Diocesan News

Ask the Register: Spiritual directors?

Q. A few weeks ago, you wrote that a person must be at least 16 in order to potentially incur the penalty of excommunication for abortion. I heard the age is 18. Which is it?

A. Ask the Register was wrong. In the Sept. 11 edition of the Register, we wrote that a person must be 16 in order to incur the penalty of excommunication for abortion. In fact, a person must be 18—although some penalties in the Church may be incurred at 16, latae sententiae penalties cannot be incurred by a person younger than 18. We apologize for the error.

Q. I have read several saints refer to their spiritual directors. I heard about it again recently on Spirit Catholic Radio. How does one go about getting one locally?

A. Spiritual direction is the practice of guiding, helping, and assisting others as they grow in the spiritual life— in the practice of prayer that leads to intimacy with Jesus Christ. A spiritual director, who has experience and wisdom in the Christian life, helps Catholics to hear the voice of the Lord, and to understand how God speaks to us, and how we can better respond.
Spiritual direction is not counseling or therapy. It is also not religious education or catechesis. A spiritual director helps discover the right practices of prayer and penance for each person, and assists in discerning the movement and prompting of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual direction can include sacramental confession, but it does not always.
Many priests in the Diocese of Lincoln make time in their schedule to offer spiritual direction— and the freedom to engage in confession along with spiritual direction is a great grace. On some rare occasions, well-trained religious or laity can also serve as a regular help or guide in the spiritual life. But the best place to begin is often with a priest whom you trust, either asking for his time, or for suggestions about who might be helpful to you.

Write to Ask the Register using our online form, or write to 3700 Sheridan Blvd, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.

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