Weekend Q and A

Again I’m opening up this blog to questions from readers on any topic in Catholic theology, especially those topics I’ve discussed in my writings. Please try to keep questions short and to the point.

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12 Responses to Weekend Q and A

  1. Matt says:

    Ron,
    A portion of Matthew 19:12 states “For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb”
    Who is Jesus referring to? Born in what way? Are there examples of these eunuchs today? One Catholic Priest wrote in a blog that he thinks Jesus is referring to homosexuals.

    • Ron Conte says:

      {19:10} His disciples said to him, “If such is the case for a man with a wife, then it is not expedient to marry.”
      {19:11} And he said to them: “Not everyone is able to grasp this word, but only those to whom it has been given.
      {19:12} For there are chaste persons who were born so from their mother’s womb, and there are chaste persons who have been made so by men, and there are chaste persons who have made themselves chaste for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever is able to grasp this, let him grasp it.”

      I would say that the passage has a number of true meanings, intended by God. Some persons are chaste by nature, in the sense that they do not have a strong sex drive, but are still heterosexual. Both nature and nurture can result in a person whose temperament allows him to more easily be chaste or celibate. As for homosexuals, they are not born gay, but there may be some genetic influences, and they are called to chastity since gay marriage is not a valid type of marriage. So homosexuals would be included among those who are called to chastity. That priest makes a good point, but it is not the whole meaning of the passage.

  2. frank says:

    Hi Ron,

    Was Matt 27:19 a last ditch effort from Satan to prevent salvation from happening? Also what can be said about the salvation of Pilate, did he make it to heaven?..
    -Frank

    • Ron Conte says:

      {27:19} But as he was sitting in the place for the tribunal, his wife sent to him, saying: “It is nothing to you, and he is just. For I have experienced many things today through a vision for his sake.”

      Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich says that the wife of Pilate had true visions from God (in a dream, I think). So this was God’s way of being entirely fair to Pilate, giving him all that he needed to avoid sin. But Pilate sinned anyway. Afterward, Pilate’s wife converted to Christianity.

      [John]
      {19:10} Therefore, Pilate said to him: “Will you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to crucify you, and I have authority to release you?”
      {19:11} Jesus responded, “You would not have any authority over me, unless it were given to you from above. For this reason, he who has handed me over to you has the greater sin.”

      Judas sinned more than Pilate. Perhaps they both ended up in Hell, though, because Pilate seems not to have repented. Also, it is thought that he (like Judas) may have died by committing suicide. We can’t know for certain, but in any case, the salvation or condemnation of Pilate and Judas is based on their own free will decisions. Our salvation does not depend on their condemnation.

  3. Tony Barrett says:

    Dear Ron

    I have three questions regarding St. John the Baptist:

    1. Why did St. John the Baptist send his disciples to ask Jesus “Are You the One who is to come or are we to expect someone else?” Surely St. John the Baptist knew that Jesus was/is The Saviour of the world?
    2. Why did Jesus say of St. John the Baptist that “the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.” Didn’t St. John the Baptist have free will to live his life, yet he devoted all his being to God. Surely he is one of the greatest saints in Heaven?
    3. St. Stephen is regarded as the first martyr of Christianity. But wasn’t St. John the Baptist martyred after Jesus began his ministry, therefore making him the first martyr?

    Regards,

    Tony

    • Ron Conte says:

      1. John the Baptist was conceived with original sin, so he had concupiscence which clouds the mind and heart even on occasions when the individual avoids sin. As a result, he was not certain if Jesus was the Messiah or a precursor to the Messiah. It is clear to us because we have the teachings of the Church. At the very outset of Jesus’ ministry, it was not as easy to discern.

      2. Jesus was comparing John the Baptist on earth to those in Heaven. All in Heaven have the Beatific Vision, and so they are greater than John on earth. I believe that John the Baptist and Saint Joseph both were free from all personal sin, despite being conceived with original sin. So they are among the holiest of Saints.

      3. There were martyrs among the Jews. John the Baptist was a Jewish martyr. He did not formally become a Christian; that was not his role. He followed Christ, but in the time before the Church existed.

  4. Aegis says:

    Do victims of sexual abuse have a moral duty to report what has happened to them?

    • Ron Conte says:

      That depends on the circumstances. In some circumstances they should report; in other circumstances, they should not. They have to judge whether the act of reporting will do more good or more harm.

  5. Dora says:

    Why do you say “non-infallible,” which is a double negative, instead of “fallible” in your writings? When I come across these, I must stop and re-read, and am especially frustrated when I come across the terminology repeatedly within a sentence or paragraph! (Just askin’! No special need to post this comment)

    • Ron Conte says:

      The term “non-infallible” has a special theological meaning. It is used in magisterial documents, so it is not my own term.
      Infallible doctrine: no possibility of error; requires full assent of faith
      Non-infallible doctrine: limited possibility of error; requires religious submission of mind and will
      fallible opinion: any possibility of error; applies to theological or pious opinions

      Both Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II used the term “non-infallible” teachings of the magisterium.

      Pope John Paul II: “With respect to the non-infallible expressions of the authentic magisterium of the Church, these should be received with religious submission of mind and will.”

  6. George says:

    Why doesn’t the Catholic Church make their teaching on sexual sin such as adultery and homosexual acts as infallible. Surely this will silence those catholic who are lobbying the church to change her views on homosexuality which is a big irritant and intellectually confounding when held up to thousands of years of teaching by the church and bible.

    • Ron Conte says:

      I don’t think that would silence them. They don’t seem to care if a teaching is infallible.

      The teachings of Scripture are already infallible. So, for example, the Ten Commandments are infallible, and the teachings of Jesus in the Gospel are infallible.

      Also, the teachings of the ordinary and universal Magisterium are infallible; those teachings already include a condemnation of adultery and homosexual acts.

      So it’s already infallible.

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