new Q&A post

You have questions, I have answers. Ask.

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36 Responses to new Q&A post

  1. If an astronaut is ever lost in space and not retrieved, where will he resurrect?

  2. Matt Z. says:

    What is your thoughts on the Separation of Church and State?

    Should the state follow and endorse a specific religion like Catholicism?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Given that the leaders of the Church are fallen sinners, who do a poor job of running the Church, they should not be permitted to run the State also. The State should allow freedom of religion, and should cultivate a society in which the citizens may worship God openly and freely, according to conscience.

  3. Dora says:

    Within a sacramental marriage, you said one spouse may divorce the other who insists on their cooperation in unnatural sex acts, ie uses birth control, withdrawal, or who tries to violate the natural act, itself. Even so, your position is that this alone would be insufficient grounds for the “virtuous spouse” to have the right to remarry, as different factors altogether are required for an annulment. So my question is… If a Catholic were to be automatically excommunicated, is their marriage still sacramental? What if a woman aborts every conceived child? What if one spouse tries to murder the other?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Sinful behavior does not cause a valid marriage to become invalid. However, sinful behavior might indicate that the sinning spouse did not intend a life-long exclusive union before God, and if so, that would be grounds for annulment. The excommunication of a spouse does not affect the validity of the marriage. However, the same thinking applies. If the grounds for excommunication indicate the lack of consent to the true nature of marriage, then it might be grounds for annulment. But not automatically. In many cases, the marriage would remain valid. The same answer applies to abortion and spousal murder. You always have to consider whether the marriage was valid separately from the bad behavior.

  4. Johnathan says:

    Continuing from a previous thread. My interlocutor responded concerning the principle of double effect:

    “Per St. Thomas, self-defense is lawful only by the rule of double
    effect. I must have explained this badly, since in fact I have the
    same understanding as you: the rule of double effect does not abolish
    the intrinsic evil of the secondary effect, in this case homicide.
    What makes the act lawful is that we do not intend the secondary
    effect (homicide), but only the primary effect (protecting lives of
    the innocent). Now, obviously it is possible for people to invoke this
    hypocritically, e.g., killing a fleeing burglar who no longer poses a
    threat. The proof that we sincerely do not intend the secondary effect
    is that we do not kill unless it is absolutely necessary to the
    primary effect.

    This is why the death penalty cannot be lawful under the rule of
    double effect any more. The death penalty is no longer strictly
    necessary for the protection of the lives of the innocent. So-called
    deterrence is really an appeal to social utility: i.e., you’re trying
    to reduce the chances of future attempts at murder by other men. But
    you’re not doing anything to protect the lives of the innocent from
    the violence of the apprehended murderer. He has already been rendered
    harmless by imprisonment.

    This is all consistent with your citation of John Paul II. Homicide
    doesn’t become non-evil because of some intention or circumstance. It
    is nonetheless permissible and lawful (which is all I mean by
    “justified”), only on the supposition that it is not intended (for we
    can never intend evil for the sake of some good), but an unavoidable
    side effect of some intended good.

    If you want to criticize that, you can, but then you’re pretty much
    denying that the rule of double effect has any validity, which would
    have all sorts of consequences for Catholic moral theology.”

    As a moral theologian, how would you respond?

    • Ron Conte says:

      “What makes the act lawful is that we do not intend the secondary effect (homicide), but only the primary effect (protecting lives of the innocent).”
      False, false, false! Intention is the first font; the moral object is the second font. Intending evil makes the first font bad. Choosing an act ordered toward an evil object makes the second font bad and the act intrinsically evil.

      Examples: If you intend to relieve all suffering in a patient (good intention), but you choose to reach this good end by an act of euthanasia, you commit an intrinsically evil act. If you intend to save the life of the mother, by choosing an act of direct abortion, you commit an intrinsically evil act. And so on.

      Acts with a good moral object, such as an act of self defense, are not intrinsically evil because they do not have an evil object. Self-defense is not an evil chosen for a good intention. The principle of double effect is applied to self-defense in that the act has two effects in the third font of circumstances, the death of a person and the saving of innocent life. But the intention and object are both good.

      The death penalty is intrinsically permissible; it has a good moral object. Given circumstances where it is not necessary, then its use when unnecessary is a sin under the third font. But it does not become intrinsically evil (given a lawfully convicted criminal guilty of a very grave offense).

  5. Jonathan says:

    Why are Protestants and Eastern schismatics called Christians?

    Christ founded only one religion, the Catholic religion.

    We wouldn’t call an individual who claims to be Catholic but dissents from one or more of its teachings knowingly a catholic. Even more so, why would we consider Protestants to be Christians when they reject the Catholic faith? To be Christian necessarily means to be Catholic. We cannot desperate the two, as of believing in a set is specific doctrines makes one a Christian, whereas you can dissent from any other number of teachings.

    • Ron Conte says:

      The Church does use the term Christian for Protestants and the Orthodox. They are Christians in some ways, but not in other ways. So you have a point, but the terminology could go either way.

      Many Catholics have rejected doctrines or dogmas, openly, and they are still allowed to teach in Catholic schools and to remain in the clergy. I wish it were as simple as you are saying.

  6. What about split brain patients, who can have two streams of consciousness and two personalities? If one commits a sin, are both guilty?

  7. Marco says:


    About the sanctity of past popes and Staudt’s remarks, we have had Popes like Borgia or Stephens VI who were far from being saints, and i don’t think that they were the favorite pick of the Holy Spirit.

    So i would say that Cardinal Ratzinger’s remark was true. God’s Grace prevents the Pope from falling into heresy and schism but doesn’t always prevents him from being an evil or corrup person.

    Do you think this is doctrinally wrong? If so, why?

    • Ron Conte says:

      For the reasons stated in now two posts at
      Suppose a Cardinal is elected Pope, and that Cardinal is a secret heretic. Once he accepts his office, the grace of God, by that act of free will in accepting the office of Pope, removes every heresy from his person, and every tendency toward schism or apostasy.

      And I would suggest the same for mortal sin. If he accepts the office, he implicitly repents of his past sins, and the grace of God returns him to the state of grace. Then, during his office as Pope, he can sin, but I doubt he can sin mortally. Saint John the Baptist and Saint Joseph were each unable to commit any personal sin, despite being conceived with original sin. Mary had no original sin, so her situation is somewhat different, but she also was preserved from personal sin subsequent to the Immaculate Conception by a special grace of God. I don’t see why the Pope cannot have the grace to avoid actual mortal sin, as well as teaching heresy, and committing apostasy, heresy, or schism.

      I am certain that the Pope cannot be a heretic or teach heresy, as this was taught implicitly by Vatican I, and explicitly by Bellarmine. That the Pope cannot commit actual mortal sin is speculative. And now I need to write a third article.

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