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

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How do Catholics explain Jesus' words to the thief on the cross, in light of the doctrine of Purgatory?

In Luke 23, there is a brief conversation between Jesus and one of the thieves crucified beside him: 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43Jesus answered ...
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Is swearing (making an oath) considered bad in Christianity?

My Catholic friend and I were chatting once and I said something along the lines of "I swear I'm not lying". She asked me to promise to her and not to swear since it's discouraged in her religion. I ...
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555 views

Is the entire Bible read at mass?

I'm not a Catholic, but I have attended Catholic Mass and I've been acquainted with the practice of regular mass- that a certain week of the year has the same readings each year. Is the entirety of ...
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468 views

What is the biblical support that the Catholic Church is the custodian of truth?

The doctrine of papal infallibility is not founded on biblical texts specifically. It is founded on the "biblically supported" doctrine that the church is the custodian of truth. What is the ...
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145 views

How did the second Vatican council (aka Vatican II) address the concept of limbo?

I've heard that the second Vatican council eliminated the concept of limbo. Or maybe that it never existed to begin with. Was limbo part of "official" Catholicism before Vatican II? What changes were ...
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635 views

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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Is Metatron actually part of Catholic dogma?

Some time ago (source), I heard that Metatron is part of official Catholic dogma. However, I couldn't really confirm this with a cursory Google search as I keep running into stuff talking about Jewish ...
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703 views

Papal Infallibility and teaching heresy?

I had a question that I hoped the Catholics on the board could help me out with. My understanding of the doctrine of Papal Infallibility is that speaking in his official capacity as the "Vicar of ...
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345 views

Are the Gospels considered anonymous by historians only or by the Catholic Church also?

I have read that the Gospels were anonymous, and much later they were named Mark, Mathew, Luke and John (and Luke, Mark and Mathew very similar compared with John). Now is this more of from a ...
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819 views

Did Jesus need to die, or would mere shedding of blood have been sufficient?

Originally: St. Thomas Aquinas on salvation by a drop of Christ's Blood I heard on Relevant Radio a year or so ago something perplexing, I think it was a priest saying it, but it may have been a ...
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297 views

Once a Catholic always a Catholic?

According to the Roman Catholic church, what is the status of someone who was baptised as a baby and left the church as a teen? Does it matter if he had Confirmation? Does it matter if he claims no ...
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158 views

By what authority does the old Catholic Encyclopedia call itself Catholic?

This may seem like a dumb question, but I think it could be useful to people who look at links on the internet to the old Catholic Encyclopedia (which is heavily referenced on wikipedia for ...
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155 views

Did Crimen sollicitationis threaten excommunication for victims reporting crimes to the civil authorities?

Crimen sollicitationis a 1962 document by the Catholic Church describing how various matters should be handled by Church law. I have heard differing claims from various people as to whether the ...
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419 views

Was the Apostolic Tradition of rejecting soldiers from the church ‘permanent’, or was this ‘tradition' briefly enforced?

In the Bible Jesus encounters Roman soldiers but does not tell them to 'quit their day job'. Jesus encountered a centurion with 'great faith' as recorded in Matthew 8. Peter as well baptized a ...
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740 views

Do I have to admit to not being a virgin when preparing for a Catholic wedding?

I'm about to go to pre-cana. If the priest finds out I'm not a virgin then can the church deny my marriage application? Does the priest have the liberty to ask? Do I have the liberty not to answer ...
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351 views

What is the role of “Sign of the cross” gesture in Catholicism?

Catholics make this gesture during or after prayer, by using their right hand to touch the forehead, then the middle of the breast, then the left shoulder, and finally the right shoulder. Is this ...
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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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801 views

How do the vestments of the pontiff emeritus compare to those of a bishop emeritus?

As widely reported, Pope Benedict XVI will wear "a simple white cassock without the mozzetta" during his retirement, and will no longer use the rest of the traditional pontifical regalia, such as the ...
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130 views

Is the choice of a new Pope inspired by the Holy Spirit?

Are Roman Catholics required to believe that the Cardinals choice of a new Pope is inspired by the Holy Spirit? If so, how do we explain "bad" popes?
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What is the significance of priest breaking the bread (Host) in a Catholic mass?

In a Catholic mass, just before the distribution of communion to people, priest breaks the Host in to pieces and people simultaneously acclaim: Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world, Have ...
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216 views

Can a Catholic priest conduct a Catholic baptism upon the request of non-Catholic parents, assuming that they will raise the child Catholic?

Can non-Catholic parents ask the priest to baptize the child (infant) in the Catholic church and promise that they will give the child a Catholic upbringing? I mean, it could be a learning experience ...
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616 views

Did all Popes use the inverted cross?

The above image shows Pope John Paul II sitting on a chair with an inverted cross on it. According to tradition, the inverted cross symbolizes Saint Peter. Was Pope John Paul II the only pope who ...
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4k views

May divorced men become Roman Catholic priests?

In reading through canon law ( I think around 1037 or so ), it says that unmarried men must be celibate and 25 years old, or married men must be at least 35 and have their wife's consent before being ...
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218 views

If you are forgiven through the Grace of God, why do you need an Indulgence?

Ephesians 2:8,9 (NIV) 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. And from ...
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441 views

According to Catholic doctrine, would a cloned human being have a soul?

Recently I heard from my devout religious acquaintance that, according to Christian (Catholic) faith, a cloned individual wouldn't actually be a person. She explained that a human being consists of a ...
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363 views

What kind of baptism is essential to salvation, and what does 'essential' mean in this context?

