I am born-again, on-fire-for-the-Lord, radically-saved, devout, faithful, orthodox, cafeteria Catholic (but not of the liberal variety) — a true Christian.

I look to the teachings of Jesus and the apostles to show the way regarding true Christian faith and morals. These are found in the New Testament and the writings of the Early Church Fathers.


Contents . . .

Moral Theology | Contraception | Divorce | Annulments | Masturbation | Natural Law | Conscience | Drugs | Pornography

Catholic Controversies | Apostolic Succession | Bad Bishops | Qualifications of Leaders | The Church | Clergy vs. Laity | Teaching Magisterium | Faith "Passed-down?"  | Tradition | Women Priests | Married Priests

Sacraments | Transubstantiation | Marriage | Sitting-out communion | Yearly communion | Yearly confession


Moral Theology . . .

Contraception

In analyzing the Catholic statements on this I see three loopholes (I suppose it is proper to look for "loopholes" because (1) the Catholic Church defines everything in terms of technical legalities, and (2) she herself uses loopholes such as these in "fine-tuning" earlier doctrinal statements):

  1. The phrase "morally unlawful" — The distinction between the general principle and specific instances — two examples: (1) Murder is bad, but killing is permissible (and even the right thing to do) in cases of war, self-defense, and capital punishment; and (2) Skipping mass is a mortal sin, but is permissible when it is difficult, or even on vacations. Perhaps contraception is permissible in specific cases of hardship such as avoiding being pregnant so often for health reasons, avoiding starvation or poverty, and avoiding overpopulation.
  2. Natural law— Since God designed the woman's procreative apparatus to allow for conjugal relations that don't result in pregnancy with every sex act, perhaps this means that couples are not required to become pregnant with every sex act. As long as a couple intends to raise some children (even if adopted), perhaps that is all that is required for the marriage to be one of mutual love (although sections 11 and 14 of Humanae Vitae seem to rule this out).
  3. If the motive for using contraception is not "regulating the number of children" but is, rather, to avoid being pregnant so often as a matter of health, these church documents technically don't address this situation.

It seems the Catholic Church can be very slow to react to new situations. For example, in the Galileocase, they didn't recognize for far-too-long-a-time that Copernicanism was not anti-Biblical. By then, Galileo was long dead after having been shown instruments of torture and placed under house arrest for the remainder of his life.

Certainly contraception is used by those wishing to live a hedonistic, promiscuous lifestyle. But should contraception used by committed couples who are responsibly raising children be treated differently? Each Catholic must decide this question.

The Catholic Church does not always have the well-being of Catholics in mind (although they think they do). A good example is the recent priestly scandal. In 2002 at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston, Catholic demonstrators and protesters expressed their outrage and insisted that Cardinal Law resign. Catholics must carefully consider whether to follow their conscience when it collides with obedience to the Catholic Church.

There are no good methods of contraception. Abortifacients must be rejected because they result in abortions (the pill, IUD's, the morning-after pill). Other methods are a nuisance.

Divorce

Annulments

Masturbation

Natural Law

Conscience

From Veritatis Splendor, Pope John Paul II

Second Vatican Council observed: "In the depths of his conscience man detects a law which he does not impose on himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience can when necessary speak to his heart more specifically: 'do this, shun that'. For man has in his heart a law written by God. To obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged (cf. Romans 2:14-16)"

Saint Bonaventure teaches that "conscience is like God's herald and messenger; it does not command things on its own authority, but commands them as coming from God's authority, like a herald when he proclaims the edict of the king. This is why conscience has binding force."

But whereas the natural law discloses the objective and universal demands of the moral good, conscience is the application of the law to a particular case; this application of the law thus becomes an inner dictate for the individual, a summons to do what is good in this particular situation. Conscience thus formulates moral obligation in the light of the natural law: it is the obligation to do what the individual, through the workings of his conscience, knows to be a good he is called to do here and now.

The judgment of conscience also has an imperative character: man must act in accordance with it.

Conscience expresses itself in acts of "judgment" which reflect the truth about the good.

It is the "heart" converted to the Lord and to the love of what is good which is really the source of true judgments of conscience.

Christians have a great help for the formation of conscience in the Church and her Magisterium. As the Council affirms: "In forming their consciences the Christian faithful must give careful attention to the sacred and certain teaching of the Church.

The Church's Magisterium also teaches the faithful specific particular precepts and requires that they consider them in conscience as morally binding. In addition, the Magisterium carries out an important work of vigilance, warning the faithful of the presence of possible errors, even merely implicit ones, when their consciences fail to acknowledge the correctness and the truth of the moral norms which the Magisterium teaches.

When people ask the Church the questions raised by their consciences, when the faithful in the Church turn to their Bishops and Pastors, the Church's reply contains the voice of Jesus Christ, the voice of the truth about good and evil.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. "He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters." (1782)

Conscience is a judgment of reason by which the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act. (1796)

A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. (1800)

The Word of God is a light for our path. We must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. This is how moral conscience is formed. (1802)

Drugs

Pornography

(1) Their definition in the Catechism is too limited:

Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners. . . . Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials. (2354)

It should include things other than those involving sexual acts, anything intended to promote or arouse lust.

(2) I don't think the Church should insist that certain things be illegal. Trying to control behavior and morality through laws is not such a simple task. For example, trying to promote jobs that pay enough for people to live on results in unemployment for the very people intended to be helped. And Christendomwas a big dud.


Catholic Controversies . . .

Apostolic Succession

Bad Bishops

Qualifications of Leaders

The Church

Clergy vs. Laity

Teaching Magisterium

Faith "Passed-down?"

Tradition

Women Priests

Married Priests


Sacraments . . .

Transubstantiation

Marriage

Sitting-out communion

Yearly communion

Yearly confession