Why The Church Cannot Marry the Impotent

August 7, 2014 | 85 comments

When some people learn that the Catholic Church cannot (or as they usually phrase it “will not”) marry those who are impotent, they express shock or outright indignation. Isn’t this discrimination against the disabled? Why does someone need to be able to have sex in order to get married?

Before I explain why the Church cannot marry the impotent, I want to outline exactly what the Church teaches on this subject. According to the Code of Canon Law in section 1084:

 §1. Antecedent and perpetual impotence to have intercourse, whether on the part of the man or the woman, whether absolute or relative, nullifies marriage by its very nature.

§2. If the impediment of impotence is doubtful, whether by a doubt about the law or a doubt about a fact, a marriage must not be impeded nor, while the doubt remains, declared null.

§3. Sterility neither prohibits nor nullifies marriage, without prejudice to the prescript ofcanon 1098.

So what does this mean? Antecedent and perpetual impotence refers to the inability to have vaginal intercourse both before the marriage begins and throughout the entire duration of the marriage. Absolute impotency is the inability to have intercourse with anyone while relative impotency is the inability to have intercourse with one’s spouse. In the latter case, the impotent person is theoretically able to have intercourse with someone else.

Impotency is not an impediment if it can be treated with medication or items that allow intercourse to occur. But if it is untreatable (as well as antecedent and perpetual) it “nullifies marriage by its very nature” or it makes the marriage invalid.[1]

Two Common Misinterpretations

It’s important to remember that what I described above does not mean the following:

1.  If a person becomes impotent during his marriage the marriage is now invalid. As long as the marriage was consummated at some point prior to the impotence, the marriage is not rendered null. Impotence must be antecedent and perpetual in order to be an impediment.

2.  If someone is infertile they can’t get married. Impotence refers to the inability to have sexual intercourse while infertility or sterility refers to the inability to procreate. For example, a healthy woman who has a hysterectomy is infertile but not impotent. In contrast, a woman who has a vagina that cannot accommodate the male member is impotent but she may still be able to become pregnant through illicit means like artificial insemination or IVF. This means she is not infertile even though she is impotent.

Paragraph 3 of canon 1084 makes it clear that the inability to produce offspring is not an impediment to marriage.[2] What is an impediment to marriage is the inability to have vaginal intercourse.

A Sample Case

“Why shouldn’t the impotent be allowed to have the same kind of happiness the rest of us have in marriage?” asks the critic.

In order to put this question in the proper light, let’s examine another couple and see what would be the most compassionate way for the Church to respond to their marriage.

Imagine that Gene and Clara get married but soon discover that they are unable to have sexual intercourse. Despite all of their best efforts to treat the problem, the impotence remains, and the two are never able to have sex. They decide that a marriage without the possibility of sexual intercourse is not really a marriage at all, and they want out.

How should the Church compassionately respond to Gene and Clara?

One way the Church cannot respond to this problem is by granting Gene and Clara a divorce. The reason they can’t is because divorce is impossible. Just as you can’t separate the ingredients of a cake after you’ve baked it, you can’t separate a man and a woman after they’ve been validly and sacramentally married. Jesus clearly said of married couples, “they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6).

The Marriage That Never Was

However, the Church can grant Gene and Clara an annulment, or a declaration that they were never validly married in the first place. The partner who is not impotent would then be free to leave the current bond, if he or she desired, and marry someone else.

There are several kinds of impediments to marriage, but the bottom line is that an impediment exists when a couple lacks a necessary prerequisite to marriage. For example, “shotgun weddings” where young people are coerced by their parents to marry due to something like an unplanned pregnancy are not valid because the couple has not freely chosen to marry (canon 1103).

Marriage is the full, free, and total gift of self to another person for life. Without freedom you can’t have marriage, so these kinds of “marriages” can be rendered null, or invalid, if a person in the bond seeks an annulment.

But, just as marriage has to be free, it also has to be a full and total gift of self, which includes the bodily gift of self through intercourse. Since Gene and Clara were not able to give themselves to one another in this way both prior to their wedding and forever after making their wedding vows, they had no way of keeping those vows.

Can’t Have it Both Ways

Indeed, the claim “they should be free to be just as happy as the rest of us are in our marriages” used to defend marrying the impotent is what justifies allowing Gene and Clara to have an annulment due to impotency. The potent partner has the right to the full gift of self through marital intercourse, or the right to be “as happy as the rest of us are in marriage.” As a result, the Church declares their kind of marriage to be null or invalid so that the potent partner can be free to be in a marriage where the gift of self is possible.

But now we have a problem for those who believe that the Church should allow impotent couples to marry.

If the Church allows Gene and Clara to have an annulment then the Church can’t turn around and validly marry another couple that has exactly the same impotency Gene and Clara’s union had. The Church would be lying if it said this other couple could be validly married in spite of impotence when impotence was the reason Gene and Clara’s marriage was rendered invalid. If one condition renders couple A’s marriage to be invalid, and couple B has that exact same condition as couple A, then couple B’s marriage would also be invalid. This is simple logic that the Church can’t just “ignore.”[3]

Now let’s look at some common objections to this teaching:

“What about Mary and Joseph? If sex is so important to marriage, then how can you say they were truly married when the Church teaches that Mary was a virgin her whole life?”

If a couple mutually agrees to not engage in sexual intercourse (or have what’s called a Josephite marriage), then that marriage is valid because they are able to consummate the marriage (which is not the case in impotent unions). But it is also dissoluble, since the two have not become “one flesh.” (Canon 1142)

For a marriage to be valid a couple must only be able to have sexual intercourse -- they don’t have to actually engage in sexual intercourse.

“So you’re telling me that a 20-year-old war veteran who has his genitals mutilated while serving our country can’t marry his sweetheart when he comes home?”

We should always empathize with those who suffer from disabilities and help them cope with the loss of a major bodily function.

But in recognizing that impotence is an impediment to marriage, the Church does not deprive this young man, or anyone else, of many of the goods he seeks that can be found in a marital relationship. He and his sweetheart may still promise to care for one another and share life's joys and trials together, provided they don't have a sexual relationship. Indeed, if they were unable to engage in sexual intercourse, then why would they need to marry at all?

One objection is that through marriage the couple, especially a young couple, can live together and have a non-sexual relationship without causing scandal. But while this is a noble goal it can't overcome another difficulty. Such a cohabiting situation would be a near-occasion of sin for a couple that is striving to lead a non-sexual relationship, which includes abstinence from all forms of sexual arousal.

Of course, a critic might say that there is nothing wrong with these behaviors provided they occur among married people. Therefore, the Church should marry an impotent couple so that they can licitly engage in sexual activity they are physically able to enjoy such as passionate kissing, fondling, mutual masturbation and oral stimulation. But the problem with this argument is that these acts don’t become moral just because a couple gets married. It is intercourse, not marriage itself, that justifies sexually arousing activities -- even though it is marriage that allows a couple to have sexual intercourse.

For example, if a married couple engages in arousing activities like mutual masturbation, then they must complete the act through intercourse or they will have sinned.[4] Activities like oral stimulation and mutual masturbation are like “freeway on-ramps” that get us up to speed in order to complete the marital act. Reducing sex to only these activities is like reducing eating to only chewing and tasting food without digesting it. It distorts the purpose of these acts and takes them out of their proper orientation towards being a total gift of self through life-giving love (i.e. sexual intercourse).

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said in Persona Humana that,

“the deliberate use of the sexual faculty outside normal conjugal relations essentially contradicts the finality of the faculty. For it lacks the sexual relationship called for by the moral order, namely the relationship which realizes "the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love." (9)

In fact, we have a moral obligation to not place impotent couples in situations where they will be tempted to engage in sexual behaviors that do not lead to intercourse. Such an occasion of sin will certainly arise if we say they are married and are now free to “act like” a married couple.

“Marriage is more than about sex you know. What about the promise to love and cherish one another? What about being friends and weathering the storms of life together? Leave it to Catholics to make everything about sex.”

It’s true marriage is more than sex just as singing is more than making noise. But you can’t sing if you can’t make noise and you can’t be married if you can’t have sex. Why? Well ask yourself this -- What makes marriage different than any other kind of friendship or family relationship?

The answer: SEX!

In any other kind of relationship it would not be strange to choose to live together (roommates or widowed sisters might do that), to love one another, or to care for one another even for the duration of one’s life (some adult children do this for their parents). But it would be strange to be in a friendship that involved sex and just plain gross to be in a family relationship that involved sex.

Sex within marriage, on the other hand, is not “strange” because marriage is the only kind of relationship where two people fully give their entire being, including their physical selves, to one another.

Ironically, it’s because our culture makes everything about sex that this objection prevails. Even faithful Catholics have been indoctrinated to believe that sex is “no big deal.” It’s just the kind of thing that can happen when you have too many margaritas.

But this is incorrect.

When a man and woman marry they pledge their whole being, body, mind, and soul to the other person. While friends can share experiences and family can share genetic history and kinship bonds, only in marriage do two people completely share one another. Other relationships may change and fade away over time, but only in marriage do two people literally, not figuratively, become one flesh.

The couple’s reproductive systems, incomplete on their own, become complete through intercourse since they are now ordered towards the good of procreation. This is similar to how a person and a transplanted heart become one body, despite having separate DNA, because both parts are now ordered towards a public good (keeping the person alive).

Likewise, in the marital act the man and woman become one not just because they both have pleasurable feelings, but because they are both ordered towards the public good of procreation. Even if procreation does not occur, they are still ordered towards that good as well as the good of unity itself (which is good both for them as a couple and good for any children they might create).

Simply put, the world’s most intimate and complete declaration of love, marital union, is incomplete without the corresponding physical act that fully expresses the desire for total self-giving, or sexual intercourse. Without the possibility of intercourse the “one flesh” goal of marriage can’t be achieved, and that is why the antecedently and perpetually impotent cannot marry.


We should help anyone who struggles with impotence see that they can have many of the goods in life that married couples enjoy. Goods like friendship, confidants, and even tender physical affection.

We should also help them see how the universal call to chastity, whether it’s for the disabled, those who desire marriage but have not found anyone to marry, or even for the happily married, is a good thing. The graces God gives us in living a chaste life in service of him outweigh any physical goods we might deprived of in this life -- goods of which we will not give a second thought to in the life to come.



[1] Because the nature of what marriage is requires the possibility of sexual intercourse, a bishop cannot dispense an impotent couple to be married just as he cannot issue a dispensation to allow a man to marry even though he is already married to someone else. Both cases involve violations of divine law that apply to everyone equally, not ecclesial law that a local ordinary can relax with a dispensation.

[2] Infertility is not an impediment in and of itself, but it can be an impediment if it is known prior to the marriage and is not disclosed. This is what paragraph three refers to when it references canon 1098.

[3] See note one, but the Church can, in some cases, provide a logical reason to allow some marriages to be valid that are normally invalid due to their violation of ecclesial law. In these cases, a dispensation is issued to alleviate the burden of the Church’s law. But no dispensation can make a marriage valid if that marriage violates the natural law, which includes impotent marriages because marriage, by its very nature, requires the possibility of sexual intercourse.

