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

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What are the consequences of suicide according to the Roman Catholic church?

What are the consequences of suicide according to the Roman Catholic church? Are there exceptions or special penalties?
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What are indulgences and when and why were they used?

I seem to recall that indulgences had something to do with Roman Catholics doing something to receive forgiveness of sins prior to committing the sins. So, is that what indulgences were? When did ...
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What is the reason to genuflect when the Incarnation is mentioned?

At Mass during the recitation of the Nicene Creed and when praying the Angelus, it is common (or required?) for the congregation to bow or genuflect (bend one knee) during these lines: For us men ...
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Resurrection of the body

How is the resurrection of the body supposed to work in Catholicism? E.g. If I die at 90, will I resurrect with the body of an old man? What about babies, will they simply resurrect as very young ...
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What does the Roman Catholic church teach about those who die having never heard of Christ?

What does the Roman Catholic church teach about those who die having never heard of Christ? Is there any possibility of salvation for them? Related: What happens to people who have never heard about ...
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According to Catholicism, in what cases is Purgatory necessary?

As I understand it, there are at least two "steps" necessary for a person to reach Heaven; I hope this description is valid from nearly all Christian viewpoints. First the person has to choose to ...
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Do the Catholic Church ex cathedra pronouncements about necessity of Catholicism to be saved still apply?

I think the following was spoken Ex Cathedra: “The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but ...
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Who is the author referred to in the Pope's 4 April 2014 homily?

I'll keep my question short. Does anyone know to whom Pope Francis was referring in today's homily, when he discussed an author whose books were initially banned by the Church, but now this person is ...
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Can a physically healthy, married couple honor God without having children?

If a married couple is physically able to have children (at least potentially) can they honor God without having children? Roman Catholics, for example, say that sex has at least two purposes ...
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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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Did Mary know that her Baby Boy would “soon deliver her”?

It's a little past Christmas, but I forgot to ask this question based on the song "Mary did you know", which really raises the question. Did Mary know? As a Catholic, there are lots of traditions ...
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Is veneration worship?

I answered this question calling adoration and veneration honor given to God and the saints accordingly. If you look at the edits for my answer, I think I had some confusion as to the terminology ...
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How did the Crusades impact modern Christianity?

How do the crusades impact modern day Christianity own sense of morality and spirituality? What do these things mean to a person of faith? The Crusades, from Wikipedia The Crusades were a series ...
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Praying the Liturgy of the Hours in private; out loud

For the laity, when praying the Liturgy of the Hours in private, is it more in keeping with tradition to you pray out loud or silently or does it matter? Also, do you change the way you repeat ...
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Apostolic succession and the Didache

As it pertains primarily to Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and other large denominations that not only lay claim to an unbroken successive line, but who also put significant emphasis on it: The ...
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Pre-Crucifixion Transubstantiation

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 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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Hierarchy of Blessings

According to this question, What does it mean for a priest to bless an object or person?, there is a "special apostolic blessing" that the Pope can provide. Blessings can also be provided by the ...
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What does it mean for a priest to bless an object or person?

Priests bless water to make holy water and they bless the faithful at the end of Sunday masses. The Pope has a special apostolic blessing that he gives out sometimes. I know that it is good to be ...
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Does God lie? And does devil tell the truth?

The bible quotes God saying And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, ...
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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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The Pope is resigning. How does a living pope confer his authority?

I read that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning. I don't know much about Catholic/papal authority as it relates to leading the Church, but as far as I can remember, a pope dies before another one takes the ...
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Who calls the conclave?

There must be someone to oficially call the cardinals to a conclave. Who is it? It can't be the old pope - resignation is hardly the normal situation, so the old pope is supposed to be dead. I guess ...
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Did Martin Luther believe the Church needed to be reformed before the Great Schism of 1054AD, or after?

I think its safe to say that Martin Luther, being one of the fathers of Protestantism, was primarily at odds with the Roman Church. He posted his 95 theses to confront what he thought to be ...
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In Catholic understanding, did Paul speak/write ex cathedra while Peter was serving as Pope?

Catholic doctrine teaches that Peter was the first Pope and that Popes may speak "ex cathedra". When they do, that is considered infallible. However, while Peter was alive and presumably serving as ...
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Why is Good Friday called Good?

