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March 2016 Letters

Q. When I ask two priests for a simple answer to a question, I get one answer from one and a different answer from the other. No two answers are alike. It’s very confusing and discouraging.

A. The issue is not with the priests—it’s with you. You’re trying to duplicate a response in the hope of achieving clarity, but such clarity is elusive. You’ll never find a satisfactory answer.

Asking multiple priests will only add to your confusion and discouragement. The only solution is to ask one priest only. Trust in his direction and his advice.

Q. I have a problem with unwanted thoughts, including some that are blasphemous. How can terrible thoughts not be serious sins?

A. I can present a rational argument that since we’re not capable of controlling our thoughts, we can’t be held responsible. But rational arguments aren’t necessarily persuasive.

Everyone has uncontrolled and unwanted thoughts, some disturbing and distressful. The difference between you and them is that you’ve decided these thoughts are sinful; other people don’t make that judgment.

We can’t make unwanted thoughts go away. We can, however, stop thinking that having them is sinful. You can do this by choosing to believe that what I’m saying is truthful—and then living and practicing that truth.

Published in2016 MarchSA Mailbox