Weekend Q and A

Ask a question on Catholic theology or related topics in the comments section.

my question: I’m not hearing a lot of comments from my readers lately, why is that?

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16 Responses to Weekend Q and A

  1. Marcos Vázquez says:

    Hi Ron. I’ve got several questions:
    1. Since the Fall, we need the grace of God in order to make good works. Was it so before the Fall? (I’m not speaking only about good works which are meritory for Heaven, just good works, even if the one who does them is in mortal sin).
    2. In order to do good works which are meritory for Heaven one must be in the state of grace. But, that doesn’t mean good works done prior to receiving justification are sins, they are good works that do not count towards eternal life (to get a higher degree of holiness in Heaven). This is so for catechumens, from what I’ve read in Denzinger. My question is: in the case someone who hasn’t know the Gospel is saved through baptism of desire, wouldn’t any of his good works increase his level of holiness in Heaven.
    3. Holy people (for example, Abraham) who lived before Christ entered Heaven after the death of Christ or after his Ascension? I think it was after the Ascension, but if that is true, then why did Jesus say to the good thief: “Today you will be in My kingdom”?
    4. Why did Jesus say in Mc 13,32 that He didn’t know the day of the end of the world? Because He is God, therefore He is omniscient.
    5. This question is about who is (adoptive) son of God. Does it refer to: a) All baptized with water. b) All baptized with water or desire. c) All baptized (whether with water or desire) who are in the state of grace.
    I think it’s b), isn’t it?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Answers:
      #5. All who are in the state of grace, whether by baptism with water (the formal Sacrament) or by baptism by desire or by blood, are children of God by spiritual adoption according to the Council of Trent, decree on Justification. What happens if the baptized fall out of the state of grace, they are in one sense, but not another, children of God.

      #4. Jesus means that in his finite human mind, He did not know the date because He chose, at that point in time, not to obtain that knowledge from His own Divine Nature.

      #3. The Death of Christ opened the gates of Heaven. That sacrifice on the Cross is the source of all graces and all salvation, so that is the opening of Heaven. Timing is a difficult question, as time in Purgatory is not the same as time on earth. Those who died a thousand years before Christ are not waiting a thousand years in Purgatory or thereafter Limbo; less time seems to pass for them until Christ opens Heaven for them.

      #2. and #1 I will answer later.

    • Ron Conte says:

      “1. Since the Fall, we need the grace of God in order to make good works. Was it so before the Fall? (I’m not speaking only about good works which are meritory for Heaven, just good works, even if the one who does them is in mortal sin).”

      Before the Fall, Adam and Eve were always in the state of grace, and they needed grace for meritorious works (meriting reward in Heaven). There are natural acts, which are good, but not meritorious, and which do not require grace, such as eating a healthy meal, exercising, taking a walk, etc.

      “2. In order to do good works which are meritory for Heaven one must be in the state of grace. But, that doesn’t mean good works done prior to receiving justification are sins, they are good works that do not count towards eternal life (to get a higher degree of holiness in Heaven). This is so for catechumens, from what I’ve read in Denzinger. My question is: in the case someone who hasn’t know the Gospel is saved through baptism of desire, wouldn’t any of his good works increase his level of holiness in Heaven.”

      Good works done prior to justification are NOT sins. A work can be naturally good, requiring no grace, and not be a sin. An act can be an imperfection, and not a sin. Works that are not meritorious, that do not count toward Heaven, are not necessarily sins.

      Someone in a state of grace by baptism of desire has grace and can merit through good works, and therefore increase his reward in Heaven. I’m not sure I’d say “level of holiness”.

  2. King Robert the Bruce says:

    Genuine question Ron do you believe God approves of the state of Israel persecution of the Palestinians I fully understand that the Jews believe it to be the promised land given to them by God.But does God approve of the persecution the Palestinians are suffering don’t get me wrong Israel has a right to defend itself but the retaliation is always disproportionate against a destitute population where then do the Palestinians fit into modern Israel. Remember it was Palestine when Jesus walked the earth there. PS I genuinely mean no disrespect to anybody of the Jewish faith I know how much they suffered persecution in Europe and the World and need and are entitled to a homeland but so are the Palestinians.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Good question, fairly worded. God sees the Israelites and the Palestinians as equally His children. He does not approve of any unjust violence against anyone, especially when the violence does grave harm. The Palestinians are God’s children and deserve a homeland. The solution to this conflict is difficult, but I think God may resolve it within a generation or two.

  3. JESUS AGUILAR says:

    Good evening Mr Conte I hope your back is better. I would like to ask, if the citizens that vote for a candidate or political party whick are known to be pro abortion …are they excomunicated latae sententiae? Regards.

