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October 2014
Ask a Franciscan
CNS PHOTO/ALESSANDRO BIANCHI, REU TERS Miter’s Origins
What is the history and significance of the bishop’s miter?
Answer
Caring for In Vitro Newborns
I am an RN in a neonatal intensive care unit, taking care of preemies and very sick infants. Many of our babies are multiples, the result of in vitro fertilization. Some people have asked me how I can take care of these babies who were not conceived in a natural way. My answer is that the babies are here now, so I feel I should take care of them.

Is it against Catholic doctrine for neonatal nurses to take care of babies not conceived in the natural way? Does such a baby still have a soul? I would think so, but there may be disagreement about that. It seems to me that even if a baby was conceived in a petri dish, the hand of God still played a part in that baby’s creation, or the child would not have survived and been born.

Answer
Sunday Mass Obligation
I am 84 years old and am in generally good health. Am I still obliged to attend Mass on Sundays? Most mornings I have little energy in getting myself motivated.
Answer
Secular Institutes
I have heard that there is a secular institute founded by Father Agostino Gemelli, OFM. Could you give me a bit of background on secular institutes in general and this one in particular? Do you have a US address for it?
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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