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June 2015
Ask a Franciscan
CNS PHOTO/L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO VIA REUTER No Unforgivable Sin
What sins against the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven?
Answer
Baptizing Grandchildren Secretly
At a recent meeting, the topic of unbaptized grandchildren came up. I have been told by many priests and deacons that I could not baptize my grandchildren because it can only be administered once.

What happens when grandparents baptize their grandchildren, and no one is ever told? What if, many years later, that grandchild decides to become a baptized Catholic? Since the soul is already marked from the first Baptism, what happens?

I understand that one should not baptize a child if the person is not in a position to raise the child as a Catholic, which is my case. My grandchildren live far from me.

Answer
Different Customs
In Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, people make the sign of the cross from head to waist, right shoulder to left—and with thumb, index finger and middle finger joined.

In the West it is from left shoulder to right and with an open palm. Why?

Answer
Ash Wednesday Questions
My lifelong curiosity prompts me to ask: 1) When and how did Ash Wednesday originate? 2) What was the specific thinking that inspired this practice? 3) Can you recommend reference sources on this subject?
Answer
If you have a question for Father Pat, please submit it here. Please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Some answer material must be mailed since it is not available in digital form. You can still send questions to: Ask a Franciscan, 28 W. Liberty Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202.
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