寧靜,默感和其他的安排使我們能知道祂的心意。因此某些人能聽到祂的聲音,那絕不為奇。

但每個默感,每個聲音,都該作適當的辨別。因為這種聲音可以是從天主、自己甚或是魔鬼而來的。

要怎樣辨別?最好就是找一位神師。這可是一個明白自己經歷的神父或資深教友。若找不到神師,也可藉着資深的祈禱小團體去互相幫助辨別。

要談辨別聖靈,這裏卻不能盡述,只能交代要點。

第一,所謂辨別,其實主要並不是直接認出天主的聲音,而是除去不屬於天主的聲音,去尋找剩下來的可能。所以,不必太擔心是否自言自語或魔鬼的謊話,只要是不像天主聲音的,放手不理就可。

第二,如果是天主的聲音,祂是絕對不會要我們違背聖經和教會訓導的。這裏往往需要多做功課,去學習及了解聖經和教理。為免自己先入為主,或自視太高而不夠謙遜,影響判斷,我們也可邀請別人(神父、資深教友等)去協助我們作出客觀的分析。

第三,通常天主跟我們說話,是不會只說一次的,而是會多次重複,甚至會透過別人,或許多不同的人來跟我們說話。若果我們不記下來並經常重溫,或按時與神師或祈禱小團體分享,往往就察覺不到。所以要辨別天主的聲音,也要觀察祂是否有不斷印證那些說話。

當然,也有其他的要點,那就要你做些功課,看看些有關辨別天主聲音的好書籍了。
Jun 23, 2017
教友都應該參與每週主日彌撒。但如要去難以找到天主教堂的地方超過一兩星期,甚至工作長期調派,應該怎辦?是否該避免前往泰國、北歐等地長期旅行/旅居?
Fr. Francis: 如果週末必須要去的地方真的是不可能找到彌撒,那絕對不可能是罪。問題就在於是否不可能。事實上,現今世上雖然還有些地方是沒有天主教的存在或舉行彌撒的地方,但更多時是我們並沒有真的去嘗試尋找或安排過。如你所說泰國和北歐,特別是北歐,其實是可能找到彌撒的。
Fr. Francis: 請先閱 askfrfrancis.org/qa/missing-mass-because-of-sickness

如果週末必須要去的地方真的是不可能找到彌撒,那絕對不可能是罪。問題就在於是否不可能。事實上,現今世上雖然還有些地方是沒有天主教的存在或沒有彌撒舉行的地方,但更多時候是我們並沒有真的去嘗試尋找或安排過。如你所說的泰國和北歐,特別是北歐,其實是可能找到聖堂舉行彌撒的。

我明白如果是參加旅行團,我們並不能控制時間的安排,那就沒辦法了。但我也試過預先上網搜尋附近聖堂,一有機會便與領隊申請暫時離團參與彌撒。

至於自由行或工幹,那就有更多可以去彌撒的機會了。這可能需要去遠一些,或參與自己不懂的語言的彌撒——例如要到某天主教國家的大使館參與以該國語言舉行的彌撒。這證明我們不是不能找到有彌撒舉行的地方,只是這可能為我們帶來不便。這裡,我們又要細想,我們所說「不便」,其實是否我們不願意罷了?

重點是:我們有否真心嘗試安排?我們有否嘗試把這每週最重要的,與天主相遇的機會放在第一位?如果盡了力,那就可以了。事實上,直到今天,非洲還有不少地方,教友要用三小時以上的時間,每星期日步行到車子不能去的地方參與彌撒,並慶高采烈的花上大半天在教堂然後又步行回家。這喜樂全因為他們真的相信天主的話,真的與天主相遇呢!在中國大陸或許多伊斯蘭地域,不少人要冒着迫害和性命危險去參與地下彌撒。但最神奇的,就是在這些最惡劣的情况下,教友反而是最喜樂、增長得最快、最茁壯和看到最多奇蹟出現的地方。

最後,如果你真的是要長期在一個沒有彌撒的地方工作,很大機會那裏不是只有你一個基督徒,其他基督徒都會有參與彌撒的需要。那你可以考慮去最近你地方的主教求助,邀請並資付他去派神父到來舉行彌撒。其次可考慮的就是去參與東正教或基督教的禮儀。
Jun 23, 2017
After struggling with bone cancer for over 10 years, God brought my elder sister back home last Saturday. Before she passed, she expressed that she preferred to have a burial at sea(海葬) . What is the teaching and attitude of the Catholic Church towards this issue?
Fr. Francis: In the Order of Christian Funeral (OCF), the instructions regarding burial at sea and cremation are mentioned together. Here I first quote some of the relevant paragraphs: "The Church's belief in the sacredness of the human body and the resurrection of the dead has traditionally found expression in the care taken to prepare the bodies of the deceased for burial."(OCF 411)
Fr. Francis: In the Order of Christian Funeral (OCF), the instructions regarding burial at sea and cremation are mentioned together. Here I first quote some of the relevant paragraphs:

“The Church’s belief in the sacredness of the human body and the resurrection of the dead has traditionally found expression in the care taken to prepare the bodies of the deceased for burial.” (OCF 411)

“This is the body once washed in baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed with the bread of life. This is the body whose hands clothed the poor and embraced the sorrowing. Indeed, the human body is so inextricably associated with the human person that it is hard to think of a human person apart from his or her body. Thus, the Church’s reverence and care for the body grows out of a reverence and concern for the person whom the Church now commends to the care of God.” (OCF 412)

Thus, while “cremation is now permitted, it does not enjoy the same value as burial of the body…The Church clearly prefers and urges that the body of the deceased be present for the funeral rites, since the presence of the human body better expresses the values which the Church affirms in its rites.” (OCF 413) However, “when extraordinary circumstances make the cremation of a body the only feasible choice, pastoral sensitivity must be exercised by all who minister to the family of the deceased.” (OCF 414)

Any catechesis on the subject of cremation should emphasize that “the cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given to the corporeal remains of a human body. This includes the use of a worthy vessel to contain the ashes, the manner in which they are carried, the care and attention to appropriate placement and transport, and the final disposition.” (OCF 416)

While cremated remains may be buried in a grave, entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium or even buried at sea, “the practice of scattering cremated remains on the sea, from the air, or on the ground, or keeping cremated remains in the home of a relative or friend of the deceased are not the reverent disposition that the Church requires.” (OCF 416) The cremated remains of the body may be properly buried at sea in the urn, coffin or other container in which they have been carried to the place of committal.

Here I add my own observations:

It is clear that OCF teaches that body burial remains the preferred and more dignified way of respecting the dead. Sea burial typically is reserved for death at sea and when it is not feasible for the body to be kept onboard until at port. The ritual does allow for the cremated remains or the body to be buried at sea, but preferably only when body burial is not feasible. For example, when land is not available or too costly, or if it would cause serious conflict in the family, etc.

Notice that OCF teaches against the practice of keeping the cremated remains at home. This is not the same as the ancient Chinese practice of keeping all the remains in the memorial hall of the clan’s village, which essentially serves as a mausoleum since it is a somewhat permanent place of rest. However, our homes today are not permanent residence. The care and respect we pay to our loved ones are often not carried on to the next generations, and they would not want to have the responsibility of looking after the ashes. It is indeed better for the family members who know and love the person to properly put the remains to a permanent place of rest, than to leave it to those who do not know the person to be responsible for it.

Lastly, every baptized person is baptized to be a saint. As a result, the person’s remains should be treated with the reverence of a saint’s relics. They are not simply a body that is no more, but has through a lifetime of sanctification been transformed, in part or in whole, into an efficacious channel of God’s grace, which often remains to be efficacious even after death. This is the reason why the relics of the known saints have the power to heal and exorcize. If we believe and hope our loved ones to be passing onto heaven, we must also believe that their remains may possess such powers, and thus must be treated with the utmost dignity and reverence.
Jun 16, 2017
我想知道若我死後,可否將遺體損贈給大學以供學生作實習用途?其他器官可以損贈給有需要的人嗎?這樣有否違反天主教教理?
Fr. Francis: 對於死後捐贈器官和身體作科學研究,教會不但不反對,反而可以視為一種德行。看看《天主教教理》以下章節:
Fr. Francis: 對於死後捐贈器官和身體作科學研究,教會不但不反對,反而可以視為一種德行。看看《天主教教理》以下章節:

2300. 對亡者遺體應以尊敬和愛德看待,相信並希望他的復活。埋葬死者是一件對身體的慈悲工作;埋葬死者是對天主的子女──天主聖神宮殿的尊敬。

2301. 為了法律的調查,或為了科學的研究,屍體的解剖,在道德上是可以接受的。死後器官的免費捐贈是合法的,且能是一個功績。

教會准許火葬,只要火葬並非對身體復活的信仰表示爭議。

教宗聖若望保祿二世,在1995年的《生命的福音》說明,捐贈器官是一種英勇德行。而教宗方濟各也在2014年十月與捐贈器官機構相談時,稱捐贈器官為愛護鄰人的見證。

由上述可見,若是能助人和促進醫學,只要能尊重地處理遺體,那就功德無量了。而通常在切除可用的器官,和科學研究需要的部份,剩餘的都會作火化,家人可與該負責機構商議怎樣處理的細節,以保障遺體的火化和安葬適當的安排。
Jun 16, 2017
請問天主和上主有何分別呢?
Fr. Francis: 「天主」是天主教用來翻譯 "God",而「上主」是 "Lord" 。兩個字都是指我們信的唯一真神,但在基督宗教中,卻個別有深一層的意義。
Fr. Francis: 「天主」是天主教用來翻譯 "God",而「上主」是 "Lord" 。

兩個字都是指我們信的唯一真神,但在基督宗教中,卻個別有深一層的意義。

"God" 在首先是指向天主客觀的本體:唯一,自有,至高無上,創造者,無始無終等等。這種稱號是指其本身之意義:天主就是天主,祂不是其他人的天主,祂本身就是無限全能的天主。

相比下,"Lord"卻表達了我們與天主之間的關係,因為這稱號表示了天主對我們和萬物的支配,擁有,管治,權力,愛護。因為我們是祂的受造物,所以祂是我們的上主;因為祂掌管我們的一切,無限之尊威,但又愛我們到了極點,所以祂是我們的上主;因為當我們還是罪人的時候,祂竟然先來成為我們當中的一個,並為我們犧牲自己,寬恕罪過,我們屈膝叩拜祂為上主。上主乃自猶太人開始,等同於他們期待的默西亞,救主,主宰;是因為祂對我們有多好,我們又極之需要祂,我們必須給予祂的稱號。

至於為甚麼天主教用這兩詞語來翻譯,這裏只能簡述。

「天主」是在七世紀基督宗教第一次來到中國時已有的。當時基督宗教自稱為「景教」,稱呼唯一的真神為「天帝」或「天主」。一千年後,耶穌會士來到中國,要使中國人瞭解我們信的神不是外國人的神,而是所有人的神,便用了「天主」,一個中國人已有,亦是屬創造一切的神。不過加以解釋,我們的天主乃是唯一,創造甚至不可見的一切之真神。這取替了「神」一字,因為在中國思想裏,神是眾數之類,泛指一切無肉體之鬼、神、靈。

至於「上主」,就從「主」一字已經顧名思義,加上「上」字只是說明祂不是任何一個主人或主宰,而是至高無上,沒有任何可相比的上主。
Jun 09, 2017
既然說領洗後,會把之前所有罪赦了,但為何離了婚的慕道者卻要在教區辦手續才可領洗? 他之前的配偶也不是教友,縱然離婚在教會是不對,但也是領洗前的事。
Fr. Francis: 我相信你是混淆了離婚和再婚的區別。離婚者是可以領洗的,事實上,離婚本身亦並不是罪。不過,再婚卻是...
Fr. Francis: 我相信你是混淆了離婚和再婚的區別。離婚者是可以領洗的,事實上,離婚本身亦並不是罪。

不過,再婚卻是,因為即使是非教友,每個合法婚姻的新人都是許諾終身不渝的。這一生一世的盟約是法庭不能瓦解的,因為天主教不接受婚姻只是一個法律約契,而是與創造婚姻的天主的盟誓。所以耶穌在福音會用通姦這樣重的說話來說明再婚。

再婚者領洗,當然可獲赦罪。問題是赦罪後他們仍然會回去那再婚的生活中,而這種生活,是耶穌不贊同的。

再婚者要領洗,也不是沒辦法的,其中主要的就是辦理申請婚姻無效的手續。我在別處已有寫過,這裏不詳述了。你也可以向你的堂區神父或教區辦公室查詢。
Jun 09, 2017
何謂「諸聖相通功」?對信徒有甚麽意義?
Fr. Francis: 教會其實有分三部份,我們現世可見的只是一部份,其餘的還有已在天堂的聖人,和在煉獄裏正在鍊淨的煉靈。教會這三部份都是在基督奧體內合而為一的,並且彼此互相幫助。
Fr. Francis: 有關信經裏說,「我信諸聖的相通」,可詳閱《天主教教理》第 946-962 段。在線版:http://www.catholic.org.tw/catholic/cknow06-1.php

教會其實有三部份,我們現世可見的只是一部份,其餘的還有已在天堂的聖人,和在煉獄裏正在煉淨的煉靈。教會這三部份都是在基督奧體內合而為一的,並且彼此互相幫助。

天上的所有聖人力量最大,他們的轉禱能大力幫助我們成聖,並輔助煉靈。

煉獄裏的煉靈雖然不能幫助自己,亦不能做善功,但他們卻深知我們在世信仰路上的危險和鬥爭,亦能以他們的煉淨來幫助我們。

而我們在世旅途的,卻又竟然有那麼大的一個家庭:藉着認識並仿效天堂的弟兄姊妹,我們能更有效地成聖並獲得他們的轉求;藉着為煉獄靈魂的祈禱,我們又學會怎樣避惡行善,並得到一大班好朋友在天堂等候我們。
Jun 02, 2017
天主教彌撒中的「天下萬國,普世權威,一切榮耀,永歸於你」,跟基督教聖經《馬太福音》中,耶穌教導的主禱文中的「因為國度、權柄、榮耀,全是祢的,直到永遠」,為什麼有所不同?
Fr. Francis: 「天下萬國,普世權威,一切榮耀,永歸於祢。」有些聖經版本在《瑪竇福音》第六章的天主經末部有記載,有些卻沒有─如天主教的《思高聖經》。
Fr. Francis: 「天下萬國,普世權威,一切榮耀,永歸於祢。」

有些聖經版本在《瑪竇福音》第六章的天主經末部有記載,有些卻沒有─如天主教的《思高聖經》。

這個分別,跟聖經舊約書數的分別不同,並不是由於天主教跟基督教有別所致,而是與原文來歷有關。

聖經的來歷,最初是口傳記錄,然後靠手抄,而手抄的方法往往並不是望着原文抄(因為太慢),而是一人誦讀,數十甚至數百人抄。再加上當時地區與地區的溝通的限制,慢慢地就造成了小部份文字上的差異。當時主要版本有所謂的 Alexandrian、Antiochene、Western等等。到了羅馬教會在四世紀決定修定一個官方版本時,便必須從各分異中揀選最多共識,最被接受和最可信的版本。而這一段就是因為只在一版本中有,而不被拉丁版主文取錄,只被留在附錄。但因為這段的流行和其珍貴性,又被取錄於彌撒之中。

後來基督教派興起,脫離了天主教一個聖經翻譯本的限制,便有個別選擇跟隨不同手抄的版本的情况,因此這一段又被某些版本取錄在主禱文中了。

這一段不是唯一因為這原因而有分別的,另一例子是《馬爾谷福音》第九章廿九節:「耶穌對他們說:『這一類,非用祈禱和禁食,是不能趕出去的。』」,「和禁食」就不是每個聖經版本都有了。
Jun 02, 2017
After having three kids, a couple decide not to have any more children because they know that they are incapable of giving enough attention or financial support if there are too many kids. How can the couple avoid conception (almost 100%) while following the Church’s teachings? Does NFP reassures this?
Fr. Francis: First of all, while the Church is consistently teaching us about the damaging effects of contraception, the Church also teaches the necessity of responsible parenting and reproduction. While remaining always open to the providential gift of God, parents must carefully assess if they have the adequate capacity to welcome a new life.
Fr. Francis: First of all, while the Church is consistently teaching us about the damaging effects of contraception, the Church also teaches the necessity of responsible parenting and reproduction. While remaining always open to the providential gift of God, parents must carefully assess if they have the adequate capacity to welcome a new life.

The only 100% guarantee for preventing pregnancy is abstinence. While many today may consider this to be unthinkable and even inhumane, couples have to abstain regularly due to sickness, living conditions, and many other factors, sometimes for long period of time. There are many expressions of love and sex is only one of them; and in fact, being able to say no to sex may at times be the most profound expression of love when it may mean harming the other, the marriage or the family.

Other than that, there is no guarantee, besides the often irreversible methods of chemical contraception and sterilization. I call chemical contraception often irreversible because it does violence to the woman's hormonal system and causes abortions without the user realizing. Women who use chemical contraception have altered sex drive and may end up with infertility and cancer.

Sterilization, on the other hand, definitively closes the door to life. Conditions that for the present moment prevent a couple from being ready to receive new life may pass. And this couple who may now want to receive new life can no longer do so.

Condoms also have many undesirable effects. Condoms manufacturers often claim 95% or higher effectiveness, but this is the clinical statistics. The statistics in practice is at best mid-80%, or lower for the younger age group. One of the most direct problems with condoms and other mechanical contraception methods is that they place a direct barrier between the couple. While in the very act of sexual embrace, the couple is supposed to be saying yes to unconditional union to each other, this barrier is in direct contradiction to the act, saying that I love you entirely except your fertility, or I give myself completely to you except my fertility.

Perhaps the deeper problem with contraception is that psychologically it creates room for the couple to separate sex from the practice of responsible love. When there is no possibility of having babies, couple tend not to think deeper into the persons involved, the meaning of the sexual act, and the gift of oneself to the other in the one-flesh union. The sexual embrace, which is sacred and beautiful, can easily degenerate into mere mutual gratification and abuse.

The Church, knowing the value of the sexual embrace in the life of a married couple, instead points to the natural cycle of fertility God has already given in the woman's body. The "natural family planning" methods so called mainly consists of the Billings' ovulation method and a similar method called Creighton Model developed at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. You can obtain more technical details from woomb.org or consult your local NFP associations and practitioners.

The basic idea is from the discovery of Dr. Billings that by observing the cervical mucus, a woman can accurately predict her cycle ahead of time with a 98% accuracy. Not only that, by regularly charting her cervical mucus, a well-trained practitioner can also deduce with accuracy and precision the hormonal health of the person, and often be able to predict any significant health issue like cancer or abnormal growth in the reproductive system. Moreover, not only can NFP assist the couple in knowing when to best avoid pregnancy, more valuable, it is equally effective in helping them to achieve pregnancy.

And NFP is completely free, apart from the cost of color markers and a board to mark up the calendar.

Some may think it is Catholic contraception. Of course, it could be abused to be so. But what NFP insists is not to avoid pregnancy, since it is at best 98% accurate, always leaving room for God to act. It is rather a lifestyle training the couple to respect God's gift of the body, and the rhythm of life He placed in the very life of the couple. At the least, it helps the husband to know his wife's body more intimately. NFP strongly encourages that the husband should participate in some way in the charting process. And before he would come to know the complex hormonal cycles his wife needs to go through every month. This helps the couple to appreciate each other, to be more considerate, compassionate. It also trains the couple to know and be committed more transparently the reason why they need to say no to sex when they need to, and so when it is time to say yes, the embrace can be all the more truthful, passionate and complete.

