Theology Q and A

Ask a question on a topic in Catholic theology.

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33 Responses to Theology Q and A

  1. Tom Mazanec says:

    If a person suffering from clinical depression commits suicide, do they go to Hell?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Not necessarily. It depends on whether their act was an actual mortal sin, with full knowledge and full deliberation. Some persons might commit suicide without full culpability, so that they would avoid Hell. Of course, the person must not be guilty and unrepentant from a different type of mortal sin also.

    • Marco says:

      @Tom

      “2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

      You may ask: how is it possible for God to provide the opportunity for salutary repentance if a person ends her life with suicide? It’s possible because we tend to have a flawed view about death, as i have explained in the other topic. The real death is when the soul departs from the body, and while the thought that this happens istantly in case of a suicide (for example a bullet in the head), this is taught nowhere in Church’s doctrine. Actually, as i have reported in the other topic, the way the Church administers the last rites implies the opposite, just like the 2283 of the Catechism.

      @Ron

      “Not necessarily. It depends on whether their act was an actual mortal sin, with full knowledge and full deliberation. Some persons might commit suicide without full culpability, so that they would avoid Hell”

      Yeah, the Catechism covers this issue as well

      “Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide” (2282)

      But the 2283 says that God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. Now, if someone has mitigating factors which reduce his guilt, the repentance is not strictly needed, since his sin would be venial and a venial sin doesn’t merit damnation.

      So the fact that the suicide can bear limited responsibility is only one side of the problem. The other side of the problem is the one i have explained to Tom, quoting the Catechism.

    • Marco says:

      P.s

      “So the fact that the suicide can bear limited responsibility is only one side of the problem. The other side of the problem is the one i have explained to Tom, quoting the Catechism.”

      With this i mean that God can give the Grace of repentance even to a suicide that bears full responsibility (otherwise the 2283 would be redundant. If the only way for a suicide to escape damnation is reduced guilt God wouldn’t need to provide the Grace of repentance to him). Whether the suicide cooperates with subsequent Grace is an entirely different kettle of fish, so i’m not arguing that the suicide is certainly saved, i’m just saying that him bearing limited responsibility for his suicide is only one factor. As long as the souls hasn’t departed from the body there is still room for repentance.

    • Ron Conte says:

      I’m not going to approve comments that make this claim again. There is no teaching or evidence to support the claim that people aren’t really dead, when they appear dead, and that they can repent as if they were conscious and alert.

    • Marco says:

      Then, Ron, explain two things, please:

      1. Why the Church teaches that God can prevent the Grace of repentance to a suicide?

      2. Why does the Church allows the last rites to be administered even after someone appears to be dead?
      https://catholicnewslive.com/story/565130
      “In Sabetti-Barrett I found [……..] In a nutshell, this says that if in most cases a person dies suddenly of natural causes then there is probably still some life remaining after the last breath. In the case of a slow death from illness it may remain for a few minutes maybe six or, according to some experts 30 minutes. (See how the authors are divided… auctores scinduntur.) In the case of a sudden death some life might remain longer, even perhaps to the point of putrefaction. If a priest finds the person and he is morally certain that he is there in the time that life could still be present to some extent he can and indeed ought to anoint, but conditionally. In the case of illness the author thinks that a half hour is the length of time that the priest has to get there after apparent death from illness and one hour in the case of sudden death. If, after that time but before corruption sets in, he can anoint. Whether or not he ought to the author leaves to those wiser than he.“

      I’m not saying that there is a specific teaching that the souls doesn’t immediately leave the body. I’m saying that there is no teaching that teaches the contrary, and actually there are few elements which suggest the opposite. Even some approved revelations of the Saints.

      If you are aware of a teaching that implies that the separation between body and souls happens instantly i would like to know about that, please.

    • Ron Conte says:

      The Church allows extreme unction if the person appears to be dead because the priest is not a physician, and the person might not be dead — not because after death the soul lingers in the dead body, and not as if a soul in a dead body can repent. No more comments with this claim, please.

    • Marco says:

      “Why the Church teaches that God can prevent the Grace of repentance to a suicide?”

      I meant provide, not prevent, sorry.

    • Marco says:

      @Ron

      “The Church allows extreme unction if the person appears to be dead because the priest is not a physician, and the person might not be dead”

      That’s what i meant.

      “not because after death the soul lingers in the dead body, and not as if a soul in a dead body can repent. “

      The soul is the form of the body, so of course a dead body implies that the soul has already departed. What i said is that we don’t know enough about the actual process of death, that’s all.

