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July 2, 2015

The Seventh Commandment says, “Thou shall not steal” but what does that mean? While the Catechism of the Catholic Church does admit of extraordinary circumstances where it can be moral to take another’s property (e.g., it’s not wrong to take an apple from someone’s orchard in order to feed someone who is starving), the essence of the seventh commandment is this: “It’s wrong to make something yours if it belongs to someone else.”

This goes far beyond the...

July 1, 2015

The Catholic Church has spoken definitively on the question of whether women could ever be ordained to the ministerial priesthood. On October 15, 1976, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith presented the Church’s teaching succinctly and authoritatively in Inter Insigniores. And Pope St. John Paul II reiterated that teaching exercising his Magisterial authority in his Apostolic Letter, Ordinatio...

June 29, 2015

Determining a bad idea’s antecedents usually is messy and often is impossible. Just when did a particular bad idea begin? Seldom is there an analogue to Athena coming fully formed from the forehead of Zeus.

Usually one bad idea derives from an earlier bad idea, which in turn derives from still earlier bad ideas. In order not to get lost in a long series that disappears into the mists of pre-history, you need to choose a point at which you can say, “For purposes of discussion, I count...

June 26, 2015

In an unsurprising but still disappointing decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in Obergefell vs Hodges that states may not define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Many Catholics, along with other people of good-will who believe marriage is intrinsically related to men, women, sex, and children, are asking, “What next?” Let me offer a proposal: Go back to the basics....

June 23, 2015

When inquirers call into Catholic Answers, they sometimes share concerns about practices going on in their parish. Those concerns often center around the Mass and the proper celebration of the liturgy, but occasionally we are also asked about problems in parish life. Believe it or not, we also sometimes hear from parish staff, who can become frustrated with parishioners who do not seem to understand their obligations as members of the parish.

When I was looking through my archive of...