Lastly, statistics has shown, while marriages across the board have a failure rate over 50%, marriages that practise NFP are five times less likely to end in divorce.
May 26, 2017
天主若不喜歡撒旦,為什麼在樂園中央有善惡樹?
Fr. Francis: 有沒有魔鬼的存在,我相信天主也是會種植知善惡果樹在樂園中心的。天主創造人是要我們分享祂的愛和自由,而愛和自由是建築在互相信任上的,並且需要生活上的決擇來證明。知善惡果樹象徵着一個天主要我們去證明我們信任祂的考驗,同時也象徵着自由賦予我們可以犯罪的可能。
Fr. Francis: 有沒有魔鬼的存在,我相信天主也是會種植知善惡果樹在樂園中心的。天主創造人是要我們分享祂的愛和自由,而愛和自由是建立在互相信任上的,並且需要生活上的抉擇來證明。知善惡果樹象徵着一個天主給我們的考驗,需要我們去證明我們信任祂;同時也象徵着自由賦予我們可以犯罪的可能。換句話說,知善惡果樹並不是指一棵真實的樹,而是指擁有自由的能力必須遲早要面對的決擇:用自由作善,信任天主的安排;抑或是濫用自由,去用自己的方法現在就得到自己想要的東西。沒有了拒絕的可能,沒有了犯罪的能力,人就不能算擁有真正的自由,而沒有真正的自由,那真正的愛也沒有可能了。

其次的是,原祖父母吃了知善惡果樹上的果子,是不可以完全怪撒旦的。雖然撒旦的確引誘了他們,但是當時他們是清楚知道天主的愛和指示的,加上當時他們並沒有原罪,他們的知識是無限的,他們的肉性也並不如我們般與理性對抗的,而是兩者一致的。意思是撒旦當時是沒有能力逼使他們犯罪的,因為他們是清楚知道撒旦是在說相反天主的說話,而甘心情願選擇不再信任天主的。問題不在撒旦的謊言,而在於他們選擇了不信任。所以厄娃聲稱責任全歸蛇對她的欺騙,這本身也是一個為自己自圓其說的謊言。亞當也逃不了,因為他是應當保護並提醒厄娃,而不是隨意遵從別人,說厄娃給他吃,其實也同樣是為掩飾自己也不信任天主的事實罷了。
May 26, 2017
為什麼天主在創世時會有撒旦的出現?
Fr. Francis: 撒旦(Satan)原本並不是這樣的,天主創造他時他叫 Lucifer (光明者),是天使中最美麗的一個。但天主也賦予了天使自由,因為 Lucifer 不能接受天主對人類的鐘愛,竟然計劃藉着聖言降生成人把人性的朽壞與天主性合而為一,並使低微的人類提昇為天主子女。
Fr. Francis: 撒旦(Satan)原本並不是這樣的,天主創造他時他叫 Lucifer (光明者),是天使中最美麗的一個。但天主也賦予了天使自由。 因為 Lucifer 不能接受天主對人類的鍾愛-竟然計劃藉着聖言降生成人把人性的朽壞與天主性合而為一,並使低微的人類提昇為天主子女;因為自大(人不能比自己更光榮)和妒忌,他帶着一群天使決定反天主,因而失去光明的地位,變成了魔鬼。撒旦在原文解作分化者或控告者,是指他對人類的立心攻擊和怨恨。

天使與人類不同,他們是沒有肉軀的全靈受造物,但也因為沒有肉體,他們並不是像我們在繼續的時間裏生活的。他們一旦決定一件事,或做一件事,就是永恆的了。所以撒旦反天主是永恆的反對。

但天主原本創造他是好的,而天主對每個受造物的愛情是不會再收回的,所以天主不會收回撒旦的存在,但卻藉着耶穌的救恩證明祂的公義,戰勝魔鬼的工程。
May 26, 2017
原祖父母未食禁果前,聖子已經出現了嗎?還是後來因救贖的需要才由聖父所生?魔鬼知道耶穌是天主子,但又是否知道耶穌就是天主?如果知,為何還膽敢在曠野中試探耶穌?
Fr. Francis: 正如以上所說,耶穌在太初就是天主聖言,就是天主。事實上,聖父、聖子和聖神三位一體的天主是一個神,是沒有開始和終結的,是不可能分別出現的,因為祂三位是同一的。天主是活在時間外,而也是天主創造時間和空間的,所以沒有一件東西是可以在天主之前或之後或以外的,天主,三位一體,支配並遣生所有。
Fr. Francis: 耶穌在太初就是天主聖言,就是天主 (參考 此答問)。事實上,聖父、聖子和聖神三位一體的天主是一個神,是沒有開始和終結的,是不可能分別出現的,因為祂三位是同一的。天主是活在時間外,而也是天主創造時間和空間的,所以沒有一件東西是可以在天主之前或之後或以外的,天主,三位一體,支配並衍生所有。

所以,當天主創造一切的時候,早已在時間之外看到我們所謂的過去未來的一切,也所以在創造時就安排了整個救贖工程的一切。

至於魔鬼是否知道耶穌是天主,當然知道了。他就是在創造前知道此事而反對天主的。要知道「天主子」就即是天主了,在當時「天主子」這名號為猶太人和魔鬼來說,就是等同於承認祂是天主,這是毫無疑問的。只是我們今天不知道才以為兩者可以有分別。

那為甚麼魔鬼還敢試探耶穌?

第一,魔鬼連反天主都敢,他有甚麼不敢?不過敢做並不等同可以做到。

第二,魔鬼雖然強有力,但他始終是一個永遠不能與天主相比的受造物,而且是一個永遠戰敗的受造物,所以有很多事他仍然是不明白,不知道和不能做的。

所以,他一直都不明白天主愛人的心意,也不明白耶穌的人性代表甚麼。他只以為人性的軟弱是不堪當被天主提升到天主性的地位,所以他反對天主要以祂的肖像造人,反對天主要取人性,反對要提升人為天主子女,在天堂永遠分享祂的天主性。

撒旦對「人性」的妒忌與憤怒,令他對任何可攻擊人性的軟弱都不能放過。加上,耶穌當時隱藏了祂的天主性,並有意容許魔鬼去試探自己,好讓祂能代表我們的人性去戰勝魔鬼,並教導我們怎樣能依靠聖言對抗魔鬼。換句話來說,這其實是魔鬼自投羅網,自己看不清就去攻擊人性,卻讓耶穌將計就計,彰顯了人性與天主合作就能打敗魔鬼。
May 19, 2017
耶穌知道自己就是天主的其中一位嗎?他是時常記得,還是按需時顯示祂的人性或天主性?山園祈禱時耶穌表現出害怕,是否代表祂那刻完全是人?
Fr. Francis: 認為耶穌是原本不知道自己是天主,和認為耶穌是一時只是人性,一時只是天主性的這兩個說法,早在教會初期已經被定為異端,與福音的啟示相反。

在若望福音開首,就說得很清楚:「在起初就有聖言,聖言與天主同在,聖言就是天主。」耶穌乃是與天主同性同體的聖言與人性的合而為一。
Fr. Francis: 認為耶穌是原本不知道自己是天主,和認為耶穌是一時只是人性,一時只是天主性的這兩個說法,早在教會初期已經被定為異端,與福音的啟示相反。

在《若望福音》開首,就說得很清楚:「在起初就有聖言,聖言與天主同在,聖言就是天主。」耶穌乃是與天主同性同體的聖言與人性的合而為一。《若望福音》清楚描繪耶穌一開始就清楚知道自己是天主--例如洗者若翰一見耶穌就能指出祂是「除免世罪的天主羔羊」;而《路加福音》也有耶穌十二歲時說出天父才是祂的父親。

耶穌是天主性和人性徹底的合而為一,兩性之緊密,比我們的肉體和靈魂更甚,甚至比我們和我們自己更甚。所以耶穌的天主性和人性不是間斷輪流運作,而是不能分割的同時同體的臨在的。這在神學上稱為「一位兩性」。

但耶穌在祂以十字架和人類的肉軀戰勝魔鬼之前,祂遵從聖父的旨意,把祂的天主性隱藏了起來。保祿宗徒在《斐理伯書》第二章說祂「空虛了」祂的天主性來活出我們奴僕的生活,來成全天主救我們的工程,為使我們能知道天主與我們的親近,和對我們人性經歷的完全瞭解。

所以耶穌是真真的經歷了我們的喜怒哀樂、希望、恐懼及生死,這當然是因為祂具有人性,但並不代表祂那時缺乏天主性,只是祂選擇了不顯露出來而已。而在山園祈禱這一幕,也就是如此。
May 19, 2017
I know that the Church is against abortion. However, what if the child inside you will have a suffering life because of his disabilities? Won’t the mom and the child be better-off with an abortion?
Fr. Francis: There are few things more difficult than to see your loved ones suffer. When a parent, especially a mother, discovers that her unborn child is genetically deficient or severely handicapped, it is often said that she can feel the anguish as it is her own. If it is within her power, she would rather she suffers ten times over than her child.
Fr. Francis: There are few things more difficult than to see your loved ones suffer. When a parent, especially a mother, discovers that her unborn child is genetically deficient or severely handicapped, it is often said that she can feel the anguish as it is her own. If it is within her power, she would rather she suffers ten times over than her child.

Today, in view of that, in the name of "mercy", often medical doctors would recommend to the parents the option of terminating the child's life in order to remove the pain of life-long suffering.

But underneath this line of thought, is the unspoken belief that it is better to terminate someone else's life than to help them to live it meaningfully.

But unborn people are persons like you and me. They can't speak for themselves, but they have the same rights to life as we do.

And by the same logic, it would be saying that it is better to kill all the blind, the lame, the senile, etc., than for them to suffer or to complete their life naturally. This may sound offensive, but it is the same thing.

And while handicap brings suffering, the amazing thing about life is that it always has the potential to overcome suffering; it always has the potential to bring joy and meaning even in the most painful and hopeless of situations.

I myself am legally blind. If my mother terminated me, the world would have one fewer happy priest.

And I know many severely handicapped people: people with Down syndrome, with missing limbs, without eyes, without hearing etc. If they were loved, some of these were the most joyful people I have ever met.

The truth is, no one can overestimate the potential and surprises life possesses. Whether one is a Christian or not, life has a power that we have no claim to control. As long as one has life, it has the power of shattering every darkness and despair. So let us not take life away from others, even when it means certain suffering. Let us give life a chance to triumph over suffering. And let us instead dignify those suffering (with) protection, compassion, love and support.
May 19, 2017
如果某人生前沒有接觸過聖經, 那麼那人會否沒機會進入天國?
Fr. Francis: 基督的啟示是唯有經過祂,才能進入永生。我們知道基督宗教是認識耶穌最肯定的方法。
Fr. Francis: 基督的啟示是唯有經過祂,才能進入永生。我們知道基督宗教是認識耶穌最肯定的方法。但是,天主的慈悲也教導我們,沒有機會知道祂真理的人是不可能要他們負責的。所以,天主要拯救人的方法並不局限於教會內,天主也為我們創造了良知,在缺乏完滿聖寵下指導我們是非善惡。

所以,凡不刻意拒絕福音,誠心追隨良知,勉力愛護援助別人的,天主的慈悲是不會讓他們失喪的。

但是,由於人單靠自己的力量,實在很難持守良知,在行善助人上邁向無私,我們必須勉力福傳,讓更多的人認識耶穌基督的愛。
May 12, 2017
人是否死後都會等待大審判的到來,由天主作決定誰可進入天國?
Fr. Francis: 人死後的去向其實並不是天主隨意決定的。天主的意願只有一個:就是每人都得救,能進入天堂,因為天主創造的每一個人都是祂的子女。所以祂不斷的召叫我們,使凡相信祂的愛,接受祂的寬恕的人,都能獲得永生。
Fr. Francis: 人死後的去向其實並不是天主隨意決定的。天主的意願只有一個:就是每人都得救,能進入天堂,因為天主創造的每一個人都是祂的子女。所以祂不斷的召叫我們,使凡相信祂的愛,接受祂的寬恕的人,都能獲得永生。

天堂是每人都願意去愛,去寬恕,去放下自己來祝福別人的地方;這其實就是天主的愛為王的地域,也是天主創造我們的藍圖。這種愛是要我們完全自願的,所以天主只能教導我們,吸引我們,派耶穌來作榜樣,聖神來扶助我們,我們自己卻必需要和祂合作。

但很可惜,不是每一個人都願意接受這種愛,因為人有時不願意放下驕傲和私慾,亦不願相信和信任天主是真的愛我們,因而漸漸選擇了反對天主,亦反對了人愛的天性。

人死後,首先會經歷一個個人審判,那時會面對天主,看到我們一生的每個抉擇,那裏選擇愛,那裏選擇不愛。最後天主只會給我們一直想要的:如果我們最終嚮往天主愛的旨意,那就進入祂愛的天國;如果我們最後只要追隨自己的旨意,那就是我們站在我們不喜歡的天主面前,也不會是天堂了。而事實上,地獄就是如此,它並不是一個地方,而是一個永久自我選擇不愛的狀態,因為我們選擇了只愛自己,從而反對了我們的本性。

而大審判,就是到末世時,我們重獲新身體,在天主和所有受造物前看見由創造起初到終結,每一件事,每一個人的功過怎樣光榮天主;而進入天堂的,身體便受到光榮,進入永罰的,身體也同受永罰。

May 12, 2017
聖神是指什麼?
Fr. Francis: 聖神不是一個“甚麼”,而是“誰”。聖父、聖子、聖神乃是三位一體的真天主。祂們是三位,每位都是整個真天主,但祂們一起卻又只是一個唯一真天主。
Fr. Francis: 這問題範圍實在太廣,在此只能輕描。

聖神不是一個“甚麼”,而是“誰”。聖父、聖子、聖神乃是三位一體的真天主。祂們是三位,每位都是整個真天主,但祂們一起卻又只是一個唯一真天主。

聖神是聖父及聖子派遣,灌注在我們內,是天主自己的真實臨在。祂的工作是聖化我們,使我們漸漸改造成基督的模樣。聖神也是在我們內自我啟示和教導我們的天主,祂並且在我們內心深處推動並完滿我們祈禱的真神。

最後,聖神也是施恩之神,祂能使任何對祂開放,願意祈求和領受的人,得到不同的特別神恩,好叫我們能在成聖及服務別人上,即使我們自知有所缺乏,也能藉祂而成就。

有關更多聖神的詳述,我建議你應多參閱《天主教教理》,特別是第 687-747 和 1302-1305 段. 中文天主教教理在線版: http://www.catholic.org.tw/catholic/knowcatholic1.php
May 12, 2017
In the Summa Theologiae, Tertia Pars, Question 83, Article 5, Objection 3; Aquinas ascribes the sign of the cross to events of the Passion when the priest says certain lines in the Roman Canon. These actions are now omitted, even though the text is unchanged. What changed and can the actions return?
Fr. Francis: In Summa Theologiae III.83, Thomas Aquinas discussed various aspects of the mass. He clearly stated that the form of the gestures was "prescribed" or "ordained" by the Church, whose authority to do so was stated in an earlier question.
Fr. Francis: Before I answer the actual question, you should know that it is still possible today to attend the Tridentine Mass in many places, which preserves the gestures in question.

In Summa Theologiae III.83, Thomas Aquinas discussed various aspects of the mass. He clearly stated that the form of the gestures was "prescribed" or "ordained" by the Church, whose authority to do so was stated in an earlier question. Thus when Aquinas mentioned that the signing of the crosses is meant to correspond To the events of Christ's passion, this is meant to be "descriptive" of the ordained gestures and not "prescriptive" i.e., these gestures add to the Mass but do not define the Mass. This is evident in how he argued for the other gestures, like washing of hands, or adding a corner of the host into the chalice, or how the host is to be fractured.

In other words, the Church has the authority to determine certain gestures for the liturgy when it is reasonable, and so it also has the authority to change them when new reasons can be found. That the many crosses the priest had to make during the Eucharistic Prayer in commemoration of Christ's passion is beautiful, but it does not mean the removal of them alters the substance of the mass.

Historically, the multiplication of gestures happened gradually after the 9th century, and the reasoning came afterwards. In fact, at one point, the gestures was so prolific that the priest seemed to be doing three separate liturgies simultaneously: he recites the text which speaks one thing, the unending list of gestures which had a life of its own, and the multiple layers of explanation for the gestures that often had nothing to do with the text or the liturgical actions being performed at the time. At the end, the Church had to scale it back before Aquinas' time. So Vatican II is not the first time the Church changed this aspect of the liturgy.

As to what needs to happen for the Church to take up these gestures again, the Church has full authority to do so, but it is the wrong question. The question rather is if the Church would find it reasonable or necessary to adopt those gestures again. Part of the many reasons Vatican II decided to remove these gestures was she wants to make the Mass more accessible to the people, and to restore the Roman principles of simplicity, elegance, and solemnity. And thus we now have the Novus Ordo of the Mass. The Mass needs to have its mystical elements, but at the same time the gestures need to be able to speak to the people, so to draw them into full and active participants in celebrating the Mass together.
May 12, 2017
天主的愛不是充滿喜樂的嗎?我常聽到別人說 :我們是罪人,我們是有 罪的!我亦知道自己是罪人!如果每天都想着自己是罪人,當然不會開心,那麽怎能能活出天主恩賜的喜樂呢?這個內心的思想該怎樣平衡?
Fr. Francis: 我們天主教的信仰,沒錯是要我們先承認自己是罪人,但耶穌基督給我們的大喜訊是他來是為無條件的寬恕我們,並邀請我們成為天主的子女。在瑪爾谷2:17,耶穌說:“不是健康的人需要醫生,而是有病的人;我不是來召義人,而是召罪人。”這就說明耶穌知道我們是罪人,他是為救助我們而來。
Fr. Francis: 我們天主教的信仰,沒錯是要我們先承認自己是罪人,但耶穌基督給我們的大喜訊是祂來是為無條件的寬恕我們,並邀請我們成為天主的子女。

在《馬爾谷福音》第二章十七節,耶穌說:「不是健康的人需要醫生,而是有病的人;我不是來召義人,而是召罪人。」這就說明耶穌知道我們是罪人,祂是為救助我們而來。

在《路加福音》第十五章中有關一百隻羊中迷失了一隻,祂怎樣丟下九十九隻羊而去尋找迷失的一隻,找到了又把牠放在自己的肩上。這又讓我們知道祂不但來救我們,祂實在特別愛罪人。

祂甚至在我們還在罪惡中,還不承認祂以前,就先為我們而死:「但是,基督在我們還是罪人的時候,就為我們死了,這證明了天主怎樣愛我們。」(羅馬書五章八節)耶穌痛恨罪惡,因為罪惡破壞人屬於永遠光榮的靈魂;但祂卻深愛罪人,因為祂要用愛去使我們皈化並跟隨祂。

在《若望福音》第三章十六節說:「天主竟這樣愛了世界,甚至賜下了自己的獨生子,使凡信他的人不至喪亡,反而獲得永生。」 我們承認了是罪人,不是來自憐自貶,而是自知道我們是不能自救,而去領受耶穌的救拔。所謂「信」,就是相信耶穌白白給我們的寬恕和救恩,只需要我們去相信能白白的領受就行了。

沒錯,我們基督信仰的大喜訊,就在於相信我們是天主深愛的子女,祂的慈愛比我們的罪和軟弱大上無限倍。每天我承認罪過,就是去讚美祂的恩寵比我的罪更大;就是去捉緊祂,因為我沒有能力;就是再一次決定重新去跟隨祂,去愛祂,因為祂每次都會出現,保護我,指引我。

《若望福音》第一章十二節說:「凡接受他的,他給他們,即給那些信他的名字的人權能,好成為天主的子女。」耶穌的名字是「天主拯救」的意思。即是說,我們只要每天都相信天主會白白的拯救我們,即每天都承認我們的需要,並選擇去跟隨祂,我們就的確在活出天主子女的光榮了。

這的確是大喜訊呢!
May 05, 2017
How should we respond to arguments against the existence of God? The most common arguments I heard of are: 1) God knew everything we would do when He made us so there is no true free will. 2) There are many good people suffering and many unanswered prayers.
Fr. Francis: God's gift of free will to humanity is absolute and necessary, because without freedom of choice, love is not possible. A person incapable of saying no is also incapable of saying yes. As wonderful this person may be, as kind and understanding he can be, it is not love. And without love, he is not a person.
Fr. Francis: 1. God's omniscience vs our free will

God's gift of free will to humanity is absolute and necessary, because without freedom of choice, love is not possible. A person incapable of saying no is also incapable of saying yes. As wonderful this person may be, as kind and understanding he can be, it is not love. And without love, he is not a person.