[4] There is a dispute among ethicists about the exact kind of sexual activity that is acceptable among older couples, that may or may not be impotent, but still have difficulty completing the marital act. However, this area of ambiguity does not negate the principle that healthy married couples must direct sexual arousal to climax within coitus.

After his conversion to the Catholic faith, Trent Horn pursued an undergraduate degree in history from Arizona State University.  He then earned a graduate degree in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in philosophy from Holy Apostles College....

Comments by Catholic.com Members

#1  Bev Crossley - Vienna, West Virginia

Ok Trent. Does this apply to elderly couples who want to marry?
I did not see that point addressed.

August 7, 2014 at 6:14 pm PST
#2  Clinton Ufford - Sweet Home, Oregon

Great question Bev! And what about a man who get's a vasectomy, then wants to get married??

August 7, 2014 at 6:51 pm PST
#3  Daniel Marcum - Mansfield, Ohio

Bev Crossley :: If an elderly couple who want to marry cannot have sex, that is what constitutes impotence, and they cannot marry. So, yes, it applies to then. But most elderly couples can have sex, and therefore are not impotent. So it's no problem.

August 7, 2014 at 7:02 pm PST
#4  Michael Mortellaro - Tampa, Florida

Thank you for this article, not only did it teach me how to defend a teaching I didn't even know existed, it completely shook the boat on how I've been defending tradition marriage. Thank you.

August 7, 2014 at 7:53 pm PST
#5  Trent Horn - San Diego, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Bev – Daniel is correct. Regardless of age, as long as a couple can engage in intercourse, then they are free to marry.

Clinton – Impotence, not infertility is an impediment to marriage, as I pointed out in the article. A vasectomy does not prevent someone from engaging in the marital act.

Thanks for your questions!

August 7, 2014 at 8:16 pm PST
#6  Reuben Herrle - Oxford, Ohio

Spooky. This is something my wife and I had never heard of until last night during the first hour of Catholic Answers Live. We only heard a small portion of Jimmy's explanation and thus wanted to know about the 'why' behind Jimmy's answer.

This article was at the top of my Facebook feed this morning. What are the odds? Funny how God gives you little signs here and there.

Thanks for the article, Trent. This changed the paradigm from 'Why won't the church allow (fill in the blank) to marry?' to 'The Church cannot - as opposed to will not - allow (fill in the blank) to marry because...' Keep blogging! Just remember to not toot your own Horn ;).

August 8, 2014 at 4:03 am PST
#7  Reuben Herrle - Oxford, Ohio

Oh geez, I forgot to ask my question. Where might one get more info on this particular subject?

August 8, 2014 at 4:05 am PST
#8  Clinton Ufford - Sweet Home, Oregon

Thanks Trent!

August 8, 2014 at 4:46 am PST
#9  Hugo Rueda - West Jordan, Utah

"The graces God gives us in living a chaste life in service of him outweigh any physical goods we might deprived of in this life -- goods of which we will not give a second thought to in the life to come."

What a beautiful way to end the article, I see this statement applying in many other aspects of our spiritual life as well.

Thanks Trent!

August 8, 2014 at 6:24 am PST
#10  James Kaelin - Jeffersonville, Indiana

Thanks Trent! Still unsure on consummation; I thought you had to have consummation (coitus) for the marriage to be valid.

August 8, 2014 at 7:37 am PST
#11  Daniel Marcum - Mansfield, Ohio

James Kaelin :: You said, "Still unsure on consummation; I thought you had to have consummation (coitus) for the marriage to be valid."

An unconsummated marriage is still valid. Canon 1061 of the Code of Canon Law: "A valid marriage between the baptized is called ratum tantum if it has not been consummated; it is called ratum et consummatum if the spouses have [had sex]."

One difference between a "ratum tantum" marriage and a "ratum et consummatum" marriage is that a "ratum tantum" marriage can still be dissolved if there is a good reason to do so. In the dramatic marriage of King Lothair II and Theutberga (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teutberga), this teaching became very relevant at one point, because Lothair II (if I remember correctly) at one point tried to argue that their marriage could be dissolved because they had not had sex. But his previous excuse had been that she had not borne him any children, which showed that he at least had tried. Therefore the pope confirmed the validity of the marriage because it was "ratum et consummatum," ratified and consummated, even though Theutberga was apparently infertile.

Also, the reason a "ratum tantum" marriage can still be dissolved is because the conjugal act is necessary to make the spouses "one flesh." Jesus said that the man and his wife are "one flesh" and *therefore* men must not separate what God has put together; but without sex, they haven't been made one flesh, and thus it is still possible to separate them.

Fun facts from theology!

August 8, 2014 at 8:32 am PST
#12  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Thank you so much for this article Trent. I am just starting the process of untangling my (2nd) marriage mess and desire of conversion. This article has given me hope that I may be eligible for an annulment after all. Please pray that God would reveal to my husband his need for conversion too. As with Reuben above...this article was from God to me...on my birthday. :-)

August 8, 2014 at 1:11 pm PST
#13  Mike Schneidt - Bloomington, Indiana

I am still having a hard time grasping this one. Could you apply the principles above to the Holy Family? The Blessed Mother and St Joseph valid marriage when one member of the marriage is consecrated virgin? Not trying to disprove the points but understand them in light of the model marriage.

August 10, 2014 at 7:14 pm PST
#14  Mike Schneidt - Bloomington, Indiana

Sorry finger slip on phone & missed the part of the article. Please disregard.

August 10, 2014 at 7:28 pm PST
#15  Michael Rogala - Chicago, Illinois

Well here we have the usual problem of an overly zealous "convert" who hasn't matured in the Faith . . . in this case since the age of 17.

Trent, m'lad you are a passel of contradictions: You said "A vasectomy does not prevent someone from engaging in the marital act. " the conclusion from which you drew would make the marital act acceptable. Yet you make the citing from the CDF "“the deliberate use of the sexual faculty outside normal conjugal relations essentially contradicts the finality of the faculty. For it lacks the sexual relationship called for by the moral order, namely the relationship which realizes "the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love."

You see, Trent, the "full sense of mutual self=giving and procreation" means that the marital act must be open to the possibility of procreation which in a strict intepretatiion of the Moral Law is the telos of the marital act. A vasectomy thwarts with intentionality that telos and therefore the possibility of a valid marriage is void.

Now that is how it works to be faithful to Church teaching . . . and I'm sure that is your utlmate raison d'etre. However, for those of us who have somewhat matured in the faith, certain of the Church's teaching are called into question . . . and I think with the ascendency of Francis I, you will find yourself significantly challenged an likely become disillusioned, bitter, and possibly disenfranchised.

On the issue of "impotence": Few acts of self-giving would be more blessed by Christ than the self-giving of one to another in the sacrament of marriage where the foreknowledge of usual sexual relations were not possible. It is amazing how the transcending of human inadequacies are transcended by emulating the Love of God towards one another.

Hopefully, you will learn that in the course of your life and be able to affirm in the practice of your own faith the affirmation from antiquity of the Church's synthesis of Faith and Reason . . . often in contradiction to its own teaching.

August 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm PST
#16  Roger Loucks - Branchport, New York

Hi Michael,

Did you read his footnote? I copied his text below:

"Paragraph 3 of canon 1084 makes it clear that the inability to produce offspring is not an impediment to marriage.[2] What is an impediment to marriage is the inability to have vaginal intercourse."

Here is footnote [2]:

"[2] Infertility is not an impediment in and of itself, but it can be an impediment if it is known prior to the marriage and is not disclosed. This is what paragraph three refers to when it references canon 1098."

So I believe that Mr. Horn has already addressed your question.

Also what does age of conversion have to do with maturity in the faith? I do not see the connection. I taught at Creighton University for three years. It wasn't always clear to me whether some of the older Jesuits even believed in God. Actually, it wasn't even clear to me what many of the Jesuits even believed. When students would stop by my office for help, I would jokingly ask them what was the "heresy du jour". Since they were young (18 or so), they were mature enough to understand my joke.

August 12, 2014 at 4:47 am PST
#17  Michael Rogala - Chicago, Illinois

Well, I can see why you didn't last at Creighton and how the Jesuits likely sang Te Deums at your leaving. Be that as it may . . .

However, re: your misinterpretation of Canon 1084 (3) the issue with a vasectomy is not infertility but the surgical intervention . . . an intervention that is not attributable to natural causes . . . to prevent conception.

You are correct, the age of one's conversion . . . although that term is more precise when one is speaking about changing faiths . . .really doesn't have much to do with maturity in the faith. However, one would expect some kind of maturation in bringing heart and head together in articulating a theological position or understanding the tenets of his faith . . . that hasn't happened in Horn's case. I can't believe this guy.

I sampled various "apologists" here. The only one I found balanced and articulate is Hector Molina and of course the Director Keating. The ones I sampled are just awful!!

August 12, 2014 at 7:50 am PST
#18  Roger Loucks - Branchport, New York

Hi Michael,

You stated:

"Well, I can see why you didn't last at Creighton and how the Jesuits likely sang Te Deums at your leaving. Be that as it may . . . "

Not that it matters, but I was offered the tenure track position in physics which I turned down because my wife was teaching mathematics in another state. I moved back to NY since my wife and I were able to find tenure track academic positions relatively close to one another. As far as the Jesuits go, many of them were sad to see me go. In fact, I sat in on several Latin courses taught by a Jesuit friend of mine, which was very convenient when I was looking for a priest to marry my wife and I. I really hoped that none of them sang "Te Deum". Most of them had terrible voices (even worse than mine), and I would prefer something more pleasant sounding.

You also stated:

" . . .really doesn't have much to do with maturity in the faith. However, one would expect some kind of maturation in bringing heart and head together in articulating a theological position or understanding the tenets of his faith . . . that hasn't happened in Horn's case. I can't believe this guy. "

May I ask how you determined this. I find his and the other apologists to be articulate and balanced. Further, even if someone's position doesn't "change" that doesn't mean that their position hasn't evolved and matured. I converted to the faith in graduate school. (Thank you Mr. Keating for "Catholicism and Fundamentalism"!!!) I was in my twenties. I still hold the same beliefs, but they have matured over the years. I find Catholic Answers faithfulness to the Magisterium refreshing.

August 12, 2014 at 8:25 am PST
#19  Maria Case - Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Michael Rogala, I'm not getting it.
You are intentionally condescending and disparaging to the author, most other apologists here, and even a fellow commenter("m'lad", "overzealous "convert"", "I can't believe this guy", "can see why you didn't last", "just awful!"). Is commenting in this manner a sign of your "maturity" in the faith Jesus set down? Do you see the people who are doing their best to answer questions (with lots of pretty clear references that don't actually require interpretation), as a pit of vipers, and therefore yourself as justified in being insulting? I just don't get your self-acclaimed "maturity". What is coming across in waves, is a self-delusional, snidely expressed, pride. Out of the heart, pours forth the mouth.