    • Ron Conte says:

      No, they are not excommunicated latae sententiae (automatically). The excommunication for abortion only applies if the person either procures a direct abortion or assists formally, that is, in a manner such that the abortion could not occur without that person’s help.

  4. goatmaster23 says:

    Hi Ron, I’ve got more questions:
    1. Souls in hell are only punished for their mortal sins, right? Venial sins aren’t punished there, or am I wrong?
    2. If you commit a mortal sin A, you repent and confess correctly that sin, and so God forgives you. If in the end you go to hell, you won’t be punished for that sin, right?
    3. If you commit a mortal sin A, then you repent and confess it, and God forgives you, but after a time you decide you no more repent of that sin:
    Case 1: If you repent again after that, you have to confess that you no more repented about that sin (even if you never again commited it)?
    Case 2: If instead of repenting again, as in case 1, you finally die unrepentant of that sin, would you go to hell because of that? (I suspect the answer is yes)

    4. If every sin is an infinite offence to the magesty of God, then why don’t venial sins deserve an infinite punishment?

    Questions 1-3 are not real cases, it is just curiosity.

    • Ron Conte says:

      1. My opinion is that souls in Hell are punished for both mortal and venial sins, but after a time, all the punishment due for venial sins is met, and so the amount of suffering decreases somewhat, but thereafter they are punished at the same level forever, with no further decrease in punishment or suffering.

      2. People are not punished in Hell for mortal sins that have been repented and forgiven. If you commit 99 mortal sins, repent, and are forgiven, then commit one mortal sin before death from which you did not repent, you are punished forever for one mortal sin, not 100. However, if you did not do sufficient penance for the 99 repented mortal sins, then it is like the case of venial sins, a limited punishment is due, and when it is completed, the punishment for those repented sins ends.

      3. Once a sin is forgiven, it is forgiven. You cannot undo the forgiveness by wishing that you did not repent. It might be a new mortal sin to wish that you did not repent of a past mortal sin, if this includes the desire to commit the sin anew or some other interior sin. In that case you would need repentance again for the new interior sin.

      “4. If every sin is an infinite offence to the magesty of God, then why don’t venial sins deserve an infinite punishment?”

      Every sin is NOT an infinite offense against God. A venial sin is like when you offend your friend, but not so much that the friendship ends. It is substantially limited in extent and in the punishment due (venial sins).

  5. Philip says:

    cf Gen 3: suppose Eve did not eat the apple offered to her by the snake, i.e. no fall of man, would God still have sent his Son to earth?

    • Ron Conte says:

      That is highly speculative. The most common theological opinion is that Adam and Eve would still have had children, God would have still become a man in Christ, but we don’t know what salvation would have been like without sin.

  6. Michael says:

    This is more of a comment than a question but one of the things concerning the Miracle is that a permanent sign will be placed in Medjugorje and perhaps several other locations throughout the world. Yet, there will still be many people who deny this is miraculous and from God. I’ve always thought how could someone possibly deny something so profound and extraordinary but then I watch the news and read online and see the ever-increasing talk about UFOs. I don’t think this is a coincidence as UFO belief is becoming more mainstream, it makes sense that by the time of the Miracle, many more will attribute it to contact by aliens rather than God. I’m wondering if Satan knows what’s coming and is pushing the UFO agenda to sway as many people as possible away from believing in God when the Miracle does happen.

  7. John Platts says:

    There was a recent article on LifeNews.com (which can be found at https://www.lifenews.com/2021/07/12/catholic-church-removes-priest-who-said-catholics-shouldnt-vote-for-pro-abortion-democrats/) which said that Father James Altman was removed from active ministry because he was accused of being “divisive and ineffective” by Bishop William Callahan.

    Do you agree with Bishop William Callahan’s decision to remove Fr. James Altman from active ministry, or was Bishop Callahan wrong in removing Fr. Altman from active ministry?

    • Ron Conte says:

      One of the main problems in the Church today is every Catholic being judge of every decision made by Popes and bishops. It is not my place to second guess Bishop Callahan. However, Fr. Altman is not behaving like a faithful disciple of Christ. He has repeatedly expressed malice toward Bishops, and that is unacceptable for any priest, deacon, religious, or lay person. Priests especially must be respectful and cooperative with their bishops.

  8. Matt Z. says:

    Hi Ron,

    Can you give an explanation of this Bible verse?
    1 Corinthians 7:9
    “But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

    • Ron Conte says:

      {7:8} But I say to the unmarried and to widows: It is good for them, if they would remain as they are, just as I also am.
      {7:9} But if they cannot restrain themselves, they should marry. For it is better to marry, than to be burned.

      The text does not actually say burn with passion, that is a loose and interpretive translation. It refers to couples who are dating, and who have difficulty remaining chaste. They should marry, for while virginity or celibacy are higher states of life, marriage is good before God and it is better to marry than to burn in Hell.

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