But this does not mean God cannot know our choices before we make them. Knowing them is not the same as choosing them for us.

For one thing, God is also the creator of time and space. He lives outside of time. He does not subsist under continuous time, where things have beginning of existence, progress of change, and possibly end of existence. He is outside of time, and He sees all time in the eternal Present. At that singular eternal Present, He sees the birth of time, the entire span of time, and the very last seconds of time at once.

You can say: He sees your whole life span simultaneously in that eternal Present.

He sees all of it, but you make all the choices.

Yes, He denied Himself the power to manipulate or coerce us against our will; though He never tires of pouring out all His graces upon us, and arranging all the necessary opportunities for us to turn to Him. But He will wait gently, patiently, lovingly, for us to choose Him, completely freely.

2. The problem of suffering

In the beginning, there was no suffering. Suffering was brought into existence because of our abuse of choice, because of our sin. Sin brought suffering into the world; sin brought death upon ourselves.

Because it is a product of our own freedom, God would not remove it, for removing the product of our freedom is the same as removing our freedom. And without freedom, we cease to be capable of love; we cease to be persons.

God's answer to suffering is Jesus. God Himself came to live, suffer, and die for us.

He conquered suffering by turning it inside out. On the Cross He refused to come down to show us God is not absent in suffering, but it is when He is closest to us. He overcome its meaninglessness and evil, by turning it around as a unconditional, free sacrifice to God the Father to pay for our sins. Because of that, it is now possible for us to offer our suffering as sacrifice for the salvation and atonement of others. And by His resurrection, Jesus revealed to us eternal life, thus removing the sting of suffering, which is despair and a hopeless end.

Jesus did not remove our suffering. What He did was greater: He gave us the secret of turning suffering into a powerful weapon for salvation, and He shows Himself to be with us, especially through the darkness of pain. There, He is all the more our light, life, hope and consolation.

If God is for us, who can be against us? If God is with us in suffering, then even suffering can turn sweet.

3. God does not answer all prayers.

If answering prayers means doing what we want of God, then no, absolutely no, God does not answer all prayers.

If God simply answers all our prayers, He ceases to be God. He is merely a slave.

This is not because God is distant, or uncaring, or mean, for even a loving father would never give to his child everything he wishes. A father who does such a thing is not loving; he is certified stupid, and careless.

God is God, a loving Father, who made us out of love, knows us infinitely better than we would ever know ourselves. He knows what is best for us, and when is best to give us gifts. His aim is not to merely satisfy our momentary needs or wants, but to nourish and nurture us to become who we are: glory.

Just as a child who does not trust his father can never understand his discipline and method of teaching, so it is for a soul who is not open to the possibility of a loving God would find it necessary to measure God by His performance. But this cannot be. One who looks for such a God is looking for a slave; and underneath, he is merely seeking his own will, to be his own god.

But for one who trusts God, he will soon discover God has surprising ways to answer our prayers, even the most unimportant ones. And at times, instead of giving us what we think we need now, He offers us something so much better and completely amazing. Or yet, He deprives or withholds favors from us now, only so we may be stretched or may long for Him more ardently; and when it is finally granted, we discover it is so much more beautiful and satisfying.
May 05, 2017
動物死後會如人類一樣上天堂嗎?某些基督教(派)認為,因動物是人類的天使,死後是會上天堂的。動物傳心術(即是用腦電波跟動物溝通), 可透過訓練(腦部),跟動物溝通,天主教徒可以學嗎?
Fr. Francis: 這個是很多愛動物的人會問的問題。嚴格來說,天主教官方並沒有確實這方面的直接說明,而事實上,將來在天堂的事,有很多很多我們真的要到了那裏才可能知的。但有一點我們是可以肯定的
Fr. Francis: 一。動物死後是否會上天堂?

這是很多愛動物的人會問的問題。嚴格來說,天主教官方在這方面並沒有確實的直接說明,而事實上,將來在天堂的事,有很多很多我們真的要到了那裏才可知的。但有一點我們是可以肯定的:就是在今世一切真正美好之物,在天堂將會變成完美,並將無限量放大。所以至少我們可以肯定:凡我們喜愛動物中最美好的,在天堂一定會有,並將會美好很多很多。

二。動物是人類的天使?

我想這只是一個形容,而不是表達事實的說法,如稱呼幫助我們的人或好心人,「你真是一個天使」一般。
天使是天主創造的全靈生物,沒有軀體,只有一個強而有力的靈。他們跟所有可見的受造物是截然不同的,天主創造他們是作為祂的使者,去成就祂的旨意,對抗魔鬼,護佑人類。

三。動物傳心術?

這個我可不大認識。當然,如果是純屬科學範疇的話,應該是沒問題的。但如果他們開始談論用水晶球或甚麼磁力,那就要當心了。
Apr 28, 2017
When and why the statues and cross in the church are covered or removed during Lent?
Fr. Francis: The practice of covering the images of Christ and other holy images is uniquely Western. In the current Roman Missal, it is stated that this may take place on the Saturday afternoon before the fifth Sunday of Lent. However, since each local practice may vary, this is not obligatory...
Fr. Francis: The practice of covering the images of Christ and other holy images is uniquely Western. In the current Roman Missal, it is stated that this may take place on the Saturday afternoon before the fifth Sunday of Lent. However, since each local practice may vary, this is not obligatory, and some places may choose to cover the images at a later time in Lent. The coverings are removed typically during the Holy Saturday decoration, in preparation for celebrating the Easter Vigil.

The purpose of covering the holy images is similar to withholding the "Alleluia" from the Church's liturgies, which is also uniquely Western. The idea is to build anticipation for Easter, while we intensify our desire to come closer to Christ. We first remove the celebratory Easter interjection "Alleluia", so that we may first focus on mending our ways. We then remove even the images of Christ, so that we may long for seeing Him even more when Easter comes.

I mentioned it is uniquely Western, since the Eastern Catholics and the Orthodox do not have this practice. In fact, instead of removing the "Alleluia", some of them intensify it. Of course, they would have different ways to intensify their liturgical preparation for and anticipation of Easter; e.g., the reading of "The Ladder" by St. John Climacus.
Apr 28, 2017
When we say “Mother of God”, should we be saying, “Mother of God’s Son ” instead ?
Fr. Francis: Mary's title "Mother of God" - This one is ancient, dated back to the early Church. It is called the "Nestorian heresy". Nestorius claimed that "Mother of God" or "Theotokos" in Greek, bestows divinity on Mary and so cannot be accepted. He proposed "Mother of Jesus". This was definitively defeated at the Council of Chalcedon.
Fr. Francis: Mary's title "Mother of God"

This one is ancient, dated back to the early Church. It is called the "Nestorian heresy". Nestorius claimed that "Mother of God" or "Theotokos" in Greek, bestows divinity on Mary and so cannot be accepted. He proposed "Mother of Jesus". This was definitively defeated at the Council of Chalcedon.

Jesus is both God and man, completely man and yet completely God; the two cannot be divided. Mary is mother of Jesus, who is God. "Son of God" and God the Father and the Holy Spirit are three Persons but is only one God, inseparably one. To call Mary "Mother of Jesus", or even "Mother of God's Son" and not "Mother of God" would be artificially trying to separate the divinity of Jesus from the humanity of Jesus, a heresy in itself.

If God who is purely divine can become completely human without losing his divinity, then Mary a mere human, can certainly become the Mother of pure divinity.
Apr 21, 2017
我們應該如何辦別天主對我們的召叫?做修女神父的,是否大都在很年輕時,已有感召?如果是考慮婚姻,又如何知道對方就是天主為我們所選的呢?
Fr. Francis: 其實要辨別神品及獻身聖召,在很多方面都跟婚姻聖召相似,都是有一種奇妙的吸引力,越是回應就越經歷一種內在的釋放;又像情侶一樣,不單是我自己喜歡,也要教區或獻身團體也有共識。
Fr. Francis: 其實要辨別神品及獻身聖召,在很多方面都跟婚姻聖召相似,都是有一種奇妙的吸引力,越是回應就越經歷一種內在的釋放;又像情侶一樣,不單是我自己喜歡,教區或獻身團體也要有共識。

所有的聖召,其實最終就是去找到那真實的自我--那天主在創造我的時候就已經刻在我內心深處的自我。當我們認出它時,會有一種回家的經歷,一種釋放、自由的感覺,一種很對很正確的認知。

我相信婚姻也該是如此:真正的那一位,就是一個能與你互相釋放,互相承認對方,扶助對方邁向成全,互相能欣賞天主賦予對方的光榮和美善。

至於神品和獻身聖召是否一定會在年青時知道,這個我認為不一定。每人要行的路都不同,但卻在天主掌握之中,祂往往自有安排。加上,時間在天主眼中跟我們很不相同:我們以為為一個人時間上的長短,但天主卻以整人類的救贖為中心,安排一切人的經歷。

我自己是廿六歲才入修院,有很多人以為那是很年輕,但事實上我所屬的修會卻有不少人廿六歲已晉鐸為神父。我曾想過我是否遲鈍去回應上主,但我回看卻又知道天主若早些召叫我,我又未必有這個成熟和裝備去接受;而事實上,回應前的那些年又絕對不是白過,也看到很多天主的足跡。

相反的,和我一起晉鐸的,也有一位已年過五十歲的,曾經由買賣汽車多年而成了小富翁,卻後來才醒覺天主的召叫。若是別人說他前半生是浪費了,那又不完全正確,至少,當天在買賣汽車中的成就,造就了他在為教堂籌款和管理方面有獨特的才能。

所以,不必擔心太遲太早,一切在天主手中自有安排。只管今天此刻盡心愛主愛人,善用天主給你獨有的才能,並欣賞讚美身邊的人和事,自然會活出天主的旨意,認出祂的召叫。
Apr 21, 2017
Is it a sin against the first and fourth commandments for giving a priest equality with God my Father and my earthly father whom I am to honour?
Fr. Francis: The title "Father" for Catholic priests - This title goes back to apostolic times. In the letters of St. Paul to Timothy and to the Galatians, he referred to himself as being a "father" to them.
Fr. Francis: The title "Father" for Catholic priests

This title goes back to apostolic times. In the letters of St. Paul to Timothy and to the Galatians, he referred to himself as being a "father" to them. Since the earliest time, the bishop, being the successors of the apostles, were called "father" since they father their congregations by their pastoral labours and personal care. It is also from this that we call the Bishop of Rome "Papa", translated to "Pope".

Calling our priests "father" is not idolatry,, but a title that also bestows on them their function and duty as our spiritual fathers.

Some Protestants are vehemently against this title because of Jesus' teaching "to call no one on earth 'father'". However, that passage in its context is obviously a hyperbole, an exaggerated rhetorical device used to target those who use their titles to puff up their honour and neglect their duty. This is not what the title "father" means for the priests. And it is obvious that Jesus was not asking us not to call our earthly fathers "Father"!
Apr 14, 2017
When Jesus told the Samaritan woman he would have given her living water. What then is the living water?
Fr. Francis: The living water Jesus mentioned to the Samaritan woman is clearly a reference to the Holy Spirit, the gift of God giving Himself to us by pouring Himself into us.
Fr. Francis: The living water Jesus mentioned to the Samaritan woman is clearly a reference to the Holy Spirit, the gift of God giving Himself to us by pouring Himself into us.
Apr 14, 2017
請問新教徒能否參與彌撒並於彌撒中領聖體?
Fr. Francis: 《首先,問者用的“新教徒”在此是指基督教徒。》

自從早期教會,彌撒就有分為兩部份:信經之前,和信經開始。

信經之前是任何人都可以參與的。這部份主要是讚頌,讀經和講道。為教友是領受聖言而被聖化,為非教友更是福傳。
Fr. Francis: 《首先,問者用的“新教徒”在此是指基督教徒。》

自從早期教會,彌撒就有分為兩部份:信經之前,和開始誦念信經後。

信經之前是任何人都可以參與的。這部份主要是讚頌,讀經和講道。為教友是領受聖言而被聖化,為非教友更是福傳。

而誦念信經,卻只有是教徒才能參與,因為是洗禮使我們能發信德(信經),行使司祭之職(信友禱文),和成為基督奧體的一部份 - 即與耶穌及教會共融(聖體聖事)。非教徒也可在席,但卻不能參與,因為他們不信,亦未曾領受參與的權柄。

在此,可見“參與“可作兩個解釋:一是指出席,那只要能進去,就能參與了;二是指活躍地與其他人做同一個祭獻的內在意向,即是作為教會和耶穌門徒的一份子去奉獻耶穌,這種參與就不是人人都可以了:要先加入了同一個信仰和共融。

今天來說,天主教的彌撒是公開的,所以任何人都可以作第一種「參與」,但卻只有天主教徒才能在第二部份作深一層的參與了。

這限制對於基督教徒也是一樣,因為第一,他們有些教派不信洗禮,所以在宣認信仰上已有分別。即使是接受洗禮,但大部份不信神品聖事及聖體聖事,所以他們雖然可能也有聖體甚或神品,但所相信領受的和天主教的都可有極大的分歧,加上沒有同一個神品的理解--即神父是賦有權柄成聖聖體的,那就連舉行感恩禮的可能也沒有了,更不用說參與同一個禮儀了。

然而即使某些基督教派是接受上述所有的,但因他們全部都不是與天主教會共融,那就是領了聖體,也不是在表達與基督和他的淨配--教會--共融了。

也就是為着同一個原因,非教徒和基督徒是不能領取天主教的聖體聖事的。

在近五十年來,天主教跟許多基督支派不斷的為謀求合一而努力,可算是有不少成績,但與可以分享同一個聖體還是有很遠的距離。現今,天主教與東正教已有互通聖事的部份可能;與路德會在救恩觀上有部份的共識;與聖公會在聖體觀上已有共識。

基督派別的分裂,是整個教會很沉重的傷痛,是一個大醜聞,並不是天主的意願,亦因此使很多外教人對耶穌的教會卻步。而事實上,各派別雖有很多的不同,我們相同的地方卻是比之多很多。在《若望福音》第十七章的記載中,耶穌懇切求天父使我們合一,願我們也常為教會合一多作祈禱和犧牲!
Apr 14, 2017
甚麼是奉獻於聖母33日敬禮? 有甚麼特別意義?為甚麼不多不少是33天?
Fr. Francis: 聖蒙科原是法國十八世紀初的一個傳教仕,他發覺他每去一個地方,人們的信仰都會蓬勃起來,但當他半年後或以上重反同一個地方時,人們的信仰往往都不繼圍持。他明白單靠一時的沖擊,人是很難作出真實的生活改變的,所以他便設計了一個比較長的敬禮運動,要他們在三十三天誠心準備決定改變。
Fr. Francis: 要解釋甚麼是三十三天奉獻於聖母,那怕在這短短的專欄難以辦到,還是鼓勵讀者看些書,特別是 St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort (聖蒙福)的《True Devotion》和 Fr. Michael Gaitley 的《33 Days to Morning Glory》

聖蒙科原是法國十八世紀初的一個傳教士,他發覺他每去一個地方,人們的信仰都會蓬勃起來,但當他半年後或以上重返同一個地方時,人們的信仰往往都不能維持。他明白單靠一時的衝擊,人是很難作出真實的生活改變的,所以他便設計了一個比較長的敬禮運動,要他們在三十三天誠心準備決定改變。

至於為甚麼是三十三天,那是因為耶穌在世活了三十三年,也是聖母跟隨了耶穌學習了三十三年。聖蒙科要我們以三十三天來仿效聖母的三十三年,好讓我們能投入聖母的學校,更加誠心的追隨耶穌。

至於為甚麼要奉獻於聖母,那是因為聖母是我們的母親,而耶穌又選定了她的使命為把她所有的孩子帶到耶穌身邊。

聖母是第一個門徒,也是唯一一個由始至終都忠心的門徒。由她領報的一刻,她就成為了輔助別人認識耶穌的工具:助她父母和若瑟去接受她的懷孕,助牧羊人和三王去接近耶穌,助耶穌的門徒去相信耶穌,在耶穌苦難時去堅強伯多祿和若望,並在耶穌復活後一直與門徒一起,教導他們準備領受聖神。

雖然我們不必要找聖母去接受耶穌,但聖母的輔助卻是耶穌立定的。聖母也不是多餘的,只是耶穌悅樂於賜給我們多過必要的輔助。聖母也絕對不會與耶穌爭奪我們的注意,而她只是來抓着我們,把我們拉到耶穌跟前,然後她就會站到我們的後方,鼓勵我們不要跑掉。

正如聖蒙科說,奉獻於聖母乃是天主的旨意,也是最快,最容易,最安全的走近耶穌的途徑。

至於怎樣奉獻,你們就必須閱讀以上介紹的書了。


參考資料: 《生命恩泉》33日敬禮專頁
Apr 07, 2017
We know that Jesus came to us by both water and blood (1 John 5:6). However, during Mass not all chalices have water put into them. Thus not all people who are called to share in this mystery get the water. Why is this so?
Fr. Francis: Thank you for the astute observation. I can see a lot of thought was put into it, and it is the first time I hear someone try to connect the offertory gifts with the quote from 1 John 5:6. I here quote in full:
Fr. Francis: Thank you for the astute observation. I can see a lot of thought was put into it, and it is the first time I hear someone try to connect the offertory gifts with the quote from 1 John 5:6. I here quote in full:

This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood.

Notice that the emphasis here is on "blood", and not only water. Traditionally, this has been understood as water referring to baptism and blood to Jesus' passion and the Eucharist. Later on in 1 John, the Holy Spirit is added for the triple testimony of Jesus.

Therefore, what John is talking about here is the integrity of Jesus' ministry of cleansing our sins and giving of His life to us. It is also an emphasis on Jesus' integrity of both fully God and fully man, both able to cleanse us, and able to and truly did die for us.

The symbolism of adding water to the wine in the chalice during the preparation of the gifts, however, comes from a very different meaning. In fact, strictly speaking, the water is not part of the offering, only the hosts and the wine are. And the water adding to the wine is not essential for the validity of the sacrament. As we know, there is no mention of adding water to the wine when Jesus celebrated the Last Supper. Only the host and wine are representing Christ.

The meaning of adding water to the wine can be found in the silent prayer the priest utters when it is added:

"By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled Himself to share in our humanity."

The liturgical symbol of water here represents our humanity being submerged and transformed by the divinity of Christ. Just as Christ has joined humanity inseparably with His divinity, so we pray that this sacrament may achieve its goal, which is to unite us inseparably with Christ. And just as a drop of water in the wine is no longer water but one with the wine, so may our humanity be made more and more into Christ's divinity.

Since this is merely a liturgical symbol, which is used as a sign to illustrate a point, (which is different from a sacrament like baptism or Eucharist, whose very action actually affects change of reality) it is not necessary for every chalice to have water added to it. The point is to show water is added to some of the wine. This is similar to the liturgical symbolic gesture of peace. We use it as a sign to offer Christ's peace to our neighbours,, but it is not necessary for us to offer peace to every person in the congregation to achieve its symbolic meaning. It is a symbolic action in its most basic sense.