Your and others' calling into question "certain teachings of the faith" do not change the teachings. That should sound familiar. Even many faithful and influential Catholics were stunned when Pius XI didn't condone contraception and change church teaching. Mr. Horn is aligning with that model of maturity, one that doesn't sway with the world, but holds true to the canon law. You seem to want him to change the meaning of the words, or ignore them altogether, so that it all comes out more warm-fuzzy. And in that, you seem genuinely well-intentioned, and possibly even right. But Mr. Horn's job here was not to give his opinion of the canon law, but to explain it as it stands.

Further, vasectomies are considered a sin, and are reversible, not "perpetual". The natural law precedes man's technological tinkering with human reproduction, so I'm sure one could find endless ins and outs, loopholes, etc., to use in trying to pick apart the basic drive of this article. Yet, the natural and canon laws have not changed with the world.

Rather than going at Mr. Trent in such personal and publicly demeaning manner (though honestly your manner of speech only speaks to yourself), have you considered writing the Pope and asking him to change the Catholic teaching to align with your outline of the truth of the matter? Or, whoa, even just respectfully asking the author what he thinks of your examples and takes on the law? Are you willing to express yourself without taking shots at everyone who doesn't agree with you? Wait, before you answer, let me get my bullet proof vest on...

August 12, 2014 at 10:07 am PST
#20  Dan S - C, Ohio

I would rather say "why the Impotent cannot marry" instead of "why the Church cannot marry the impotent."

August 12, 2014 at 11:13 am PST
#21  Michael Rogala - Chicago, Illinois

You know Maria, I have always felt the prohibition of female priests was quite weak . . . and I know in time it will change, more out of necessity because thousands are going without the regular access to the Sacraments.

And I would support their inclusion as presbyters. However, you may make me change my mind.

Trent, unfortunately, is simply wrong in his interpretation. Any JCL will tell you that. I'm sure that Trent, me lad, is grateful for your rescuing and . . .ahem . . . articulate apologetic for his lack of understanding.

August 12, 2014 at 12:27 pm PST
#22  Dan S - C, Ohio

Mr. Rogala, precisely what would "any JCL" say in response to this blog post? I, unfortunately, had trouble following your prior remarks.

August 12, 2014 at 12:46 pm PST
#23  Maria Case - Glen Ellyn, Illinois

John 13:35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.

"You know," Michael Rogalo, your comment confirms my point about your speech and heart. Dude, you get off being mean to other people. This is Not a sign of maturity, in faith or otherwise, and, essentially, there is no otherwise.

I'm not rescuing anybody, just questioning your arguments, the nature of them, and most especially your tone and insulting manner. Apparently, this has made you so insecure as to come up with the ridiculing statement above (again, revealing of yourself, no one else). You couldn't man up and just apologize for being one - that would require maturity.

I gather you feel the idea of priests being male was also a misinterpretation of Jesus' intentions. Are you really Catholic? Your ideas would be welcome with the Anglican church. Either way, I am heartened that something I said could lead you back to Church teaching.

People will better follow your train of thought on the actual post if you leave out the insults. They will probably find the writer behind them more mature in his faith by his ability to show gentlemanliness in the mundane art of . . .ahem. . . conversation.

M'lad. Who even says that?

August 12, 2014 at 1:44 pm PST
#24  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Oh to be an intellectual...score II for Maria. Kudos girl!

August 12, 2014 at 8:22 pm PST
#25  Trent Horn - San Diego, California - Catholic Answers Blogger


I find that when someone resorts to attacking someone personally it is usually done to mask a weakness in his own position. In this case, my suspicion proved accurate as you failed to refute anything I said as well as failed to support your own dissension against the Church.

Let’s start with your assessment of the comment I said about vasectomies. You write:

“Trent, m'lad you are a passel of contradictions: You said ‘A vasectomy does not prevent someone from engaging in the marital act.’ the conclusion from which you drew would make the marital act acceptable.”

First, I’m going to assume your Irish and that your reference to me as a “lad” is not an act of obnoxious condescension. Second, I am correct that vasectomies do not prevent people from engaging in the marital act because it is still possible to engage in sexual intercourse even though such intercourse would be sterile (just as it would be sterile if the man were healthy and the woman had a previous hysterectomy). Of course, the moral nature of the act is now in question because contraception is a grave sin. But the act can still be achieved and because of this marriage is still possible.

It’s true that a man with a vasectomy who had the attitude of not being open to life may have an impediment to marriage, but here the problem is not the vasectomy, per se, but his anti-life attitude (though the vasectomy is still relevant).

Keep in mind that this was a brief answer in a comment to a hypothetical question. Obviously we would have to add a lot of qualifiers to know if particular cases represented valid marriages. I am simply saying, as canon law says, that infertility is NOT, in and of itself, an impediment to marriage.

You continue:

“[T]he ‘full sense of mutual self=giving and procreation’ means that the marital act must be open to the possibility of procreation which in a strict interpretation of the Moral Law is the telos of the marital act. A vasectomy thwarts with intentionality that telos and therefore the possibility of a valid marriage is void.”

I agree the marital act must be open to life and my comment did not endorse the morality of sterilization. I only meant that sterilization is not, prima facie, an impediment to marriage, as a simple example will show.

Suppose a man has a vasectomy, repents of this sin, and tries to have the procedure reversed but doctors are unable to reverse it (this is rare but happens). Can he marry in the Church? Yes. In 1977 the CDF issued a decree on impotence that affirmed that men with double vasectomies do not fall under the classification of impotency and can be validly married. Lawrence Wrenn’s book The Invalid Marriage (published by the Canon Law Society of America) backs up this conclusion (see pages 3,11-12, and the original CDF declaration on 231).

My point with this short comment was that there are cases where someone who is infertile through his own choice can still marry in the Church. He is capable of engaging in intercourse and capable of being “open to life,” even though he knows that his body may be unable to receive that life, just like someone who is naturally infertile.

Canon law makes no distinction between sterility that is natural and sterility that is self-inflicted. It simply says that sterility, in and of itself, is not an impediment to marriage. It may be an impediment if hidden from a potential spouse, or if it coincides with a contraceptive attitude, but it is not in itself an impediment to marriage. The same is not true for impotence, which is an impediment because it negates the central feature of marriage that makes marriage different from other relationships, the act of intercourse.

Moving on to my article’s central claim that antecedent and perpetual impotence is an impediment to marriage you said:

“Few acts of self-giving would be more blessed by Christ than the self-giving of one to another in the sacrament of marriage where the foreknowledge of usual sexual relations were not possible.”

This is what we call an assertion, not an argument. In fact you have completely ignored the arguments I made in this post about why marriage requires the possibility of sexual intercourse. I argued first that the annulments we grant for impotence render all other impotent marriages invalid. This argument seems logically inescapable which is no doubt why you ignored it.

I also argued that marriage is distinct from all other relationships because it is a one-flesh union. Those who are potent are able to give themselves to one another in a way that the impotent cannot, namely, through intercourse and intercourse is a necessary condition for two to literally, as opposed to figuratively, become one flesh. This argument was also ignored.

So I think we’ve seen that your comments have been nothing more than rhetorical “pats on the head” directed against me for being young instead of thoughtful engagements of the substance of what I wrote. But as the Bible shows us in the cases of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:7) and Timothy (1 Timothy 4:12), being young is not an impediment to being right.

P.S. Is it possible that the maturity you think you have in the faith is actually a devious “immaturity” that places itself in authority above the Church that Christ founded?

August 13, 2014 at 1:13 am PST
#26  Maria Case - Glen Ellyn, Illinois

It is decent of you, Mr. Horn, to take the time to basically rewrite your original article. It iterates the difference between "interpretation", "explanation", and "changing definitions to suit one's personal view", the last of which I know we are all prone to doing when it is a matter dear to our hearts.

I think I do get it now, the core issue here with the commenter who disagrees. Apparently this aritcle, on a deeply personal level, hit a nerve.

One that is very close to the bone. Sir, if you lash out at others from your own personal frustration and intimate knowledge of the subject, that understandably gives you reason to feel you would know more than the Church, and I honestly believe that could be argued, and in some respects must be true.

This truth should also spark real compassion from those who caught the brunt of your comments. Number one, I am sorry for your pain, condition, and the lonliness it may cause you to feel. Have you considered putting in a prayer petition on the forum page here? The Great Physician can heal you, possibly in body, and most certainly in spirit. Number two, I hold none of your previous (or future) comments against you, and I am sorry for jumping to the conclusion that you were simply "mean," as I stated. There is a big difference between "mean" and "hurting", and we as Christians should not be deceived by surface appearances. May God bless you with great joy, the kind that spills over...out of the heart.

August 13, 2014 at 7:24 am PST
#27  Matthew Seymour - Long Beach, California

I didn't read the whole article. But this topic seems like a lot of nonsense, at least to me at first glance.

Rejecting marriage based on sexual performance? Where in the world did that come from?

Is that in the Bible? Where?

This Church Jesus Christ has given us has been corrupted by the Enemy.

God is love. This is the Law of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

We shut our ears and reject this Law. Is Christ Jesus not the New Covenant Himself?

Marriage is defined by God, not us. We preach this in our churches, and then say otherwise with our actions.

We reject the love of God.

When shall we Trust in the Divine Mercy of the Lord?

August 13, 2014 at 10:31 am PST
#28  Dan S - C, Ohio

Mr. Seymour, I'd start with Matthew 19:12: "Some are incapable of marriage (eunuchs) because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others..."

August 13, 2014 at 11:29 am PST
#29  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

Matthew. You are correct. This, like most Catholic teaching is total fabrication, not based on the Bible. Like it or not Mary had sex with Joseph. That's how Jesus got half brothers. Curious how a group so obsessed with maintaining the mythical virginity of Mary, can't seem to spend so much effort keeping their priests out of little boys pants.

August 13, 2014 at 12:53 pm PST
#30  Matthew Seymour - Long Beach, California

To address #28:
Thank you. I believe this verse has a different meaning than what might be assumed.

To address #29:
Thank you for your comment. I disagree that "most Catholic teaching" is total fabrication. In fact, I strongly disagree. The Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus Christ Himself established at the Last Supper. "Catholic" simply means "universal" Church. Catholic = Christian.

I disagree that Mary had sexual intercourse with Joseph. Where is this stated in the Sacred Text, the Bible? Please provide the verses.

Your comment about priests is offensive to the Church.

Read my initial comment please. That provides the answer regarding the problem of priests in the Church. Listen and read my comments thoroughly please.

Thank you for your time.

Where you happen to be spiritually, please pray for me, and I will pray also for you, my Brother in Christ Jesus.

In Love, I ask for Unity. I believe that arguing back and forth among us is opposite of the desire of Our Good Lord.

I love Jesus, and I'm sure you do too. Let's pray as One Family!

August 13, 2014 at 1:33 pm PST
#31  Matthew Seymour - Long Beach, California

Also, as a second response to #29...

My first comment contains the phrase:
"When shall we Trust in the Divine Mercy of the Lord?"

