the latest Catholic Theology Q&A post (closed)

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39 Responses to the latest Catholic Theology Q&A post (closed)

  1. goatmaster23 says:

    Can a man and a woman who are about to marry licitly agree that they’ll abstain perpetually from sex? In these two situations:
    i) they can still bear children.
    ii) They can’t have children. For example:
    a) One of them is sterile, but the spouses want to adopt and raise children.
    b) They’re old -say, like 60-, so can’t bear children anymore and want to marry just for mutual help and company, and to live together when they get older.

    • Ron Conte says:

      A Catholic Christian marriage without consummation is “ratum et non consummatum”, and can be dissolved by application of at least one of the parties. It is not indissoluble. Address to Midwives by Pius XII teaches:

      66. If nature had aimed exclusively, or at least in the first place, at a reciprocal gift and possession of the married couple in joy and delight, and if it had ordered that act only to make happy in the highest possible degree their personal experience, and not to stimulate them to the service of life, then the Creator would have adopted another plan in forming and constituting the natural act. Now instead, all this is subordinated and ordered to that unique great law of the “generatio et educatio prolis,” [the generation and education of offspring] namely the accomplishment of the primary end of matrimony as the origin and source of life.

      It is licit for even an infertile couple (sterility or old age) to marry and have sexual relations, thereby consummating the marriage. I don’t see why they would not consummate. The goods of marital relations include strengthening the marriage relationship.

      Consider also this Canon: Can. 1084 §1. Antecedent and perpetual impotence to have intercourse, whether on the part of the man or the woman, whether absolute or relative, nullifies marriage by its very nature.

      The marriage of Joseph and Mary was not a Sacrament of Marriage, as baptism of both parties would be required for that Sacrament, and the Sacraments themselves had not yet begun. I think that a decision of the couple not to have sex, prior to the marriage ceremony (when consent is given), contradicts “the primary end of matrimony as the origin and source of life”. I don’t know if such a decision invalidates the marriage or not, and I would suggest that any couple considering a sexless or “Josephite marriage” contact the local Bishop for consultation on whether such a marriage is licit and valid.

  2. A Recent Reader says:

    I would ask what I think is a very challenging question to answer:

    Given the very heinous state of much of our nation’s culture, can it be justifiably claimed that, generally speaking, lay catholics have erred too much on the side of going-along rather than offering up more refusal to participate when it will mean a kind of slow martyrdom of some degree (being debanked, fired, foregoing medical care, etc.)? (I’m talking about peaceful non-violent means.)
    Of course, the countervailing consideration is that it’s ineffective to take ourselves out. But, isn’t there a certain amount of this that can be constructive anyway?

    • Ron Conte says:

      No, I don’t agree. We must avoid sin ourselves. Otherwise, we are not responsible for sins of the culture or society.

    • A Recent Reader says:

      This is so crucial to me, so, thank you for answering. I’m struggling to resolve this.

      Issues such as participating in health care systems that are promoting transgenderism procedures on minors, etc., really have me conflicted, but it’s obviously potentially seriously consequential to deny oneself medical care.

      Not that a person must deny the care, but wonder if some–I myself–are in a place in life where maybe I should.

  3. arthurjeffriesthecatholic says:

    I would like to know how it is that good people who are seeking a church and sincerely pray to God for guidance so often end up in Protestant churches. This even happens to many Catholics who consider leaving the Church for Protestantism. They pray about it with a sincere heart and end up feeling “called” to Protestantism. Is this an issue of poor discernment of spirits? If not, what exactly is happening in these cases?

    Thank you.

    • Ron Conte says:

      God wills a diversity of religions because people in the fallen state have great difficulty discerning the ordinary path of salvation willed by God — Catholic Christianity. Protestentism is often easier to accept for fallen sinners, as it requires less of them and has less strict moral teachings. Their discernment is biased by living in a sinful fallen society, and by many years of their own lack of moral and religious discernment. But Protestantism can help people on the path of salvation, so they are not lost by choosing Protestant Christianity

  4. Matt says:

    [Ephesians 6]
    {6:4} And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but educate them with the discipline and correction of the Lord.

    This verse is very challenging for fathers to put into practice. Nearly any of mine discipline or correction invokes anger from my kids. I am not intentionally provoking them to anger but asking them for example “you wore same exact outfit to school the day before, please change to new fresh clothes,” causes them to yell and stomp away. Also, all of mine are addicted to smart phones, and any limits causes extreme anger from them. God help me!

    • Ron Conte says:

      IN that case you are not provoking them to anger. The fact that they get angry is their own decision. Provoking to anger refers to doing something sinful in the first place, that then leads others to just anger.

  5. Matt says:

    All employees at my government office were required to take a State mandated 2 hour training course and test on sexual harassment. The training and test was fine and reasonable except the following question:

    A biological male at your workplace now identifies as a female and goes by a female pronoun and female name. You are required to call the person by new pronoun and name, or (face disciplinary action or sexual harassment claim and possible termination) but only if one of the following criteria is met:

    A) only if evident person is having or had a sex change operation.
    B) person is wearing female attire
    C) person wearing makeup, longer hair, painted fingernails, or hormone therapy, but clothes is not feminine.
    D) The person can look the same as a before but still identify as a female and new name and pronoun.

    After 4 attempts the correct answer was D.
    I believe I stated a mortal lie and contrary to my Catholic faith. If I didn’t pass this test, I would have been fired. It would have financially impacted my family and life. What should a Catholic do in this circumstance? I

    • Ron Conte says:

      That is not a lie and certainly not a mortal sin. You simply give the answer that accords with the training. They are not looking for your opinion or beliefs, but only to see if you understood the training. So answering D is not a sin.

