Tag Archives: Fr. John Trigilio

How did separation of Church and State occur?

The separation of church and state is a relatively new development. When Emperor Constantine gave freedom of religion to the Roman Empire in the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, the Church was able to come out of hiding and into the public.

Fr. John Trigilio

Fr. John Trigilio

Constantine gave many government buildings over to the Church for its use. In fact, Christianity became the state religion of the Empire. It was hard to distinguish the role of government from that of the Church.

As time went on, the relationship between church and state intensified. For many years there was only one religion, the Catholic Church. Everyone in Europe was Catholic. The height of earthly power in the Church came under Pope Innocent III. All rulers and noblemen were subjected to the pope and looked to him for guidance.

In addition, the pope was also a leader of a country, the Papal States. He looked to strong Catholic rulers to help him from time to time — when the Papal States were being invaded, for example. With their aid came conditions. One of the conditions was that the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire would be in attendance at papal elections. Rulers also had  a say in who could be bishops of dioceses in their realm. The division of church and state was so slight that the emperor had the right to approve who could enter a religious community or order.

This interference was at its peak when the king of France kidnapped the papacy and brought it to Avignon, France. For over 70 years — from 1309 to 1378 — the center of Church government was not Rome but the back pocket of the king in Avignon. He regulated papal elections, which undermined the central authority and power of the Church.

After American independence and the establishment of a new Catholic diocese, the Holy See conferred with President George Washington on his choice for the new bishop. The American government, which is built on the principles of the separation of church and state, said bishop selection was none of its business.

For the first time in centuries the Church did not need government approval on its choice of bishop. Over the years this would become the norm. Only in Communist countries would government still interfere in Church policy.

FATHER JOHN TRIGILIO JR is an author, theologian and president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. This article is reprinted with permission from “The Catholicism Answer Book: The 300 Most Frequently Asked Questions,” which he authored with Fr. Kenneth D. Brighenti.

Catechism 101

The Church, because of her commission and competence, is not to be confused in any way with the political community. She is both the sign and the safeguard of the transcendent character of the human person. The Church respects and encourages the political freedom and responsibility of the citizen.

It is a part of the Church’s mission to pass moral judgments even in matters related to politics, whenever the fundamental rights of man or the salvation of souls requires it. The means, the only means, she may use are those which are in accord with the Gospel and the welfare of all men according to the diversity of times and circumstances.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2245-2246

Why was the Mass once in Latin?

FR. JOHN TRIGILIO writes that Latin is the official language of the Catholic Church . . .

Fr. John Trigilio

Fr. John Trigilio

The Mass once was (and can still be) said in Latin, as it is the official language of the Catholic Church. In many oratories, shrines, chapels, cathedrals and even local parishes, Masses continue to be celebrated in Latin.

In fact, the Second Vatican Council encouraged the use of Latin. “The use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites,” states the Second Vatican Council’s Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy), #36, promulgated by Blessed Pope Paul VI in 1963. Latin hymns and prayers were to be retained even in Masses during which the vernacular language is used.

While the Church permits Mass in the vernacular, Sacrosanctum Concilium went on to say that, “nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (#54). Many parishes today continue to use Latin for particular songs and prayers, such as “Ave Maria” or the “Agnus Dei” (Lamb of God).

Mass was first celebrated in the language of our Lord, ancient Aramaic. When Peter, the first pope, went to Rome — the center of the Empire — Greek was the language used by scholars, and it then became the language of choice for many centuries in the liturgy. Theology and philosophy were all taught in this language. Latin was considered the common language of the people. The theological opinion of the time said that Divine Liturgy, the Mass, should use the language of scholars, which was a sign of dignity.

After the Peace of Constantine, the Roman Emperor from 306 to 337 AD, the Church became legitimate and expanded tremendously. Roughly, this coincided with the fall of the Roman Empire in the West and the development of the vernacular languages. Latin then became the language of scholars, theologians, and philosophers, and so the Mass was then translated into it. In the Eastern Empire, which was centered in Constantinople, Greek was retained.