To devout Catholics, this will sound familiar. Look into St. Faustina's Diary for more information please.

There are even smartphone/iPhone apps, Divine Mercy. Sister Faustina was a nun and devout Catholic, who claimed to receive personal/private revelation from Jesus Christ. If you read her words and the words she quotes, you will see the Truth in her Diary.

The app is great, if you're busy, because you can read parts of the Diary, organized by topics... such as: Trust, Divine Mercy, Confession, Distrust, Suffering, etc.

Peace be with you!

August 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm PST
#32  Maria Case - Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Before this goes too off topic, questions regarding Mary's perpetual virginity are under a great article on this site called "Jesus Had Brothers?" both in the article and resourced comments. Also read Polycarp, who was a disciple of John who stood at Jesus' feet as He poured out Everything for us. Catholics didn't start this idea; Jesus started Catholics, and we followed and actually believe what He said ("This is a hard saying; who can believe it?" Us!).

Perry White, your comment about Priests is beyond offensive and foolish. If that is truly how you sum up Catholics, you are not here searching, but to destroy. My guess is you don't actually know any preists. You brought the conversation down to the lowest level of the most insipid Yahoo commentor on any story regarding the Church and come across as a...I don't know, I want to say redneck, but I think you're just trolling. If you really follow Jesus, remember He is looking over your shoulder, by your own invitation, at everything you write. I'm embarrassed for you.

Matthew Seymour, what? You start off with "I didn't read the whole article, but". Might that have anything to do with your thinking it is all nonsense? The matter does have ramifications on a larger scale, which were thought out beyond the cursory glance you have given it. And these laws were set forth as a trust in and manifestation of the Natural Law that God set in place. Today, as I drove home, Shiela Logminas on Relevant Radio was interviewing the author of "Conjugal Love: What It Is and Why It Matters". He started off by talking about why the Church thinks it is important that a married couple be able to have conjugal relations, and even distinguished between the impotence and infertile issues, lo and behold, just as Mr. Horn does in this article.

August 13, 2014 at 5:29 pm PST
#33  Michael Rogala - Chicago, Illinois

I vote for Matthew Seymour to be an "apologist" . . . he's spot-on and his is the pastoral response that you would find in most parishes.

Trent, m'lad, you are confusing the salient terms. You need to parse your argument more clearly. Make an outline until you become familiar with the material. You are assuming dissension Trent, and I doubt if you have the experience or credentials to do that . . . it is apparent that you don't. Nor do I suspect you are invited into those circles where lively, often caustic, but learned discussion take place.

You are right . . . I am curmudgeonly. I'm at the age at which my community issues me a license to be so and my colleagues expect it. I do not like to see my Church be made a fool of by uninformed, un-nuanced and undiscerning, self-proclaimed "apologists" who are really ideologists.

It is embarrassing . . . and it has nothing to do with ideology . . . a good argument is a good argument . . . it may not be one I or others would agree with, but anyone could see "it is in the ball-park" and a result of great study, wrestling, prayer, and insight.

If you think the Magisterium is as black and white, neat and pure, as you make it out to be here . . . y'all don't get out much. If you don't think the use of the indulto . . . official or unofficial s unused, you are on a different planet. And indulging in doctrinal literalism is no different than biblical literalism.

August 13, 2014 at 8:48 pm PST
#34  mary martinez - west sacramento, California

To paraphrase the great Betty Davis: "Being Catholic Is Not For Sissies." It takes a tremendous amount of tolerance, faith and courage to live for the lord and in his church. I have the utmost compassion and respect for our brothers and sisters who become frustrated with what they feel is an unyielding, oppressive or exclusionary faith. If you are unable to fully open yourself to being shown the beauty of it and to understanding it in all its complexity it can seem from a distance intimidating. Thats ok. As I heard someone tell a tentative seeker once: 'She has been here for 2000yrs. She will be here when/if you are ready"

August 13, 2014 at 8:53 pm PST
#35  Dan S - C, Ohio

Matthew Seymour says: "I believe this verse has a different meaning than what might be assumed." That's rather cryptic. What would your belief be, and why? The context and vocabulary of those verses seems to be quite definitive. But, I'm not a Scripture scholar.

Michael Rogala: I would appreciate it if you gave one more attempt at substantive comments instead of condescending platitudes. In particular, lay out what "any JCL" would say and please do so in an orderly and respectful manner.

August 14, 2014 at 5:52 am PST
#36  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

Matthew. What is worse, some rough language or the fact that the catholic "church" has always had and always will have a significantly higher percentage of homosexual/pedophile priests than are found in the general population? You say my comments are offensive to the church. I say the church abusing boys and covering it up is a tad more offensive. Noted blogger Ann Barnhardt who is a strong catholic seems to say a lot worse than i have about your Marxist/sodomite priests which she believes have taken over the church. Of course not all are. But obviously enough are.
Christ started the church because He is the rock on which it is built. He did not start the RC church, never instituted a system of celibate priests with one man at the top of the heap. To be honest It doesnt seem that the average RC even knows what the church is, assuming that some edifice headquartered in Rome, administered by a massive bureaucracy, and passing out rules like an earthly government is the church.
You want me to tell you where the Bible says Mary had sex? Probably in the same verse where it says she went to the bathroom. I dont have to find a verse that proves normal human behaviour but if you are going to construct a doctrine ex nihilo that claims sinless birth, perpetual virginity, assumption into heaven, and then worship that individual you need to get busy finding some proof.
I pray that you can see the truth even when it is presented in a manner that is blunt. Regrettably we are not one family, as anyone who ascribes near divinity to another human, even if she was the mother of Jesus, is not worshipping the same God as I am.

August 14, 2014 at 9:52 am PST
#37  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

Gee, i am sorry that my conversation was so offensive. I wonder if my words were more offensive than the behaviour of the former Archbishop of Chicago, which Ann Barnhardt has called out. "Since Bernardin was in charge of who got elevated and thus had control over the seminaries, orthodox, heterosexual Catholic men were either rejected or harassed/threatened into leaving. Bernardin would frequently make “visits” to seminaries all over the U.S. Whenever he would appear, he would ALWAYS have a young male with him, whom everyone knew was his concubine. Bernardin would then cruise the seminarians for sex, and got quite a bit, since the majority of seminarians were homosexual per his policy."

And please provide some scriptural sport for the statement that Christ started the Roman Catholic church. You may think I am trolling if you like and i doubt i will interrupt you all for long, but i would encourage you to seek truth in the pages of Scripture and not in the traditions of man. Your "Mother of God " is not found in the Bible. Your priesthood, your corporeal presence of Christ in a cracker, your prayers to saints, purgatory, confession, adoration of the host etc etc are not found in the Bible. So ask yourself why you believe such unscriptural things?
Dont be offended by me. Be offended by the priest class which Jesus called whitewashed tombs because they are leading you astray and causing you to worship the creature instead of the Creator.

August 14, 2014 at 10:20 am PST
#38  Maria Case - Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Perry White, what a thorough confirmation of my point. One of my dearest and oldest friends is a staunch Protestant, and she has never spoken to me or my family the way you have addressed everyone here.

And what a digression from the topic, but I will answer, but after this, you can have the last word, and continue to avoid any real dialogue, avoid the truth, and hate your fellow Christians of the denomination you have been brainwashed into hating.

It is in ALL in the Bible. "Upon this rock," for one, in answer to your request for the obvious. Two: Cracker??? How original of you! You didn't just hear that from fellow haters, did you? NOT in the Bible???:
Perry: "This is a hard saying; who can believe it?" as he turns away.
Jesus to those who stayed even though it was indeed hard to believe: "Will you also depart from me?" (Note, he doesn't call Perry back and say, "No, no, I only meant it figuratively!")
Catholics: "No, Lord, you have the words of Life; please tell us more."

Three: I never got the whole Protestant protest to the Mother of God. Jesus is God, Protestants believe. Jesus was fully human, agreed. He was born of the Virgin Mary, no argument there. But suddenly He has no mother??? Mary is the Mother of Jesus, who is God made flesh in her womb. Why do you want to make Jesus an orphan, or motherless? How unkind! God didn't do that, why would you? How is that Scriptural? Son of God, Son of Man, Son of David (Mary's line, right?).

Four: As far as Saints go, why do Protestants think they are dead? It's as if, after all, they don't really trust that Heaven is for real. Jesus prayed for the dead, and brought him back to life - Lazurus. He sat and chatted with Moses and Elijah, for goodness' sake, before the Resurrecton! Hello! We do what He did! The Scriptures tell us to pray for each others' salvation; why would we NOT ask a brother or sister who is actually in God's Presence to pray for us too? I mean, we do agree that life is everlasting, right? Then those who have crossed the threshold are still alive, forevermore. Who are we then, who have not crossed, to say that at the moment of earthly death they are barred from praying to God for us anymore? Huh??? Talk about man-made traditions and FABRICATIONS! I think the devil loves that one, though, since it is the exact opposite of the disciples' Scritural exhortations and The King of the Universe's own actions and example.

For the other protests, if you really want to know where in Scripture to find them, (which you clearly don't), you would look it up on this site. Further, important things did happen after the Canonical Gospels were written, too. Christianity exploded, even under centuries of persecution, and many wonderful manifestations of His Church were written and passed down because He is so Awsome!!! Dude, it's not as if NOTHING happened until Martin Luther, as you would have it, saved Our Lord. (BTW, Luther did believe in Mary's holiness and perpetual virginity, but this is something few Protestants are aware of.)

Did you look up Polycarp before answering about the Mother of God? Have you read any lives/deaths/miracles of the Saints? And...*Do you actually KNOW any Priests yourself?* Your line of thinking is like saying all South Americans are murderous because of MS-13.

I did not say that what has happened within the Church (or in Penn State, or in Amish communities, or in Utah, or in tons of schools throughout the world) is inoffensive or acceptable in any way. What is offensive and self-abasing about your comment is that you cast an entire group of people, millions, who pray to the same One Eternal Living God that you do, into the same horrible light as the very worst of its members. This is an evil way to think and has led to much genocide in the world, and that is why your comments are beyond offensive. You obviously wrote them to offend, not to enlighten or winsomely convince, so why pretend otherwise? Or tell me I must not call a spade a spade? I refuse to obey you.

I suppose you think what happened in Mosul is God's righteous judgement on Catholics there, but the other denominations ousted or worse are persecuted. Well, the Catholic radio station has been advocating all of us over there for months now, regardless of denomination.

I think the most glaring question is this: Why are you on this website spreading your hatred and vitriol? If not simply to spread hate and vitriol (trolling), then perhaps actually curious about some of our beliefs, but still so attached to your former teachings/pride that you can't admit that? Or did you come here for confirmation of your belief that all Catholics are idolators, molestors, and illiterate? If it's the first or last, no matter what you read, you will find a way to convince yourself there is no truth to be found here, no brotherhood in Christ. If it is the second, hey, I hope you keep searching, but a little more earnestly, and with a little more charity. And wisdom. And common sense. And knowledge of the Bible. And tact.

