Category Archives: ethics

On Cooperation with a Contracepting Spouse

Suppose that one spouse in a marriage wishes to use contraception, and the other spouse, following Catholic teaching, wishes to have natural marital relations open to life. Can the couple have sexual relations, if one spouse is committing the sin … Continue reading

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How To Decide Right from Wrong

The Catholic Church has certain clear teachings on which acts are moral, and which are immoral. For example, good acts include: prayer, self-denial, and the works of mercy. Bad acts include theft, lying, murder, contraception, abortion, and the various sexual … Continue reading

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The Two Types of Usury

[Exodus] {22:25} If you lend money to the poor of my people who live among you, you shall not coerce them like a collector, nor oppress them with usury. [Psalm 14] (15) {14:1} A Psalm of David. O Lord, who … Continue reading

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The Validity of Marriage and Procreation

Consider the following scenarios: 1. After the couple have been married for some time, the husband commits adultery and runs off with his adulteress. The marriage remains valid, as adultery cannot nullify a valid Sacrament. The innocent spouse cannot remarry. … Continue reading

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Q. 4: Can Catholic Spouses use Masturbation in the Context of Natural Intercourse?

No, they cannot. First, masturbation is intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral. The CCC defines masturbation as: “the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure.” [1] This sexual act is non-marital, non-unitive, and non-procreative. It … Continue reading

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Q. 3: Is it Moral for the Wife to climax outside the Natural Marital Act?

Neither the husband, nor the wife, may act, in any way, so as to deliberately climax outside of natural intercourse. This doctrine was taught by Pope Pius XII in his speech to the Address to the Second World Congress on … Continue reading

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New book: The Catholic Marriage Bed

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My latest book is now available in Kindle format: The Catholic Marriage Bed: A book of Roman Catholic moral theology. The print edition should be available sometime next week, hopefully. This book addresses a single question in ethics: Which sexual … Continue reading

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Common “Ends Justify the Means” Arguments

If you ask any well-informed Catholic, “Does the end justify the means?” they will usually answer correctly: No, it does not. And the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “the end does not justify the means” exactly twice (1753, … Continue reading

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How the Basic Principles of Ethics apply to Marital Chastity

Proponents of marital unchastity, that is to say, persons who propose that certain kinds of sexual acts, traditionally called unnatural, are moral to use in Christian marriage, never explain the basic principles of ethics. And they never base their claims … Continue reading

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Church Teaching on Unnatural Acts in Marriage

The Church condemns the use of contraception, even in marriage, because contraception deprives sexual acts of their procreative finality. The Church condemns homosexual acts mainly because these acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life”. But unnatural sexual … Continue reading

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Catholics who implicitly support blessing abortion clinics

Fr. Charles Pope explains: That Blessing of an Abortion Center was an Act of Sacrilege. Yes, it was. But what many Catholics do not realize, is that the same type of sacrilege occurs when any Catholic priest or theologian argues … Continue reading

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The Three Moral Objects of Marital Relations

Evil is a deprivation of good; moral evil is a deprivation of a good required by the love of God, and the love of neighbor as self. An intrinsically evil act is an act with evil in its object. Natural … Continue reading

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Basic Principles of Ethics (rejected by some conservative Catholics)

Three Fonts Morality concerns human acts. Each exercise of will and intellect, that is, each knowing deliberate choice, is an act, and is subject to a judgment of conscience and the final judgment of God. The acts of human persons … Continue reading

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Scandal Is Not Always A Sin

Moral theology uses the term ‘scandal’ with a specialized meaning. [Mark] {9:41} “And whoever will have scandalized one of these little ones who believe in me: it would be better for him if a great millstone were placed around his … Continue reading

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The Church condemns Unnatural Acts

When the subject of contraception was being debated, prior to Humanae Vitae, an interesting question arose. If some contracepted acts are approved, based on the principle of totality, does this not imply that married couples may also use sexual acts … Continue reading

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Catholic Ethics: LGBT — Q and A

* Can gay couple, cohabitating or married, be in the state of grace? Yes. Some objective mortal sins are not also actual mortal sins, due to a lack of full knowledge of the grave immorality of the act. God judges … Continue reading

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Catholic Moral Theology: the Marriage Debt

The marriage debt is the mutual obligation that the spouses have, within a valid marriage (natural or supernatural) to have marital relations. The term is based on an Epistle of St. Paul in the New Testament: [1 Corinthians 7] {7:1} … Continue reading

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The Proper Definition of the Moral Object

Introduction One of the most fundamental teachings in Catholic Ethics is that some human acts are immoral by the very nature of the act. An act is a knowing choice; it is an exercise of free will and intellect. Each … Continue reading

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Moral Obligations and Duress

What happens if an act is a sin, but the sin is committed under duress? First of all, the act remains objectively sinful. An act is a sin based on the three fonts of morality, as they arise from and … Continue reading

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Pregnancy, Cancer, and the Indirect Death of a Prenatal

Let’s consider a moral dilemma that does not include an intrinsically evil act. A woman is pregnant and has been diagnosed with cancer. If she receives treatment for the cancer now, her life will likely be saved, but the treatment … Continue reading

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