Having said the above, from the many places I have travelled to, I notice that there is currently a great variety of practice when multiple chalices are required. Some places do add water to every chalice, some would add water to the wine dispenser before pouring into the individual chalices, and some add only to the main celebrant's chalice.
Apr 07, 2017
如果男方是基督教徒,要和天主教徒的女方結婚,並要求女方成為基督教徒。應該怎樣辦?
Fr. Francis: 之前我在堂區工作的時候,這類問題都常遇上。因為涉及的問題很廣,這個回答比平常的要長些。

首先,其實天主教徒與基督教徒結婚,是一件不容易的事,特別是當相方都很堅持要對方跟從自己的教派。最困難的就是要決定,未來的子女是否領洗,跟誰的教會領洗,和跟誰去聖堂。
Fr. Francis: 之前我在堂區工作的時候,這類問題都常遇上。因為涉及的問題很廣,這個回答比平常的要長些。

首先,其實天主教徒與基督教徒結婚,是一件不容易的事,特別是當相方都很堅持要對方跟從自己的教派。最困難的就是要決定,未來的子女是否領洗,跟誰的教會領洗,和跟誰去聖堂。

很多時我發現,有不少男女在拍拖時都不去詳談這問題,或曾經因此事而爭吵所以將之擱置,或是不敢面對而以為彼此的愛自然會能克服問題,這種種都是天真和逃避的想法,到了求婚後要決定哪裏辦婚禮,或孩子出生後要想領洗,問題就變得比原來的大上千倍了。

其實作為天主教徒,與天主和教會的關係該是我們人生的首位,所以在拍拖時該早些和男/女朋友商量怎樣在信仰上能互相尊重。婚姻本身就不容易,要一段婚姻成功,彼此無私的尊重必須是愛的基本,特別是對方認為最重要的--即信仰,就更不能不尊重,甚至該加以鼓勵,即使自己不接受同一的信仰。

像這位男士,要求自己未來的妻子轉教,就是他在其他方面很好,也不免在此行為上做成破壞對方基本尊嚴和自由的行為了。如果在結婚之前也是這樣,那結婚之後,要共同邁向完滿的互相敬愛,釋放和包容,這希望會有多大機會成真?實在是值得三思。再者,因為結婚而轉教,那麼便不是自由選擇的了,也就變成了欺騙天主,甚至出賣自己,可算是殘忍。

當然,也有很多人是真以為天主教與基督教派分別不大,所以才不加多想。事實上,雖然兩者相同的地方實在很多,但不幸的也有不少很鮮明的分別:

基督教源於十六世紀的馬丁路德(Martin Luther),他原本是一位天主教的奧思定會的會士,但因為不滿當時教會內神職人員的敗壞,要求改革。後來得不到教會及時的正面回應,再加上受到很多想脫離當時教會在政治上控制的權貴在極力慫恿,才決定脫離教會,自立門戶。因為對教會人士的失望,所以他決定不能信單是從人來的教導,立定了唯獨聖經和唯獨信德的原則。所有聖經中找不到的教導,自然而言,因為他的原則,都被他和後來不同的基督教派除掉了:如領洗,神品,告解,聖體等聖事,彌撒禮儀,對聖人及聖母的尊敬,以及教會在聖化,教導和管理架構上的權柄,等等,不同的基督教派都有不同程度的不接受。

可惜的是,當年的馬丁路德,其實並不知道這些似乎在聖經以外的教導,絕大部份其實並不是人定的,而是在宗徒時代已經有跡可尋,可以算是耶穌親自教他們的;而聖經本身的權柄,也都是因為這同一班的宗徒賦之教傳。基礎並不是在聖經,而是在耶穌,藉着宗徒教導我們,有些筆記了於聖經,有些在禮儀,有些在傳統,有些在圖畫聖像。

所以如果一位天主教徒因為婚姻而離開教會,他要決定失去的可真不少:他將不能領聖體,不能辦告解,並失去了對聖母和聖人禮敬的機會。這個不是教會對他的拒絕,而是基督教不容的。

我以上所說,當然並不代表天主教跟基督教人士結婚是不可能。只要雙方願意接受對方的宗教自由,並樂意去鼓勵對方的信仰成長,在準備婚姻時,尋求兩方的牧師和神父協助,這就可變成了一個彰顯共融和無私犧牲的美景。事實上,我自己也有不少朋友,是天主教跟基督教的結合,在婚配禮儀中,我和對方的牧師共同見證並祝福新人。
Mar 31, 2017
想問祈禱手勢應為: 雙手合十在前(像中國人拜神般), 或是雙手合十在前但左右手拇指交叉,還是雙手十指緊扣並合著?
Fr. Francis: 傳統來說,天主教羅馬禮的祈禱手是雙手合十並拇指交叉相疊的,所以在彌撒中,神父和輔祭通常都是這樣。
Fr. Francis: 傳統來說,天主教羅馬禮的祈禱手是雙手合十並拇指交叉相疊的,所以在彌撒中,神父和輔祭通常都是這樣。

但是,這個並不該是生硬的,而事實上,你所說其他的手勢也是很普遍的。所以三種也可以。

重要的是兩點:一,我們用的手勢是否出自虔敬愛慕之心,我們是否在內心切望着與耶穌交流;二。我們的手勢是否有助自己和別人去與基督接近,去進入深一層的祈禱,意思是這手勢本身是否表示着虔敬,熱誠,等等。

其實,以上兩點,乃是所有禮儀姿勢及手勢的基本原則。
Mar 31, 2017
我有朋友是研究New Age的,常說要往內心連結、接通宇宙,尋找個人的「內在神性」、向宇宙吸引所想要的云云。我還在慕道中,雖然覺得天主才應該是真實的,但一時之間也不知如何辯倒他。請神父指導。 又,觀察自然界萬物的複雜構造、生態奇妙,可以推論應該是有創造者的,但應怎樣向外(教)人證實創造者就是我們信的那一位?畢竟多數民族和宗教都有創世的說法。 如果不引用聖經也有可能嗎?我朋友定會說聖經當然會說天主是對的。
Fr. Francis: 你說的問題是入於“辯教“(apologetics),即是以哲學和理性來見證天主教的真實,是一個非常博大的笵疇。所以要回答你的問題,實在有很多方面,在這裏不能盡述,我只能指出其中最有力的一個。
Fr. Francis: 你說的問題是入於 「辯教」(apologetics),即是以哲學和理性來見證天主教的真實,是一個非常博大的範疇。所以要回答你的問題,實在有很多方面,在這裏不能盡述,我只能指出其中最有力的一個。

天主教跟其他所有宗教或哲學或靈修的不同,在於耶穌本身。耶穌並不是單純的一個宗教領袖或創始人,或是一個宗教裏的故事人物。耶穌是一個真實的歷史人物,而也真實地在歷史中宣稱祂是來滿全舊約的默西亞,最震撼的是祂自稱為天主。祂的確在歷史中死了,但又在歷史不能不相信的真實中復活了。這些不單是因為聖經這樣說,而是在歷史學上不能推翻的結論。(見 http://askfrfrancis.org/qa/耶穌是切切實實的死了)。

那麼,如果耶穌真的在我們當中活過,死了,又復活了,那麼祂是誰呢?祂自稱為天主,這可能是真的,但如果是假的,那祂只可能是:
一。知道自己說謊,或
二。不知道自己說謊。

如果祂是知道自己說謊,冒認為天主,那祂就不單是一個騙子,而是一個極為邪惡的人,但又甚為愚蠢,因為最後卻要死。

如果祂不知道祂在說謊,那祂就是一個大瘋子,妄想者。

但如果是這兩種,那又不合乎耶穌的溫良慈祥,慈悲為懷,更不能解釋祂的復活。

唯一剩餘的可能就是:耶穌的的確確就如祂所說是天主。

但無論你怎說,耶穌卻不可能單單只是一個善人,或老師,或宗教領導。祂沒有給我們這個可能。祂只可能是邪惡的,瘋狂的,或是真天主。

如果耶穌是真天主,那聖經記載的,宗徒和教會在歷史中傳述的,就比所有其他的宗教哲學所教的截然不同了。因為其他所有的宗教哲學,只能說是人所理解,或說人從神明領受。但就只有基督宗教能切切實實地說天主在真實歷史中自我啟示了祂的教導。

所以,耶穌的確是真天主;新約的確是天主親自的教導;舊約也是,因為耶穌自己說是來滿全舊約的;而教會的教導也是,因為教會是耶穌天主親自建立,並賦予聖神去繼續祂的教導聖化的。如果耶穌是真天主,這一切都必定如此。
Mar 24, 2017
教友很喜歡聽某一位神父講道,並盡量安排參與這位神父主持的彌撒,是罪嗎?
Fr. Francis: 首先,我想你是問這“是錯嗎”,而不是“是罪嗎”。因為要一件錯事成為罪,除了事情是錯外,還要看看當事人是否明知故犯,和是否有足夠自由去拒絕。這些都是別人不能完全能定斷的。當心!輕易去說別人犯罪,就是輕易去審判人了。

至於刻意只去某神父講道的彌撒,教會並沒有說明。但可參考的有下列考慮:
Fr. Francis: 首先,我想你是問這「是錯嗎」,而不是 「是罪嗎」。因為要一件錯事成為罪,除了事情是錯外,還要看看當事人是否明知故犯,和是否有足夠自由去拒絕。這些都是別人不能完全能定斷的。當心!輕易去說別人犯罪,就是輕易去審判人了。

至於刻意只去某神父講道的彌撒,教會並沒有說明。但可參考的有下列考慮:
- 在修和聖事的指引,教會是有強調教友是有權選擇找誰辦告解的。這證明牧靈的需要是容許這方面的選擇的。
- 如果是與語言有關的話,教會普遍指引是教友是有權去選擇最適合他們的牧靈服務的。
- 同時,教會也有習俗鼓勵教友應該定下去同一個堂區,去參與,服務,並建立教會。這裏的含意是我們在教會的成長路程該由自我的需要走向服務別人的需要,而很多時不斷的改變參與彌撒的時間,可會是一個大阻礙。
- 我們的信仰也教導我們,彌撒最終並不是拿甚麼,而是活躍地參與基督耶穌向聖父的奉獻和讚頌。所以聖言和講道固然重要,但更重要的卻是整個禮儀我們有否獻上自己,虔敬地尊崇天主。

總括來說,在完美的情况下,每個教友該去自己所屬的堂區,大部份時間去同一台彌撒,並盡力參與該彌撒或堂區的服務。

但與此同時,亦要瞭解並顧及每人的靈性需要,成長中的過程和軟弱之處。有些人可能在現階段更需要好的道理,有些並未瞭解或能投入彌撒更深一層的偉大,有些是因為言語方面的困難,這種種都是情有所原,合理的需要。

但若是有教友只是某神父的“粉絲”,甚或致把神父放上神檯般欽崇,那就要當心,有拜偶像之嫌了。或當自己發現其實找着某神父的背後只是因為自己不願定下堂區來為別人服務,或是面對困難和自己的不願意與自己不最喜歡的神父和教友一同工作,那就要小心自己不是自私和驕傲,而拒絕了天主在邀請我們成長的機會了。

還有的考慮是:若果我覺得某神父有問題,或講道不夠吸引,那我們要明白,不是每個神父的能力和神恩是一樣的,若他在講道方面不是強項,我有否去欣賞他能幹的方面呢?更甚的,我有否為神父的成長和能力祈禱,特別在彌撒前切求聖神在此彌撒中賜予一個有用的訊息,好助你這星期的成長?

最後,若果我看見別人在這方面,或任何其他方面,不完美的地方時,讓我不要注視他人的錯誤,但讓我能正面地瞭解他人的需要,並溫柔地鼓勵對方邁向完全。
Mar 24, 2017
我的代女在澳洲認識了一位沒有信仰的男士,他是澳藉華人,多年前與一位來自中國的女士結了婚,並育有一孩子。怎料太太原來只是藉結婚而獲得居民身份,一得到了就離婚,並和以前相識的男友結婚及讓他入藉,拋下家庭從此失蹤。代女愛上這忠實的男孩,並和他結婚後留下生活,現在也有小朋友。她仍有去聖堂,但不能領聖體,也不敢問當地的外籍神父,並為自己的處境耿耿於懷。孩子日漸長大,而且好奇的問她為何不領聖體。想請問程神父,她怎樣才可以領聖體?
Fr. Francis: 你的代女的丈夫因為曾經結婚,雖然在法律上已離婚,但因為教會看婚姻很重,除非教會法庭能證明當年的婚姻從未曾滿全婚姻的元素,否則他在教會眼中仍然與第一位妻子已婚。正因如此,你代女與他的婚姻在教會裏是未能成立的,因而她也不能領聖體。

但因為教會也明白有很多法律上的婚姻是不符合教會的婚姻觀,或是實在有很多人不知道或不願意去擁抱教會的婚姻觀
Fr. Francis: 你的代女的丈夫因為曾經結婚,雖然在法律上已離婚,但因為教會看婚姻很重,除非教會法庭能證明當年的婚姻從未曾滿全婚姻的元素,否則他在教會眼中仍然與第一位妻子已婚。正因如此,你代女與他的婚姻在教會裏是未能成立的,因而她也不能領聖體。

但因為教會也明白有很多法律上的婚姻是不符合教會的婚姻觀,或是實在有很多人不知道或不願意去擁抱教會的婚姻觀,所以實際上現今有很多的婚姻都是有嚴重缺陷的,所以教會也有特定的程序去證實婚姻是否無效,從而讓某些曾經結婚的人可以在教會內重有結婚的自由。這程序稱為annulment。

至於 annulment 的程序內容,成功率等等,就真是視乎個別的案件,而最好直接與當事人的教區的婚姻法庭人事查詢了。

至於你代女的情况,當然,在你所述說的故事中,她丈夫的首次婚姻就像是騙案,而如果他的前妻的確只是利用他來移民,那這婚姻當然就無效;唯一的是要能在教會法庭前能證實這一點。

所以,你的代女首先是去聯絡她的堂區神父,並與她的丈夫商量,因為這程序他必須要願意和參與。至於實際內容,她的堂區神父自會給她詳細解釋了。

請你也跟你的代女說,不要害怕跟她的堂區神父求助。如果她丈夫前妻當年的欺騙是有人證甚或物證的話,那能獲得申請婚姻無效的機會可算是十拿九穩了。特別是如果有辦法找到那女士或她的朋友家人,就是他們不合作,教庭很多時只需要跟他們接觸過就可以證明不少有用的東西了。

與此同時,繼續為他們祈禱,讓她知道現在不能領聖體的苦,天主是不會輕看的,一定會重重祝福她。告訴她也可以「神領聖體」,即是在不能領聖體的情况下,靈性上邀請耶穌進來,耶穌是不會拒絕的。告訴她我也會為她祈禱。
Mar 17, 2017
With a toddler and a baby, I find our family missing mass quite a bit during the winter cold and flu season as sickness rotates throughout each of us! Is missing mass due to a child’s sickness (or even our own) considered a sin that will require confession each time before receiving communion?
Fr. Francis: For an act to be wrong, even before it to be sinful, one of the factors we have to consider is whether the person is free to act otherwise. More simply speaking, for me to commit a wrong, I need to be physically and morally free to do so first.
Fr. Francis: For an act to be wrong, even before it to be sinful, one of the factors we have to consider is whether the person is free to act otherwise. More simply speaking, for me to commit a wrong, I need to be physically and morally free to do so first.

An example of physical impossibility is sickness. If I am sick to the point of not able to go to Mass, then it is right for me not to go. In fact, it would be wrong for me to go.

An example of moral impossibility would be the need to look after someone else, and there are no viable options left for me to be free to go to mass. I could go, but I would be irresponsible for those dependent on my care. I should arrange for someone to help, but sometimes help is not available. My moral obligation toward those in need supersedes.

Another example of moral impossibility would be if I carry a contagious disease. My moral duty to avoid crowds would preclude me from going to the Church.

So, in your situation, one should attempt to get help. But when it is not possible, it cannot be a sin. It is not even wrong.
Mar 17, 2017
「凡出言干犯人子的,可得赦免;但出言干犯聖神的,在今世及來世,都不得赦免。」(瑪12:32),「人子」作何解釋,是否指耶穌?「來世」又是什麼意思?因為有人將來世看作再投胎。假如 「人子」是指耶穌。為甚麼干犯耶穌的,可得赦免,干犯聖神的,不得赦免?
Fr. Francis: “人子”是耶穌在福音裏常用說及自己的稱號。原因是因為在舊約末期的先知中曾以此稱號表達默西亞--預許要來的救世主--的身份。人子亦都表示了耶穌不單是真天主,也真真的是個人,完全的人。
Fr. Francis: 「人子」是耶穌在福音裏說及自己時常用的稱號。原因是在舊約末期的先知中,曾以此稱號表達默西亞--預許要來的救世主--的身份。人子亦表示了耶穌不單是真天主,也真真的是個人,完全的人。

至於「來世」,這並不是指投胎,因為基督宗教是不相信輪迴的。每人只有一次機會,死後便要面對天主和我們自己選擇過的一切:選擇愛就進入永恆的愛,選擇惡就永恆的惡。來世就是指我們死後的永恆生命,是福是禍,乃是我們現在每天的選擇。

另外,「為甚麼干犯耶穌的,可得赦免,干犯聖神的,不得赦免?」這問題有兩層面的回答:

第一:耶穌選擇寬恕誰,是祂的自由。而更因為祂是天主,祂也是立法者和審判者,有絕對權柄去決定怎樣才藉得祂的寬恕。所以,在某程度上,我們是不能完全明白祂的法律的一切,而這個問題因此也不能完全回答。祂是天主,衪說怎樣,便就是了。

第二:但祂也曾告訴我們,人子來不是定罪,不是尋找義人,而是來救罪人,為我們而死。從此可見,祂是希望每一個人得救,而從不旨意任何人滅亡,所以就是干犯耶穌的,都可得赦免,因為實在沒有任何罪祂不能赦免的。

但干犯聖神的,卻不得赦免。根據教理,干犯聖神是指人拒絕接受聖寵。這有兩個可能,一是不相信天主可以寬恕自己;二是認為自己不需要天主的寬恕;兩者的源頭都是出於自大: 前者因為相信自己的罪大過天主愛的能力,後者因為自以為是。

這一來並不是因為天主不願寬恕,而是我們拒絕天主的寬恕,因而不能得救了。
Mar 10, 2017
What are the various Catholic churches with names like Maronite, Coptic and Slovak Catholic Church. In the Nicene Creed,”I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church”, so are churches just like CMCC serving the ethnic groups? Are these churches legit for Roman Catholics? How about Eastern and Orthodox?
Fr. Francis: Within the family of the Catholic Church, there are currently 25 different "rites", and the "Roman" Catholic, or the "Latin" rite, is only one of them. All of these are united under one Pope, who happens to be of the Latin rite.
Fr. Francis: Within the family of the Catholic Church, there are currently 25 different "rites", and the "Roman" Catholic, or the "Latin" rite, is only one of them. All of these are united under one Pope, who happens to be of the Latin rite.

The proper distinction is therefore not different "churches", but different "rites".

The word "rite" refers to the ritual and liturgies. We have to remember that in the early Church, they did not have email or telephone, and communication and transportation were often disrupted for long periods of time due to wars and unrest. The early Church also did not already have a standardized way to celebrate Mass or perform baptism etc. In fact, they often had to start from bits and pieces. As a result, different locale would have to develop their own custom of worship, sacraments and prayer, using their own local languages and culture. In the East especially, since most of the early Church thinkers were from that area, each local community would typically embrace the liturgy developed by their heroes. So the Coptics Egyptians would embrace St. Athanasius' liturgy, while the Greeks would embrace St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom, the Melkite and Maronite would have their own. Those evangelized in Kerala, India by St. Thomas, being so far away, would develop something quite distinct. As well, each distinct locale would also use their own language and expression, their own way to celebrate and their music.

If you get a chance, visit your local Greek Catholic or Maronite Catholic Church and participate in their Sunday liturgy. You will quickly notice how different it is, but at the same time how similar. The rituals are different, but it is the same liturgy: same structure, same contents, same Church, same Pope.

As you probably have figured out now, we Roman Catholics are free to share in the liturgies and sacraments of the Catholics of other rites.