One last thing about the "cracker" that Jesus Gave. Look up Lanciano. Look up Scott Hahn, former Protestant minister who held your same views, and his book "The Supper of the Lamb" if you really want to know where *else* you can find it in Scripture.

August 14, 2014 at 12:49 pm PST
#39  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Perry, I'm checking with Ms. Barnhardt, but I don't believe she agrees with your statement: Christ started the church because He is the rock on which it is built. He did not start the RC church, never instituted a system of celibate priests with one man at the top of the heap.

I'm a huge fan of Ms. Barnhardt's...and am sure God used her to wake my butt up to why I need to convert.

August 14, 2014 at 2:05 pm PST
#40  Lyss Schneider - Destrehab, Louisiana

I'm sorry I haven't read any of the comments so sorry if this was already discussed but mutual masterbation is always a mortal sin, even if it leads to sex.

August 14, 2014 at 3:06 pm PST
#41  Lyss Schneider - Destrehab, Louisiana

Sorry I shouldn't have said mortal sin I should say grave sin

August 14, 2014 at 3:50 pm PST
#42  Maria Case - Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Hi, Debbie, do you mean convert to or away from Catholic? I'm not familiar with this lady you mention (yet). I appreciate your comments, btw.

August 14, 2014 at 5:12 pm PST
#43  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Oh TOO The Church...much thanks to Ms. Barnhardt's writings. www.barnhardt.biz I'm sure you'll like her. You remind me much of her.

August 14, 2014 at 6:41 pm PST
#44  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

Debbie, That statement Ann would disagree with. The one in quotes came from her website. Ann is very bombastic. Spunky for sure. You guys have criticized me because I am "unloving" etc, yet one of your own is famous for marking a Koran with bacon and burning it. Once I emailed her in a very loving way about our differences and she replied very spitefully to me. So I am sorry if you guys are offended at my bluntness. I am a very loving person but not toward the edifice of the RC "church". It is funny how some people cannot handle bluntness.
Ann by the way, believes your church is filled with homosexual Communist, Marxist infiltrators. Hates Cardinal Dolan and you guys think I am being rough.
She also thinks the Novus Ordo is corrupt and only a mass said in Latin with the priest leaning on the altar in a sexual pose and whispering the magic words to transform the cracker into Christs body is the only proper way. And you all think I am vicious because I point it out.
I like Ann's direct manner. Problem is she is not a christian. If you read her conversion story it is empty of a profession of faith in Christ. My direct manner has gotten some attention. Hopefully it will cause some thought.
But let's get this straight. It is not unloving to call out error. Rather the opposite.

August 15, 2014 at 6:13 am PST
#45  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

38 Maria Case - Glen Ellyn, Illinois
Perry White, what a thorough confirmation of my point. One of my dearest and oldest friends is a staunch Protestant, and she has never spoken to me or my family the way you have addressed everyone here.

And what a digression from the topic, but I will answer, but after this, you can have the last word, and continue to avoid any real dialogue, avoid the truth, and hate your fellow Christians of the denomination you have been brainwashed into hating.

It is in ALL in the Bible. "Upon this rock," for one, in answer to your request for the obvious. Two: Cracker??? How original of you! You didn't just hear that from fellow haters, did you? NOT in the Bible???:
Perry: "This is a hard saying; who can believe it?" as he turns away.
Jesus to those who stayed even though it was indeed hard to believe: "Will you also depart from me?" (Note, he doesn't call Perry back and say, "No, no, I only meant it figuratively!")
Catholics: "No, Lord, you have the words of Life; please tell us more."

Maria. I don't need the last word. Let's address your points. I am not a Protestant. I am a christian. Luther did not try to start a new church, he was trying to reform yours. Wonder why he saw a need for reform? I think it was all the unbiblical practices he saw, kind of like I am pointing out.

Your protestant friend may not know enough to challenge you. Most protestants don't.
I am ready and willing to dialogue. I have found the Truth so I am not searching for it.
And I reject your accusation of hating. I don't hate anyone. I despise error and those who teach it. I have not been brainwashed (isn't that a hateful comment BTW?) but have diligently searched for truth.

Upon this rock is a passage that does not mean that Christ just founded a church on a man called Peter. He took the confession Peter made regarding Christ and said upon that He will build His church. But that passage is contended and will never be agreed on. What you need is another supporting passage to prove the point. Problem is, there is none. There are no references to Peter and his supremacy anywhere else. Matter of fact Jesus five verses later refers to Peter as Satan. So which is it? Head of the church or Satan?

Cracker, wafer, biscuit.... What's the difference? You make a piece of bread..a symbol.. into something it is not. Jesus says many hard things. To the Pharisees the priests and professional religionists of the day, he says very rough things. He knew they would not accept and he doesn't bother to explain it to them.

Lets look first at what "whoever does not eat my flesh and drink my blood" does not mean. It does not mean cannibalism. It was offensive to Jews to eat blood. Christ is an offense to the priest class. They had no interest in finding his meaning. But if we are going to play the metaphor game then I ask you, is Christ a door? John 10:9. Imagine you are in the Upper Room. Jesus extends a piece of bread to you and says this is my flesh. Are you really going to believe he just handed you a piece of his body? Or does it make more sense to understand it as "This represents my flesh which is broken for you. Whenever you eat of it you remember me."

Christ did not create a magic trick whereby a priest whispers words, a bell is rung, and presto, bread is turned into literal flesh. He instituted a simple way we could remember Him until He returns.

More later.

August 15, 2014 at 6:44 am PST
#46  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

First, Mary is not the Mother of God. She is the earthly mother, a vessel, of the body of Jesus. Jesus is God. Jesus is human. He was virgin born. But He did not grant to her some exalted status other than Mom. Look at Mark 3. “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

Kind of a strange statement for someone who supposedly listens to his mother so your prayers can get through. Also notice "your mother and brothers" Here I would ask why do catholics claim her as mother but dont claim Jesus' brothers even when it's in the same sentence? You cant have it both ways. Early manuscripts add "sisters" too. So Mary and Joseph must have enjoyed a full married life.

I do not make Jesus an orphan. Who was His mother before He became incarnate? He is eternal and does not need a mother. Mary was an earthly sinful woman used by God in a marvelous way (as all christians should be). She is NO different from any other believer. I would use the word saint but catholics twist that word. In absolutely NO place in the Bible was she ever given any special place in heaven to be prayed to or venerated. This is one of the worst lies of the RC "church". How do you wish me to lovingly say that? It is pure idolatry.

If Mary is God's mother, then who is Rahab? She would be Jesus' great great great etc grandmother. So the great great etc grandmother of God was a whore? Ponder that for a moment. Should we pray to her as well?
It all sounds so nice. Pray to the mother of God so she can tug on Jesus sleeve and get Him to pay attention to you. Problem is I Timothy 2:5. For there is ONE mediator between God and Man, the man Christ Jesus. Praying to Mary doesn't look like a biblical concept to me. How about you?

August 15, 2014 at 7:06 am PST
#47  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Perry, I know very well what Ms. Barnhardt believes....I've been reading her blog (?) for a few years. She is the conduit God chose to wake my butt up about the false teaching I was following.

Sorry in advance if this becomes too lengthy, but I know virtually no Catholics personally and am trying to untangle my mess of a (re)marriage and (re?)conversion to Catholicism. I find catholic.com very helpful...and have met some wonderful people here.

Married in the Catholic church at 20 years old. Neither one of us nor our families were practicing their faith. Didn't even know about The Real Presence until like a year ago...sad..I'm 55 now. Divorced after 15 years with 3 beautiful sons. When I finally made the decision to leave him, knowing in my heart of hearts it was sin (just didn't understand to what extent a sin it was until recently), I shook...violently. Thought it was just relief from finally coming to a decision. I now believe it was The Lord warning me of the mistake I was about to make. 5 years later I meet the man of my dreams and married. A missionary who fell into sin and was divorced. He told me all about Jesus. And I got "saved". Only I never felt "saved" much to his irritation. And what about Peter? I thought he was The Rock. (no good answer to that one) I don't know...this "religion" feels like a "get out of jail free card" to me. (you only need believe and have faith) But I went through the motions and at times thought yeah...maybe I am "saved". Enjoyed super-fun-rock-band church and our home group of friends. Started reading and listening a lot to Ravi Zacharias and Francis Chan among others. Funny, now I notice how much Ravi quotes GK Chesterton (Catholic convert), Malcolm Muggeridge (agnostic to Catholic convert) and St. Augustine. He quotes them A LOT...one would think a man of his obvious brilliance....

It's 2007 and Obama is running and I start paying attention to politics. How could we possibly vote this guy in? And I see Ms. Barnhardt on a conservative site I follow. I go to her site...and wow! Everything she says about my Protestant church is true. What's this about Luther? And the Real Presence? Though I never would bash The Church or Her Teachings (the very, very little I knew) as my fellow Protesters did (God's grace upon me? My infant baptism?...IDK)...but EVERYTHING she said about the RCC and Her teachings made sense to me.

March 5, 2014 the police come to my house at 5:30 a.m. My youngest (23) son has died. My oldest lives in Portland, the middle in LA and my baby in Berkeley. In my pain crying out to God, He clearly asks me "Where are you with MY pain of putting MY Son on that Cross for You?" This stops me in my tracks. I stop crying immediately. I know what He means. I have to get to THE CHURCH which worships Him and not ourselves.

Perry, I've only lived as a Protestant for a few 7/8 years....but I know, what I know, what I know and I don't see the Worship or the Reverence there, like I do at The Mass.

Ann is "more" Christian than I can ever hope to be. IMHO.

August 15, 2014 at 11:19 am PST
#48  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

Dear Debbie. I am sorry to hear of the pain you have experienced. Losing a child is the greatest of all pain. I would encourage you to check out the bereancall.org and read some articles on Catholicism. I highly recommend Ravi. There is much that catholics say that is true. That's why Ravi can quote him and CS Lewis too. BUT, Roman Catholicism is not true simply because it adds to Gods Word. It adds it's tradition and makes the tradition more important than Gods inerrant Holy Word. Think about that.

Regarding being saved and not feeling like it. Who hasn't had that feeling? But our feelings will get us into trouble. Depend on God's Word and what it says. Guide your feelings with it. We stumble on this born again business because surely it can't be that simple. Look how bad I have been. God must want me to perform for Him before He accepts me. But God does not ask us to reform so he can save us, He saves us so He can reform us into the image of His Son. Look at Acts 16:30-31 30Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Look at Romans 10:9" because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved." Doesn't matter if we feel like we are saved. God says if you Confess and Believe you are saved. End of story. Now spend the rest of your life doing good works to show you are saved.
Seriously, ask your priest how to get to heaven and see if his answer matches what God says.
Miss Barnhardt is interesting but what she says about the superfun rock band church is half true. Sure, it is filled with stupidity, emotion based junk, and is what I call Lowest Common Denominator christianity. BUT, a lot of those people love Jesus. I have to say, I would rather go to any of those churches than any RC church because a simple love of Jesus trumps all the unbiblical teaching of Rome.
By the way, I attend a PCA church (conservative Presbyterian) and you would enjoy the reverance of it. It is one of the things that I like about it. I do not enjoy silly churches, so you will find I am the first and highest critic of much of what goes on in Seeker Friendly pop rock churches.

