The Latest Q&A Post

Ask a question on any subject in theology.

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38 Responses to The Latest Q&A Post

  1. Jonathan says:

    What are you thoughts on this comment:

    “An intrinsically evil act is evil, despite any rationale for the action. However, if an inherently moral good is achieved by the commission of that act (i.e., the moral good is the real motive, not the killing of the individual),, the act is permitted. NOTE CRUCIALLY that the act only becomes PERMISSIBLE (or to use the term in the Catechism, “admissible”), but does not become moral. The true moral factor is the motive, not the act per se.”

    • Ron Conte says:

      Completely ridiculous and heretical. This happens a lot online. Some poorly-catechized Catholic usually under anonymity, takes his or her own severe misunderstandings and teaches them to others as if it were the Gospel or Church doctrine. Note crucially that he just explains his misunderstanding as if teaching facts, but he can’t back it up with quotes from actual doctrine, or a real theological argument.

      The term inherently moral good should refer to an act that is not intrinsically evil. This person thinks it is an achieved end, which would place it in the third font of circumstances. He also claims it is the motive, making it the intended end in the first font. Then he mistakenly thinks that this good intended end makes the act permissible. It does not. VS 79-81 clearly explains that intention and consequences do not justify intrinsically evil acts.

      In fact, the exact error that the person explains and promotes is condemned by JP2 in VS 18:
      If acts are intrinsically evil, a good intention or particular circumstances can diminish their evil, but they cannot remove it. They remain “irremediably” evil acts; per se and in themselves they are not capable of being ordered to God and to the good of the person. “As for acts which are themselves sins (cum iam opera ipsa peccata sunt), Saint Augustine writes, like theft, fornication, blasphemy, who would dare affirm that, by doing them for good motives (causis bonis), they would no longer be sins, or, what is even more absurd, that they would be sins that are justified?”. Consequently, circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act “subjectively” good or defensible as a choice.

      So it is NOT true that an act becomes permissible or subjectively good or defensible as a choice. And it is “even more absurd” that an act would remain intrinsically evil (inherently a sin) and yet be justified. He is saying that the intrinsically evil act is a sin that is justified.

  2. Matt says:

    1. If someone is not married, do they have to stop kissing AFTER getting a “hard on” or the woman gets aroused?

    2. What is “indulging sexual desire?” Does one have to stop BEFORE getting an erection? Contrast this question to 1, which says AFTER. Essentially, can a man keep kissing until he gets an erection and then stop (without committing a sin), or should he stop kissing long before he gets an erection. If one knows that just one kiss, or passionate kissing for 10-15 seconds typically does not result in an erection, but longer kissing than 15 seconds does result in an erection, is a man obligated to stop kissing well before the erection?

    3. When dating, is “expressing desire” okay? For example, if I were to say before marriage: “I want to have sex so bad right now, but I’m Catholic and not allowed to.” Is that the sin of lust? Perhaps saying things like this can lead to saying other things which are lust, so avoiding talking too explicitly about sexual desires is important… since one also needs to avoid “near occasion of sin.” What are your thoughts?

    4. If something is mentioned in Denzinger, does that imply it is infallible?

    5. DEFINE “INORDINATE.” You have said wanting inordinate desire is wrong outside of marriage. But I am clueless about what constitutes “inordinate.”

    Denzinger says:
    477: That a woman’s kiss, since nature does not incline to this, is a mortal sin; but the carnal act, since nature inclines to this, is not a sin, especially when the one exercising it is tempted.
    1140: It is a probable opinion which states that a kiss is only venial when performed for the sake of the carnal and sensible * delight which arises from the kiss, if danger of further consent and pollution is excluded.

    What on Earth is “sensible delight?” This cannot mean any “positive sensations” can it? Or does it mean “erection”… so one has to stop well before getting an erection for kissing to not be accompanied by the mortal sin of lust?

    • Ron Conte says:

      The two quotes from Denzinger are condemned opinions. So the teaching would be the opposite of what is stated. Sensible delight is the physical pleasure from sexual kissing, making out, etc., including, as you said, any positive sensations. This would occur before getting aroused (an erection), but would also include that. What is condemned here is the idea that your motive in these acts can be enjoyment of the act itself, rather than to express love and affection. And this is speaking about unmarried persons, not the married.

      Denzinger is a collection of Church teachings, many of which are non-infallible. I consider that particular teaching on kissing to be an error in the non-infallible teachings of the Church. Kissing, for unmarried persons, should not include lust, which is the willingness to commit a grave sexual sin; otherwise, if it includes some arousal, it is, in my view, only venial, at most.

      1 and 2. They have to stop kissing before danger of pollution (climax). It is prudent to stop before or just after reaching the point of arousal, but not required under pain of mortal sin. And I don’t see why a dating relationship would even need to include making out. Kissing should be an expression of love or affection for the other person, and not a selfish way to obtain physical pleasure, as if you don’t care who you are making out with.

      3. No, that is not the sin of lust. It does seem inappropriate to say that, and might be a near occasion of sin. An unmarried couple could speak about marital sex, chastely, but not in the way that you suggest.

      4. see above
      5. inordinate means contrary to right reason; morally disordered.

  3. If a small boy is raped by a Priest, and he sees the Priest go unpunished, just sent to another Parish, then leaves the Church because of this and dies outside the Church, does he go to Hell?

  4. Dora says:

    Ron, you said “The schism begins with the conservative rejection of papal authority.” So right now there are calls for Pope Francis to resign. If he doesn’t, the schism very well may begin. Right?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I think something else needs to trigger the schism. Francis will teach something more controversial, maybe that women can be ordained deacons. Then they will openly reject him.

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