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

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Did Jesus know from the outset that He was the Son of God or did Mary tell Him?

A Catholic friend of mine asked me this question, and I mentioned this passage: 41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they ...
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373 views

What is the biblical basis for venial and mortal sins?

My understanding of Catholicism is that they believe there are venial sins (kinda bad) and then there are mortal sins (really bad!), and that mortal sins are worse (or something). What is ...
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567 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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843 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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12k views

Does the Roman Catholic church recognize marriages outside of the church?

I'm curious about the status of marriages performed outside the auspices of the church. For example, if a non Catholic converts to the Roman church, but was married beforehand, does it "count". Based ...
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950 views

Why does the Litany of Saint Joseph call him “terror of demons”?

A litany for Joseph, the husband of Mary, was approved by Pope St Pius X in 1909 (*). Most of the invocations are straightforward to understand, referring to his life (eg. "husband of the Mother of ...
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1k 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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136 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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2k views

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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5k 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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1k 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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235 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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149 views

What are the theological implications of “pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death”?

Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of ...
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635 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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495 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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549 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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620 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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3answers
594 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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131 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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126 views

On what basis do Popes choose their papal name?

Apologies if there is not a good answer to this but I was wondering how papal names are chosen. Is there a specific tendency for taking a papal name that is associated with a tradition or strain of ...
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1k views

What is the Difference between a Heretic and a Schismatic, according Catholic and Orthodox tradition?

(This question is aimed at the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox perspective only) What is the difference between a heretic and a schismatic, and what are the soteriological consequences of each?
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157 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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925 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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98 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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468 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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226 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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348 views

Old Roman Catholic Bibles having indulgence charts?

I just listened to a podcast of an Orthodox priest talking about his conversion into the Eastern Orthodox church. He mentioned something about how he once courted an irish Catholic girl who had a big ...
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365 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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253 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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476 views

Is there any connection between minimum age for marriage in Catholic Church and tradition about Mary's age at Annunciation?

According to Canonic law, the minimum age for marryage to be valid for girls is fourteen (it can be and usually is higher for the marriage not to be illicit): Can. 1083 §1. A man before he has ...
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131 views

What is the origin of the account of Lucifer found in Milton's Paradise Lost?

In Paradise Lost, Milton describes how Lucifer rebelled against God and was cast into Hell as a result. I've always wondered about the origin of this account since as far as I know, it's not mentioned ...
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67 views

Unitatis Redintegratio: Analogy to describe those in “partial” or “imperfect” communion?

In the Vatican II decree Unitatis Redintegratio, or "the Decree of Ecunemism," we see the phrase "imperfect" (non perfecta) used to describe "communion" (communio), as well as the typical phrase, ...
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252 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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250 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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1k 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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565 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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685 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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499 views

Are the theories of Evolution and the Big Bang now binding to Catholics and to be held as true?

On Monday, October 27, 2014, addressing the Pontifical Academy of Sciences , Pope Francis is reported to have said, 'the Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not ...
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267 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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197 views

Imposition of Ashes - where in Catholicism is it commonly practiced?

Since I learned of this practice, I thought that placing ashes on Ash Wednesday is practiced worldwide, at least within the Roman Catholic Church. But now I have been to a Mass (on the first Lent ...
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396 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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216 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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218 views

What is the very least a Catholic needs to believe about Genesis 2 and 3?

There have been a couple skepctical questions asked here recently based off of what some people think are either false premises or assumptions or something. But I am still confused as to what the ...
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110 views

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 ...
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5answers
307 views

What is the Catholic explanation as to why God has revealed himself in “male” terms?

The Catholic Church teaches that God is neither man nor woman. CCC 370 In no way is God in man's image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the ...
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2k views

Do Catholics believe that they are actually eating the body of Christ? Does this make them cannibals?

The Roman Catholic celebrates the Holy Eucharist in commemoration of the Last Supper in which during the celebration, Catholics believed that bread and wine are transformed into blood and body of ...
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594 views

Is the Body of Christ the same as the Bride of Christ?

Are there any Catholic teaching that differentiates between the “Body of Christ” (Church) and the “Bride of Christ”? Eve was taken from the Body of the First Adam, will the Bride of Christ be taken ...
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2k views

Why Catholic Church is called “The Roman Catholic Church”?

If the word "catholic", from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), means "universal", why The Catholic Church is known as "The Roman Catholic Church"? Is it possible be "universal" and "roman" ...
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2k views

What's a Papist exactly?

Is a papist always a Catholic who is wholly supportive of the Pope? Must one be some sort of cleric or theologian to be considered by detractors as a papist or were every day catholic peasants and ...
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385 views

Is the Catholic Church NOT against all birth control?

Card. Kasper made the following comments in an interview with WNYC Radio’s Brian Lehrer as transcribed in this article ‘The Church is not against birth control at all’: Cardinal Walter Kasper: ...