But Ann is not a christian from what I can tell. Not trying to be mean but you have to look at what she says, and I don't see her as a christian.

Anyway, sorry for all my harsh statements, but what is more important? To believe an error or to know God.
I will pray for you. I am so sorry for all the pain you have experienced. But know that God loves you just as you are. He forgives our sins (I John 1:9) and wants us to be in communion with Him. Trust Christ to forgive you and walk every day in faith believing that you have eternal life if you will only accept Christ as your saviour. That's it. It takes simple childlike faith. Nothing else is required. Not baptism, not communion, nothing but Christ alone.
Much love,

August 15, 2014 at 11:54 am PST
#49  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

Dear Maria,
Protestants do believe in heaven because heaven is mentioned in the Bible. Lets clarify the term "saint". For RCs saint is someone beatified by Rome. For christians a saint is...well, a christian. Look at one example in Ephesians 1:1. "to the saints in Ephesus" Now to whom was the letter addressed? Dead people in heaven or living people in Ephesus? It may shock you to know that I am a saint. Not always saintly acting mind you.

Jesus did not pray to or for the dead. He commanded they live. In Lazarus's case He prayed to the Father that He would show His glory in what he was about to do so the people would understand what was happening. And then He COMMANDED Lazarus to live.

The reason we don't pray to those who are in heaven is because we are told not to. We are to pray to God through Christ. PERIOD. No one else. I Timothy 2:5. Please check out what happened to Saul when he went to have a discussion with Samuel through a medium. Not such a hot idea.

The King of the Universe NEVER told us to pray to anyone other than Christ either by command or example. You are going to have to show the verse on that one because it is apparently a tradition that you have made up.

Much has happened since the canon of scripture was closed, but that doesn't make it Holy Scripture. It doesn't make it something equal with the Bible. And I am no big fan of Luther, thank you very much. I do appreciate what he did but he is not my guiding light by any stretch. He also left in place the unbiblical practice of infant baptism which I reject.

And lastly, I think I have shown I do know where to find what I believe in the Bible, something you have not done once in answering me. But you can start by looking at the verses I gave you. And check out Romans 10:9. I hope that you will come to know Jesus as your saviour too. Blessings,

August 15, 2014 at 12:20 pm PST
#50  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Perry...you're not a protester? A sabbatarian then? Who's your authority?

If you've read much of Ms. Barnhardt's site you probably know of the fairly recent science which prooves that women who have had children carry their baby's dna in their blood stream for the rest of their lives, it passes from baby to mother through the placenta. Do your really suppose that Jesus' dna could be kept in a corrupted, sinful Ark of the New Covenant?

And how very "human" of you to assume that God couldn't or wouldn't use a "whore"....

August 15, 2014 at 1:12 pm PST
#51  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

Dear Debbie
I am a christian. My authority is the Word of God and Christ speaking through it.
Regarding DNA who says that Mary's egg was used in Christ? Perhaps she is only a receptacle. There is nothing sinful in Christ and Mary as a sinful person could not be part of the genetics of Jesus. But even if she were, Mary died as did all humans (with the exception of those mentioned who did not) and therefore her DNA is decomposed.

What I said about Rahab was to make a point. Catholics are claiming (with zero proof) that Mary was sinless and is to be adored. So why not Jesus' great great etc grandmother who was a prostitute? Why not adore her too? Of course God used her. He used Mary, he uses us and all of us sinners.

Here is the problem. The RC church claims things for Mary that are not found or taught in the Bible. If you are going to do this then you leave yourself open to believe all sorts of things. For instance, can I still buy my way to heaven? That was a catholic teaching. Why is it not still? Could it be that an error crept in because people will believe anything as long as some "expert" or "religious" person tells them it is so?

So you must ask yourself, if the RC church tells me Mary was born sinless, was assumed into heaven, and is a co redeemer of mankind, BUT you cannot find one verse in the Bible that tells you this, WHY do you believe it? Why can you not search the Bible for yourself and see what is true? Could it possibly be true that the priest and pope are wrong? Would you believe them over God's Word?

You know there was a hierarchical authoritarian religious structure in the Bible. It was called Judaism. And God tore it down. The veil of the temple was rent at Christ's crucifixion. Why? God was sending a message. His Son's death has cleared our way to God with no need of a priest. We can all approach God through Christ.



August 19, 2014 at 6:24 am PST
#52  Dan Grizzle - Front Royal, VQ, Virginia

I have been advised by a priest who has be an active parochial priest (well-educated, makes calls like this all the time) that Viagra is the simple solution to the problem. You are not longer impotent, then you can marry in the Church. Why not? Older women are no longer "fertile". The only thing missing on the man's side is lack of penile performance, not seed. If it's all about performance and not fecundity - you can get married. Talk to a good priest -one who knows something about canon law. This guy knows and discusses these kind of things all over his diocese (it is a good diocese; one of the best in the nation.
I wouldn't worry about quoting acanon law on this one. Medicine has provided the answer.

August 19, 2014 at 9:26 am PST
#53  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Perry, per your point that God may or may not have used Mary's egg...doesn't not change a thing. Christ's dna passed through to Mary via the placenta. Therefore Our Blessed Mother would have Our Blessed Saviour's dna "coursing through her veins". Being the receptacle is exactly the point.

I've not yet gone though the RCIA (starting 8/28, yeah me!) and am unable to answer all your questions about Mary...but am positive you can find the "Catholic" answers on this site if you choose to look.

Not understanding why protesters believe in Sola Scriptura...as that is not in the Bible. Do you know why?

August 19, 2014 at 9:51 am PST
#54  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

Dear Debbie
I might suggest you research thebereancall.org while you are at it. Mr MacMahon is a former catholic and at least it would give you an opposing view. We should never fear to have our faith challenged. I would rather think about what I believe than just believe without at least hearing the other side.

Sola Scriptura, Sola Christi, Sola Gracia are all theological terms to describe ideas found in Scriptures. Namely that our salvation rests in Christ alone, through grace alone and that the Word of God is all the guide we need in this world to know and do God's will.

I have listened to a lot of opinion about Mary and her role in our lives, but the problem is, it's just opinion. Church tradition not backed up by Scripture was condemned by Jesus. It was the Pharisees and their tradition that he was angry at. So today we have the RC church which elevates tradition above Scripture and which teaches things not plainly taught in the Bible. Which is why I always ask for the verse that shows any of the Marian teachings are true. If there is so much in the Bible which is easy to understand why does the RC church depend so heavily on things that are not? There are no verses that clearly state anything the RC church teaches on Mary. Just what ifs and suppositions. For instance, Why wouldn't Jesus take his holy mother into heaven instead of letting her die? I don't know, maybe He had reasons. But the point is, if she was assumed, why aren't we told? We are told about others but not her. Same with all the other things about her. THe most damning of all is that she has a role in our salvation. Too many verses deny that. Yet, logically since she was the mother of God then she has a part in our salvation. That makes as much sense as saying Einstein's mother helped create the Theory of Relativity because Albert's blood coursed through her veins.

If we were to pray to Mary then there would be a verse telling us to. If she helped save us there would be some verse saying so. Yet, there are none, so the apostate religion of Roman Catholicism makes it up and then attempts to find support in some vague reference.

Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

I would have to repeatedly ask your priest that question until he caves in and admits he is wrong. There is only ONE way to heaven, and that is where the Reformers came up with all the Solas.

Best wishes in your RCIA but I would strongly suggest you get an opposing view. You might call Knox Presbyterian Church on Crocker Blvd. I don't know them but I know the way they teach and think and you could at least have some more information.

It is too important a decision to just jump blindly into. Best wishes and blessings on you.


August 19, 2014 at 11:08 am PST
#55  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Perry, perhaps you did not read my #47. I've NOT taken this lightly, nor believe that I am "jumping blindly" and my husband is very upset with my decision. It would be much easier for me to pretend as most all Protestants believe that my divorce and now re-marriage is A-OK with God. I am forgiven..because I say I am forgiven. I believe this to be false...and dangerous.

I've lived as a Protester and do not believe I need yet another church who believes just a little differently than the last I attended. I've read conversion stories, listened to Scott Hahn's conversion story...and it all makes so much more sense to me.

I would strongly suggest that you listen to Scott Hahn's conversion story.


May God richly bless and keep you also.

August 19, 2014 at 12:03 pm PST
#56  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

I understood your post.
You are mistaken if you think we Protestants pretend that sin is OK. It is not because WE say we are forgiven but because God does.
I John 1:9 If we confess He will forgive.

The first thing I notice about Mr Hahn's story is that he converted to the catholic church. I converted from a sinner to Christ. Christ alone saves, the catholic church does not. Therefore any thing he has to say about his conversion story is pointless as he only changed his location and not his situation.

But I wish you the best....

August 19, 2014 at 1:56 pm PST
#57  Angela Curio - Madison, Wisconsin

I want to be clear. I'm not trying to refute Church teaching or even Canon Law. I just think you're reasoning is likely inaccurate and has one major problem. You state that impotent people cannot be married because the party who is not impotent has the right to expect sex. And, as such, they need grounds for an annullment since there is no way to divorce in the Catholic Church (pointing out Christ's teaching on the indissolubility of marriage).

Then several paragraphs down, you TRY to address Mary and Joseph's non-consumated marriage and you point out this: " But it is also dissoluble, since the two have not become 'one flesh.' (Canon 1142)"

So, really, it would seem, that impotence or not, an unconsumated marriage COULD be dissolved. It would not seem that you would need an annullment.

With all that said, Josephite marriages are often heavily discouraged and uncommon, so the process of getting divorced from such a marriage isn't a common enough practice for such a case to nicely fit into the current legal system. As such, it would seem that since we already have a marriage tribunal, that simply putting these cases under the title of annullment makes more practical sense.

Let's try not to read too much into Canon Law. It is not infallible and not the moral law. But we are bound to obedience even when things aren't perfect. There is no reason to need to explain away everything. Sometimes obeying authority is simply enough.

August 19, 2014 at 6:56 pm PST
#58  Michael Wilson - Burke, Virginia

Section 2 says a marriage should not be impeded if impotence is at all doubtful so I think that makes your headline comment incorrect. You need a more definitive official reference than just your opinion to convince me otherwise

August 20, 2014 at 5:47 am PST
#59  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Perry, I would never imply Protestants "pretend sin is ok". But for me it seemed that my Protestant faith was not complete. I would tell my husband (who told me all about Jesus and how to be saved) that it seemed like a "get out of jail free card"..again...to me it seemed this way. Now, I know of a better way to explain it. It is to presume upon God's Mercy.

You can go to a tract from this site titled: Assurance of Salvation? It's really informative. At the end it has this gem:

"Are you saved?" asks the Fundamentalist. The Catholic should reply: "As the Bible says, I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8), but I’m also being saved (1 Cor. 1:18, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12), and I have the hope that I will be saved (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15). Like the apostle Paul I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:11–13)."