For centuries, Latin was commonly used in Church documents, canon law, the reading of scripture, and the celebration of the seven sacraments and prayers. Latin was, and still is, the Church’s official language. It was only in recent times that the Holy See allowed the vernacular to be used in celebrating the sacraments.

The Second Vatican Council permitted an expanded use of the vernacular in Mass, the administration of the sacraments and the liturgy as an advantage to the people. “This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives and to some of the prayers and chants” (Sancrosanctum Concilium, #36). This usage of the vernacular, however, in no way diminishes the importance of Latin in the liturgy.

FATHER JOHN TRIGILIO JR. is an author, theologian and president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. This article is reprinted with permission from The Catholicism Answer Book: The 300 Most Frequently Asked Questions, which he authored with Fr. Kenneth D. Brighenti.

Catechism 101

The liturgical traditions or rites presently in use in the Church are the Latin (principally the Roman rite, but also the rites of certain local churches) and the Byzantine, Alexandrian or Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Maronite and Chaldean rites.

The rich variety of ecclesiastical disciplines, liturgical rites, and theological and spiritual heritages proper to the local churches “unified in a common effort, shows all the more resplendently the catholicity of the undivided Church.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1203, 835

What about same-sex unions?

FR. JOHN TRIGILIO: Chastity is required of all people, no matter their state in life . . .

Fr. John Trigilio

Fr. John Trigilio

This question has become more common in recent years with the passage of laws in some states that recognize homosexual unions and, more recently, judges legalizing same-sex “marriage.”

The Catholic Church has always taught that the homosexual inclination is disordered. It distinguishes the sexual orientation from sexual activity. It is not sinful to have homosexual orientation, but it is sinful to engage in homosexual behavior. The Church still considers the orientation disordered but recognizes many homosexuals do not choose to have this inclination. Only when they engage in homosexual activity is there culpable sin.

Any and all human sexual activity, whether heterosexual or homosexual, outside of marriage (between one man and one woman) is considered seriously and gravely sinful. Masturbation, adultery, promiscuity, fornication, artificial contraception, pornography, and homosexuality pervert the original intention that God has for marriage, namely love (unitive dimension) and life (procreative dimension).

It’s impossible to see homosexual unions as being in line with God’s intentions for marriage since the product of intercourse is not fruitful. Along with masturbation, fornication, and adultery, homosexuality is a selfish act that cannot fulfill the divinely ordained purpose of the reproductive powers. The Church teaches that God instituted the sacrament of Marriage, and only He has the authority to change the nature of marriage. Neither the Church nor the state has the competence to alter the substance of marriage or the family. Attempts by civil government or the courts to alter the law in favor of same-sex unions distort the true meaning of marriage, which has existed for thousands of years.

The Church encourages people who suffer from the disorder of same-sex attraction to live a chaste and celibate life. Chastity is required of all people, no matter their state in life — single, married, or celibate. It is a virtue in which our thoughts, words, and actions are modest. Celibacy is a discipline by which one does not marry.

The grace from frequent Confession will help the homosexually oriented person in his or her commitment to be chaste. There are also many good Catholic support groups (for example, Courage) to help people with homosexual tendencies to live good and virtuous lives. Other groups, like Dignity, which promote monogamous relationships, are not considered in conformity with Catholic teaching.

Sexual intercourse is a holy and sacred act reserved for husband and wife, who are a man and woman married in the eyes of God, and who are committed to living a permanent, faithful and, God-willing, fruitful union.

FATHER JOHN TRIGILIO JR. is an author, theologian and president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. This article is reprinted with permission from “The Catholicism Answer Book: The 300 Most Frequently Asked Questions,” which he authored with Fr. Kenneth D. Brighenti.


Catechism 101

The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2358, 1603

Can Catholics be born again?

