Theology Q and A (closed)

Ask a question on a topic in Catholic theology.

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33 Responses to Theology Q and A (closed)

  1. Tom Mazanec says:

    What is the morality of tattoos?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Tattoos are forbidden in the OT due to the use of tattoos by the pagan peoples living around the Jews as a way to worship pagan deities. Conservative Jews today still eschew the use of tattoos. But there is no reason for Christians to avoid them (given a prudential choice). The disciplines of the OT were dispensed by Christ.

  2. Tom Mazanec says:

    Also, I forget if you covered this, but what would be the theology of extraterrestrial intelligence and our trying to bring the Gospel to them (if they exist)?

    • Ron Conte says:

      They would be in a fallen state, since the whole universe is in a fallen state (except Jesus and Mary). They would have natural law. The ability to reason abstractly proves free will which proves an immortal soul. So they could be saved just as persons before Judaism were saved.

  3. Mark P. says:

    Was the prohibition of using contraception an infallible teaching before Humane Vitae? Did HV make it infallible? Or was HV just restating an already infallible teaching in new terms due to the introduction of the birth control pill?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Germain Grisez argues that it was infallible under the OUM before HV. I would say that Casti Connubii, HV, and the other documents under JP2 combine to make it infallible now, if it was not already by the time of HV. HV may be the document that put it over the top to be infallible.

  4. Tom Mazanec says:

    Is ESP possible in a theological sense?

  5. Tom Mazanec says:

    What is the morality of cryonics? Obviously a person can be frozen indefinitely, as fertilized ova are persons and they have been frozen. If a person is frozen at clinical death but before the soul leaves and revived decades or centuries later, is this moral?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I don’t think it is moral to freeze human embryos, as these persons end up in a state of virtual slavery (treated as object to be owned) and have very little chance of being brought to life. As for freezing an adult, it is not proven that revival can be done. Freezing a living person is a type of murder, since they probably cannot be revived. Freezing a dead body is probably useless and a waste of time, money, and resources. I don’t see any compelling moral reason to freeze a dead body and try to revive it decades later.

  6. Tom Mazanec says:

    What do identical twins and chimerae indicate about ensoulment? Does a fertilized ovum have two souls if it is destined to split into identical twins? If two fertilized ova join, what happens to the “extra” soul?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Perhaps the second soul is created when the split occurs. If two separate persons in the womb fuse, I would expect that one dies and their soul goes to heaven, while the other lives.

  7. Tom Mazanec says:

    What is a “gloss”? I am reading Summa Theologica and it sometimes refers to a “gloss” on, say Mazanec 9:11. Where do these come from? Are they inerrant?

    • Ron Conte says:

      A gloss is a comment written into the margins of Sacred Scripture. These are analogous to footnotes and annotations in today’s Bible editions. They are not inerrant. In the Summa, those types of glosses represent the common interpretation of scholars and clerics.

  8. Tom Mazanec says:

    Is it possible to create a computer artificial intelligence with a soul?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I don’t think so. Free will, reason, and an immortal soul are three inseparable things. I don’t think an AI can have any one or more of those.

  9. ERM says:

    Hi Ron. You frequently write about a new heresy emanating from false reinterpretations of Humanae Vitae and the theology of the body.

    When you explain this heresy—if I’m understanding you correctly—you begin by reviewing the three fonts of morality, and then you indicate that this heresy arises from a denial or minimization of the second font.

    May you please compare and contrast this to the Modernist heresy as described by St. Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis.

    • Ron Conte says:

      That document argues against the idea that dogma can change and evolve. The heresy of radically reinterpreting HV does not claim a change in dogma. They claim that their radical reinterpretation was always the correct understanding of HV. They call contraception intrinsically evil, but then they redefine “contraception” to exclude many acts with the same object.

  10. ERM says:

    Hi Ron. If I understand your writing correctly, you state a variety of errors in conservative Catholic subculture: radical reinterpretation of HV, corrupted theology of the body, denial or reinterpretation of the second font of morality, and opposition to Pope Francis. In response to my last question, you distinguish these from the Modernist heresy (that dogma can change and evolve, condemned in Pascendi Dominici Gregis) because these don’t claim that dogma can change and evolve.

    Do you think that the errors condemned by PDG continue today in a liberal Catholic subculture?

    If so, do you think that a future conservative Pope may condemn both the heresy that you report, and the Modernist heresy, building on both PDG and HV?

    • Ron Conte says:

      The modernist heresy is still alive and well, so perhaps a future Pope will again condemn it. What is most alarming is that so many Catholic teachers do not seem to care if their teachings are gravely erroneous, and neither does most of their audience.

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