August 20, 2014 at 8:49 am PST
#60  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

Dear Debbie

Regarding your husband I would suggest Ephesians 5:22. If you are doing something he feels strongly against, then I would say you are more honoring to the Lord by going along with your husband as long as he is not asking you to do something which is a sin. Just a thought.

Protestants do not take sin lightly. We do understand that we will sin in this life, and that we should quickly seek forgiveness. We are taught to walk in the Spirit so as not to fulfill the lust of the flesh. Our advantage is that we know Christ is our only source for forgiveness and can seek it any time in prayer. We do not have to wait for Saturday to confess to a man in a box. We also understand that sin is sin. THere are no subcategories such as mortal or venial. My sinful thoughts are enough to keep me out of heaven as is murder. I think the RC view leads to a more casual attitude actually. You see that in the attitude best expressed on Fat Thursday. Get my sinning done before I go to confession etc. Down through the ages the fact that one could buy an indulgence or engage in sin and then run to confession fostered this. Whereas a right understanding shows that we are to lead lives avoiding sin at all times and when we do we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.
It's not a get out of jail card, it is a desire to walk in right standing. When we fall we confess, repent, and get back up. To presume upon Gods mercy is to take the attitude that I can go on sinning and get more grace, an idea Paul condemns. So I believe you are miscategorizing the Protestant view.
Now you have a lot of verses here, but if you look at them one thing you will notice is that there is a lot of past tense in them. "we were saved" "by grace ye have been saved" "have been justified". Salvation is a gift. It is also a judicial sentence of Not Guilty placed on us by God through the blood of Christ. It is a once for all transaction which does save us. Then our job if you will is to live for Christ. To prove our salvation by our good deeds. Once justified we live our lives "working out our salvation" by sanctified living.
This is the sense of "being saved". It is a process of living our profession. Not living so we can hopefully arrive at the end of our lives in good standing which is the RC view.
II Tim 2:11-13 shows that even if we are faithless He remains faithful so that rules out the belief that we can lose our salvation. RCs say you can refuse a gift so you can lose salvation. Well if God has declared a sinner righteous how do we undo the sentence of the judge?

Long post, but here is a question. Why does the RC church complicate a simple matter? We are sinners, Christ died for us, Receive His gift of salvation, Live a sanctified life which proves your redemption. But the RC version is filled with doing good works to satisfy God. Isaiah 64:6 will show the futility of such efforts. How are we to come to Christ as little children? In simple trusting faith not by some complicated bureaucratic church structure which demands adherence to its doctrine in order to be saved. The first mark of a cult is that they say there way is the only way and all others are wrong. That prerogative is God's alone. And He says Christ is the only way. Not a church, a system, a man, or any other way.



August 21, 2014 at 6:39 am PST
#61  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Hi Perry,

It is my divorce and remarriage that has drawn me TO the RCC. Because of Her (correct) teachings on marriage/divorce/remarriage and contraception.

As you well know, Scripture is very clear on divorce and remarriage. No. Can. Do. And since we both are divorced, we have a very messy knot to untangle. I have only (recently) heard of one Protestant church who will not marry divorced people....Protesters pretty much have this wrong...IMO. As they do contraception. As they do Christ's Real Presence. As they do Faith alone. As they do Scripture alone.

Blessings to you as well.

August 21, 2014 at 8:48 am PST
#62  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

Debbie; God explains it this way; Until you are born Again you can't understand Spiritual Things.
1 Corinthians 2:9-14
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. After you have become a REAL Christian you can see Truth. Those who are not Born Again Try to explain the Truth but can
1 Corinthians 1:18
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

August 21, 2014 at 3:34 pm PST
#63  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

Sorry; Those who are not Born Again Try to explain the Truth but can't. The Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit Who is still Present today ( IN YOU-- ONE WITH). The only Book that you can still ask " What did you mean"? He'll answer You. WOW But you must be Born Again ..

August 22, 2014 at 5:59 am PST
#64  Perry White - Thomson, Georgia

Dear Debbie

As Mr Martin says, unless you are born again, the spiritual cannot be understood. So the question is: have you been saved? Have you accepted Christ into your life? If not, that is job one. If so, then it would depend on when. Before your divorce etc. Now the last thing you need is marriage counseling from a total stranger and I do not know the intricacies of the RC teaching on divorce/remarriage. I do know what the Bible says, so that's all I care about.

God hates divorce. But He has permitted it and it is certainly a viable choice in certain situations. The question is Is remarriage permissible? Lots of opinions there. I think this is where you pray hard and examine the whys and why nots. I have seen it work and not work.

I am not sure why you think protestants have it wrong on the other issues. Abortion is murder is a sin. But to prevent a conception is not a sin. Maybe its selfishness but there is no sin in taking measures (non aboritifacient) to prevent pregnancy.

I was reading recently that the problem with RCC positions on several key issues is that 1. they are not biblical, and 2. they are not supported by the church fathers. Augustine as it turns out, is sola scriptura and denied the real presence.

I don't know why you say faith alone is wrong when there is so much biblical evidence that says it is. I mean what do you do with Ephesians 2:8? Salvation is by grace through faith. Thats what God says. Do you believe Him or a bunch of men in a "church"?
Do you believe God gave us His Word? Is it possible that He gave it to us and made mistakes or left out some really important stuff that we need for salvation? What kind of God is that? So if the Bible is not enough then why be catholic?. The Mormons also say the Bible isn't enough. Go be a Mormon. Look at them they are certainly living very "godly" lives and you never see them drunk at a wedding. Maybe they are better than Catholics???

If you are going to make a statement that Scripture alone is wrong, then honestly it doesn't matter what you believe. Be a Buddhist and save all the time driving to church. This is the entire problem with catholicism. Once you toss the Bible as authority you can say what ever you want. My goodness, you can make Mary born sinless, you can make a wafer really Jesus, you can make a man in a dress the authority over a billion people who can't get to heaven unless they obey his ex cathedra infallible statements even when those statements disagree with the last pope.

By the way, if Mary was born sinless and intercedes for us in heaven, why was it necessary for Jesus to be born and die? If Mary is perfect there was no need for anyone else to be. If Mary helps us gain redemption why would God punish His Son and make Him bear our sin? How cruel.

The RCC issues it's rules on what the faithful must believe or they face punishment. Protestant christians are free to search the Scriptures and see what God desires. I think you will find that the average protestant knows a lot more about the Bible than the average catholic. Now, there are a lot of rules, regulations, liturgy, ceremonies, etc in the RCC, but Christ has set us free from the law. We are in a period of grace where we are free to seek His will. God did not set up a massive rule book for us. Problem is, most people don't want freedom. They can't handle it and would rather be told what to do. You see that in governments and in religions. It is just easier to follow a formula than to be free in Christ to live according to His Word.

Catholicism is an easy religion. You can touch it, smell it, hear it. True christian faith is less obvious. It changes my heart and frees me from dead orthodoxy and religious exercises. Believe it or not, to be a christian doesn't even require a church building to visit. Ten people in a living room with a Bible is a church. If you doubt that you better read the Bible and see where the early church met.

I do think you are hung up on this Protester thing. I am not a Protester. OK, I am a Protestant because I am not catholic. But I am really just a christian. A follower of Christ. This does not require church membership. It does not require my working to make God approve me. It requires that I believe that Jesus rose from the dead and that I profess this publicly. Then we go from there.

Thanks for reading this extra long post.


August 22, 2014 at 7:58 am PST
#65  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.

I need The Church through apostolic succession to help me untangle my mess. My experience is that Protestant churches allow and sometimes encourage couples to divorce and then re-marry others at will. That's not the Holy Spirit...IMO.

The following makes a lot more sense to me than the belief that God has me covered:

"Are you saved?" asks the Fundamentalist. The Catholic should reply: "As the Bible says, I am already saved (Rom. 8:24, Eph. 2:5–8), but I’m also being saved (1 Cor. 1:18, 2 Cor. 2:15, Phil. 2:12), and I have the hope that I will be saved (Rom. 5:9–10, 1 Cor. 3:12–15). Like the apostle Paul I am working out my salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), with hopeful confidence in the promises of Christ (Rom. 5:2, 2 Tim. 2:11–13)."

August 22, 2014 at 8:09 am PST
#66  Brian Amundsen - Mounds View, Minnesota

Many of the latter post are off topic and challenging the faith and teachings of the Church and the role of tradition. So I'd like to get back to the importance of marriage between one man and one woman, who are able to procreate. Trent's post is important because it points out a nuance the Church has found in the natural law, about why a man and woman are married. The natural law as God established it, not as man and his sole logic would establish it. The Church, through 2000 years of discernment, debate, and reason have documented and taught (tradition) what was discovered about the natural law as imbued by God in to this temporal world and the eternal. The logic Trent presented is clear, and despite some posts, has held up to logic review by even the most rigorous of theologians and debates over the centuries. So despite the modern day protests, by some posters who mis-understand the teachings of the Church, this is a great article for everyone to read and further a proper understanding about marriage as God designed. Thank you Trent!

August 22, 2014 at 10:32 am PST
#67  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

Debbie: Most Marriages are a tangled Mess because they are not doing it God's way. They are marrying in Lust and they think it is Love. see the description of God's Love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. You will not have the ability to love this way until you have a new heart. You are born into this world with a Sin motivated Heart or Human Natural Spirit. This is why Jesus said you MUST be Born Again. When you do this you have to understand what is taking place. Babies at Baptism can't comprehend this at all. You can dedicate them to be raised up to the age of understanding. Most marriages are no more than a sinful mistake which is forgivable. Jesus die for all your stupid mistakes. It's not any more serious that stealing or lying. Don't make the same mistake without including Jesus in the mix. a three legged stool is steadier than two, which keeps falling over. Are you saved? Jesus died for the Whole world but you have to appropriate the Gift. A gift is not a wage, or needs a scale to balance anything in return. Jesus came to pay for your sins BECAUSE there is nothing you can do to pay for you own. Jesus not only took all your sins upon Himself but gave you free the ability to stand before GOD sinless ( His Righteousness). Once For All , forever. He is not going to Suffer ever again. 2 Corth. 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. A..Your going to be Saved-
Romans 10:9-10
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. B... You are saved. Jesus is the only one who saves. C... You are a Baby Christian, study to show your self approved and Work out your salvation with reverence. It's like ordering something over the internet -You made up your mind you wanted it and you sealed the deal by paying for it and it is delivered to you and you accept it ; It's yours. you open the package to find out you need to assemble it. ( you work out your possession with patience. Faith in the promise is believing it's yours before seeing or touching it.

August 23, 2014 at 12:44 pm PST
#68  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Dick, I absolutely agree with your first 3 sentences. It is because of the Catholic Church's teaching, like Jesus' in Scripture, that what God has joined together let no man separate...She is teaching 1 Corinthians 13. We don't get to demand that our spouses love us the way we want, and when they don't...divorce them. I don't get the luxury of divorce and remarriage when Jesus clearly forbids it...and when I choose to anyway, presume upon His Mercy and do as I please.