Fr. John Trigilio writes that Catholics are born again through water and the Spirit . . .

Fr. John Trigilio

Fr. John Trigilio

Yes, they can! Catholics are “born again” in water and the Holy Spirit. The term “born again” is a bit strange in Catholic colloquialism. Nevertheless, through Baptism we are spiritually born or “born again.”

It is through Baptism that we become adopted children of God, hence the notion of being “born again.” While Catholics believe one does not need to be aware of being “born again” in order for it to still happen (as in the case of infant Baptism), Evangelical Protestants believe only a mature person who is able to reason and make adult decisions is able to be effectively “baptized.” According to their tradition, accepting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior is the moment of rebirth, and the sacrament of Baptism merely ratifies that decision.

Infant Baptism, whereby Catholics are “born again,” is followed by another sacrament called Confession, when Catholics can and must speak for themselves. Confirmation, on the other hand, is when young people are asked to confirm the faith they were given at Baptism by consciously embracing it. In one sense, Confirmation is the time when Catholics are asked to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Evangelicals believe they are saved in the blood of Christ and confirmed in the Holy Spirit at the same time.

Catholics also believe they are saved through the blood of Christ and receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of Baptism; however, Catholics receive them in a different sacrament. Western (Latin Rite) Catholics are baptized as infants and usually receive Confirmation as an adolescent. Eastern (Byzantine) Catholics get both sacraments as an infant on the same day. In Baptism, Catholics are born again in water and the Holy Spirit. In Confirmation, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are imparted to the previously baptized.

All Christians baptize by water to confer the saving effects of the blood of Christ that was shed on Good Friday. Water is the outward sign that signifies what is taking place spiritually. Spiritually, the soul is cleansed of original sin, then infused with sanctifying grace. The effects of Baptism are phenomenal: We become adopted children of God, heirs to the heavenly kingdom, and members of Christ’s mystical Body, the Church.

Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Christians receive all three sacraments of initiation at once. So a baby is baptized, is confirmed (called chrismated), and receives Holy Communion upon his baptismal day. This goes back to when the early Church was receiving many adult converts. After the Peace of Constantine, there was a mass conversion of adults, so all three sacraments were celebrated at once.

FATHER JOHN TRIGILIO JR. is an author, theologian and president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. This article is reprinted with permission from “The Catholicism Answer Book: The 300 Most Frequently Asked Questions,” which he authored with Fr. Kenneth D. Brighenti.


Catechism 101

Where infant Baptism has become the form in which this sacrament is usually celebrated, it has become a single act encapsulating the preparatory stages of Christian initiation in a very abridged way. By its very nature, infant Baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate. Not only is there a need for instruction after Baptism, but also for the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth. The catechism has its proper place here.

Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 1231, 1250

What is papal primacy?

Fr. John Trigilio writes that papal primacy is based on Christ’s teaching . . .

Reverend John Trigilio Jr.

Reverend John Trigilio Jr.

Papal primacy is the concept that the bishop of Rome (the pope) is the universal pastor and supreme head of the Catholic Church. He has full, supreme, immediate, and universal jurisdictional authority to govern the Church.

This means that no bishop, synod, or council of bishops can override his authority. His teaching authority is defined in the doctrine of papal infallibility. His governing authority is contained in papal primacy.

The Eastern Orthodox Church considers the bishop of Rome to have a primacy in honor among the five patriarchs of Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople and Rome. They do not recognize his primacy in jurisdiction, however.

Every bishop in the Catholic Church must be approved by the pope and receive a papal mandate before being ordained and consecrated to the episcopacy, and it is the pope who confers on that bishop the authority to govern the diocese to which he has been appointed.

The First Vatican Council defined papal infallibility and papal primacy. “All the faithful of Christ must believe that the Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff hold primacy over the whole world, and that the Pontiff of Rome himself is the successor of the blessed Peter, the chief of the apostles, and is the true Vicar of Christ and head of the whole Church and faith, and teacher of all Christians.”