These Catholics of other rites are often called the "Eastern Churches", since they are from communities east of Rome. This is common but not very accurate any more, since they also include the far east rites in India, the NE rite of Russia, Ukraine, and many of these are now diaspora communities with their own development all over the world. And lately, we have the rite of the Anglican Ordinariates which is west of Rome…

As to the Orthodox Church, we need to know some history. When the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church officially separated from each other in 1054, their only significant divergence was only the disagreement on the authority of the pope over other metropolitan bishops, and some obscure theological perspective that only few people understand. However, all of the non-latin rites, with the only exception of the Maronite rite, left the Catholic Church. The current Eastern rite churches were brought back through the valiant saintly effort of St. Josaphat, who single-handedly convinced some of each of the eastern rites to return to obedience under the Pope. And as a result he suffered martyrdom.

Since the 20th century, there has been a steady effort to restore relationship with the Orthodox Church, to the extent that currently the Catholic Church has allowed its members to receive sacraments from the Orthodox Church, and to provide sacraments to Orthodox believers if they request them. Although on their part some Orthodox bishops and priests would not allow us to receive Communion from them, it is still a huge step toward full inter-communion.
Mar 10, 2017
我越讀聖經越發覺人活的很無奈。在雙胎(雅各伯和厄撒烏)出生前,天主就愛了雅各伯而憎惡厄撒烏。天主對人的愛很深很深的同時,我又會擔憂。對祂,我是雅各伯還是厄撒烏呢? 神父,天主教信宿命論嗎?聖經顯示給人的是宿命論嗎?
Fr. Francis: 這個問題涉及幾方面問題,所以答案比較長,分三方面回答:

第一,先要解說有關雅各伯和厄撒烏之間的事...
Fr. Francis: 這個問題,要涉及幾方面去闡釋,所以答案比較長,分三方面回答:

第一,先要解說有關雅各伯和厄撒烏之間的事

我相信你一定是看了 瑪拉基亞(Malachi) 1:2-3 之後而覺得天主愛雅各伯而惡厄撒烏,那你一定要閱讀創世紀25-28 章有關雅各伯和厄撒烏的故事。天主並沒有先去憎惡厄撒烏,而是厄撒烏先選擇了去變賣他首生子的祝福。雖然雅各伯也是狡猾,而後來騙取祝福也不全是他一人的錯,但在某程度厄撒烏也是自願放棄的,也不能怪別人。

我們今天或許不大明白變賣首生子權利有甚麼大不了,但可以說,在當時,厄撒烏可算是完全拒絕了天主給予亞巴郎和他的後裔的權利和尊嚴了,也可算是拒絕了天主的祝福。

當然,雅各伯也是一個很有問題的人,所以即使他領受了祝福,天主也要讓他受盡了磨難,才變成一個謙遜侍主的人。

第二,天主是否真會恨惡任何人

很多時我們看舊約,會說及天主恨這個人,惡那個民族,但我們要記着,舊約的啟示是不完整的,是必需要新約的啟示來成全。而因為聖經又是透過人而寫出來,雖然是天主無錯誤的默感,但這默感也是模糊的,注入了不少人的元素和理解的限制的,需要耶穌來臨後完美的啟示,整體加起來才能清澈看見的。

而耶穌的啟示就是「天主是愛」,是為愛創造了我們每一個人,是我們的大父。他不但不憎恨任何一個人,反而因為他不願任何人喪亡,自願藉着聖子為我們而死。

所以舊約裏描述的,並不是指天主愛這個而惡那個,而多半是指人有否願意接受或拒絕天主的旨意和祝福,因而導致不同的後果而已。

第三, 宿命論

由上述可知,天主教是絕對不相信宿命論的 (假若宿命論是指天主任意預定誰善誰惡,誰進天堂誰入地獄)。不,絕對不是!天主的心意只有一個:要祂創造的每一個人都進入天堂,而這正是祂要創造每一個人的原因。

但天主不願強迫,因為強迫就不是真心,就不是願意的去愛。祂要吸引人類去自由地回應,而有自由,就有可能被拒絕。

所以作為基督徒,我們是該滿懷信心的,因為我們知道天父對我們的愛和寬恕是無窮無盡的,有了祂實在是一無所缺!但願我們每天都看清多一點祂的愛,而永不選擇拒絕祂。
Mar 03, 2017
Mark 7:1-13 mentions that other than the ten commandments, the Pharisees added extra laws and rules that Jews should follow. Is our church today not doing the same thing, such as harsh rules on the divorce and mandatory mass of some feast days?
Fr. Francis: Let us look at this point by point:

1. While it is true that the Pharisees had added extra man-made traditions to the Mosaic law (the law God revealed to Moses), it is not true that God gave only the Ten Commandments ("Decalogue") to the Jews...
Fr. Francis: Let us look at this point by point:

1. While it is true that the Pharisees had added extra man-made traditions to the Mosaic law (the law God revealed to Moses), it is not true that God gave only the Ten Commandments ("Decalogue") to the Jews. Besides the Decalogue, God also appended many rules regarding rituals, customs, morals, and beliefs. A casual read of Leviticus and Deuteronomy would reveal the astounding amount of rules the Jews have to memorize and observe, some with very severe consequences.

2. These numerous Mosaic laws were not nullified by Jesus. In fact, Jesus proclaimed: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:17-19)

3. Jesus did not remove the Mosaic Law, but he completed it by revealing Himself to replace the authority of the Law. So, instead of obeying the law, now it is obeying Him. He therefore changed the Law by raising the bar from the original intent of the law; and so He can say "love your enemy", "forgive those who curse you", lust of the heart is the same as adultery, and command us to "love one another as I have loved you". These are all harder laws than before.

4. What Jesus added though is His Mercy. The bar is high; the moral demands of God are "impossible for man" as He admitted. But He promised to do it with us, and so "for God, nothing is impossible". He did not make it easy, but promised to do the impossible with us. And if we fail, He does not come to condemn, but to forgive and to help us to choose correctly. There is always a path to set out right again. Yet He did demand that we choose to change.

5. The Church has no authority to create laws and rules not already contained in the teachings of Jesus and the apostles. A careful read of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is proof that not one of the current teachings on faith and morals does not trace back to Jesus' teachings or already contained at least in intention in the teachings of the apostles. And I can prove it with the two examples you listed.

6. Teachings on divorce. This is actually straight from Jesus. Before Jesus, the Mosaic Law allowed multiple wives and divorce. Jesus insisted on one man and one woman, and no divorce, and this shocked the apostles. See Mark 10:2-13. This same teaching is alluded to by St. Paul in 1 Cor 7:11-13, and repeated throughout the early Church. The Church has no authority to change something so clearly and emphatically pronounced by Jesus Himself.

7. Observation of days of obligation. Actually, there aren't that many days of obligation besides Sundays, in fact, for most parts of the world, only two more days: Dec 25 and Jan 1. All the other days are optional. Some countries, of course, still have Epiphany, Corpus Christi not moved to Sundays, and Aug 15 and Dec 8 obligatory. However, look at Jesus' own example. Jesus certainly was observant of the Jewish Sabbath and obligatory feasts, which are many: Feasts of Atonement, of Weeks, of Unleavened Bread, of Tabernacles, of Passover. All these last for weeks. Jesus Himself commanded His disciples to repeat the Mass in remembrance of Him, and right away the early Church gathered for the breaking of the bread regularly, even daily. See Acts 2:46. No, I'm afraid this is not invented by the Church later. It is clearly how the apostles understood Jesus. If anything, we today have relaxed this quite a bit.
Mar 03, 2017
We all have accumulated a lot of religious objects, such as prayer cards, rosaries, and pictures of Saints. But some are either worn out or broken. What is the most appropriate way of disposing them ? I have heard that it is a sin to toss them into the garbage ?
Fr. Francis: This must be one of the most asked questions for those who have been collecting lots of statues, prayer cards, rosaries and the like. Objects like these that are blessed or consecrated are ...
Fr. Francis: This must be one of the most asked questions for those who have been collecting lots of statues, prayer cards, rosaries and the like. Objects like these that are blessed or consecrated are holy to the Lord and therefore cannot be discarded like other materials. The Church, since the middle age, has given specific instructions for how to dispose of them.

In a nutshell:

  1. Objects that can be burned, may be burned, and the ashes to be buried or return to the earth

  2. Otherwise, they should be buried in the ground

  3. Objects with precious metals like chalice or ciborium or empty reliquary may be melted down and the metal reused or buried, or simply buried in whole.


Feb 24, 2017
如果辦了告解後,又重犯同樣的罪,是否需要再辦告解才能重領聖體?若每星期都重犯同樣的罪,是不是每個星期都需要辦告解後才能在彌撒中領聖體?
Fr. Francis: 天主教有關犯罪後不能領聖體,主要是針對“大罪“或”死罪“(mortal sins)。教導是如果一個人犯了大罪,他便已拒絕了天主的恩寵和與天主的共融,因而不能領聖體,因為聖體聖事是表達我們與天主的共融。要再領聖體,必須先藉着修和聖事(辦告解),與天主修補關係後才可以。
Fr. Francis: 天主教有關犯罪後不能領聖體,主要是針對“大罪“或”死罪“(mortal sins)。教導是:如果一個人犯了大罪,他便已拒絕了天主的恩寵,和與天主的共融,因而不能領聖體,因為聖體聖事是表達我們與天主的共融。要再領聖體,必須先藉着修和聖事(辦告解),與天主修補關係後才可以。

所以,如果重犯的是小罪,那麼便不必先辦告解;但如果犯了大罪,在參與主日或平日彌撒時,除非先辦告解,否則不能領聖體。但當然,假若不能及時找到神父辦告解,那也該參與彌撒而不領聖體,直到有機會辦告解為止。

有些人覺得這條例很苛刻,但其實犯大罪不能領聖體是一個很好的治療,因為這提醒我們犯大罪的後果,促使我們要多依靠天主,和常常意識到自己的軟弱,並要謙虛地辦告解,承認罪過,學習多愛天主。 至少,當下一次意圖犯罪時,這也可使我們卻步。

最後,究竟何謂“大罪”?教理說明要有三個元素:


  1. 該錯誤行為是相當嚴重的,即是:


    • 直接違反十誡,如拜偶像,星期日沒參與彌撒,殺人,通姦,偷盜,作假口供;

    • 教理指明的,如墮胎,手淫,再婚, 避孕;

    • 損害生命的行為,如人工受孕(In Vitro Fertilization, IVF),直接或間接援助或支持墮胎,直接或間接支持安樂死;


  2. 明知故犯:犯罪時已知道這是大罪,或知道事情的嚴重性不輕,或不知道但又故意使自己不去知道,如明知有問題而不去問人,或故意只問一些會附和自己的人;

  3. 有自由去選擇:如果一個人是被逼或受壓,或是有憂鬱病,或有癮癖等等,都會令自由度減少。



一個行為要算作大罪,以上三點都要存在,若少了一個,便算是小罪了。

若犯了大罪,該盡快辦告解,因為大罪會徹底剪斷天主在我們內恩寵的生命,會使我們喪失聖寵的助佑。即使犯了小罪,也當定期去辦告解,因為小罪,特別是明知故犯的,很容易會積少成多,使我們越來越容易犯大罪。
Feb 24, 2017
為何修女不可主持彌撒?耶穌所選立的十二位宗徒全是男性,即使後來補選的瑪弟亞也是男性;是否天主重男輕女呢?據我所知,修女並不列入神職的,對嗎?
Fr. Francis: 我相信天主創造每一個人都是很公平的,每人在天主的計劃中都有很重要的位置和任務,這包括神父,修女修仕,夫妻父母,和守獨身的兄弟姊妹。有很多人認為耶穌只揀男性為宗徒不公平,說教會重男輕女,不讓女性做神父,歪曲了耶穌的原意。但這個反而為我看來是我們歪曲了神父的地位,把他們在教會內放得太高,其實他們只是跟其他人一樣,只是被選負責不同的岡位而已。
Fr. Francis: 我相信天主創造每一個人都是很公平的,每人在天主的計劃中都有很重要的位置和任務,這包括神父,修女修士,夫妻父母,和守獨身的兄弟姊妹。

有很多人認為耶穌只選男性為宗徒並不公平,說教會重男輕女,不讓女性做神父,歪曲了耶穌的原意。但這個反而為我看來是我們歪曲了神父的地位,把他們在教會內的位置放得太高,其實神父們跟其他人一樣,只是被選負責不同的崗位而已。看看耶穌,祂破例與女性接觸,讓她們跟隨祂上路,這在耶穌年代是沒有人容許的,所以如果祂要容許女性做宗徒並承繼為主教神父,早已做了。

但耶穌卻又把最重要的使命交給了女士們。祂揀選了瑪利亞為自己母親,要她的“願意”作為救恩的開始,瑪利亞是祂第一個門徒,最重要的門徒,唯一一個由始至終都信任祂和瞭解祂的門徒。所以在十字架下祂把教會的子女交給她作她的子女,要她作他們的母親,我們的母親,去教育我們,保護我們。如果神父偉大,那聖母更偉大,而為此所有的母親亦是偉大。

又如瑪利亞瑪達肋納,她雖是一個罪婦,耶穌特別喜愛她,並選擇她為第一個看見祂復活顯現的人,並派遣她告訴祂的宗徒。她跟一眾女士們後來都守貞潔,而現今的修女就是跟隨她們的先例,相信她們是在靈性上耶穌的新娘。這個跟神父要在世負責教育,並準備眾人去天堂參加耶穌與祂所有的門徒的婚姻盛宴,又是不同的層次了。

而母親們呢?女人是何等的光榮!只有女人才能那麼完美的參加天主的創造工作,因為是在女人的身體天主創造人類,把一個永恆的靈魂帶進世界,只有女人才能體驗十月懷胎,生育之苦,而因此更容易明瞭天主在天堂準備的共融合一是甚麼一回事。

所以,讓我們不再以為神父為男人專利,反過來讓我們看清彼此的獨特和美麗。就如 聖德蘭修女 St. Teresa of Calcutta 說過:“我做的,你們不能;你們做的,我不能;但是我們一起卻為天主做些美麗的事。”
Feb 17, 2017
After the priest blessed the Eucharist, some people would stand up, while others would prefer to continue to kneel. Which way is correct?
Fr. Francis: Officially, the Church's latest guidelines allow for a two-fold approach: the general rule and room for local adaptation. The general rule is ...
Fr. Francis: Officially, the Church's latest guidelines allow for a two-fold approach: the general rule and room for local adaptation.

The general rule is from after the "Holy Holy" to the Great Amen, the congregation is to kneel. However, the local bishop may, in view of local tradition or pastoral concerns, modify it, with the stipulation that the congregation is to kneel at least from after "Holy Holy" to the Memorial Acclamation.

The guidelines also require local congregation to maintain unity in gestures. So any disparity of customs should be avoided through pastoral application of formation and exhortation, especially from the bishop and the pastors. So, if at a parish, some people are kneeling till the Great Amen and some are standing by the time of the Memorial Acclamation, it is the responsibility of the pastor to educate and encourage the people to adopt the same norm as laid down by the local bishop.

This is what we saw in many dioceses when the new English Roman Missal came out a few years ago, with bishops of different dioceses publishing norms to be taught at every parish. I knew, for example, it happened in Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, and London Ontario. So, for example, in Toronto and Hamilton, people kneel from after "Holy Holy" to the Great Amen, but in Ottawa, only until the Memorial Acclamation.

So how do you know what to do if you are new to a city? Just stay kneeling and observe what everybody else do. If they get up at Memorial Acclamation, you get up. If they get up before that, you stay put until Memorial Acclamation.

And what do you do if nobody kneels? Now, that would depend on the situation. Sometimes it could be because it is an outdoor Mass with no soft and safe surface to kneel on, then standing is fine. But if kneeling is possible and it would not create a disturbance, kneeling is preferred.

And what if a person is physically not able to kneel, for example, due to injury or age, then the general norm is to sit when others kneel. And don't feel sorry about it.
Feb 17, 2017
天主在舊約聖經中是威嚴的、憤怒的,會用洪水滅世,㑹把埃及人的首生殺掉,為什麽和新約中的慈愛大相逕庭?難道因為以色列民是天主的選民而有所優待,其他民族不也是天主創造的嗎?天主的慈愛是否在舊約中也有顯示呢?
Fr. Francis: 一,我們要留意聖經,特別是舊約,並不是天主直接寫的,而是藉着人而寫的,直至耶穌的來臨; 我們所知的,就是透過默感,都只是片面的,欠缺完滿的。所以,雖然聖經是沒有錯誤的,卻只能說是有關信仰和道德,但亦夾雜着不少人的角度和誤解。

二,所以舊約不能單獨演譯,必須以新約去滿全;
Fr. Francis: 一,我們要留意聖經,特別是舊約,並不是天主直接寫的,而是藉着人而寫的,直至耶穌的來臨; 我們所知的,就是透過默感,都只是片面的,欠缺完滿的。所以,雖然聖經是沒有錯誤的,卻只能說是有關信仰和道德,但亦夾雜着不少人的角度和誤解。

二,所以舊約不能單獨演譯,必須以新約去滿全;而新約又需要舊約的歷史和許諾,去完全瞭解天主對人的愛有多長闊高深。

三,舊約是天主用來準備人類領受祂的愛的時段,因為人的原罪帶來的巨大破壞,人需要時間來慢慢被感化。天主在不同的世代需要用不同的語言:所以首先要特選一個民族去隔離他們,教導他們;又要由互相仇殺敵視的文化中,慢慢引他們以法治和正義對待外族。單是閱讀《申命紀》,天主就多次要他們善待外族及仇敵,這類法律在當時那麼殘忍的世代,是絕無僅有的,甚至令人震驚的。

四,因此,天主在舊約命令猶太人殺人,有很多是因為人的原故,而非天主的原意:人與人的仇恨需要滅族來自保,就是當年有人嘗試以非暴力的方法來協議,也沒有人會遵從。

五,至於舊約的天主有否顯示慈悲,我相信發問者都知道天主對猶太人是非常容忍和慷慨,並富於慈愛,緩於發怒。不過我相信發問者是想知道天主有否對外邦人也表示慈愛,答案是有的:

- 如上述,猶太人法律對有關與他們共住的外邦人的要求是非常嚴緊的,甚至要他們在許多事上當他們為自己人一般。
- 在《約納》一書,天主派遣約納去尼尼微城去宣講皈依,但尼尼微乃亞述的首都,而亞述就是使以色列亡國,把北方的猶太人四散的死敵。天主卻使他們有機會悔改。
- 在《亞北底亞》一書,雖然沒有清楚召叫他們悔改,天主也派遣先知到厄東宣佈訊息,而厄東也是猶太人的死敵。
Feb 10, 2017
If a person passed away suddenly leaving his/her family on earth, would the departed miss the family if he/she is in heaven? If the departed knows his/her family member(s) will head towards spiritual death, would he/she be sad and concerned in heaven? If yes, is there any sadness in heaven?
Fr. Francis: For souls who are in heaven now, there are a number of things that are going on:

1. They see God face to face, what we call the beatific vision. This seeing of the Perfect itself transforms and glorifies the soul so completely that it enjoys total fulfillment and is made into be like God. They will come to know and love the Infinite.
Fr. Francis: For souls who are in heaven now, there are a number of things that are going on:

  1. They see God face to face, what we call the beatific vision. This seeing of the Perfect itself transforms and glorifies the soul so completely that it enjoys total fulfillment and is made into be like God. They will come to know and love the Infinite.

  2. Because the soul is finite, this knowing and loving of the Infinite will take eternity.

  3. They will come to know all people as God knows them. They will know the perfect reason for what happens to each soul: how God ceaselessly pour out His will and mercy, and the free response the person makes.


Souls in heaven, the saints, therefore, are more intimately aware of our journey than ourselves, and at each decision point, they are rallying for us to make the right choice. They are not only longing to see us in heaven, but they are very much more yearning to see us cooperate with God's grace, to choose life and salvation.