      I think we’ve said the same thing with different words. You attributed to me the claim that the soul can linger in a dead body, but i’ve never said this

      https://catholicnewslive.com/story/565130
      “The problem is that the Church hasn’t defined exactly when a person is dead because, frankly, we just don’t know.
      We know that death occurs when the soul separates from the body definitively.
      It may be that the separation occurs suddenly. It may be that the separation occurs gradually. It may be that it occurs swiftly. It may be that it occurs slowly. It could be different for one person than for another. We all have heard stories of the resuscitation of those who have died, even apparently for some length of time. It would seem that, in those cases, the soul had not left the body in a definitive way.”

      This is what i meant. That we just don’t know.

  2. Matt says:

    I don’t understand on how things will get worse for Catholics after the start of the tribulations. Won’t the first three secrets prompt many to convert and strengthen existing Catholics to return to the Catholic Faith and fill up Churches throughout the World? From reading the Blessed Virgin Mary messages to Pedro Regis, in the future Churches will close nearly everywhere, there will be great contempt for the sacred, and the pain will be great for the faithful. It is already bad now with so called Pride parades, genderless bathrooms, abortions without parental consent as young as 12, and general apostasy and falling away from the faith. What I am asking is how can things really get worse than they are now? It seems as though the tribulations should cause many to get on their trembling knees and pray as Bishop Sheen stated, but instead I fear and understand that Catholics will go underground in fear. How will it be here in the United States as your writings suggest that many governments and the Vatican will relocate temporarily in the United States. Should I fear living in a big City in USA during the tribulations?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Yes, things will get worse. The Warning will be rejected by many persons. Even some who repent will backslide into grave sin again. It may also be the case that some persons, knowing these tribulations are from God, still do not repent.
      {6:16} And they said to the mountains and the rocks: “Fall over us and hide us from the face of the One sitting upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.
      {6:17} For the great day of their wrath has arrived. And who will be able to stand?”
      There will be two world wars: WW3 and WW4. Flee the cities before WW4, which is an all-out nuclear war.

  3. Tom Mazanec says:

    I know this time of year is as far from Christmas as possible, but i wonder.
    I have read and heard complaints about the song “Mary Did You Know”, saying of course Mary knew that her Baby Child was the Messiah, as the angel had already told her, and that she could expect Him to work miracles.
    But did she know that He was the Second Person of the Trinity? As the song ends, did she know He was the great I AM when He was a little Babe?

  4. Mark P. says:

    From the upcoming Synod on Youth working document, “In their responses, bishops conferences also questioned how to respond to young people who have chosen to live a homosexual lifestyle, but who also want ‘to be close to the Church.'”

    This wording seems odd. I can see if it said, “young people who identify as homosexual…”

    But the current wording implies people who openly defy Church teaching yet want to have their lifestyle overlooked an accepted. This does not seem possible.

    It seems that this upcoming Synod will really have to reinforce many teachings concerning sexuality. Are there any areas specifically that you see this Synod addressing?

    • Ron Conte says:

      This is an on-going problem, Catholics who have accepted the false teachings of society, but who wish they could also be accepted as Catholics. Someone has to draw a line for them, you can’t be Catholic if you don’t believe what the Catholic Church teaches. Pope Francis is right to reach out to these fallen away Catholics with mercy, but they have to repent at some point.

    • Tom Mazanec says:

      Yes, I always wondered about Catholics for Choice. How they can deny a dogma of the Church and call themselves Catholic. It is like saying I am Catholic but I don’t believe Jesus was God, or I am Muslim but believe Mohammed was deceived by Satan. It makes no sense.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Many Catholics are in a state of at least material heresy, and some are guilty of formal heresy. This is true not only of many ordinary Catholics, but also of clerics, religious, and various teachers of the Faith. It is just insane that someone can openly teach grave error and not receive any substantial rebuke from the Pope, the Bishops, and their peers.

  5. Paul M. says:

    I have read your opinion that atheists can be saved and have expressed my reservations. Is not atheism a sin against faith and hope which rejects God and the truth that we are made in His image? Further, is this not a mortal sin against God’s justice and the 1st Commandment?

    Charity along with avoidance of mortal sin is at the heart of your speculation. Yet, St. Paul defines charity, among other things, to believe and hope all things.