The charism of infallibility is exercised only when the pope issues an ex cathedra statement on faith and morals or when he proposes a teaching united with all the bishops of the world. Unlike divine inspiration of scripture, where God directed the sacred authors to write only what he wanted them to write, infallibility means there are no moral or doctrinal errors present in the statement.

The basis for the teachings on papal primacy and papal infallibility are found in Matthew 16:17-19 when Jesus said to Simon, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Some who dispute papal primacy claim that the original Greek words used by Matthew (Petros for Peter and petra for rock) show a difference between rock and stone, as if Peter were a small stone and the Church was a large rock. Actually, the Greek word for stone is lithos. Petros is nothing more than petra (rock) with a masculine ending. Calling Simon “petra” would be like calling John “Joan” or “Johanna.” So despite the feminine ending of Petra, linguistic and biblical scholarship maintains that Simon “Peter” is the rock upon which Christ built his church.

FATHER JOHN TRIGILIO JR. is an author, theologian and president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. This article is reprinted with permission from “The Catholicism Answer Book: The 300 Most Frequently Asked Questions,” which he authored with Fr. Kenneth D. Brighenti.


Catechism 101

The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful. For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.

The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter’s successor, as its head. As such, this college has supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 882, 883

Catholics invented the university

During the Dark Ages, Catholic monks preserved classical art, education and history . . .

Fr. John Trigilio

In a dark age, monks preserved classical art and education. Their monasteries became centers of faith and learning, developing into the first universities.

Once the seat of the Roman Empire moved to Constantinople in the East (330 AD), the West went into decline. Northern invaders sacked Rome, and Western society plunged into the Dark Ages. Whereas under the glories of the Roman Empire there had been a period of peace and a high standard of living, cities became places of disease, crime and filth.

In an attempt to save Western Civilization, classical Greek, Latin, poetry, literature, culture and philosophy were preserved by Catholic monks in their monasteries. Western monasticism developed quite differently from Eastern by being communal. This new way of monastic life was championed by St. Benedict. He came up with a way of life that consisted of eight hours of prayer, eight hours of work and eight hours of relaxation.

By preserving the heritage of the Greco-Roman world, everything from architecture to plays was preserved for future generations. The Renaissance owes its flourishing to these monks. Artists, sculptors and architects of the Renaissance saw this period as a rejuvenation of the classical world. In addition to preserving this wealth of history, monks also advanced their own era. They were master artisans. This was the time before the printing press, so a book had to be laboriously hand written. Manuscripts — such as the Bible, Liturgy of the Hours and missals — were elaborately decorated by them. Also, many famous paintings were created by monks like Fra Angelico.

Later, monasteries developed into universities. Many of today’s oldest universities were begun as extensions of monasteries. Monks often taught the sciences in these institutions. These early universities became centers of higher learning and intellectual debate. The medieval monks and monasteries also spawned hospitals in addition to colleges and universities. Science, art, logic, philosophy, music, history, grammar, rhetoric, math and theology (the liberal arts) were the backbone of Middle Age and even Renaissance higher education.

In Ireland, another development occurred in the area of the sacraments. Until the seventh century, Confession was a public matter with public penance. Increasing populations of Catholics and a more private nature of Confession led to the Irish monks’ development of the private Confession. This is the most common form of Confession to this day. The Irish monks also promoted culture, literature and the Christian faith in the pagan, Celtic lands. As on the Continent, Irish monasteries became centers for learning and religion.

Reprinted with permission from “The Catholicism Answer Book: The 300 Most Frequently Asked Questions” by Rev. John Trigilio Jr. and Rev. Kenneth D. Brighenti (Sourcebooks, 2007). Purchase from Amazon.

How did Vatican II change the Mass?

45 years after Vatican II, there is a truer unity of ‘spirit’ & ‘law’  . . .

