The Catholic Church and its teachings and views on specific subjects.

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How does the Catholic Church understand the priesthood of all believers?

In the process of answering a question on the Sacraments, I discovered that Catholic Church accepts the doctrine of the "priesthood of all believers". This rather surprised me since the Church has ...
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Do Pope Francis' recent comments on atheism represent a change in doctrine?

Pope Francis made some recent comments in a letter, which are being summarized in headlines like, "Pope Francis tells atheists to abide by their own consciences." Does the full context of the Pope'...
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When did the split in crufix/empty-cross sybolism occur and why did it happen?

Today, we have Catholic and Orthodox churches (and a few others) using the crucifix, whereas most Protestant denominations use an empty cross in their symbolism. Did this difference in symbolism arise ...
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What happened to the wives of priests when celibacy was first instituted in the Catholic church?

Since priests were not originally expected to be celibate, many must have been married when celibacy was first introduced. So what happened to the wives during this time when the institution started?
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Do Roman Catholics believe Saints are omnipresent?

I understand that officially speaking when Catholics pray to saints, they are not supposed to really pray TO that saint, but rather are asking that saint to pray for them as you would ask any living ...
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Does transubstantiation apply to the Last Supper, which occurred prior to the crucifixion?

The Roman Catholic church teaches the doctrine of transubstantiation--that the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Jesus. It seems that the sacrament of taking the body and blood ...
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How do the Catholic and Orthodox views of original sin differ?

While reading about original sin, I often read that the Catholic and Orthodox churches disagree on the doctrine of original sin. But as far as I can tell, they both reject the idea that mankind ...
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769 views

How has the position of the Catholic Church on drugs changed over time?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: 2211 The political community has a duty to honor the family, to assist it, and to ensure especially [...] the protection of security and health, ...
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What exactly was the original sin?

I always used to consider the original sin committed by Adam and Eve as eating the forbidden fruit from a particular tree. But recently my husband commented that Adam and Eve had sex with each other ...
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Were the medieval popes examined on a toilet-lid-like chair to establish their masculinity?

Is one of the consequences of the Pope Joan story, whether it was true or false, the use of a marble chair with a large, toilet-like hole in its seat? As the picture above shows, it seems that that ...
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Why did Pope Francis say, “When we encounter the Cross, do we turn to Mary,” rather than to Christ?

When we encounter the Cross, we turn to Mary: Give us the strength, Mary our Mother, to accept and embrace the Cross! —His Holiness Pope Francis Source Can anyone explain, according to ...
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Which is the “correct” bible for Catholics?

There are many versions of the Bible, such as the: King James Bible NIV NRSV But which is the "correct" bible for Catholics to read?
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According to Catholic doctrine, how can an angel be a saint?

In Catholic doctrine, a saint has to (a) be “a dead person” and (b) be “in Heaven”. How is someone deemed a saint? The pope canonizes a dead person who has lived a life of heroic virtue and has ...
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How much water is necessary for baptism (Catholic perspective)?

In Catholicism, how much water is necessary for someone to be baptized? For example, if the only water present is a single droplet on a leaf, is that sufficient to baptize or is more needed? How ...
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When did Peter become the first Pope, according to Roman Catholic doctrine?

Roman Catholic doctrine teaches that the apostle Peter was the first Pope. Exactly when did this occur? I can imagine a few different options When Jesus addressed Peter in Matthew: I also ...
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Debtors vs. Trespassers

I converted to the Presbyterian faith from a Catholic upbringing a while back and have always wondered - but never had anyone to ask - why Catholics use "Trespassers" in the Lord's prayer (Please ...
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List of papal teachings considered infallible

After reading When does the Pope speak ex cathedra? I became curious and searched for a list of statements, but couldn't find one. Does such list exist and if not, why is this the case?
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Has the Catholic church ever voiced its view on the possibility of aliens' existence?

Has the Catholic church ever acknowledged such a possibility as not contradicting the Bible? Or has it once said that the whole idea of aliens is absolutely non-Biblical as the humans are the center ...
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Why are the Vatican archives kept secret?

Other than a few documents, most of the Vatican archives are kept secret from the public. What is the official explanation for this? As an outside observer, it seems like the secrecy might be to hide ...
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Have different Popes ever contradicted each other?

I understand that Roman Catholics do not think that everything the Pope says or does is infallible. However, has a sitting Pope ever revoked or contradicted an infallible statement made by a previous ...
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Can a child presented by a same sex couple be validly baptized in the Catholic Church?

In Instrumentum Laboris 2014, the working document for the October 2014 Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, #120 The Transmission of the Faith to Children in Same Sex ...
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What makes someone an antipope?

Rather straight forward question. There have been multiple men declared antipopes. Is it different each time, or generally the same set of circumstances that causes this?
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How can one offer Christ's sacrifice to God?

I'd like to know what is the Catholic theology behind offering Jesus's suffering to the Father. I'm trying to understand this prayer (from St. Bridget's 12-Year Prayer) more deeply: Eternal ...
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How does a Roman Catholic reconcile a preference for purely procreative sex with the Song of Solomon?

Premise #1: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that sex is for procreation Peter Turner has an excellent answer to the question on Onan. In it, he suggests that Onan really was misusing sex, and that ...
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What are the requirements for a Protestant joining the Catholic church?

What are the requirements for joining the Catholic church as an adult? I'm interested in all the requirements, including whether a previously baptized Protestant would be required to (or forbidden ...
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How are Catholic priests chosen and assigned to specific parishes?

