Question & Answer
Fr. Bernard Nguyễn Trọng thưởng, CMC Phụ Trách

19. I am in trouble with the law!
Why are there corrupted cops?

Dear Father,

I wouldn't know where to begin but what I've gone through in life has been nothing but sorrow and pain in my eyes. In other words what I mean is everyone in my family looks at me as a failure. Even though I've graduated high school, since then I have not attended college yet. A private college accepted me; then again I was constantly getting into trouble with the law.

I know God made man but he doesn't control how they act. Why are there corrupted cops? I live in the state of Florida, down South in Miami. Right now there is 10 cops on trial for conspiracy of planting guns at crime scenes. I was pulled over on a Florida Turnpike last year. The highway patrol searched my car and pulled out a sack of weed. I went to court and was placed on probation for a year. Sentenced by the court I had to attend a substance abuse class. While I was in this class my urine was dropped every Monday and Wednesday. One of my results came up adulterated and in another the counselor said I was tested positive for cocaine. At this point I was furious and hurt at the same time. Then another three more months came by and my last two results came up all negative.

There were others who were also in counseling with me. They were promoted on to phase three, and I am still in phase two.  I suspected that they paid the officials on the side or so. That I don't know. At this point I stopped going to this substance abuse class since I felt like I was being discriminated against. Until this day I am still caught up by this system that is holding my rights. Basically probation has isolated me from having a social life.

Another thing that concerns me is this Thursday coming up; I have to appear in court in Port St. Lucie for violation of probation since I stopped attending those classes. Deep down in my heart those classes only make me feel depressed. On my own I could stay sober and clean for my well being not for anyone else. It's been four months now that I've stayed sober. Friends whom I associated with before grew distant since I don't smoke any more. It is even better that it doesn't bother me. I have faith in God that I'll make it through this whole ordeal.

The two times I've been in jail and all the financial distress I've been going through with the law have emotionally wrecked me apart. My family has a hard time trusting me. My parents accused me of doing crack. It hurts me to my soul when my own parents accused me of it.

I read about your response to Nhi's letter. I also believe that God has shown his ways in bad things happening throughout my family's life. My older sister's car flipped over and nothing happened to her or my younger sister. Not only that both my younger sister and I was also involved in a seperate accident.

I will end this email here and thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and concerns. God Bless. Sincerely, (Long)

Dear Long,
Thank you for sharing your pain and struggle in life. We all have learned that many hardships come to us because of our own inexperience, being lack of wisdom. Many of our mistakes cost us and our loved ones dearly. So we try to learn from that and try to avoid making similar mistakes in the future. There is corruption in the judicial system of this country, but it is still better than the one in Vietnam or other countries.

The best thing you could do right now is try to stay away from drug for good and to patiently go through all the requirements, clearing yourself from the trouble with the law. It will be only worse for you if you keep on resisting like this. Try to do your time and get a new start for your life. Your experience has shown that only by doing good that a human being could be happy. Even though bad things could still happen to us, but no one could blame us and there is no need to blame anyone. God can turn evil into good. When everything seems to go wrong, God is the only one who can make things right ultimately.

May God be with you through your hard time and don't forget to pray.

20. What is the difference between a
Catholic and a Christian?

Father, how does  one get to heaven, and what is the difference between a Catholic and a Christian? Thanks. ( Hoàng Nguyễn)

Hi Hoàng,
One gets to heaven by worshipping and loving God, by loving and serving God in others.

Christians are those who believe in Jesus as the Son of God, the Savior of the world. The Catholic Church is the original Christian Church. However, there are Christians who do not belong to the Catholic Church because of the divisions in the past. The division between the Eastern and the Western Churches happenned between the fourth and eighth century. In the sixteenth century Luther started a movement separating from the Catholic Church. We called them Protestants because they protested the Church and left. Luther's followers later divided among themselves further into hundred and thousands of denominations such as Old Baptist Church, New Baptist Church... We can see that division always gives birth to more divisions.

The Prostestants and those belong to the Eastern Churches and the Church of England are Christians because they believe in Christ, but they don't belong to the Catholic Church. Catholics are Christian too but we belong to the original Christian Church which was founded by Christ. You might ask: If one only needs to love and worship God, to love and serve others to get to heaven, does it matter if one belong to the Catholic Church or other Christian communities? It does matter because Christ founded the Church and diclosed his intention of how we are to love and worship God: that is through the celebration of the sacraments. If it does not matter, Christ would not have founded the Church. I hope this answer your question. God bless.

21. Have I really fallen in love with this boy? 
What can I do?

Hello Father,

I have been reading your advice to others and I think that you give really good advice and you must have helped many people. Well now it's my turn. I hope you will be able to understand me and help me. I'm 14 (about to turn 15) and lives in Texas. People say love is a beautiful thing that can happen anytime in our life. There's this boy that I've fallen in love with. I can feel that it is love because there's nothing like it. I've been through infatuation before and I can tell that this feeling is different. He also told me that he feels the same way. We've been in love for about half a year already. Our love is very pure because we haven't done anything that other people would do to ruin their purity. We just love each other respectfully. We both believe that we should be chaste until we get married. I also love him for that because he is unlike other boys.

Father, do you think that all this I'm saying is naive? Most adults think that people at my age are too young to be in love. Shouldn't love be free to come whenever it wants to? Or am I just thinking that I am in love. I pray every night to God asking for help because I know that I love God and that God judges everything based on love. I'm scared to tell my parents because they wouldn't understand me. They would yell at me and lecture me about how I am too young. But Father, you can't help your feelings right? What can I do? Thank you for your time and future advice. God Bless. (T)

Hi T,
Thank you for being a good fan of Teens Puzzled. Love between boy and girl is very mysterious. It is like a spark lit up when two people meet and they become connected. Sometimes that connection just fades away; sometimes it stays forever. The love between you and your boyfriend has a good start. It has a sign of true love.

You might have heard the slogan "true love waits". You may be young but your understanding of love is more mature than even most adults. Your feeling is not wrong because it is guided by good reasoning and a good conscience. A pure love shows respect to God who is the source of love and respect each other. True love protects lovers from spiritual death caused by mortal sin. As long as you two stay in the boundary of purity, you are in the right path and love will bring you happiness. If you stray away from the path of purity, your love would become lust. It is not true love anymore and it will ruin your life.

Love is like a beautiful flower. It is very fragile and easily ruined. So you must be very careful to stay in the boundary. Don't go against you parents' reasonable instruction. After your 15th birthday you might want to ask your parents for permission to invite your boyfriend over for dinner so that they can get to know him. If you think that your parents are not ready for that then you might want to wait for one or two more years to do that.

The important thing is that you have to show your parents that you know your priority in life. For now, your faith in God, your family, your study, must come first then your boyfriend comes after. After you have finished college, the priority might change, but for now that should be the order of priority. If you let your love interferes with the order, you might want to question your love to be true or lie. True love is free but at the same time it should bring good things to those involved, not ruining life. If it brings ruin, conflict and separation, that is not true love.

May God, who is the source of love, give you wisdom and guidance. Don't forget to pray. God bless.


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