Questions Answered – January 2019

Mortal Sin and the Individual Conscience Question: My question is about the “full knowledge” element for mortal sin. My belief has always been in line with the following statement from the FAQ section of the popular program “The Light Is On … [Read more...]

A Surprising Beatitude

Dashing the Little Ones upon the Rock

In a 2007 class on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Jesuit Fr. James Swetnam passed along to us two words of wisdom from German Biblical scholar Joachim Jeremias. The first word: read a chapter of New Testament Greek every day. Indeed, very wise … [Read more...]

The Necessity of Confession and Its Seal

Any Catholic reading the report of Australia’s Royal Commission of Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse must be appalled by the multiple instances of child abuse in ecclesial institutions perpetrated by priests, religious, and l … [Read more...]

The Revised Catechism on the Death Penalty

A Careful Reading

With popular news articles beginning on August 2, 2018, various media agencies have been proclaiming: “Pope Francis has declared the death penalty wrong in all cases, a definitive change in church teaching . . .” (New York Times), “Pope Fran … [Read more...]

The Gift and Rights of Being Conceived, Part 2

Even if, as we have seen in Part I of this essay, there are unresolved questions concerning the definition of the moment of conception, an irreversible moment involving the action of God, each one of us is nevertheless evidence of an actual … [Read more...]

When Does Sin Stop Being Sin?

Imagine I’m poor. Not dirt poor. Not homeless. Not living on the edge of extreme poverty. Just poor. Poor enough not to be able to afford some of the nicer things in life. Now, let’s imagine that I’m riding on the subway. I happen to noti … [Read more...]

The Gift and Rights of Being Conceived, Part 1

In the first of this two-part essay there is an examination of the wholeness of human being, the complementarity of faith and reason, and what human conception is, and what is said about it in the teaching of the Church (Part I). In the … [Read more...]

Psychopathy

A Deeper Reality Revealed Through Catholicism

It is my hope that through the lens of the wisdom of the Church’s tradition, I am able to reveal the deeper reality that remains hidden behind the label of psychopathy. By its very nature, an exploration into the world of the psychopath s … [Read more...]

The Dilemma of Pope Francis: The 2018 World Meeting of Families

By now everyone — especially Catholics — should know that the 2018 World Meeting of Families, sponsored by the Vatican Congregation of Marriage and Family Life, will gather in Dublin, Ireland this August. In recent months, stories about t … [Read more...]

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...]