My coworker asked "Why is Good Friday called good?" when I said we've got Good Friday off and I unfortunately don't know the answer to the question. Is there a very obvious way to explain to someone ...
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What is the purpose of minor basilicas?

What is the purpose of minor basilicas? What is the difference between them and a normal cathedral? As far as I can tell its purely ceremonial. If that is true, what aren't all cathedrals designated ...
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What do non-Catholic Christians do with the power of binding and loosing?

In Catholicism, we believe that the Bishops in Communion with the Pope (as Vicar of Christ) have authority over Church doctrine. The authority comes straight from the mouth of our Savior. ...
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What is the biblical basis for and against the “filioque”?

In order to contextualize the question I add the following quote from the wikipedia article concerning Filioque clause: Filioque, Latin for "and (from) the Son", is a phrase found in the form of ...
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What is the Catholic stance on Embryo Screening?

Embryo Screening is the process of fertilizing multiple eggs, checking their DNA makeup, and then screening out the eggs that do not meet the requirements. These requirements can be anything from ...
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What is the difference between Magisterial teaching and Sacred Tradition in Roman Catholicism?

In an answer to another question, @PeterTurner wrote: Good answers from a Catholic perspective should be able to stand on all three legs of Sacred Scripture, Magisterial teaching and Sacred ...
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On what basis does the Catholic Church teach that women cannot be ordained?

The Catholic Church maintains that it does not have the authority to ordain women. I.e., the Church can't ordain women. It's assumed then that God set a precedent or gave a mandate to ordain only men. ...
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Why is the word ‘concupiscence’ so important in understanding the difference between a Catholic view and a Protestant view of ‘Original Sin’?

I have noticed this word ‘concupiscence’ a lot while studying Catholic Theology. It seems to significantly change what ‘Original Sin’ means, making a Catholic meaning of ‘Original Sin’ very different ...
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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; ...
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Why did the Catholic Church decide to have a Bible?

As far as I know, the Catholic Church considers God's revealed truth in Sacred Scripture to be part of, but by no means the sum total of Divine Revelation. Sacred Scripture is the written part of our ...
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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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How is spiritual progress described in eastern monastic traditions?

Catholic church has a long monastic history, and there are excellent exponents of spiritual progress whose concepts are used even today. Take Theresa of Avila's "interior castle" or Juan de la Cruz' ...
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When (and why) did the empty cross v.s. crucifix split happen?

Today, we have Catholic and Orthodox churches (and a few others) using the crucifix whereas most Protestant denominations have an empty cross. Did this empty-cross split happen around when Martin ...
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How comparable are the concepts of the Teaching Magisterium in the Catholic Church and the Jehovah's Witnesses view of their Watch Tower society?

Just how comparable is this particular aspect of each group's ecclesiology? If from an academic viewpoint there are marked similarities, is there an identifiable Jehovah's witness perspective on the ...
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What is the basis for the claim that Ezekiel 44 is about Mary the Mother of Jesus?

Upon being referred to the statements of Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologia, I read this: It is written (Ezekiel 44:2): "This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass ...
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Is secularizing Christian symbols blasphemy?

I'd like an orthodox Catholic answer to this question, but any thoughtful well referenced one will suffice. (I know C.S. Lewis wrote on the subject). My kids are asking me to see The Rise of the ...
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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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Why are Independent Baptist Fundamentalists labelled Protestants?

Something that always bothers me which I witness to Catholics: the well-meaning ones tell me I am a Protestant and say that "we protested the Catholic Church". This isn't true, the Baptist Church was ...
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What arguments would you give to teenagers who are unconcerned about eternal life?

So the kids in my catechism class aren't all that into the notion of living forever. That's kind of depressing, but I don't think its anything we can't get around. However, what do you tell a kid, ...
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What does it mean that John's Gospel does not have an account of the institution of the Eucharist?

I'm preparing a class on the institution of the Eucharist and my text says "The Gospel of John includes no mention of the institution of the Eucharist" it goes on to give the account, for ...
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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 view Freemasons?

What are the historic and current views of the Catholic Church concerning Masons?
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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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What is the Catholic position on Exodus 20:4?

This weekend my son and I participated in our Scouting council's annual Ten Commandments hike in which we walked to 10 different churches and heard a short talk on each of the 10 commandments from ...
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What's the origin of the Catholic object that is a staff with a cross on top?

Like I asked in the title, what's the name and origin of a staff with a cross on top? Like the one depicted in the picture.