This month marks my one year anniversary for blogging! I started blogging about Catholic-centric things in late October 2010, so in celebration, here a list of Catholic facts I never knew until this year:

Prayer candles in Chicago

1. Abortion is a severe mortal sin and committing it can lead to excommunication. The catechism outlines that there are certain grave sins can only be absolved through a good confession with the Pope, the bishop of the place or priests authorized by them (see the Catechism – #1463).

2. Any confirmed Catholic can baptize someone into the Catholic faith. A friend had to wait several months before he could have his daughter baptized, so he created a plan to line his the car seat with holy water balloons in case of an accident. He said it would be his dying breath, baptizing his daughter. I hope he drives more carefully and makes it to the planned baptism. UPDATE: Someone who commented graciously informed me that in extremes, one does not need to be a confirmed Catholic (or baptized at all) to baptize someone (CCC 1256).

3. You don’t have to go through a Catechism program in order to get baptized and confirmed into the faith if you were baptized into most other Christian faiths. If someone was baptized with water and the Holy Spirit, they can study the doctrine of the Church and we can welcome them into the Church year-round.

4. Taking Communion on the tongue is actually not the most traditional way to receive the Eucharist; receiving Him in the hand was the original method. The only reason the Church started distributing the Eucharist on the tongue was because superstitious, uninformed people thought the Eucharist was a magical talisman. They would conceal the Eucharist in their hands at Mass and plant them in the fields to improve their crop. For more, listen to this — one of our diocesan priests gave a talk about praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

Elaborate altar – St. John Cantius in Chicago

5. The altar was meant to face east in a church, representing the direction of Christ’s birthplace. As churches were built, the altar slowly moved from the middle of the room toward the side, but the priest continued to face east. Once the altar hit the east wall, the priest still faced east, putting his back to the congregation. It was never a way to block out the congregation or exclude. The priest and the people were reverent and facing God together.

6. Catholics cannot get married or baptized during Lent.

7. Catholics cannot take the symbolic communion that Protestant churches serve. Because Protestants do not preserve “the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness…[,] Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible.” (Catechism, see 1400)

8. My one companion is darkness (Psalm 88, Liturgy of the Hours, Night Prayer)

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

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