Theology Q and A

Ask any question on theology. I’ll answer within reason, if I can. Use the comments below for the Q and the A.

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62 Responses to Theology Q and A

  1. Thomas Mazanec says:

    Could a computer with artificial intelligence have a soul?

  2. fr. Philip says:

    Why did the Church decide to make celibacy mandatory for priests?
    Isn’t it time to review that decision?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Most priests have always been celibate because the work requires so much time and effort. Some priests have always been married, though, so both approaches have always been used by the Church. Since Jesus was unmarried and celibate, and Mary was married but ever-virgin, and the Church teaches that celibacy and virginity are better than marriage, the Church cannot choose to have a priesthood that is only married men. That is not the model for the priesthood chosen by Christ. While the number or percentage of married priests is within the authority of the Church to decide, removing the celibacy requirement entirely is probably beyond the authority given by Christ to His Church.

    • fr. Philip says:

      Thx Ron for your answer! I really appreciate your point of view: ‘It is within the authority of the Church to decide.’ So it is.
      I found this interesting article on celibacy:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celibacy#Christianity

  3. Gabriel N. says:

    Do you believe that the consecration of Russia that took place this year will soon provide the ”peace time” of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary? What would be your chronological vision for these subjects? Hugs from Brazil.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Some good will result from the consecrations. The first consecration (JP2) resulted in the dissolution of the USSR and the establishment of democracy in Russia. This current consecration, I don’t know if it will be effective … but the Warning is coming, perhaps on Good Friday 2023.
      [Daniel]
      {7:5} And behold, another beast, like a bear, stood to one side, and there were three rows in its mouth and in its teeth, and they spoke to it in this way: “Arise, devour much flesh.”

      In any case, Daniel’s prophecy is Scripture, so it must come true. Russia, the bear, will rise in power, dominate much of the world, and will add many nations to itself.

  4. Vít Lacman says:

    Could You please explain to me, what is “the pleasure taken in sinful thoughts” (delectatio morosa). I quite don’t understand when this sin is committed. Do I commit it, when I am thinking about or imagining something sinful and feeling pleasure about it? For example, If I imagine some war, soldiers fighting, planes flying above and I feel a pleasure because I find such thought interesting and exciting even though I am a pacifist, is it sinful?

    • Ron Conte says:

      No, it is not a feeling of pleasure, as feelings are not deliberate and willful, so they are not sins. St. Thomas notes that he must think about various sins to write moral theology, but that is not sinful. So that a thought is about someone sinning, or oneself sinning is not sufficient. One might consider various possible courses of action, and then after some thought, decide not to take a considered course of action that one has concluded is a sin.

      Thoughts are rarely mortal sins. You would have to not merely imagine committing a sin, but be willing to commit that sin, if you have the opportunity. And the deliberation and knowledge would both need to be full, in a grave matter. It is not a fully deliberate sin, if you are not actually willing to commit that sin.

    • Vít Lacman says:

      Thank You, for the answer.

  5. A Recent Reader says:

    Dear Mr. Conte,
    Thank you very much for the Catholic Public Domain Version of The Sacred Bible which I am beginning to make use of. Also for the many writings that you so steadily provide that help me greatly by strengthening very weak areas of my knowledge of the faith.
    If I’m not mistaken, I’ve come across an erratum in 2 Maccabees 7:34 found on this webpage- http://www.sacredbible.org/catholic/OT-46_2-Maccabees.htm

    “do be not be extolled over nothing”

    Thank you.

  6. S. Hernández says:

    Hi Mr. Conte, why do you believe in the veracity of Garabandal and use it as part of your work? Shouldn’t we, out of support and obedience to the church, wait until this apparition is approved be the Church?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I’ve studied many claimed private revelations and written articles on them. I find Garabandal to be clearly among the true apparitions. Neither does Mary in any apparition tell us to wait for Church approval for an apparition. Sometimes the belief of the people comes first, and the approval follows.

  7. Thomas Mazanec says:

    Has God made fallen humans capable of understanding His Creation? As Physics has progressed, it’s conceptions have gotten ever more and more ethereal and advanced. General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are already beyond half the human race’s ability to comprehend, and we know they do not work together, as well as Dark Matter, Dark Energy et al promising even more “mystic” discoveries. It would seem seemly for God to make his people able to appreciate His work, but not mandated. What do you think?

    • Ron Conte says:

      It is God’s work, so it cannot be too simple and easy to understand, as God himself is beyond complete comprehension by humans and angels, even in Heaven. So Creation can be very complicated.

  8. Thomas Mazanec says:

    I am reading the old strips of the Funky Winkerbean comic. I am currently at an arc where a character who was a soldier in Iraq was involved in an IED event and misidentified in the remains. He was actually wounded and taken prisoner. His wife remarried. Years later he was released. Would the Church consider this adultry? Would any children of the second husband be illegitimate? I am sure something like this has happened somewhere sometime in the Church’s history.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Intrinsically evil acts must be knowingly chosen to be even an objective sin, i.e. one must know the type of act that one is choosing. Sin is a knowingly chosen immoral act. If you state a falsehood, thinking it is truth, you have not lied. So the remarriage you describe would not be adultery. The children would be legitimate. What to do if the first husband returns? That is not clear.

  9. Vít Lacman says:

    I would like to ask about a particular theological opinion among some protestants. Some Protestants believe in so-called “annihilationism”. This theology affirms “the eternal punishment in hell”, but it differs with normal understanding of this punishment by stating that rather than tortured forever the wicked will be destroyed forever or destroyed and then never be brought to life again. I believe with the bible alone it is possible to believe in annihilationism.
    So, my question is, from catholic point of view is annihilationism a heresy? Are we allowed to believe in it, if it redefines the meaning of “eternal punishment” (Matt. 25:46) in such way? To me for example comes to mind a statement made by the Council of Florence, which explicitly mentions the “eternal torments”:
    “Finally, unless they repent from their hearts, perform deeds worthy of repentance and make worthy satisfaction to your holiness and the universal church for the enormity of their sins, may they be thrust with the wicked into the everlasting darkness, doomed by the just judgment of God to eternal torments.”
    Is this statement infallible?
    Thank You for answers.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Annihilationism is heresy. It is dogma that the punishments of Hell last forever. This is the constant clear teaching of Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium. So it is infallible.

  10. Thomas Mazanec says:

    Why did the people who were married, absolved, etc. by Fr. Mathew Hood of Utica have to have their sacraments redone? They thought he was a valid Priest. HE thought he was a valid Priest. And what about penitents who had only had imperfect contrition, and then died before this came to light? And those given Extreme Unction? Do they go to Hell because their Priest’s Baptiser said “We” instead of “I”?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I’ve written on this subject here a few times. I think that Fr. Hood’s ordination was valid. But it is not certain from Church teaching, so the Bishop took every precaution and had the Sacraments Fr. Hood administered (except baptism) be administered again, when necessary. As for the penitents with imperfect contrition, God’s providence and grace makes certain that each person has ample opportunity for salvation.

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