However, this longing and yearning is not the same as anxiety, for they do not worry as we do. They know and see perfectly clearly how everything is in God's plan.

In fact, they see clearly that each time we choose right, how God is magnified and how many others also will experience good from the right action. And every time we choose wrong, how it is just that we should have our way and suffer from the consequences since it is God's gift of free will, without which we cease to be able to love and to be human. And even though some of these mistakes will lead to harm, they also see how God already has planned greater good to emerge from it..

And even when a soul chooses to reject every opportunity of God's mercy, and so condemns himself to hell, they too will see clearly that it is justice, for it would be cruelty to force one's will.

I suppose there would be sadness to know souls are going to hell, especially those they once knew. We know this because Mary at her apparitions in Fatima expressed such sadness. But this is a sadness for the loss of others, not the sadness of unfulfillment or want, both in oneself or God's Kingdom, for the joy of seeing God and the multitude of saints and angels, and the fulfillment of living God's perfect justice and mercy far outweighs it.
Feb 10, 2017
教友在彌撒中的天主經部分其實應該雙手合十還是張開雙手(或與兩旁的教友手拉手呢?)
Fr. Francis: "在彌撒手冊的指引中,這一點並沒有清楚的規限,這也是可瞭解的,因為原先也沒有人這樣做,而除非是真的很有問題,教會是不會貿然加以限制的。

以我所認知,有以下考慮:
Fr. Francis: 在彌撒手冊的指引中,這一點並沒有清楚的規限,這也是可理解的,因為原先也沒有人這樣做,而除非是真的很有問題,教會是不會貿然加以限制的。

以我所認知,有以下考慮:

一,在近年的教會指引,在感恩經完成的“大亞孟”之後,是該將注意放在我們與天主父的“垂直”關係,多過教友與教友之間的“橫向”關係。所以,無論一個團體決定拉手與否,也不可以破壞這個與天主父連繫的重要時刻。

二,指引雖然沒有說明不可,但卻要求我們着重一致的禮儀動作。所以如果不是絕大部份的教友都手拉手,那不拉手還是好些,免得一個原本是用來表達團結的標記,卻變成了不團結的機會。

三,手拉手是一個明顯表示共融的標記,所以要滿全《一》,除非整個團體都獲得適當的培育,而每人都願意手拉手,否則就不能逃避一唸天主經就變成遊樂場一般的情景:那就不單只破壞了與天主父的時刻,也破壞了剛剛獻上感恩祭那最神聖莊重的氣氛了。
Feb 03, 2017
甚麼是「天天背起自己的十字架」?隱約感受到是有勉力面對生活中的艱苦、力行愛德的意思,但想請神父解說一下。
Fr. Francis: 耶穌邀請所有人:如果想做他的門徒,就必須棄絕自己,天天背起自己的十字架,去跟隨他(Mark 8:34)。有很多人以為耶穌是要我們受苦,基督徒生活就自然是受苦受難,福樂只有在來世,今世只有忍耐,受,和被動的承受。
Fr. Francis: 耶穌邀請所有人:如果想做祂的門徒,就必須棄絕自己,天天背起自己的十字架,去跟隨祂(Mark 8:34)。有很多人以為耶穌是要我們受苦,基督徒生活就自然是受苦受難,福樂只有在來世,今世只有忍耐,和被動的承受。

這個未免消極一點,其實,信教與不信教,十字架都會來找我們的。人生活在世就不可能逃避痛苦,就是最健康,最有錢的人,也不能逃避。而人之最大痛苦來源,莫過於我們自己。是的,不是天災,不是來自別人,不是橫禍,是我們自己的不願意去愛,去寬恕,去被愛,去真真的活。而這種不願意,全是因為我們的自私,因為我們以為這樣可得到滿足,我們卻是在所有錯的地方去找愛,換來的卻是空虛,和帶給自己和別人的災難。

耶穌瞭解我們的痛苦,要我們放下自己--放下自我中心,自私自利,自我保護等等的錯誤。而背着十字架就是要我們正視痛苦和困難;而跟隨耶穌就是要學習祂不會因困難痛苦而放棄行善,因為福音告訴我們只有耶穌的愛和寬恕才能化解世上一切的苦難。

所以,「背着十字架」,就是在參與耶穌救世的工作,是在見證在困難中我們仍能愛和關懷,人還有無比的價值,是在將痛苦自願地奉獻給天主,在承受中將之轉化成為一個可以光榮天主的犧牲,因為耶穌在十字架上也是這樣做,並在最後晚餐命令我們也要照做,為的是這犧牲是最有力的工具去使人悔改皈依,救贖靈魂。

所以背起十字架並不是單純的苦難--這苦難是人人有的,卻反而是甘甜的,因為我們是跟着耶穌去見證愛,就算人家不接受,我們也已撒了種子,而一天他人接受,賞報便是永恆的福樂!
Feb 03, 2017
常聽說「交托」,到底是甚麼樣的意思?人力做到甚麼樣的地步,才該把事情「交托」給上主?又,如果這事情(例如說從事某行業)並不是上主為我安排的道路(假設我不知道),交托後會出現甚麼情況?
Fr. Francis: 所謂交托,為我來說,有兩種:

1) 如你所說,首先自己盡力做到最好,然後把還未完成或不能做到的交托給天主,相信他會依他的聖意成就。
Fr. Francis: 所謂交托,為我來說,有兩種:

1) 如你所說,首先自己盡力做到最好,然後把還未完成或不能做到的交托給天主,相信祂會依祂的聖意成就。

2) 是一種普遍交托的態度,每一天每一事都先依恃天主旨意得到成就為依歸,那樣做每件事就再不是我先做,天主成就,而是天主要做,我合作。我做得多少,能力可有多少,都是天主的意思了。至於能否成就,那是全在天主手中。甚至如果天主要我失敗,因為當中安排了更大的恩賜,那也沒所謂,因為這也是光榮天主。

至於你的問題,有關如果從事某行業卻不是天主的旨意,交托後會有甚麼後果,那就真是很難說了,因為我不是天主嘛!不過,如果我們選擇了一些非天主旨意的方向,然後又把自己交托給天主去帶領,他是一定會透過不同的方法去告訴我們他的心意的,並且不單只一次,而是不斷又再次的提醒我們的。問題反而是:我們是否願意聆聽,而聆聽後是否同意並作出行動。
Feb 03, 2017
我們日常祈禱,第一句 (就像寫信的上款) 應該是指向哪個位格?是天父、還是耶穌?還是天主整體?一些禱文集中三種也會見到。
Fr. Francis: 祈禱的宗旨是與天主交往,而天主又是深愛我們的父親,所以我們喜歡要跟天主,或聖父聖子聖神任何一位談話,就跟誰談話好了。
Fr. Francis: 祈禱的宗旨是與天主交往,而天主又是深愛我們的父親,所以我們喜歡要跟天主,或聖父聖子聖神任何一位談話,就跟誰談話好了。我經常會在同一個祈禱中,分別呼求天主,耶穌和聖神,都是很自然的事。
Feb 03, 2017
請問如果我要在主日參加婚姻感恩祭,我還需要再去參加主日彌撒嗎?
Fr. Francis: 嚴格來說,如果主日是容許婚配聖事彌撒的,那參與者可算是滿全了參與主日聖祭的責任。但要留意:
Fr. Francis: 嚴格來說,如果主日是容許婚配聖事彌撒的,那參與者可算是滿全了參與主日聖祭的責任。但要留意:

一,普遍來說,除非個別地區向羅馬申請,星期日是不許做婚配彌撒的。(例如:香港,印度等地區是容許星期日婚配彌撒的,但南北美卻不可。)

二,個別地區主教也可修定,婚姻彌撒,即使在主日,也不算是滿全主日彌撒。所以,最好都是問問你所屬囜的教區。
Jan 27, 2017
Pope Francis: “Hope in idols are illusions.” What about religious objects and statues that adorned the Catholic churches and in lay people’s homes?
Fr. Francis: Religious objects and statues are not meant to be idols. They are rather "windows" that allow us to see the goodness and power of God. That is why the Easterns call their religious paintings "icons", which is Greek for windows.
Fr. Francis: Religious objects and statues are not meant to be idols. They are rather "windows" that allow us to see the goodness and power of God. That is why the Easterns call their religious paintings "icons", which is Greek for windows.

When we honour the saints and the mysteries of God through Rosaries, paintings, stain glasses, or statues, we are not putting our hope in these objects, or expecting power to come from these objects themselves. But through these objects, especially those blessed by the Church, we can meditate on the works and power of God acted through the mysteries represented, or the saints they represent, or mediated through these objects, especially the relics, which have been made channels of God's grace. It is not the objects we venerate, but the God who communicates through them. Our hope, therefore, is on God solely. Objects are mere channels to facilitate that.

As to why God would use physical objects to communicate Himself? Why not just continue to speak to us through invisible graces? That is because God loves His visible creation and He has made us physical beings. He knows we like visible and tangible objects; we need sensible objects to make sense of the invisible. That is why He incarnated Himself and came to us in Jesus, and He does not disdain the visible reality. He of course can and does continue speaking to us in His invisible mysteries, but He equally does make use of all channels, the visible channels like religious objects, to communicate to us.

Of course, in our ignorance, we can abuse that. We can turn it into superstition, believing in this particular Rosary or that particular statue has power to answer prayers. But that is not our Catholic faith.
Jan 27, 2017
我總是沒辦法讓自己多祈禱。每次祈禱很容易分心,很多時沒完成就忘記了。除非有事所求,否則沒有恆心。怎麼辦?
Fr. Francis: 試試考慮以下幾點:

一,祈禱首先不是要得到甚麼,甚至不是要得到平安或力量;首先是為想花時間陪伴耶穌。
Fr. Francis: 試試考慮以下幾點:

一,祈禱首先不是要得到甚麼,甚至不是要得到平安或力量;首先是為想花時間陪伴耶穌。所以就算祈禱分心,因為我是決定了給天主這個時間,那也沒相干,就如子女願意探訪父母,就是來到了累着躺在沙發上,或只是陪着他們看電視,父母就已經很高興。所以首先是要願意花時間陪耶穌。

二,要選擇好環境,最好在聖堂,如在家裏最好有十字架和聖像等,可助我們默想及集中注意力。地方要寧靜,要關掉電話。這時間是完全屬於天主的,所有其他的人都要等。

三,要定好時間,最好每天同一個時間,但至少要預先決定祈禱時段的長短,如半小時,然後嚴守時間,坐下直至完成。如果怕分神去看時間,用手機設定鬧鐘。一坐下就跟天主說,這半小時我送給你,來陪伴你,跟你對話。

四,學習多元化的祈禱方式。以下是我有時會用的次序:
- 到聖體櫃前俯伏在地,多謝耶穌賜予新一天,求力量去進入祈禱。
- 坐下後設定鬧鐘。
- 呼求聖神充滿,讚美天主的好。
- 閱讀聖經或靈修書。一邊慢慢讀,一邊留意天主可能給予的訊息,停下來默想。
- 如果忽然想起些今天要做的事,馬上寫下來,祈禱後才處理。
- 默想時特別祈求天主啟示今天為我準備的計劃。
- 回顧今天的時間表,在每個時段和節目祈求天主的祝福和力量,如果知道會面對困難或誘惑,祈求恩寵並祝福要面對的人。
- 代禱:為一切有需要的人或事,祈求天主回應。
- 最後,感謝天主:給予祈禱的力量,時間,生命,今天服務他和別人的機會,他的一切恩寵和愛,等等。

最後,不要灰心,祈禱是與魔鬼的鬥爭,是當然會困難重重的。只要日復一日,失敗了再嘗試,不斷信靠天主,不去量度祈禱是否有效,天主一定會在你內成就的!
Jan 20, 2017
曾經有人用人生旅途來否定人生煉獄的說法。否定的人看似害怕活在煉獄當中,但事實上本已活在天堂與地獄之間的煉獄,只是其不知道。 若人生沒有克己為人還能否稱得上煉獄嗎?
Fr. Francis: 首先我要澄清,人生本身並不是鍊獄,鍊獄是死後天主鍊淨我們的一個過程。而人生可說成鍊獄,是因為我們願意不怕艱辛地在現世克己愛人,勇敢犧牲,施法基督,好樣在來世可能需要的鍊淨,現在就讓天主進行,終能直達天堂。
Fr. Francis: 或者大部份的讀者可能不明白這問題,我提議大家先去參閱我寫有關煉獄的回答

首先我要澄清,人生本身並不是煉獄,煉獄是死後天主煉淨我們的一個過程。而人生可說成煉獄,是因為我們願意不怕艱辛地在現世克己愛人,勇敢犧牲,效法基督,好樣在來世可能需要的煉淨,現在就讓天主進行,終能直達天堂。

人生之所以可成為煉獄,是因為個人的刻意選擇,並不是理所當然的。所以問題中提出的第一個問題是不成立的,而其他的也自然而然了。

至於為甚麼要現在煉淨的那麼辛苦?我卻有以下的幾個有力原因:

一,耶穌多次在福音要求我們結果實,意即不單是自己能上天堂,而是也要我們帶其他人。如果我們只是勉勉強強的在臨死時皈依進入煉獄,我們一生的壞見證不但幫不了其他人皈依,反而可能影響不少人犯罪。相反,如果我們克己行善,以愛心軟化別人,就能帶着豐盛的果實,很多很多救贖的靈魂一同去天國。

二,我們其實知道自己多軟弱,知道我們決定做一件事,是有可能做不到的,所以我們往往有後備計劃。如射箭,必定是對準紅心,好使偏差了也有機會射中箭靶。但如果瞄着箭靶邊呢?偏差了可能就射失了。同樣,如果我們瞄準着天堂在現世努力,活出現世的煉獄,就是有所失誤,大不了也有煉獄去;但如果我們瞄準着煉獄而失誤了呢?那便不堪設想了。

三,我們實在不知道我們今世還有多少時間。我們時常以為我們還有很多時間,可以遲些才行善,現在先享樂。但我們忘記了兩件事:一是生命無常,二是犯罪有使我們思想錯誤的破壞能力。現在我們可能認為犯少少罪可以隨時回頭,但原來開始了犯罪我們就會從知道是犯罪變成為自己開脫,然後撒謊,自圓其說,漸漸地甚至認為自己是對,而討厭真理,討厭天主,難以回頭。

四,有許多神視,是在煉獄的靈魂給聖者,要他們告訴我們的,差不多所有都一致見證:死後的煉獄遠比在世的善行克己辛苦,現在的一點犧牲,遠比煉獄很長很長的煉淨有效。他們全都勸我們:現在要完成我們的煉獄。

五,也許是最重要的:我們都太過着重於現世要做克己有多辛苦,但我們該着眼於把握時刻去愛有多美麗,多滿足,多有意義,多能釋放人,多自由, 多喜樂!當然是辛苦,但卻非常值得,因為是今世所有享樂加起來,都不能與愛人的完滿可以相比的!
Jan 20, 2017
我想问为什么我们天主教有那么多庆典呢?像是各圣堂主保日,圣母像的游行和洒花是有什么形式意义?
Fr. Francis: 在幾星期前,我曾經描述聖人是我們在天堂的家人一般,那教會每年有那麼多聖人的慶祝,就正正有如一個大家庭都會每年有很多的生日及週年等等的慶祝一樣了。試想想,
Fr. Francis: 在幾星期前,我曾經描述聖人是我們在天堂的家人一般,那教會每年有那麼多聖人的慶祝,就正正有如一個大家庭都會每年有很多的生日及週年等等的慶祝一樣了。試想想,就說一個家庭有十兄弟姊妹夠大了,加上父母那便是十二個生日,再加上每人每年至少一兩件值得慶祝的事,未計其他親戚,就已經夠每星期都有慶祝。而我們的教會大家庭卻是每天都有很多的聖人慶典呢。

那我們又不認識他們,為甚麼要大事慶祝?那是由於我們慶祝甚麼,我們自然就傾向甚麼。如我們時代有很多的新事物和習慣,我們為跟着潮流去追尋,就不知不覺跟了某種新的價值觀:如美容,時裝,追韓劇,等等。如果這種“慶祝”蓋過了我們跟隨天主的熱誠,那沉迷就使我們越來越自私,不愛,甚至傷害別人。

相反,慶祝聖人的善表,卻會使我們傾向基督的愛,慈悲,關懷,平安等等。如果我們不認識他們,該更適逢聖人的慶日多去認識並仿效他們。

至於主保日,乃是紀念聖人逝世的日子,即是他們光榮進入天堂的日子,是他們在天堂的生日,亦是慶祝他們戰勝罪和死亡之日。

而遊行是有很悠久的歷史,是讓我們能公開地向世界表明該聖人的偉大,和我們願意表揚及模仿他們的決心。

至於其他,每地區及民族都有各式其式的慶祝方法,那就不能盡談了。
Jan 20, 2017
Can Catholics practice longevitology?
Fr. Francis: I believe "longevitology" refers to “長生學”, which, at least in Toronto, is becoming very popular among the Chinese lately.
Fr. Francis: I believe "longevitology" refers to “長生學”, which, at least in Toronto, is becoming very popular among the Chinese lately.


Since I have had only one limited exposure to it and have not studied it in details, I am not going to make a direct assessment of it. I also suspect the Catholic Church at large is not aware of it and so certainly it has made no official pronouncement regarding it either.

However, I will allow myself to make the following observations:

1. My one limited experience of it told me that longevitology has to do with how to bring healing to ourselves and one another using the energy we already possess. This energy varies from person to person, but may increase with physical touch and good, loving thoughts/intentions. So, if someone is not well, one is encouraged to put hands on the person, especially on certain parts of the body, and think of good and loving thoughts; and the more people the better. This may go on for 30, 45 mins or an hour. Apparently, people would experience heat coming from people's hands and experience healing.

2. This is very similar to our Catholic charismatic experience in the Church. Often, when someone is sick, we would "pray over" the person by either putting hands directly on the person or over the person, which we call "laying on of hands" (a biblical term). And praying to God the Holy Spirit, very often healing is imparted along with other spiritual gifts. And yes, many people also claimed to have experienced heat coming through their bodies.

3. While I don't understand "longevitology" and won't pretend to be qualified to pass judgement of it, I do understand the Catholic practice of laying on of hands very well, since I use it frequently and can testify to many healing. The difference for me is that for the latter, I know I'm not using my power, but the power of God. When I pray over someone, I don't pray merely for healing, but for God to do whatever He wants, which often brings unexpected, better results than I could ever imagine. I have seen bodies healed, worries scattered, troubled souls strengthened, confusions clarified, and conversions taken place. God is amazing!

So for me, the question is not if longevitology is okay for Catholic to practice. We already got something far better. Nay, we got someone far better. Rather than for Catholics to discover something we still don't quite understand, why not start exploring the charismatic dimension of our faith, which as Popes St. John Paul II, Benedict VI as well as Francis all affirmed is an integral part of the Catholic belief?
Jan 13, 2017
其實用一般人的語言來講,「永生」、「得救」即是怎樣呢?
Fr. Francis: 每一個人,無論在任何年代,任何文化背景,都是面對着同一個人不能解決的難題:就是人內心的渴求的無限,而同時又經歷着人的有限。我想做的好,我沒能力做;我知道的不好,我又沒能力不做。這個就是原罪的後果。所有經歷過人生,越是想做個好人的,越能體驗到這事實。
Fr. Francis: 每一個人,無論在任何年代,任何文化背景,都是面對着同一個人不能解決的難題:就是人內心的渴求的無限,而同時又經歷着人的有限。我想做的好,我沒能力做;我知道的不好,我又沒能力不做。這個就是原罪的後果。所有經歷過人生,越是想做個好人的,越能體驗到這事實。

所謂永生,就是那我們內心的無限所指往的,我們所渴求的完美滿足,那知道我們的生命應該是不死不滅,奔向永恆的真實。

而救贖,就是天主的赦免及寬恕,洗淨我們的罪過,而重新能夠領受和施予愛的恩賜。

原來每個人的受造是為了被愛和愛,不是世俗自私的愛,而是無私犧牲的愛。人要能被愛和施愛,才能獲得真正的幸福,而沒有天主在我們還在罪惡中時,不認識祂時,首先白白的在十字架上愛了我們,寬恕了我們,我們是不可能被釋放的;但如果我們相信這個白白的禮物,而願意去接受的,祂不但寬恕我們,並賦予我們作為天主子女的權柄,和祂建立深厚的愛情。而正正在我們與天主能愛與被愛,而繼而能與我們的鄰人施予並接納時,我們就能嘗到永生的滋味,就是那來自無私的愛帶來給我們的喜樂的滋味。
Jan 13, 2017
A priest said having a lot of faith means doing a lot of volunteer work and give money to the church. I always thought faith is about living up the Word and allow the Word to lead our conscience, conduct, and to shape us as a person. But this priest said having faith got nothing to do with it.
Fr. Francis: Let us appeal to what the bible has to say about faith.