Fr. John Trigilio

Fr. John Trigilio

Pope Benedict XVI continues John Paul II’s legacy of instructing the faithful about the true teachings of the Second Vatican Council and working with his bishops to ensure their faithful implementation. This  “restoration of the sacred” has most visibly affected the liturgy, for lex orandi, lex credendi – “the way we pray shows what we believe.”

Forty-five years after the Council closed, a truer unity of “spirit” and “law” is being achieved in what Catholics believe and how we pray. Truth is prevailing as the radical reformers who caused much confusion after Vatican II continue to retire from their university chairs and other posts of influence.

One obvious change stemming from Vatican II was the introduction of modifications in the Mass. The essence of the rituals for the sacraments was not changed, but the vernacular was introduced. Latin remained and still remains the standard, universal and official language for worship and doctrine. Countries can get authorization from the Vatican to translate the Mass and sacraments into the vernacular, and that was done after the Council closed. While the Council Fathers never intended the complete removal of Latin from the public worship and prayer of the Western Church, in practice, most American and European countries went 100% vernacular after the Council.

Since the reign of John Paul II (1978-2005), the true spirit of Vatican II was reclaimed by the actual letter of Vatican II. Many innovators had tried to justify their liturgical abuses by claiming they were being faithful to the “spirit” of the law without being slaves to the “letter” of the law. On the contrary, John Paul showed that the intent of the Council Fathers can be found in the documents they issued. He reminded us of the Church’s rich patrimony and heritage, from the Latin language to the elegant and edifying beauty of Catholic art and music.

Abuses came not from Vatican II or because of Vatican II, but from those who distorted the Council Fathers’ intentions and the implementation of the documents. Optional celibacy for priests of the Latin rite, ordination of women, allowing artificial contraception by married couples, removing the obligation to attend Sunday Mass every week, forbidding Latin in any public worship, getting rid of devotions to the Virgin Mary and the saints, removing statues from churches, removing altar (communion) rails, moving tabernacles from the sanctuary and forcing the priest to celebrate Mass facing the people were never required or mandated by Vatican II.

Reprinted with permission from “The Catholicism Answer Book: The 300 Most Frequently Asked Questions” by Rev. John Trigilio Jr. and Rev. Kenneth D. Brighenti (Sourcebooks, 2007).

Why did God make the devil?

God made everything good, but with the gift of free will some have chosen evil . . .

Fr. John Trigilio

Fr. John Trigilio

The simple answer: God didn’t make the devil. He created the angel Lucifer who later of his own free will made himself into the devil by opposing the will of God.

Just as Genesis tells us that God created everything inherently good (“and God saw that it was good”), it was only after sin that humans and some angels became evil of their own free choice. Other religions contend that there has always been an eternal struggle between good and evil, between God and the devil. That’s not Christian teaching.

Scripture speaks of a great heavenly battle between the Archangel Michael and the other angels, Lucifer and the third of the angelic host who followed him (Rev 12:3-9). The fallen angels were cast into hell and, once there, became known as devils or demons, whereas the two-thirds of the good angels went to heaven and are still called angels.

If God knew beforehand that Lucifer would be bad, why create him at all? Why not just spare the universe the devil in the long run? Fair question. Again, remember that God creates good. Only creatures with a free will can choose evil and sin, and then face the consequences of their choice.

If God prevented the devil from being created merely because later, after being created, Lucifer would freely choose to go bad, then it’s the same as not having a free will after all. If only those who choose good are allowed to exist, what freedom is that?

Were the evil people and angels not allowed to exist before they even made their choice, it would not be just. It would be condemning a person before they commit the crime. Punishment must come after the fact, not in anticipation of it. That would be like a parent disciplining a two-year-old child for bad behavior she will commit as a teenager.

This column is reprinted with permission from “The Catholicism Answer Book: The 300 Most Frequently Asked Questions” by Rev. John Trigilio Jr. and Rev. Kenneth D. Brighenti (Sourcebooks, 2007).