I know that a certain amount of education is necessary before men can be ordained as a Catholic priest. But are all men that received the necessary education ordained as priests? If not, what is the ...
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Are there any Catholic sects which disagree with the sinlessness of Mary?

As a protestant, the concept of the sinless state of Mary is one of the hardest aspects of Catholicism to swallow. The historical account of the adoption of this doctrine doesn't lend any credibility ...
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What are the stipulations for a mixed marriage to be valid in the Catholic Church?

If a devout Catholic woman wants to marry a Baptist man, what what must be made to make the marriage valid to the Catholic Church if they have both gone though the Catholic wedding preparation but ...
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Does the priest have the power to forgive sins?

John 20:22-23 (KJV) 22  And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23  Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and ...
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How could a seventh century heretic have possessed papal infallibility?

More specifically: How does the Roman Catholic Church reconcile the doctrine of Papal Infallibility with the Sixth Ecumenical Council's pronouncement regarding Pope Honorius? The Sixth Ecumenical ...
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How has apostolic succession been “unbroken” in the wake of depositions, antipopes, immorality, and simony?

In studying the history of the papacy one discovers all sorts of events that are interesting when considered in the context of apostolic succession from St. Peter until today, including, but not ...
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Did Mary know she was sinless, according to Roman Catholic teaching?

The Roman Catholic Church teaches the Immaculate Conception that asserts Mary was conceived without sin and remained sinless for her entire life. Assuming this to be true, did Mary know that she ...
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Should Catholics silently hum the Tetragrammaton when they're supposed to sing it?'

I was telling the kids in my Catechism class yesterday that we don't pronounce God's name anymore in hymns during Mass. They were a tad taken aback, especially since apparently they're supposed to ...
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Why (and when) did the empty cross v.s. crucifix split happen? [duplicate]

Today, we have Catholic and Orthodox churches (and a few others) using the crucifix whereas most Protestant denominations make exclusive use of an empty cross. When and why did the Protestant ...
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What does St. Augustine mean by predestination?

St. Augustine says somewhere (quoted in the old Catholic Encyclopedia): Predestination is nothing else than the foreknowledge and foreordaining of those gracious gifts which make certain the ...
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Where does the Catholic church procure most of its Bibles?

I was recently doing some research on Bible publishing and distribution in order to compose this answer over on the Skeptics Stack Exchange site. In spite of the result being well received, I have a ...
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What does the Catholic Church mean when it calls humans co-creators with God?

The Catholic Church says that human are co-creators with God. To human beings God even gives the power of freely sharing in his providence by entrusting them with the responsibility of “subduing”...
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Do Catholics tithe?

This might seem like a silly question, but I am not a Catholic, and so I do not know the answer! Do Catholics tithe?
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What is the reasoning for Latin being the official language of Catholic Mass?

The New Testament was originally written in Greek. But yet Roman Catholics held Mass in Latin for hundreds of years. What scriptural evidence, if any, caused Latin to be picked over Greek? Was any ...
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Why did the conclave elect Pope Stephen I, when he died prior to taking office?

According to Wikipedia, Pope Stephen I was elected to the papacy in March of 752 A.D., but died a few days later, prior to being installed. As I understand it, Catholic teaching indicates that God's ...
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Is it biblical to burn the heretics?

This article has a list of people burned as heretics by the Church in the past. Is there any Biblical basis for burning the heretics? Which specific verse was used for the judgement on the heretics, ...
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How does the Catholic Church reconcile evolution with original sin?

According to Catholic doctrine: all men inherit ancestral sin from Adam; God descended upon Earth as the Son in order to free mankind from this sin, was crucified, died etc. From the Catechism of ...
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Format for the Catholic Mass

I've been to a Catholic Church very few times in my adult life. It's a very different experience than the protestant Churches I'm used to. In most of the Protestant Churches, there is generally a ...
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What is the meaning of the large statue of a pine cone in Vatican City?

What is the meaning of this statue in Vatican City?
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How do Roman Catholics understand salvation in light of Romans 3&4?

As far as I can understand it, Paul directly contradicts the Roman Catholic doctrine of salvation in Romans 3 & 4 (see verses 3:21-22, 3:28, 4:4-6 in particular, but I'm referring to the broad ...
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What's the name of the heresy that declares Mary Mother of God is a goddess?

Such heresy was condemned centuries ago by the Church, but I cannot remember its name.
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773 views

What is the basis for the Catholic teaching that artificial birth control is wrong?

I understand that the original commandment to be fruitful and multiply involves reproduction. However, planning to wait a little bit here and there seems reasonable enough. So, what is the reasoning ...
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Are Catholic priests allowed by church law to provide professional counseling and referrals to penitents who come to them to confess?

Let us say we have a priest, who is a licensed psychiatrist as well. A devout Catholic confesses their sins to said priest. The Catholic person chats with the priest, and priest asks follow-up ...
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Is a claim of 50,000,000 Baptist martyrs accurate?

In the book The Trail of Blood by James M Carroll, the author makes the claim that 50,000,000 early Baptists were martyred under persecution by the Catholic Church. The author makes the claim ...
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According to the Catholic Church, will we have physical bodies in heaven?

I've heard and read that when we die, and we go to heaven, we won't have bodies. We'll be spirits only, but so happy that we won't need bodies or objects. In School we were taught that when we go to ...