      Also, it is not a sin to call someone what they wish to be called. We are not asked by God to impose our understanding on others. Each person is responsible for their own decisions and lives.

    • A Recent Reader says:

      Since this is just the kind of excruciating circumstance I wonder about, may I inquire further?:

      One could reasonably foresee the possibility in a circumstance like the above that:

       A little impressionable first-grader, who is being indoctrinated into this incorrect gender belief system in school (with the potential that they, if they come to believe it applies to them, could have the use of hormone blockers, etc. introduced to them against their parents will)–could be standing with their parent in the said government office and witness my referring to the he as a ‘she’.

      This would, in-brief, add-to or reinforce the false paradigm being inculcated, and would contribute to the misleading of the child–helping put them on a course which obscures the truth, one that would make it harder for them to find their way to Christ in their life, not to mention all of the other terrible hardship that would come.

      Thank you very much.

    • Ron Conte says:

      IN that hypothetical, you presume too weighty a set of consequences from merely using a pronoun. If you are required to use a different pronoun or name for someone than our Catholic beliefs would suggest, it is still not a sin if we are required to do so. Jesus said to the woman in Samaria, that she should call her “husband”. And she, in reply, admitted that he is not really a husband. It’s not a sin to conform in language to society, to some extent. And it doesn’t help the situation to get fired or kicked out of school or the like over language. We fight battles against sin by prayer, self-denial, and works of mercy, and by avoiding sin ourselves. We don’t have to force everyone around us to comply with our understanding.

    • A Recent Reader says:

      I am so grateful for the further discussion. Thank you so much!

  6. I once went to confession and remembered a mortal sin at the moment when the priest pronounced absolution, I didn’t know what to do, whether to interrupt the priest or not to tell. in the end, I left without telling but received absolution. how to act in a situation like this?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Once you complete telling the priest your sins, and he begins his prayers of absolution, you don’t need to confess any sins that you happened to forget. That holds true even in the case you mentioned, when you immediately remember. It doesn’t matter. The absolution still absolves all sins.

  7. Fr. Matthew says:

    You said that we fight sin by prayer, self denial and works of mercy. All true but two of the works of mercy are to instruct the ignorant and to admonish/rebuke the sinner. All of course with gentleness and charity. Language and speech means something. Language and speech is for communication of truth, goodness and beauty and to go against that has harmful consequences for oneself AND also for other persons and really society as a whole meaning the common good. How can a faithful Christian, and especially Catholic Christian, fail to see the reasonably anticipated harmful consequences to society that would result if persons accepted that a man/male can identify as a woman/female and vice versa?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I agree. Thanks for adding that. I was referring to a limited case of someone who might lose their job if they did not use someone else’s preferring pronoun.

  8. James Belcher says:

    I am totally in agreement where the fight against sin is by prayer, self denial and works of mercy. However, the fight against sin is for individuals only in today’s society. We may pray to forgive those collective bodies for their wrongful ways and have faith they see the light in their wrongdoing but I for one see those prayers going unanswered. I know this by the upcoming Warning, Miracle and the Chastisement of the world.
    Freedom of thought, expression and speech has been silenced to a much greater degree than anyone has thought possible. For the most part, the populace only hears of half-truths and outright lies for the betterment of persons in power.
    Nikita Khrushchev once said the USA will destroy itself from within.
    Spiritual communism has certainly spread its wings but actual governed communism has reached many shores including the USA.
    In conclusion, the only salvation comes from prayer, self denial, works of mercy, Warning, Miracle and Chastisement.

  9. Westy says:

    Hi Ron
    I have a quick question in relation to contraception. My wife is currently using the contraceptive pill, we have three children and she does not want another pregnancy. After our last child four years ago I explained my objection to this situation, even bringing up the subject causes a heated agreement. This whole situation has weighted heavily on my conscience, I have spoke to numerous different priests in confession about this and have got widely different answers from it is not my sin to that it is a mortal sin to participate in the martial act in this circumstance. This last answer I believe to be true and the one which gives me most peace consequently I have obstained from martial act for the last 12 months while constantly bringing this matter to prayer and offering acts such as fasting for a true conversion for my wife. How would you approach this situation Ron.

    • Ron Conte says:

      The main issue, in my opinion, is that chemical contraception can be abortifacient. For mere contraception, there are situations where one spouse might consent to marital sex with the other spouse, despite that spouse using mere contraception. The usual example is the husband who uses coitus interruptus as contraception. But abortifacient contraception is not included in that type of situation.

      I can’t really give you marital advice. I think you should find a confessor whose advice accords with your conscience, and then decide what to do.

  10. Ben says:

    I will try to be shorter than most of the posters this time. Did Jesus explicitly condemn homosexual relations, and aren’t there hints of such relations even as just platonic love throughout the Bible? The famous quote of Jesus about Sodom, is it a condemnation to eternal fire of all physically died people in Sodom, or rather alleviation of their judgment that is lighter than that of the self righteous Pharisees? Today the anti-homosexuality is raised as a banner of fight of the self righteous both in USA in conservative communities and in Russia at their state sponsored church (that doesnt condemn publicly abortion besides other things). So we have to know, is the homosexuality that ultimate sin against the Holy Spirit that will divide the sheep from the goats, or is it not?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I don’t think homosexual acts are the ultimate sin. There are many grave sins among humanity. Jesus did condemn all types of sexual sins, and so does the Bible and the Church. But I don’t think homosexuality is apocalyptic. As for Sodom and Gomorrah, the one city represents homosexual sins and the other city represents heterosexual sins; both cities were destroyed.

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