That, and the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist is what has convinced me to convert. It is as simple as that.

August 24, 2014 at 5:29 pm PST
#69  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

Luke 22:19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me. 1 Corth. 11:24. took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
In the same manner He also took the cup after supper,saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me . REMEMBERANCE: Webster's dictionary-- a remembering or being remembered.-- the power to remember. something that we do to remember such as a memorial. The Bread and Wine is a representation an object to bring to our Remembrance what Jesus did for us. Marriage is God's idea. He wants us to do it His way. It is possible to achieve when you allow Jesus into the situation.; otherwise you struggling in the flesh only. It's like trying to clean you house with the latest modern Vacuum without plugging in the cord; Plug into the power source ; it makes it much easier. The Bible instructs us to divorce when your spouse in unfaithful. All Disobedience is Sin and is forgivable . Only one sin is not forgivable and that is not accepting Jesus as your Savior. this is the Sin against the Holy Spirit who's Job it is to convince you of your need of Jesus. 1 John 5:11-13. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. Once you Have ETERNAL life it begins NOW- at this present time , not when you get to Heaven WOW. I am sharing these things so you may enter in.

August 25, 2014 at 7:31 am PST
#70  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

This teaching is too hard. And many (disciples) walked away. Jesus did not call them back and explain He was only speaking symbolically. All the early church fathers taught and believed this also.

August 25, 2014 at 11:11 am PST
#71  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Something I've thought of lately, if you Mr. Horn or any Catholic could answer, as I believe it is not so off topic. When a Catholic couple cannot conceive and it's determined it's not the woman's infertility...is it ok for a man to be "tested"? even though the test would involve a "sin"? Just curious how that would work. Thanks

August 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm PST
#72  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

Debbie: NOTICE The law is for sinners Only. Where there is no Law there is NO SIN. God says it , I believe it.
1 Timothy 1:9-11
knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,
according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.
Ephesians 4:30
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
1 John 3:9
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. There is no Parable or symbolism here ; these are Faith Facts. They are applicable if you believe.

August 26, 2014 at 5:20 am PST
#73  Sharon Petrakou - Rosanna, Victoria

Debbie: If the sperm for the testing is to be obtained via masturbation then that is not permitted but there is another way which I don't want to elaborate on here. Maybe if you contact a Catholic Fertility Clinic you could put your question to them.

August 28, 2014 at 11:50 pm PST
#74  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

Debbie: If your married and you need a test done; can it be collected some other way? Do you know that God understands you situation. This scripture allows you and your husband to do what ever you want to do in the marriage bed and nothing will be an offense to God; including taking a sample to be tested. Ask you doctor how, so the sample would be pure. UNDEFILED means that nothing you do can be sin tainted. This excludes something you don't agree on that hurts or separates you ( ONE FLESH ) relationship.
Hebrews 13:4
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. This is God's word, it is truth, no matter what any one tells you. God made us ( Married Couples) to enjoy each other sexually. That is why there is such a strong drive toward this. This is a Freedom we have IN CHRIST.
Hebrews 9:15
And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
John 8:34-36
Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.
And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.
Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. If you are not Born Again you are a slave to sin. If you are Born Again you are a Son; you are free from sin. See Romans 10: 8-10.

August 29, 2014 at 7:39 am PST
#75  Debbie Douglas - Fraser, Michigan

Thanks Sharon....I didn't need or want graphics, just didn't think there were other options of obtaining a sample.

August 29, 2014 at 1:01 pm PST
#76  Usulor Kenneth - Lagos, Lagos

"He who has not the Church for his Mother cannot have God for his Father" so says St. Augustine. Therefore Perry White, "consider your ways".
Your inconsistencies and blashemies against the Bible, the Church and the Father are alarming. You better repent now, forsake your unprofitable personal judgement and accept the whole of Christ and not part of him.
Personal judgement is what has precipitated tens of thousands of protestant sects (all differing and disagreeing in faith and morals) within the short space of 497 years (1517-2014).

September 2, 2014 at 2:09 am PST
#77  Usulor Kenneth - Lagos, Lagos

"He who has not the Church for his Mother cannot have God for his Father" so says St. Augustine. Therefore Perry White, "consider your ways".
Your inconsistencies and blashemies against the Bible, the Church and the Father are alarming. You better repent now, forsake your unprofitable personal judgement and accept the whole of Christ and not part of him.
Personal judgement is what has precipitated tens of thousands of protestant sects (all differing and disagreeing in faith and morals) within the short space of 497 years (1517-2014).

September 2, 2014 at 2:09 am PST
#78  Matthew Seymour - Long Beach, California

How do we know if we are true disciples of Jesus Christ?

By our love.

Some of us here reflect the love of God back to Him and also to others. Some of us surely do not.

We should all pray for one another.

If we are true disciples of Christ, measured in love for God and one another, then we are surely counted as his brothers and sisters (and children of the Father).

If hate rests in our hearts, regardless of where we go to "church", in that final day, we may find ourselves with a door slammed shut... with our Good Lord saying, "I never knew you."

September 2, 2014 at 6:52 am PST
#79  Dick Martin - Frazeysburg, Ohio

Matthew: If we could measure SPIRITUAL- D. N. A. We would find Two different Kinds. One would have our birth Father Satan's Nature; (The Sinful Nature) producing His attributes -- Works of the Flesh; opposing God.
Galatians 5:19-21
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Then if we examined the other D. N. A. we would find our Father God; Jesus; Holy Spirit; (ONE GOD) with a different Nature. The Ones who do by nature what the father does.
Galatians 5:22-26
But the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
This is what the word Redeemed means; " to buy back". Jesus Paid the price we couldn't pay. See how many times Jesus said; " The Father and I are One". This is what happens at the new Birth. We believe who Jesus is and what He accomplished in your place.
1 John 5:12-13
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. Jesus said " You MUST be Born Again". MUST means it is important. See :
Romans 10:9-11
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

September 2, 2014 at 8:04 am PST
#80  Connie Poulos - Columbia, Maryland

Great article Trent. One problem with one of your examples though. "In contrast, a woman who has a vagina that cannot accommodate the male member is impotent but she may still be able to become pregnant through illicit means like artificial insemination or IVF. This means she is not infertile even though she is impotent."

This form of impotence is usually (not always, but usually) easily correctible, via natural dilation techniques or routine surgery. Therefore, it's not "perpetual" as Canon 1084 sec 1 states. If the vaginal issue is corrected, marriage is permitted. I have MRKH- born without a uterus and upper 1/3 of vaginal canal. Took care of the issue during engagement. Married in the Catholic Church after being 100% clear and open. Now it's as if I had a hysterectomy. Working ovaries. Nowhere for them to go. But perfectly happy in marriage, other than the infertility issue.

September 2, 2014 at 12:41 pm PST
#81  Trent Horn - San Diego, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Hi Connie,

Thanks for your input. When I said the woman in my example was impotent, I did not necessarily mean absolutely or perpetually impotent. You're correct most cases like this can be corrected with surgery. I simply chose it as a hypothetical to help make the distinction between infertility and impotence. Another example would be a man who has functioning sperm but is injured or sick and cannot naturally release his sperm.


September 2, 2014 at 3:23 pm PST
#82  Connie Poulos - Columbia, Maryland

Hi Trent!

Thanks for clarifying. I felt compelled to comment mostly because I've seen posts in the forum where stuff like this was debated. Wanted the record set straight. Love your work. God Bless.

September 3, 2014 at 7:30 am PST
#83  J Capps - Saint Marys, Pennsylvania

After almost 30 years of marriage my wife became impotent. We want to have intercourse but she cannot because of dryness and pain. Doctors cannot help with the problem without hormones, We have tried all lubricants to no avail. Now no sexual activity takes place because touching may lead to ejaculation outside the vagina. We are open to more children but that will not happen due to her age. I feel alone and distant from my wife. This has been the case for 2+ years. If I ask priests as to what I am aloud to do I get a different answer from each one. Can she ejaculate me outside her vagina? Help.

October 22, 2014 at 6:15 am PST
#84  Gregorio Martinez - Grand Prairie, Texas

Thank You Mr. Horn,
A very good, well written article. Even the comments both good and less than good are informative.

February 18, 2015 at 10:23 am PST
#85  Maureen Kelly - Virginia Beach, Virginia


I am new to this forum and am stunned by the contents of this article. I am not certain if I am stunned because I am shocked that a faith I have professed for 37 years holds such an outdated interpretation of Biblical verse; if my stunning is that I was ignorant to such Catholic teachings; or if I am stunned at your personal interpretation of the Catholic teachings. You took a great deal of time to insert quotations, Bible verse and Canon law, but the interpretation of such...is that your opinion, it does that have a credible source?

Secondly, I question some of what you profess. You mention the differences between antecedent impotence and absolute impotence, specifically referencing one as impotence PRIOR to the marriage. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't sexual intercourse PRIOR to marriage strictly forbidden by the Catholic teachings? How then could any "sinless" individual know they were in fact impotent prior to a marriage? Your claim is illogical. You also mention that a person would have to be impotent within the marriage but not outside. Again, impotent outside of their marriage? How would this be possible to know without "sinning"?

On another note, I question the validity of your interpretations and presume they are more likely over generalized interpretations (intertwined with a tremendous amount of personal opinion). I have attended numerous Catholic weddings. Not once did the priest mention impotence, nor did ANY of the wedding vows (in ALL of the Catholic ceremonies I have attended) make such a suggestion. If continuous sexual intercourse (not merely consumation) is a requirement for a valid marriage, why would this not be included in the vows? My understanding from each of these ceremonies (as well as 14 years of Catholic education) is that a marriage must welcome children into their lives. To proclaim that kissing and fondling between a married couple that does NOT end in sexual intercourse is a sin is just preposterous (and maybe a good indication of someone with a possible sexual addiction). Marriages need to be 'consummated' to be considered valid, they do NOT need to be sexual intercourse centers.

I will end with 2 examples & if you can share why (based on your above proclamations) that BOTH of these marriages were annulled by the Catholic Church, then I promise to reread your article with a more open mind. I am asking for an interpretation based on your SPECIFIC CLAIMS, not other church teachings. However, I have a feeling that your opinion based interpretation won't carry much weight.

1) Friend #1: Couple married for 28 years. Had 2 children (clearly not impotent). Marriage ended when husband was no longer interested in sex. No cheating. No medical issues. Marriage was anulled. Please explain.

2) Friend #2: Couple married 1 year. Consumated. Not impotent. Discovered husband was more interested in homosexual desires and decided on a divorce. Marriage anulled. Please explain.

Again, I mean no disrespect by my concerns/comments. I merely get frustrated when people claim to have authority on church teachings and misinterpret or mislead individuals towards incorrect interpretations of Catholic teachings purely based on opinion. Therefore, if your article is based on solid information, please share from where this information comes. Otherwise, please stop preaching.

February 20, 2015 at 12:50 pm PST

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