The first passage I recommend is Hebrews 11.
Fr. Francis: Let us appeal to what the bible has to say about faith.

The first passage I recommend is Hebrews 11. I suggest reading the entire chapter, but vv. 1-3 are particularly important:

【11:1】 Now faith is is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
【11:2】 For by it the men of old received divine approval.
【11:3】 By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.

The chapter goes on to describe the faith of the Patriarchs like Noah and Abraham. In a nutshell, faith is a gift of trust in God's existence, His power and His unfailing love. Faith is both a gift from God for us to believe God whom we cannot see and our response in trust to follow Him.

In John 14, Jesus repeatedly appeal to us to believe in Him, describing faith as an intimate trusted relationship with Him:

【14:1】 "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.
【14:2】 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
【14:3】 And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

So we can see faith primarily is a call to trust God and Jesus, to enter into a deep trusted relationship with Him.

Faith, elsewhere, is also understood as a power to act supernaturally. As many times when Jesus was performing a miracle, He asked the person if he believes He can heal him, or pronounced that "Your faith has saved you." This is also evident in His well known expression in Matthew 17:20:

if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you."
Jan 06, 2017
救世工程持續這麼久,也許是因為我們無跟從守護天使的指引,又或是被假的守護天使誤導。 請問如何於生活上辨認出真正的守護天使?
Fr. Francis: 首先,我們不該說成是守護天使的問題,也並沒有壞的守護天使,也不能說是魔鬼的錯,因為就算人受着誘惑而跌倒,我們每次犯罪都是因為我們自願選擇的。
Fr. Francis: 首先,我們不該說成是守護天使的問題,也並沒有壞的守護天使,也不能說是魔鬼的錯,因為就算人受着誘惑而跌倒,我們每次犯罪都是因為我們自願選擇的。如果說是有份阻礙天主的救贖工程,那只能說是我們自己。

但這也不是完全正確,因為無論我們合作不合作,天主的救贖是繼續成就的,因為耶穌早在十字架上戰勝了魔鬼和罪惡,分別就只是我們自願選擇參與祂的勝利,或是自願放棄份兒而在我們不知覺中仍然做就了他救贖其他人的工具而已。

所以重點是我們要學習刻意地跟隨基督,要每天去尋找祂,聆聽祂,跟隨祂的教訓,跌倒後馬上呼求祂,領受祂的寬恕。祂曾許諾,凡尋求祂的人,祂都必拯救,絕對不會讓他喪亡。
Jan 06, 2017
第八誡毋妄證要求我們直言,但往往忠言逆耳,又或者言者無心聽者有意,這種程況可能會影響雙方關係,如何能改善或避免有這類情況出現?
Fr. Francis: 第八戒的核心是要我們尊重並愛真理,相信耶穌的話:真理會釋放我們,因為真理就是基督,真理就是天主。

至於有時候說真理會得罪人,或使人難受,我們首先要考慮不說真話可能會更加傷害人
Fr. Francis: 第八戒的核心是要我們尊重並愛真理,相信耶穌的話:真理會釋放我們,因為真理就是基督,真理就是天主。

至於有時候說真理會得罪人,或使人難受,我們首先要考慮不說真話可能會更加傷害人:

  • 對親人,怕他們担心:但想想,如果你最愛的女兒有病而瞞着你,而你要在外人那處聽到才知道,或要到臨死前才知道,你會覺得怎樣?是否也可能覺得早一點知道會更好,使你可以更加珍惜時間陪女兒,並和她分担痛苦?事實上,每一次我們對親人或關心我們的人隱瞞,我們是在侮辱對方愛的能力,拒絕對方藉着分担痛苦而愛我們的機會;甚而至給他們有機會治療我們及替我們解決我們以為不能解決的問題。
  • 對方有錯誤,怕去指出:我們該找合宜的機會,用對方願意聆聽的方式,特別為我們認識的人,以真理去互相提升。如果我們身邊的人犯錯,我們不作聲,便是變相地默許,使他錯得更深,不單我們害了那人,也害了自己,因為耶穌會將那人的罪跟我們算帳,因為我們沒有提醒他。
  • 我們越說謊言,我們就越法變成了一個謊言。說謊有使人變得虛偽,虛假,失去原則,失去實在的感覺。加上,每層謊言又要另一層謊言去掩飾,又要記着跟誰說了那個謊言,實在太無謂的耗精力了。而事實上,不少人因為這樣而生出毛病呢。

當然,如果說真話本身會變成出賣別人,或不必要地傷害對方之餘又沒有幫助對方的益處,我們可以選擇不說話,或說無可奉告,希望對方能尊重並接受。

其實很多時,說真話,最重要的不是說甚麼,反而是說話的技巧,我們怎樣說。讓我們說話懂得以愛為主,特別是要以對方喜歡被愛的方法,去使對方更容易明白,真理雖然不容易接受,但是我們說這話是出於愛而不是出於敵意的。

在這點,我們要多求聖神指引,多去先瞭解對方。我們只能盡力,問心無愧,而若對方要誤解我們,只能繼續學習,交之於天主手了。
Dec 30, 2016
Is it true that Christians should not do yoga? Is it fine to do yoga if I don’t say their words or join their meditation? Is Yoga really an invitation to demonic possession because of its moves and postures?
Fr. Francis: This is a rather contentious issue. I will first say the official viewpoints and then put in my 2 cents.

Officially, Vatican ...
Fr. Francis: This is a rather contentious issue. I will first say the official viewpoints and then put in my 2 cents.

Officially, Vatican has not made any statement against the practice of yoga exercise. It is true, however, that a number of high profile exorcists have spoken against it since there are a number of cases in which the practice of yoga was the specific opening that led to demonic possessions. But the fact that Vatican has not categorically forbidden yoga means possibly not everything about yoga is not salvageable.

The origin of yoga, unlike Tai Chi or other exercises, was specifically spiritual. Each level of yoga has postures specifically designed to invoke the Hindi gods. As one moves through these postures, allegedly they will enable you to do the next level of postures, invoking a higher level of spirits. Ultimately, this will lead you to be able to call on "the One". This "the One" is described as all-powerful and all-seeing.

To the many people practicing yoga today, this may seem exaggerated and incredible. But ask any "guru", and they will laugh at you if you think yoga is mere exercise.

Exorcists who dealt with cases of yoga-related possession described this "the One" is not God, but the very source of the demonic possession.

My assessment is as follows:

It is unreasonable to me that the mere postures themselves can lead to evil. Our body and hence its movements and postures were created by God and so must inherently capable of holiness. If mere postures can be evil, then we risk calling on evil every time we accidentally make those same postures! Christianity in its long history has always sought to sanctify any created goods and even artificial goods of pagan origins that can be converted to the use of good. The spiritual risks of yoga therefore must come from intentionality and the associated spiritual elements.

I suppose that yoga should be fine so long as one is using it merely as a form of exercise.

A warning, however, is that sometimes a good tool can turn into a belief. We become curious and begin to seek more from yoga: including trying out the spiritual elements and consulting gurus. That could be a slippery slope. Unfortunately, I have seen such sad cases, where the power they thought they gained through yoga not only led them to move away from Christian practice, but even caused great pain and harm to others.

And what do you do when the instructors tell you to call on the spirits? Call out to Yahweh! Jesus!
Dec 30, 2016
受洗者不是在聖洗聖事中已經領受聖神嗎?為甚麼在宗徒大事錄第 8 章14 至 17 節中,那些因主耶穌的名受過洗的撒瑪黎雅人沒有領受聖神?
Fr. Francis: 很明顯這篇聖經是獨一無二的,亦是記載着第一次非宗徒的施洗。這篇聖經的意義有:
Fr. Francis: 很明顯這篇聖經是獨一無二的,亦是記載着第一次非宗徒的施洗。這篇聖經的意義有:

一,聖洗與堅振是不能分開而論的,而只有宗徒和他們的承繼人,即現今的主教們,或他們特定許可的神父,才能施予聖神的。所以,就是今天在天主教,雖然堅振聖事跟嬰兒領洗分開領受,堅振聖事並沒有獨立的意義,而要跟領洗和初領聖體視為同一個入門聖事。而今天,很多主教亦每年重新賦予主任司鐸施予成人堅振的權柄,但小孩堅振,除非他個別受權,仍是主教才可施予。

二,領洗聖事,若沒有堅振,是未完滿的。當然,在宗徒大事錄這事件後,相信教會也意識到要兩者同時進行。後來西方教會因為主教不能親臨所有領洗聖事而將堅振延遲,才修定單只領洗就有賦予聖神的效力,但還需堅振去完成。
Dec 23, 2016
Can a non catholic baptize a dying person if the dying person expresses a wish to become catholic?
Fr. Francis: According to Church law (Canon Law), in danger of death, anyone, including a non-Catholic person, can administer the sacrament of baptism,providing the following conditions are met:
Fr. Francis: According to Church law (Canon Law), in danger of death, anyone, including a non-Catholic person, can administer the sacrament of baptism,providing the following conditions are met:

  1. the person is in imminent danger of death,
  2. the person expressed the desire to be baptized, or his/her next of kin can testify that he/she has previously expressed such desire, or the dying person is an infant and its parents expressed such desire
  3. the person administering the baptism uses the prescribed Trinitarian formula: "【N.】, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit"
  4. while water is used three times to either poured over, or sprinkle on the person, or the person is immersed in water three times
  5. the person administering the baptism must intend to do what the Church wills at baptism, even though he/she may not understand the faith.

I spoke with a number of retired nurses in Toronto. Apparently, in Canada, and I believe in many Western countries, in the past, all nurses, regardless of religious affiliation, used to be trained how to baptize babies in case of emergency. However, this is no longer practised.
Dec 23, 2016
神父,家中叔叔去世,出殯當天做了很多儀式,如上香、燒衣紙等,其實儀式進行時,我一直在心裡祈禱,求上主寬恕,請問我需要辦告解嗎?
Fr. Francis: 這個問題很多人問,當中卻是乎很多因素。其實天主教並不反對上香,只要我們不是用作迷信的用途。事實上,我們對聖人點蠟蠋也是相似,
Fr. Francis: 這個問題很多人問,當中卻視乎很多因素。

其實天主教並不反對上香,只要我們不是用作迷信的用途。事實上,我們對聖人點蠟蠋也是相似,而天主教的新年祭祖禮儀也有向先人上香和叩頭的儀式。

當我們參加非天主教的親人的殯葬禮時,如果不是一個很明顯的迷信舉動,我們可以選擇有禮貌地上香但不燒衣,心中默默為亡者靈魂祈禱。如果是一個明顯迷信的儀式,我們可以選擇站在一旁默默祈禱。

但如果此舉動會做成不必要的分裂,或做成不尊重亡者家人的場面,我們也可能需要酌情參與。

至於要不要辦告解,就是乎你有沒有選擇的自由,和是否有誤導別人的可能了。例如,如果我的選擇令到有人對天主教有誤解,或令別人變得迷信,那我當然就是做了假見證而使人跌倒了。
Dec 16, 2016
I am a Catholic but my husband is not. He does not believe neither in God nor in heaven. He argues that if God does love everyone without any condition then he does not need to be a Catholic to enter Heaven. He believes that as long as he is a “good” guy, our “God” will let him enter into heaven.
Fr. Francis: This is typical of many people. What they do not realize is that there is an inherent contradiction in their logic. They don't believe in either God or heaven, yet they justify that because they are a good person God, which they don't believe exists, will have to admit them to heaven, which they also deny.
Fr. Francis: This is typical of many people. What they do not realize is that there is an inherent contradiction in their logic. They don't believe in either God or heaven, yet they justify that because they are a good person, God, which they don't believe exists, will have to admit them to heaven, which they also deny. So, do they want to have a heaven to go to after death, or do they frankly have no idea where they will go after death?

The stark truth they may be avoiding to admit, rather, is that they have no idea where they are going after death, and they hope they do not simply drop into oblivion. Or, that's exactly all they can believe.

But, and I believe it is a very likely but, if they are the former, that they really hope they will be going somewhere like heaven, then they have to come to terms that it cannot be up to them to define the terms of entry.

But isn't that the problem: we don't believe what we are told, but we want it, and really we want it in our own terms.

We expect being good will earn us heaven. But God does not want good people. Yes, you hear me. God does not want good people. He wants people who want to have a relationship with Him. In fact, that is the definition of heaven: it is where people and God enter into a very intimate love relationship.

Good deeds cannot purchase heaven. Love swings wide the gate of paradise.

The more we learn to love, the more it calls us out of ourselves. It calls us to do the impossible, it calls us to die to ourselves, to sacrifice ourselves. Yet it calls us to Jesus.

Of course, don't repeat the above to your husband directly. Do, however, admire whatever goodness in your husband and encourage him to be even better, to be more loving, more giving, more of a blessing to others. Tell him love is the best way to be good. Meanwhile, pray very hard that love will open him up to Love, who is God, that he may experience God's love.

And on your part, do everything to love God and your husband better, that he may see and experience Jesus' love and gentleness and kindness and patience and generosity more and more.

Give the rest into God's hands. God will look after him.
Dec 16, 2016
How do we explain Trinity to non-Catholic or people said they do not understand that?
Fr. Francis: First of all, the dogma of the Trinity is a Mystery of our faith, which means it cannot be fully comprehended. However, it does not mean that it cannot be understood at all. But just like we can never fully know everything about another person, we are well capable of understanding
Fr. Francis: First of all, the dogma of the Trinity is a Mystery of our faith, which means it cannot be fully comprehended. However, it does not mean that it cannot be understood at all. But just like we can never fully know everything about another person, we are well capable of understanding something of one another and growing in the depth of that knowledge over time. It is the same with the Trinity.

Perhaps the key to begin to understand how God can be one and yet three Persons is that our God is a relational God. God reveals Himself to us as a relational God: Two Persons intensely give of Himself to one another that the Two become inseparably One and that love overflows and becomes a Third Person, also fully in union with the Two. God is love and this is pure love: selfless giving, selfless receiving, total union, selfless overflowing outward…

And thinking of that, I could not help but realize that this has always been what I long for as well: to give of myself freely, to be loved openly, and to bear fruit by enabling others to experience that love, and together draw into a deeper and deeper union and communion. I believe that's the longing of every heart. This is what truly sets the human heart free. And that is the reality and proof that we are made in the image of the Triune God.

Of course, the above imagery is only an analogy: God does not "become" as in changing from one moment three separate entities and later by love uniting into one. That final reality of love has always been the only reality of God from before time began to beyond time's expiration.

One can also argue that a non-Triune God necessarily cannot be a self-sustained relational fulfillment, meaning such a God cannot be relational and fulfilled without engaging someone else outside of Himself, in which case creation would become a necessity partly to fulfill His need to love, instead of a pure gratuitous gift. But this will go against everything God has revealed to us about Himself in Scripture and through Jesus.

The above, of course, is not a proof, but certainly worth pondering. Just like any relational truth, it cannot be proven, but can only be grasped with the heart, which is often keener than our mind.

Lastly, if you find yourself in a situation that you need to explain the Trinity, it would be best to speak from your own experience of His Triune love. Evangelization is rarely achieved through eloquent philosophical arguments, but by attraction through personal conviction and testimony. We preach not to convince, but to prove that we are convinced, because we have experienced the Triune love of God.

This love is for you, too. Do you want to experience it as well? Let us find it together…
Dec 09, 2016
天主的信仰強調的是信心,所求不一定答應。我應該怎樣向旁人解釋信天主和信其他號稱有求必應的信仰的分別?
Fr. Francis: 我們信天主,沒錯是講信德,而信德的意思信任一個我們熟悉的天主。天主不是有求必應,
Fr. Francis: 我們信天主,沒錯是講信德,而信德的意思信任一個我們熟悉的天主。天主不是有求必應,因為他不是我們的奴隸,而是深深地愛我們的父親。所以基督徒祈求,並不是因為天主給我們的好處,而是知道天主一定給我們最好的,因為他是我們的大父,而去依偎並尋求那不斷給我們好東西的天主。

所為靈驗及有求必應,並沒有一個神靈是這樣的,當求而不應時,又去找別的神明時,只是說明了這人並不信任何神,只單單是信自己,要其他的所為神的力量去服侍他們而已。
Dec 09, 2016
我們堅信耶穌臨在於聖體內,所以我們在明恭聖體時朝拜祂,與祂傾訴。那我們可以用什麼簡單的方法幫助未認識這事實的人明白我們不是一班迷信的人對著祭台上的一塊麵餅又跪又拜?又如何幫助其他教友知道朝拜聖體的好?
Fr. Francis: 我們跪拜聖體不是迷信,而是因為愛。

我們不是迷信:因為迷信是指我們根本不能肯定是否有此神明,因此對神明一方面要求有求必應,另一方面卻又怕得罪神明因而要用不同祭品去討好的那種行為.簡單說來,是一種活在要求與恐懼之間...
Fr. Francis: 我們跪拜聖體不是迷信,而是因為愛。

我們不是迷信:因為迷信是指我們根本不能肯定是否有此神明,因此對神明一方面要求有求必應,另一方面卻又怕得罪神明因而要用不同祭品去討好的那種行為.簡單說來,是一種活在要求與恐懼之間,而拜神就是一種交易,我給你犧牲,你就給我好處,你收了奉獻,就不要罰我,若是這樣不能趨吉避兇,那神明就是不靈,要轉信別的了。

我們信基督,卻不是這種關係。第一,基督真的在我們歷史中出現過,並確實地證明了他對我們的愛:因為當我們還是罪人的時候,基督單方面首先白白的為我們而死,我們只要願意接受,就不單只獲得罪赦,甚至被賞賜權柄為天主的子女。這不單只是一個信念,而實實在在有千千萬萬的聖人見證天主的愛如何改造了他們,並藉着他們改善千千萬萬其他人的生命。而每一個追隨基督的人也可見證,天主如何改變了他們。

所以,我們跟耶穌的關係並不是跟着一個陌生而不肯定的神明的關係,而是跟着一個很熟悉,很瞭解和愛我們的恩人。

而我們之所以朝拜聖體,是因為我們確切知道這就是耶穌。我們知道,因為是耶穌親口告訴我們的,而耶穌是從來不說謊的;而又是正正在他設立聖體聖事的同時,為我們犧牲,證明了他對我們的愛。所以我們朝拜聖體,是理所當然的,並是表示我們感謝他無私的愛最好的方法之一。