    1 Cor. 13:4-7 reads, “Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

    • Ron Conte says:

      The easiest path to Heaven is to be a believing and practicing Catholic. One of the hardest paths to Heaven, in terms of belief systems, is atheism. That an atheist can be saved, without converting, does not mean it is easy or likely. Atheism is an objective mortal sin, which can be committed with a sincere but mistaken conscience. In such a case, an atheist would not be sent to Hell for the sin of atheism, but then he would also need to enter the state of grace, avoid all actual mortal sin, or repent with perfect contrition from any actual mortal sins. Many atheists in Western society have entered the state of grace by being baptized as children. So they have that advantage. But, even so, the percentage of atheists who are saved is almost certainly much smaller than the percentage of practicing Christians.

  6. Jacob Watson says:

    Given that Unam Sanctam contains an infallible ex cathedra definition (“Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”), how should we understand how those who never heard the Gospel could be saved given the phrase “absolutely necessary”?

  7. Matt says:

    In Catholic morality an act is defined to be “a deliberate exercise of the will.” I’m still struggling to understand complete vs incomplete acts. (Take incomplete sex acts, incomplete theft, incomplete murder, ect.) What is confusing is that multiple choices may go into what we say is a “theft.” But it’s almost treated as if it were one act/ choice.

    With theft (the deprivation of goods from the owner). If you break down a door, threaten a person, break into their safe, and then lift money out of their safe, which act is intrinsically ordered to the theft? Are all the choices/ planning that go into the theft ordered to theft, or is it just the “deprivation”, aka. the last choice to lift the money out of the safe, which is ordered to the theft?

    I know you have said that incomplete acts are ordered to the same thing as complete acts, if the complete act is intrinsically evil. For example, you say oral sex and oral stimulation have the same ordering in their object. However, in the theft example, how could incomplete theft still be ordered to theft, if only the last choice of taking money from the safe involved the deprivation of goods, but this act (this choice) never occurred in incomplete theft?

    You have to look into the mind of the person to know it’s theft!! How could the intention of committing a future act/ choice of actually taking the money, which never was taken in our hypothetical of incomplete theft, determine the object of the partial theft (how could it still be ordered to deprivation of goods based on future acts that didn’t occur)? There is no way to know the incomplete theft was theft without looking at the future intentions of the perpetrator (if all he did was break into a house, and then was immediately apprehended, how do you know if it was an incomplete murder, an incomplete theft, or something else?) But you say intentions to commit future acts (actually stealing the money) is not part of the object of the present act, is it? Perhaps it can be part of the object (this all seems very definitional to me). Some clarification would be helpful, thanks!!!

    • Ron Conte says:

      “If you break down a door, threaten a person, break into their safe, and then lift money out of their safe, which act is intrinsically ordered to the theft?”
      Those acts are all sins. Suppose you rob a bank, and you get caught. What will you be charged with? Bank robbery? Actually, they will charge you with numerous crimes, in addition to bank robbery. Each offense is a crime. Similarly, each offense against God and neighbor is a sin.
      “If you break down a door” that’s destruction of property and breaking/entering as crimes (which are also sins). “threaten a person” that’s a sin of violence against the innocent (violence includes threats as well as physical acts). “break into their safe” that’s obviously a sin also. “lift money out of their safe” that’s the sin of theft. in addition, deciding to commit theft, planning the theft, and each of the acts committed as part of the theft are all sins as well.

      George Carlin was right: “It was a sin for you to wanna feel up Ellen. It was a sin for you to plan to feel up Ellen. It was a sin for you to figure out a place to feel up Ellen. It was a sin to take Ellen to the place to feel her up. It was a sin to try to feel her up and it was a sin to feel her up. There were six sins in one feel, man!”

      “However, in the theft example, how could incomplete theft still be ordered to theft, if only the last choice of taking money from the safe involved the deprivation of goods, but this act (this choice) never occurred in incomplete theft?” The other acts are part of the theft as well. Essentially, you are choosing the sin of theft repeatedly as you commit each act (decision, planning, carrying out).

      If you attempt to deprive a man of his life, but fail in the attempt, you still chose to commit murder, even though no one died. If you attempt to deprive sex of its procreative meaning, and accidentally conceive a child, you still chose that act.

      It is not the attainment of the moral object that makes the act intrinsically evil, but rather the deliberate knowing choice of the disordered act.

