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Kathy Cross wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • If a Catholic cannot be married outdoors, why do we celebrate other Masses outdoors?

My non-Catholic friends say this is hypocritical on our part.

  • Is Communion a sacrament or just our First Holy Communion?
  • If Communion is the sacrament then why can't we can receive it at an outdoor Mass.

I do not understand the importance of the Pope and the word infallible.

Kathy

  { Why can't Catholics marry outdoors when we have Masses outdoors and why is the Pope crucial? }

Eric replied:

Kathy —

Your friends are being disingenuous. According to Merriam-Webster, a hypocrite is:

"one who pretends to be what he is not or to have principles or beliefs that he does not have; especially: one who falsely assumes an appearance of virtue or religion".

At most what we have here is an inconsistency, not hypocrisy.

It is true we have outdoor Masses. Typically, these Masses are outdoors for a justifiable reason: Because there are too many people to fit in a church. If your wedding has 20,000 guests I'm sure the bishop will make an exception for you. A bride's fantasy does not trump the importance of conveying the sense of sacredness that a church graces a wedding with. If a wedding were outdoors, there is a risk that it would be desacralized and profaned — seen as a mere secular ceremony rather than a sacred sacrament.

The Eucharist — Holy Communion — is always a sacrament. Whether it is or not, is immaterial to whether you can receive the Eucharist at an outdoor Mass.

The importance of the pope is to maintain unity in the church. Without the pope, everyone would split from each other and diverge in doctrine and teaching (witness Protestantism). He is the shepherd of Christ's flock on earth (John 21:15-19). He is the Rock on which the Church is built (Matthew 16:19).

The term infallible describes a gift the pope has in that he cannot err when declaring, to all the faithful in solemn form, a matter of faith and morals which must be believed. It doesn't mean he cannot sin, nor does it mean he can predict the baseball scores or stock market. The bishops together in council in union with the pope also have this gift.

Eric

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