Fr. Josh answers questions about if watching Mass on television fulfills our Sunday obligation, how to find happiness when depressed from past trauma, and how to talk with “cafeteria Catholics” who pick and choose which parts of the Faith to follow.
If you have a question, comment, or response for Fr. Josh, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may hear your question or comment in an upcoming podcast episode!
Snippet from the Show
“Sometimes it takes a while to accept the difficult teachings that come from Christ. Many of the disciples who were with Jesus in John 6 left when he gave them the bread of life discourse … the ones who stayed did not really understand the teaching but they loved Jesus and over time Jesus gave them the grace to believe.”
Glory Story (1:15)
This past week, Louisiana experienced a few really bad storms. A tornado actually touched down in a few places near Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. Praise be to God, Fr. Josh and his parishioners were unharmed. However, his brother’s family wasn’t so lucky and their house was destroyed by the tornado. By the grace of God, the entire family happened to be in an area of the house that wasn’t completely destroyed and they walked away with cuts and bruises.
Fr. Josh asks for your prayers for his family. He also wants to thank everyone who has been praying and those who have financially helped his family.
Listener Feedback (6:49)
TV Mass on Sunday (12:07)
When does Mass on TV fill Sunday Mass obligation? We missed Mass this past Sunday due to severe weather conditions in our area. So we watched Mass on TV. Do I need to go to confession, or is that OK?
Finding Happiness (15:58)
[This question has been edited for length] Hi Fr Josh, I found your podcast from Abiding Together. I love it and I love how you answer questions. I started binge listening to all your podcasts.
I was sexually assaulted a few times while growing up: by family, by my doctor, and my swimming instructor. I kept this all to myself, afraid to tell anyone. I kinda forgot about it; or so I thought. In addition to this, my siblings and I were so scared of dad, we would tiptoe around and only talk in whispers. He was physically and verbally abusive. As I grew older, I started to hate him despite mom telling me and my siblings not to because he is our father.
I was diagnosed with depression earlier this year. I thought I was just tired. But when I started crying out of the blue while grocery shopping, and thinking about ramming my car into trees or anything while driving, sleeping or lying in bed from Friday to Sunday - waking up only for Mass - I realized this is not just tired. Dad passed away in 2017 and mom told me that he asked for a priest and had his confession and his last sacrament after so many years of being away from the Church.
I love my family, so I try to do everything I can to help. They ask me for help whenever they're short on cash so I started doing part time jobs - 4 at the same time, plus my full time job. But it wasn't enough. I kept pushing myself, telling myself to be strong and this will pass. But I’ve started to have suicide thoughts.
I often ask myself, how strong does God want me to be? I’ve reached out to members of my church and family but they don’t seem to care. I also don’t want to talk about my family’s secrets or open myself up to be vulnerable. I can't sleep. I don't even sing anymore, I don't clean my house. My days don’t have any meaning. I still pray but the peacefulness doesn't last long. I did get help medically but I’m still falling deeper. I also joined a meditation workshop by The World Community for Christian Meditation.
Why Fr. did those things happen? Where was God when it happened? He can't stop people from doing bad things, but why can't God help me to forget or give me strength to fight or to scream when that happened?
Is it really me? Is it my fault that I'm depressed and have anxiety? Should I be strong? I hate the word strong because I felt that I have been as strong as I can all these years. And now I need help but people are expecting me to ignore my feelings. They say that there are people out there that have it worse and I need to just move on. I am so sorry if my email is all over the place and doesn't make any sense. And I'm sorry if I'm taking so much of your time reading this. Help me Father Josh. I'm in so much pain and I don't know how to help and heal myself.
Cafeteria Catholics (30:08)
Dear Fr. Josh, I am writing because I think I messed up! To summarize, my question is how to talk with "cafeteria Catholics," those who pick and choose which parts of the faith they will follow, without sounding like you are right and they are wrong. The bottom line is I accidentally offended a good friend and a recent Catholic convert and made her feel unwelcome in the church! Yikes! All our lives we have been a case of opposites attract: Her family was very liberal politically and on social issues and not religious and mine was politically conservative and Catholic. Knowing that she's always been pro choice (she's had an abortion) and pro gay marriage I asked her if she considered herself still liberal in social issues or more Catholic. She still thought that they should be able to be legally married and that she didn't see what religion had to do with it. She also said she regretted her abortion but didn't want to take that choice away from women. I kind of pushed back by asking, if she talked about this in RCIA? she said, "No". In the end, she felt that I thought she shouldn't be Catholic (even though I told her she belongs in the church but just missing out on some of the beauty of the faith). We essentially agreed to disagree and it just left a sour feeling to the reunion.
Should I follow up with her in some way, share some other insights with her? and how should I have handled it? I wouldn't ask that of most people but I felt our long history gave me special permission. How do we talk with "cafeteria Catholics" without pushing them away? Thanks so much for your insight in this matter. I am so appreciative of your podcast and of you!
-Please Don't Use My Name!
Universal Call to Holiness (38:43)
Lean into Jesus. Christ and his grace are enough for all of us.
Want to browse the previous resources Fr. Josh has recommended? Go to ascensionpress.com/askfrjosh to select an episode and view the shownotes.