      “You have to look into the mind of the person to know it’s theft!!”
      I borrow a lawn mower from my neighbor. It is not theft. He gives it to me willingly, and I intend to return it, just as I told him. Then, the next day, as I am standing in my garage admiring the lawn mower, I decide not to return it. That interior act of deciding is theft. Sometimes a sin is interior.

      “How could the intention of committing a future act/ choice of actually taking the money, which never was taken in our hypothetical of incomplete theft, determine the object of the partial theft (how could it still be ordered to deprivation of goods based on future acts that didn’t occur)?”

      Every intrinsically evil act is a deliberate knowing choice of the human free will. And that decision to steal is one of the sins in the incomplete theft you described. It is ordered toward that deprivation because that is the choice the person made. All sins, interior or exterior, include a deliberate knowing choice. That is the essence of sin. It is ordered based on what act is chosen, not whether the sin was successful. Try telling a judge in a court of law that all the things the prosecution proved that you did in order to plan and carry out the bank robbery don’t count as crimes because you failed to walk away with the money.

      “There is no way to know the incomplete theft was theft without looking at the future intentions of the perpetrator (if all he did was break into a house, and then was immediately apprehended, how do you know if it was an incomplete murder, an incomplete theft, or something else?)”

      The man knows what choices he was making, so he is able to repent and confess. And God knows. Sin is under the guise of conscience and God. That is what matters. And these are not “future intentions”. The person made the choice to break in, having decided to commit theft. Or, if he did not, then he would not be guilty of theft, but of destruction of property and violating the privacy of his neighbor and threatening his neighbor — whatever acts he chose, even if only in his mind and heart (where all sin begins).

      “But you say intentions to commit future acts (actually stealing the money) is not part of the object of the present act, is it? Perhaps it can be part of the object (this all seems very definitional to me).”

      A decision to commit a future act is itself a type of act and therefore can be a sin.

      The first font is the intended end. When the first font is bad, the act is a sin. The second font is the deliberate knowing choice of an act, along with its moral nature and its object. When the object is bad the act is intrinsically evil and always a sin. The third font is the consequences. When the reasonably anticipated bad consequences morally outweigh the good, the font is bad and the act is a sin.

    • Tom Mazanec says:

      I could probably add to Carlin’s list…choosing where on her body to feel her up, choosing a time to feel her up, etc. How do i confess that? I would just confess to feeling her up, is that an invalid confession? Would the priest actually want me to list twenty sins for one act?,

    • Ron Conte says:

      You don’t need to list each of those sins, as it is implied when you confess the sin in question. It is not one act, but many acts.

  8. Tom Mazanec says:

    Will WW4 kill a large minority of mankind, half, or a majority? Will it result in technological regression, like “A Canticle For Leibowitz”? How bad will it be?

    • Ron Conte says:

      This is explained in my eschatology books.
      http://www.catholicplanet.com/books.htm
      The first part of the tribulation kills 2/3rds of mankind, 1/3 in the wars and other sufferings, another 1/3 in the three days of darkness. I don’t know what “Canticle…” is, but there will be a severe technological regression, which will take a generation to rebuild.

    • Matt says:

      Father Ripperger has several talks about the upcoming chastisements. You can find them on youtube. He mentions that the chastisements will be practically brutal and will bring everyone to their knees. He said that things have gotten so bad that he believes that God will destroy the infrastructure and wipe the slate clean. I believe it. All I see are people on their smartphones texting or posting all day.

    • Tom Mazanec says:

      Will WW3 be worse than WW2?

    • Ron Conte says:

      WW2 included the Jewish Holocaust. WW3 will include at least two uses of nuclear weapons against cities. There will be a Christian Holocaust after WW3 but before WW4.

    • Marco says:

      Damn Ron, i really hope you are wrong with these doom and gloom predictions.

    • Marco says:

      I mean, you got it wrong in 2016 https://ronconte.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/checklist-for-the-start-of-the-end-times/ and i sure as hell hope that you are wrong again. ;-)

      For example, I remember the apparition of Our Lady of Good Success (which is approved by the Church), where Mother Mariana was praying before the altar one day in 1582 when our Lord emerged from the tabernacle suffering as He did on the cross, with Blessed Mother at His feet. Above Christ’s’ head were 3 swords with the writing – “I shall punish heresy, blasphemy and impurity.” Mary said that this punishment would be for the end of the 20th century and yet it was averted, thanks to the prayers and the sacrifices of the victim souls.

      I hope we won’t have to see the catastrophic events you are talking about.

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