I'm a protestant and I've often heard statements to the effect that "Catholics believe that salvation is impossible without baptism", but I've also encountered the terms "Baptism of blood" and ...
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808 views

Can Catholics choose to be baptized by immersion?

I understand that the most prominent manner in which Catholics are baptized is by pouring. However, I saw somewhere that baptism by immersion is not considered wrong by the Catholic Church. (If this ...
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455 views

Reformation objections to lectio divina?

It is becoming popular in Protestant circles to embrace traditional Roman Catholic (RC) mysticism, such as the practice of lectio divina. For example, see this page on the website of Timothy Keller's ...
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494 views

Has the notion of “legitimacy” been abandoned in the Catholic Church?

This isn't a question about pastoral advice, but it is being asked on behalf of a friend who is worried that her children will become illegitimate if her marriage is annulled and all I can find to ...
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121 views

Was “love your enemies” ever included among the evangelical counsels?

In Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin accuses his scholastic opponents of considering the commandment "Love your enemies" to be optional. Specifically, he says that they call it an ...
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127 views

What different acts do Catholic priests require of people who go to confession?

I understand that when people go to confessional in the Catholic Church, the priest will often prescribe certain things for them to do for penance in order for their sins to be forgiven. I have heard ...
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649 views

Under what circumstances is a priest supposed to deny forgiveness to a person?

As I understand it, in Roman Catholic practice, people regularly confess their sins to a priest, who then instructs them what they must do in order to be forgiven. However, it is apparently possible ...
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437 views

What is the relationship between the Catholic churches of various countries?

I currently live in Mexico, where the Catholic church is quite different than the Catholic church I'm accustomed to in the U.S. This is most obvious to me by the hostility often shown by Catholics ...
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78 views

What religious order do these nuns belong to?

The habit of these nuns includes no guimpe (or a black one), a black veil, a white wimple, a rectangular white coif: Which order do they belong to? (I couldn't find anything quite like it on ...
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178 views

Is there a generally accepted term for “Christians in Communion with the Bishop of Rome”?

Roman Catholic is a title given to the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. By this definition, therefore, the term Roman Catholic explicitely excludes the Eastern Rites of the Church, even though ...
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316 views

St. Thomas Aquinas' contingency proof and LDS cosmology

The argument from contingency summarized by St. Thomas illustrates that in order for existence to be a reality there must be an "Uncaused Cause" that possesses existence in and of Himself. Everything ...
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222 views

Why is Jesus portrayed and remembered in a state of suffering?

My observation of Christianity is that Jesus Christ is portrayed, worshiped and promoted in his state on the cross: suffering, crucified, having wounds. I don't see what sense this makes. This seems ...
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290 views

What exactly did Pope Gregory the Great mean by “Universal Bishop?”

In the 6th Century, Pope St. Gregory the Great wrote this: "I say it without the least hesitation, whoever calls himself the universal bishop, or desires this title, is, by his pride, the ...
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213 views

Does the Roman Catholic church consider HIPAA to be an unjust law?

HIPAA, the United States Health Care Privacy Law has been in effect for nearly two decades. It's the law that makes people all nervous about talking about other people's well being with their doctors ...
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What is the difference between an Apostolic Exhortation and an Encyclical Letter?

Pope Francis has just released an Apostolic Exhortation called Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). He also released an Encyclical Letter in the summer called Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith). ...
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228 views

Is the desire for a spiritual mother natural to mankind?

I've been answering a few questions on this site raised about the intercessory power of the Blessed Virgin Mary and this question popped into my mind. St. Thomas Aquinas can posit a rational proof ...
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948 views

Why do Catholics believe that it is a priest's blessing that transforms the elements into the body and blood of Christ?

I understand that Catholicism teaches the doctrine of transubstantiation, that is, that the bread and wine of the Eucharist are transformed into the literal body and blood of Christ. This apparently ...
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338 views

How long, and in what cases did Catholics participate in the Black Fast?

I ran across the term "Black Fast" and looked it up. The articles I'm finding indicate that it's extreme, and give some information about the types of foods allowed during it, but I keep expecting to ...
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426 views

Where do Catholics believe the historical narrative of the Bible begins?

I heard on the Relevant Radio recently that the Genesis account of the deluge is prehistorical. Meaning, it wasn't really recorded in histories the way other more specific accounts of historical ...
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530 views

When are lay men and women permitted to read the Gospel in a Catholic church?

I know that reading the Gospel at Mass is restricted to ordained folks. But, is it permissible for a lay man or woman to lead a word and communion service and read from the Gospel? Can they lead a ...
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172 views

Why does Catholic Church (and possibly some other denominations) approve natural family planning and condemn different kinds of contraception?

That's one thing that bothers me. While I agree that using means of birth control that affect embryo is simply wrong in the terms of morality, I cannot tell any difference between natural family ...
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318 views

What's wrong with the Summa Theologica?

I've heard that there were two points of Catholic doctrine in Aquinas' Summa Theologica that were later successfully defended to the contrary. One, I think is the Immaculate Conception of Mary ...
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195 views

How are doxologies formed for common prayers?

I'm not sure of the exact definition, but a doxology seems to be a prayer tagged at the end which consists of some sort of invocation of the Blessed Trinity. I'm just wondering if the actual words ...
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873 views

What is the official Roman Catholic opinion on Swedenborg?

What is the official opinion of the Catholic Church on works of Emanuel Swedenborg, especially Heaven and Hell? I'm interested in the opinion of the Catholic Church, but any others will be also ...
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According to Catholic law and rules, is postponing of the Rite of Acceptance OK?

This is a follow-up question for Are those instructed before baptism considered catechumens before entering the catechumenate formally? In Czech Republic the pre-baptismal formation is often called ...