而對已經相信的教友們,我們清楚知道,耶穌的教導是要我們也要仿效他無私地去愛別人,但往往我們因為軟弱及私慾,一敗塗地。朝拜聖體,乃是最好幫助我們克服軟弱和自私的方式,因為看着耶穌,在他跟前,陪伴着他,就是表示我們願意領受他的愛,與他加深關係,和容許他來指引並醫治我們。
Dec 02, 2016
請問祈禱一定要找個地方跪著、一定要畫十字聖號的嗎?工作經常在外、在大庭廣眾,似乎有點不便,留到回家才祈禱又怕忘記內容。一日內如果突然想跟天父談幾句,感謝祂/求祂,自己在心裡默禱也可以嗎?
Fr. Francis: 那當然可以。祈禱本身就是和無處不在的天主交談,在任何地方或時間,天主都在我們心中,不斷和我們說話,亦不斷等待我們和他傾訴。聖保祿說,我們要不斷祈禱,也就是這樣。
Fr. Francis: 那當然可以。祈禱本身就是和無處不在的天主交談,在任何地方或時間,天主都在我們心中,不斷和我們說話,亦不斷等待我們和他傾訴。聖保祿說,我們要不斷祈禱,也就是這樣。

至於劃十字架,我卻認為是一個好習慣,不該覺得尷尬,因為這是呼叫我們最愛的天主的表示。看看其他的宗教,如伊斯蘭教,他們不會認為他們種種的儀式是做作,反而會虔誠的自顧自去做好,而為我來說只會感到一份對他們的熱誠的尊重。如有人不接受他們的祈禱方式,只表示出他們不懂尊重別人而已。

但如果我因害怕而要收起十字架來,那就算我心裏不是這麽想,我行為上已經不敢公然尊重我的信仰表達了,何况別人呢?就好像我要為我是天主教徒而道歉一樣,亦喪失了見證身為天主教徒是一份光榮及喜樂的機會。
Nov 24, 2016
我是天主教徒,我男朋友是基督教徒,不相信煉獄,一直說只有天堂和地獄。我不會回覆,請問神父我應該怎樣回覆他。
Fr. Francis: "很多時我們和基督教的兄弟姊妹分享信仰時,都會遇着同樣的難題,主要是因為他們常堅持唯獨聖經的說法:指有在聖經中說明的才可信,其他的都可能是其後人加上去的。

但其實也有些事在聖經中說得不大清楚的他們也信:例如
Fr. Francis: "很多時我們和基督教的兄弟姊妹分享信仰時,都會遇着同樣的難題,主要是因為他們常堅持唯獨聖經的說法:指有在聖經中說明的才可信,其他的都可能是其後人加上去的。

但其實也有些事在聖經中說得不大清楚的他們也信:例如天主三位一體的信條,耶穌從來都沒有清清楚楚的說明,但他們跟我們都接受了是核心信條。亦有些在聖經中說得清楚不過的,他們卻不相信:例如聖體是耶穌的真實身體,在若望六章耶穌三番四次強調要吃他的肉和喝他的血,甚至逼使他眾多的門徒離棄他,而又在最後晚餐時說明:這是我的身體,這一杯是我的血,要同樣做來記念我,那不是清楚,相信聖經中都沒有可信的了。至於聖經有沒有提及聖經是唯一可信的呢?有趣的是沒有,反而保祿忠徒卻在「得撒洛尼後書」 二章十五節 (2 Thessalonians 2:15) 中強調要緊守你們的傳統。

至於鍊獄,有多個原因教會在很早就已相信的。

第一是因為天主的慈悲和他賜予我們的自由。聖經裏說得很清楚,如果我們心硬,選擇自私,不為近人施予慈悲,或沉淪罪惡而不悔改並領受寬恕,是會入地獄的。事實上,不是天主判他們入地獄,他們在罪惡中已經是活在地獄的不自由,不快樂中了,天主只是給予他們一直堅持要的罷了。

但入天堂呢?聖經裏也說明只有完美的才能進入天堂,因為天主是完美的,所有不完美的人,就是讓他站立在天主面前,都會不快樂,反而會意識到自己與天主在完美上的極度相差而感到極度的痛苦。

那麽,為很多沒有完全背棄正義,但又不是完美去愛和施予慈悲的,那怎麽辦呢?天主乃富於慈悲,絕對不能讓他們進入地獄,他們在他面前就會經歷煉淨,好讓他們終被煉成完美。這就是我們稱為的煉獄。

所以煉獄並不是一個地方,而是一個狀况,是一個已經有份進入天堂,但先要變成完美才能真正享受天堂的人所必須經歷的煉淨。

其實聖經也有談及這個煉淨的需要,如:

「瑪加伯(下)」 十二章四十五節 (2 Maccabees 12:45) 論及為死去的罪人祈禱,因為相信可助他們罪赦。如果只有天堂和地獄,那麽為死人祈禱就是最無謂的事,因為如果他們進入了地獄,祈禱不能救他們;如果入了天堂,他們更不需要我們的祈禱了。

「瑪竇福音」 十二章三十二節 (Matthew 12:32) 說如果出言干犯聖神的,卻不能在現世及來世獲得赦免:那就是說有些赦免是在死後發生的了。但如果只有天堂和地獄,那這就不成理了。

「瑪竇福音」 五章二十六節 (Matthew 5:26) 耶穌在一個有關要寬恕的比喻中,說那個不寬恕的人要被囚禁,直至他還清最後一毛錢為止。如果,這是指地獄,那麽何必還呢?就如別處說他永遠不能出來罷了。

事實上,我們應該多謝天主賜予煉獄的機會,因為如果沒有煉獄,那麽只怕所有不完美的人都要進入地獄了。

但作為信徒,我們卻該意識到,應該在在世的時候生活煉獄,即多克己為人,犧牲奉獻,好讓在今生主賜的時日,成聖,見證,並帶領身邊的人進入天國。阿們!"
Nov 18, 2016
神父,請問守護天使究竟是甚麼?
Fr. Francis: 聖經裏有記載,在創造人之前,天主也創造了天使,那是不可見,全靈的,強有力的受造物,是為侍奉天主,執行天主旨意的受造物。

聖經也有記載,
Fr. Francis: 聖經裏有記載,在創造人之前,天主也創造了天使,那是不可見,全靈的,強有力的受造物,是為侍奉天主,執行天主旨意的受造物。

聖經也有記載,如在聖詠139,天主派他的天使來守護我們,而福音裏耶穌說及小孩子的時候,說他們的天使在天主父面前日夜不斷的維護着他們。

教會是從這些明瞭到天主為我們每一個人都派遣了一位天使來守護並指引我們,好使我們在生活上能避惡行善,順利抵達天鄉。天主教也在很早期便有向護守天使的禱文,例如:

天主天神,領守我者;惟上仁慈,托我於爾;
今日(夜)賜我,照護引治。亞孟。




我的護守天使,天主既使你照顧我,求你常保護我,指引我、管理我。亞孟/阿們。

讓我們也多呼喚我們的護守天使,與他建立友誼,一同為我們和他人的得救努力!
Nov 11, 2016
I read about your answer about prayers to saints. Who are the saints and why they can answers prayers?
Fr. Francis: As christians we believe that we are made for eternal life, and our being is an "embodied" spiritual reality. Death therefore is not an obliteration of our reality, but a temporary separation from our corporeal reality, our corruptible body.
Fr. Francis: As christians we believe that we are made for eternal life, and our being is an "embodied" spiritual reality. Death therefore is not an obliteration of our reality, but a temporary separation from our corporeal reality, our corruptible body. The invisible, incorporeal reality, i.e., our soul, will then experience an encounter with God, where we come to see all the decisions we made in life, and come to realize in full what direction we have chosen during our lifetime on earth. Those who have chosen against the promptings for good and mercy will get what they chose: hatred and destruction, what we call hell; those who have chosen good and mercy will experience healing and bliss.

But since God is perfect, and scriptures tell us only the perfectly good can stand being in the presence of the Good Himself, not all can initially experience bliss and blessedness as they tend toward God presence. Those who are not yet perfect therefore, when placed in the presence of God, will need to go through healing and purgation: we Catholics call that "purgatory". It is a process, and everyone going in will end up in heaven for they will have been purified.

But there are those, who during their lifetime, have taken a path of intentionally tending toward more and more giving and loving and merciful. They readily sacrificed themselves to set free and better others, and they have not given up becoming a better person despite their own flaws and often sinfulness. These in effect have lived their purgation during their lifetime on earth. These souls would go directly to heaven.

Saints, in general, are all the souls who are now currently in heaven, alive before God enjoying eternal happiness. They include both those who entered directly to heaven after a virtuous life, and those who entered after a time in purgatory. Saints are therefore holy and fully alive. They see God face to face directly, and can take in as much of God as their created being allows. They are therefore more fully aware of God's Will and pleasure, and through God's all-knowing, more aware of our needs. In fact, they love God so completely, and because God loves us so completely, they also love us more than we love ourselves. And their desire for us to be holy, which is to be totally set free from sin and hatred and selfishness and embrace our identity of God's children is so ardent, that they long to see us to enter heaven and be with them celebrating the fullness of life. They therefore would do anything to implore God to assist us on our way to salvation.

If we only knew how blazing their desire is to assist us, we would be hastening our way toward God!

P.S. There are also "canonized" saints, which the Church recognized after a process of rigorous examination, as persons known to be in heaven. These are proven because of miracles attributed to their intercession after their death. But canonized saints are certainly not the only persons in heaven now. There are many more holy persons that the world does not know: like holy mothers who quietly sacrificed themselves in the daily caring of their children and family, selfless teachers and doctors everywhere, simple joyful souls who tirelessly pray for others, servant hearts who give of themselves readily in a hidden way, etc. And of course, those not so perfect ones who did enter heaven after purgation. The Church canonizes saints so to provide us with good lived examples that holiness is possible, and to give us particular names to implore for interceding for our particular needs.
Nov 04, 2016
請問為何聖母是已經打算守童貞的 (可由她堅定的說不認識男人而知道), 但為何卻與約瑟訂婚呢?
Fr. Francis: 這個問題很明顯是超出聖經和教理的笵圍,而教會傳統也沒有多大交代,所以以下的是我個人的推想:
Fr. Francis: 這個問題很明顯是超出聖經和教理的笵圍,而教會傳統也沒有多大交代,所以以下的是我個人的推想:

首先我們要明白聖母說“我不認識男人”這句話的重要性。在原文,聖母並不是說我至今為止不認識男人,或是我暫時不認識,而是我會持續地不會認識男人。這個原因有二:一是聖母已有婚約,在猶太習俗,定婚已有約束力,與結婚相同,只是欠缺儀式,但約書已簽,可以同住並生孩子。雖然聖母還未與若瑟同居,但要生孩子是很有可能很快的事,不能再說不認識男人。二是因為“不認識”這個動詞在原文是用了希臘文中持續性的動詞,意即我會持續地不會認識男人。

兩個以上的原因,為一個定了婚的普通猶太少女來說,都是不成理的,唯一的解釋是聖母在定婚以前已經許下終身童貞的諾言。這個說法聽來不合理,但也有幾個有力的原因:一是聖傳記載聖母自三歲便因為父母認出她是被天主選定的而把她獻於聖殿,一直在那裏受教至十三歲,這為女孩子來說是絕無僅有的,而為男孩子來說是等同於先知,大司祭或學者一般;二是聖母乃是無原罪的,很自然她的行為與身邊的人有所不同,而身邊的人應該很快便能感受到,要與她有親密關係的人不可能同時不知道她是屬於天主的,自然她自己都會知道,而會在聖殿時期許諾終身童貞也不是太無可能的事了。

那便留下了只有一個可能,就是與若瑟定婚並不是她的安排,而可能是父母在不知道她有此許諾的情形下為她安排的,而更有可能的是他們居住的地方的長老為他們安排的,因為沒有婚嫁和孩子的女人,在猶太人中是被認為是被咀咒的。

而也很有可能,在加比額爾到訪時,聖母才是剛剛定婚的,正在想怎樣和父母解釋。

至於若瑟呢?就算聖母在定婚前沒有機會對他說,我們都已經知道在領報後天主為他的安排了。

這個當然是我個人的推想,至於事實如何,就要等我們在天國時再問問當事人了!
Oct 27, 2016
How does the Church get the relics of the saints? They all passed away a long time before they became saints.
Fr. Francis: When we talk about "relics", literally "remains", of the saints, we are talking about several kinds of objects, namely:
Fr. Francis: When we talk about "relics", literally "remains", of the saints, we are talking about several kinds of objects, namely:

  1. actual parts of the body like bones, teeth, preserved blood, blood stain, or hair
  2. clothes or objects the saint used habitually
  3. objects the saints had touched.


Normally, during the lifetime of the saints, people close to them would have already recognized something saintly in them. In fact, that would be a requirement for them to be later recognized by the Church. Even for martyrs who had been isolated for a long time before martyrdom, at least some people must have known them for them to be named and remembered.

The fact that they were known often long time before their death and at least at the time close to their death means that there would be people who had access to their bodies or belongings while they were still available. Local bishops, once been made aware of such a possible cause of sainthood, would instruct their relics to be collected while they could be found. But more often than not, people close to them would have long time ago started collecting.

Also, once the process of sainthood has formally been initiated, one of the steps is to exhume the body, if it can be located. This would serve to be the major relic of the saint. And though not very often, there are many documented cases in which the body of the saint was found in tact, uncorrupted, despite the lack of preservatives, even after hundreds of years. We called them "incorruptible". Some of the most well known examples are St. Francis Xavier, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Cathérine Labouré, and St. Bernadette. A search on the internet will give you more details on this subject.

Oct 20, 2016
彌撒當中神父高舉雙手念【成聖體經】和 【成聖血經】時, 我們聽到輔祭清脆的搖鈴聲, 為何用搖鈴聲來示意我們抬起頭來或俯首呢?
Fr. Francis: 首先,神父在成聖聖體或聖血的時候,雙手並不是舉起,而是先合着然後覆手在麵餅和聖爵的。

至於敲鐘,在彌撒中可有四次。他們本身只是為提醒教友彌撒到了某重要時刻。
Fr. Francis: 首先,神父在成聖聖體或聖血的時候,雙手並不是舉起,而是先合着然後覆手在麵餅和聖爵的。

至於敲鐘,在彌撒中可有四次。他們本身只是為提醒教友彌撒到了某重要時刻。

這個利用敲鐘來提醒教友的方法有很大原因是:第一,是要提高感恩祭中某些部份的重要性;第二,是曾經有一段很長的時間,教友們是不知道神父在祭台上是做甚麼的,神父背向教友,用他們聽不懂的拉丁文,所以教友只能自己唸經,但因為要知道幾時成聖聖體聖血和幾時要上前領聖體,敲鐘就變成了跨越語言的工具。

以下是四個可能敲鐘的時刻:

一。 成聖前覆手: 這是在成聖聖體前神父呼求聖神,覆手於麵餅和聖爵上時發生的,是要提醒教友我們即將進入整個彌撒最神聖的時刻。

二。 舉揚聖體: 這發生在剛成聖聖體後,神父顯露聖體於教友朝拜,教友可仰望聖體耶穌,或俯首朝拜,或先仰望然後俯首朝拜都可。最重要的是用心朝拜。

三。 舉揚聖血: 這發生在剛成聖聖血後,神父高舉聖爵於教友朝拜時,跟以上同樣。

四。 神父領聖血時: 教友領聖體前,神父會在祭台前先領聖體聖血。當神父領聖血時,有時候會敲鐘,提醒教友是時候準備上前領受聖體,是最後機會預備心靈。

希望以上描述對你有幫助。主佑!
Oct 14, 2016
伊斯蘭教的古蘭經說耶穌沒有被釘十字架而死。是古蘭經的錯誤記載? 還是原意被扭曲了? 因為這是與穆斯林對話的絆腳石。
Fr. Francis: 作為基督徒,我們當然是相信耶穌是切切實實的死了,而在第三天後復活的。這個不單是一個信義,而是歷史事實。所以同其他宗教交談有關這事,特別是要與伊斯蘭教人仕討論,我提議不如用歷史考證的方法。
Fr. Francis: 作為基督徒,我們當然是相信耶穌是切切實實的死了,而在第三天後復活的。這個不單是一個信條,而是歷史事實。

所以同其他宗教交談有關這事,特別是要與伊斯蘭教人仕討論,我提議不如用歷史考證的方法。

一般歷史學家,要證實一件歷史事蹟,會考慮文字及文化見證,例如書信,傳統,及後故事或藝術品。而證據的比重又在於與事情的相距時間,數量,有多廣泛流傳,流傳多長,和有沒有見證的支持或反對。

對於見證,我們需要一視同人,所以聖經,教會早期作品,以及伊斯蘭的可蘭經,都可視為歷史寫作。

單在文字證據方面,其中最早寫及耶穌死亡的是保祿宗徒的書信,特別是 1 Thessalonians 和1 Corinthians, 都是大約在50-70 AD 寫的。 這些信件很快便被抄錄並廣泛流傳,很多當時的個別教會都有抄本,包括耶穌在世去過的地方,而那時還有很多耶穌年代的人還在世。

當時不但沒有反對的文章,反而越來越多其他宗徒及教會的寫作出現:書信,福音,非納入聖經的寫作,禮儀寫作,及在一世紀末期開始的神學寫作,都見證着此事。

而此事在非基督徒的寫作也有提及,特別是當時的歷史家 Josephus, 在 Antiquity 及Jewish Wars 內都有提及,寫作手法輕描,意即在以色列地人人都知,不足為奇。

還有的是在一世紀末期,羅馬帝國開始逼迫教會後,官方記載了不少殉道者的證詞,也只是簡單的描述他們有此信念,相信這是歷史事實。

通常歷史學家只需要幾份文件證據孤本,是當時官方或地區上皆知的,又沒有其他近期的反對文件或證據,就會認為是歷史事實處理。而從上面可見,有關耶穌之死亡及復活,不但有同樣的條件,甚至是說有數千份的抄本,廣泛之流傳遍及全羅馬帝國,由此至今仍是最多印的書籍。在任何歷史學的角度而言,都可算是鐵證了。

當然,反對聲音是有的,但最早的要在第二世紀才出現,而當中並沒有提供任何新證據,而當然也沒有人證的可能,亦沒有被廣泛接受。

至於可蘭經,在歷史角度來說,對有關耶穌的死亡與復活的議論,不但遲了六百多年,也沒有提供任何新證據或人證,或來自文化傳統的支持,更是不必多說了。
Oct 07, 2016
I was challenged by a Protestant group that why Roman Catholic pray to saints and Mary and not directly to Jesus and God. Do we Catholic deviate from what the Bible is telling us? I was a bit bothered by that question. Please help me understand why we practice such way.
Fr. Francis: First of all, Catholics actually do spend a lot of time praying directly to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We do not have to look too far, just a casual peruse of the text of the Mass is evidence enough that the whole celebration is centered on worshiping God the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.

As to why Catholics "pray to" the saints, more precisely, we...
Fr. Francis: First of all, Catholics actually do spend a lot of time praying directly to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We do not have to look too far, just a casual peruse of the text of the Mass is evidence enough that the whole celebration is centered on worshiping God the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit.

As to why Catholics "pray to" the saints, more precisely, we petition to the saints to pray for us before God, or to pray with us to obtain favors from God. This is actually not strange at all if we see the saints as our friends.

Both Protestants and Catholics alike would readily agree that it is a Christian practice that we pray for each other and with each other. This is what the disciples did in Jesus' time, and what the early Christians did in the time of the Acts of the Apostles. Both Protestants and Catholics practise intercession today. We would gather with brothers and sisters to pray for the needs of the community. We would also ask others to pray for particular special needs.

Interceding through the saints is the same, except even more powerful. As Catholics, we believe the saints are alive and active before God. And they are also our friends and heroes. We want them to pray with us and pray for our needs, just like we want our brothers and sisters on earth to do the same.

But the saints are even better because firstly they see God clearly and so know His Will perfectly; they can pray in a way more aligned to God's Will and therefore their prayer is more pleasing to God and effective. Secondly, because they also love God more perfectly, they are also more effective in obtaining God's favors.

As you see, just as praying with our brothers and sisters on earth does not and should not draw us away from God, neither should the devotion to the saints do so. In fact, correct devotion to the saints does the opposite. It helps us to love God more, just as having good brothers and sisters who pray with us often help us to become better Christians. Friends and saints alike, we spur each other on to love God more and imitate more His virtues.
Sep 29, 2016