April 25, 2017

Author Archive | Fr John Flader

Pope Francis smiles as he visits the "White Houses," a housing development for the poor, on the outskirts of Milan on 25 March 2017. PHOTO: CNS

Q&A with Fr John Flader: What are we to make of the Francis pontificate?

Question: Dear Father, In the four years that Pope Francis been in office, I have heard all sorts of things about him: that he is a great Pope, a liberal, a heretic or even that his election was not valid. What should I think about him and how should I react to all this? I too have […]

A priest hears the confession of a young woman prior the start of a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in 2014 during the 6th Asian Youth Day in Haemi-myeon, South Korea. Photo: CNS

Fr John Flader: conscience is not a law unto itself, must be well-formed

Dear Father, I have often heard people say, “It’s up to you. It’s a matter for your conscience” as if we could do virtually anything as long as our conscience approved it. Somehow that doesn’t seem right to me. Can you please shed some light on this? You are right. Conscience is not a law unto […]

Fr Remy Lam Son Bui, parish priest of the nearby parish of All Saints, Liverpool, holds up the host as he gives Communion during Mass at St Francis Xavier, Lurnea. Photo: Patrick J Lee

Fr John Flader: Forgiveness in the Eucharist? Yes and no

Dear Father, Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia says that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” Does this mean that Communion actually forgives sins, even mortal sins, and that it can be given as medicine for those in mortal sin? The text you cite […]

Photo: Fr Lawrence Lew OP

Fr John Flader: God or His eternal absence – wanna bet?

Question: Dear Father, I remember hearing once about an argument for living as if there were life after death called Pascal’s wager. Can you enlighten me as to exactly what this argument is, as I have a friend who doesn’t believe in life after death? The argument, as you say, is called Pascal’s wager and it […]

Detail from the tympanum of the central west doors of Notre Dame de Paris. Photo: Fr Lawrence Lew OP

Fr John Flader: evidence for life after death from purgatory and hell

Question: Dear Father, You said in a recent column that you were going to offer more evidence for life after death, besides Our Lady’s fulfilled prophecy at Fatima, near-death experiences in which someone met people in the next life, and the fact that the soul, being spiritual, must necessarily live on when the body dies. What are […]

Photo: Christine Riggle

Q&A with Fr John Flader: Why believe in life after death?

Dear Father, A colleague of work has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer and we were discussing what happens after death. One friend says that after death there is nothing, that life is finished. How do I convince him that there is indeed life after death? Unfortunately there are many people who think like your workmate […]

What does Pope Francis say about divorce and remarriage in Amoris Laetitia?

What does Pope Francis say about divorce and remarriage in Amoris Laetitia?

Dear Father, I am confused about some things Pope Francis wrote in Amoris Laetitia concerning circumstances in which divorced and remarried people might be admitted to the sacraments. Can you shed some light on this? Much has been written and said about this apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis, with numerous critics saying the Pope has departed […]

A sculpture of Michael the Archangel at Yasothon, Thailand. Photo: aSuruwataRi / Shutterstock.com

Why do we include angels and archangels among the saints?

Dear Father, Why do we call St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael saints, and why does the Church celebrate their feast day each year? As you imply in your question, we normally reserve the term saint for human beings who led exemplary, holy lives and who have been recognised as saints by the Church. Why […]

Photo: Shutterstock

I love God, but I love my husband and children more

I know we are supposed to love God above all things, but sometimes I think I have more love for my husband and children than for God. This worries me. What exactly does it mean to love God above all things? There are different ways we can love someone more than another. One is by […]

Bishop Richard Umbers, pictured with mitre and crosier, at his ordination Mass at St Mary's Cathedral on 24 August. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Is the installation of a bishop really an ordination?

I recently attended the ordination of two bishops and was intrigued by several items they received in the ceremony. Can you tell me the meaning of such things as the mitre and crosier? Also, since this was called an ordination, did the bishops receive a new sacrament? I will tell you about all the main […]


Is it time to give up on praying for my son’s conversion?

Dear Father, Nine years ago my son, who was brought up a Catholic and went to Catholic schools, got married in a registry office when neither he nor his wife was practising the faith. They now have three children, who are not even baptised. I have been praying for many years for their conversion but […]