Being Open to Life—Abstract Norm, or Embodied Word?

Preamble We have a temptation to separate a moral norm from its existential reality and, in so doing, to imagine that we have “an abstract norm”[1. Although the expression, ‘abstract norm’ (ncregi … [Read more...]

My Side of the Confessional

A Scrupulous Penitent’s Plea to Confessors

For months, I had been mustering the courage to go to confession. I had faced the terror of Hell to marshal my sins. I had waited in the empty church for half an hour, palms in a cold sweat, rehearsing my lines. It had been three months and … [Read more...]

Questions Answered

Question: Please explain why “even attachment to venial sin” prevents one from obtaining a plenary indulgence. It seems no one can receive one as we all are attached to, and even commit, venial sins. Answer: The answers to this question a … [Read more...]

On the Lowly, Yet Vital, Importance of Chastity

A Response to His Excellency, Bishop Robert McElroy

The reader likely needs no introduction to the recent uproar in Catholic media regarding the rescinding of various speaking engagements previously granted to Fr. James Martin, SJ. Those particular waters are so contentious that I think … [Read more...]

Further Dubia for the Confused

The Holy Father is given very special graces to guide the Catholic Church, being the successor of Peter. He is the vicar of Christ to which I adhere. Yet, when reading his latest exhortation, Amoris laetitia, I feel confused. In 1998, … [Read more...]

Considering Culpability

Why an Article on this Topic? It all began with a statement made by a student in a class I was teaching for our License in Sacred Theology (STL) Program at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. I was conducting a seminar on the stages of … [Read more...]

Questions Answered

Question:  If a couple is in the state of mortal sin because of cohabitation before marriage without confession, is the marriage still a valid sacramental marriage? If not, when does it become a sacramental marriage? Answer:  This q … [Read more...]

Chapter Eight of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia”

For a guided reading Chapter Eight of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia is significantly entitled: "Accompanying, discerning and integrating weakness." This part of the document is not very large, because it is … [Read more...]

Questions Answered

                On the question of state required immunizations at a Catholic School Question: The Catechism says: "Each and every sexual act in a marriage needs to be open to the possibility of conceiving a child." Many elderly couples, … [Read more...]

Questions Answered

Question: I am a secular Carmelite preparing to make my vows. Can you explain the difference between religious profession and seculars regarding the virtue of religion? How would the vows of religion differ from my promises for life? Don’t w … [Read more...]

Serving LGBT Students in Catholic Schools

How do Catholic schools best serve students who struggle with same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria (popularly called “transgendered”)? What should a school’s policies prescribe in order to prevent confusion, disputes and even litig … [Read more...]

The Fundamental Option

A Faithful Student’s Guide to a Competing 20th Century Moral Theory

For years now in the post-conciliar period, the concept of the fundamental option—which some have likened to St. Thomas Aquinas’s notion of a commitment to an “Ultimate End” as the first principle of moral action (see Benedict M. Ashley, O.P … [Read more...]

Contraception as a Lesser Evil

From Modern Moral Problems

The following are excerpts from a new book which is a compilation of the writings of Msgr. William B. Smith who was a regular contributor to Homiletic and Pastoral Review, from October 1992 to July 2005, for the magazine's "Questions … [Read more...]

Questions Answered

Question: I see and read all the “opinions” on whether the SSPX Mass and administering of the sacraments is legal and licit. Good people are at variance with each other on this issue. Please, could you straighten this out from your sta … [Read more...]

The Merciful Call to Holiness

Addressing the Dualism Between Mercy and Doctrine in Cardinal Kasper’s Proposal

Ever since it was first floated in his 1977 work, Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposal to apply mercy to those suffering outside full communion with the Church through civil divorce and remarriage has been the source of much debate.[1. Walter K … [Read more...]