Who can bless a home?

Father Trigilio suggests keeping a holy water near your home’s  entrance . . .

Fr. John Trigilio

Normally anyone can walk through a home with holy water and say prayers. In the past, it was a custom in Catholic homes for fathers to bless their children before bed. It’s a good idea to keep holy water in fonts at the entrance of homes so that the faithful may bless themselves as they enter or leave.

Formal blessing of a home, however, is usually reserved to the ordained ministry. Although there are provisions for lay ministers and others to pray the prayers, it’s traditional for a deacon or priest to bless a home, especially when a family moves in. Deacons or priests may also bless homes during the Easter and Christmas seasons. In countries like Poland, Ukraine and Czech Republic, priests visit Catholics families — especially on the feast of the Epiphany. Catholics in Nordic and Mediterranean countries often have their homes blessed with the water blessed at Easter. It’s also a way for the parish priest or deacon to get to know his parishioners. In America, these customs have fallen away, with the exception of blessing the home when a family moves in.

The ministry of blessing involves a particular exercise of the priesthood of Christ. The general instructions in the Book of Blessings spell out the different ministers who may preside, in which the first is the bishop. When the celebration involves the entire diocese, the bishop may reserve certain celebrations to himself. Second, it belongs to the ministry of the priesthood when the celebration involves the local parish community. Third, it belongs to the ministry of the deacon, because the deacon assists the bishop and priests. Finally, there are provisions for lay people, the priesthood of the faithful. This is especially appropriate when parents bless their children or food at meal time.

When Catholics move into a house, they would do well to ask their parish priest to preside over a ceremony to thank God for the gift of their new home. The blessing usually recalls the holy family of Nazareth — Jesus, Mary and Joseph — who inspire Christian families to live according to the virtues.

This column is reprinted with permission from “The Catholicism Answer Book: The 300 Most Frequently Asked Questions” by Rev. John Trigilio Jr and Rev. Kenneth D. Brighenti (Sourcebooks, 2007).

What was the original sin?

The kind of fruit is irrelevant; the point is that Adam & Eve disobeyed God . . .

Fr. John Trigilio

First of all, the Bible never says that Adam and Eve took a bite out of an apple. The fruit they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is never identified in Scripture. The kind of fruit they ate is irrelevant. The point is that Adam and Eve disobeyed God.

Original sin is the term used to describe the first sin of our first parents. As prototypes of the human race, their sin had consequences — not just for them, but for their descendants. It is called “original” since it was the first sin committed by any human.

Original sin’s effects are significant. If Adam and Eve had been exposed to radioactive material, they would have passed the effects on genetically to subsequent generations. Spiritually, their sin was transmitted in the same way. We have inherited their proclivity to sin; we are born with a tendency to sin.

Original sin is like being born without a resistance to temptation. When God created the first man and woman, He endowed them with sanctifying grace, which makes a person holy. Though sanctifying grace does not make you sinless, it makes you spiritually strong so you can better fight temptations to commit sin and evil.

Original sin wounded human nature like a viral infection can wound a physical body. Disobeying God is more than just breaking divine law — it is dangerous to the health of your soul. Sin is as much a spiritual disease as it is an act of defiance against the law of God.

Death and the loss of heaven were the final consequences of original sin. God had given mankind the preternatural gift of immortality, and the disease of sin killed that. The gravity of the offense is measured by the dignity of the person. If I slap my brother, it is wrong. If I slap my mother, it is worse because she is my mother and deserves more respect and honor.

Disobeying God is a slap in His face, and since His dignity as the Almighty Lord of Heaven and Earth is infinite, the offense against Him is equally infinite. Original sin meant humanity needed a savior and a redeemer.

This column is reprinted with permission from “The Catholicism Answer Book: The 300 Most Frequently Asked Questions” by Rev. John Trigilio Jr and Rev. Kenneth D. Brighenti (Sourcebooks, 2007).