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  1. FAQ: What is Papal Infallibility?

    Papal Infallibility refers to the fact that the Pope is divinely preserved from teaching error in his formal teaching on faith and morals. It flows from the divinity of Christ in the Church. God is infallible, and He has irrevocably entered the human realm by becoming man. The Church is the continuation of this Incarnation, continuing Jesus’s “But I say to you” in her teaching and continuing his healing and life-giving touch in her sacraments.

    The Office of Peter (the ecclesial role assumed by the man who becomes head of the Church) involves the ability and responsibility to define truths concerning doctrines of faith and principles of morality, especially to “confirm the brethren” (Luke 22:32) when there is disagreement on important issues. The first exercise of formal papal infallibility was St Peter’s statement “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” which Jesus himself confirmed was uniquely inspired “not by flesh and blood but by my Father in Heaven.” (Mt 16:17)

    Thus papal infallibility is effectively exercised when according to the “manifest meaning and intention” (Vatican II, Constitution on the Church, n.25) of the teaching, the Pope invokes the authority of Christ to confirm and define a traditional doctrine of faith or morals. It is an essential gift to the Church in order to maintain the impact of the Incarnation, and the consequent unity in truth and charity.

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  2. Why Do We Sin?

    Why Do We Sin?
    Having spiritual souls means that we have free will. We are not bound to do what is good for us by instinct. This also means that we can refuse to do what is good. God did not make us this way as some sort of test, but because he wanted us to be in his own image and likeness. God is Love and love...
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  3. FAQ: Why does matter need a cause?

    FAQ: Why does matter need a cause?
    It is part of our everyday experience that material things need causes. If you discovered an elephant in your sitting room, you would immediately ask yourself how it got to be there. You would not think, “Oh well, maybe it’s just here for no reason: elephants often just turn up like t...
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  4. Why The Church?

    Why The Church?
    Why The Church? Come and see our video....
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  5. FAQ: What about the Crusades?

    FAQ: What about the Crusades?
    Jesus is ‘the Prince of Peace’ (Is. 9:6). As St John Paul II said, war always represents a defeat for humanity. Yet the Church is realistic about the presence of sin in the world, including amongst her own members, which produces conflict. Thus, while individual Catholics may adopt a ...
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  • Speaking the truth in love

    The topic of sexual abuse has dominated Catholic discussions over the past months and weeks.  There are many aspects to this sordid subject. One thing has remained obvious, just as it has been obvious for the past few decades : we need clear moral teaching and leadership. The Church does not have to struggle to discover what is right and what is wrong when it comes to sexual ethics. She has a clear and profound doctrine on the nature and purpose of human sexuality.

    Moral guidance

    But if there is promotion of the idea that there is no objective morality, that there is no such thing as mortal sin, that salvation is guaranteed regardless of any need for contrition and amendment of life, then it becomes easy to give into temptation, to slip into sin, and even to justify a double life in which, for example, an active homosexual lifestyle is lived alongside priesthood.  Without clear moral guidance it is tempting for weak, confused and disorientated souls to be trapped into a belief that the Church’s teaching is “outdated” or impossible to live. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear:

    2360 Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.

    2361 “Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death.”

    The Catechism lists the sins against chastity, and in listing rape among these, emphasises that there is a particular gravity where the rape of children has occurred by those entrusted to their care. Over recent decades there has been an apparent reluctance to enunciate the teaching clearly on the part of those in positions of authority in the Church. Too many bishops have been shy of stating clearly the fullness of the Church’s message. There has been ambiguity in material provided for Catholic schools, and in speakers at some Catholic events.

    Homosexuality

    On homosexuality the Catechism has this to say:

    2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

    Pope Francis

    Pope Francis has recently noted the importance of this with respect to the training and formation of priests: “We have to urge homosexual priests, and men and women religious to live celibacy with integrity, and above all, that they be impeccably responsible, trying to never scandalize either their communities or the faithful holy people of God by living a double life. It’s better for them to leave the ministry or the consecrated life rather than to live a double life.”  We must teach that the Church’s sexual and moral teaching is an invitation to life and to joy. We should teach it whole heartedly - and we must insist that those, like Fr. James Martin, who clearly do not believe in the teaching of the Church, must make up their minds and choose.

    Unity

    We need doctrinal and moral unity in the Church and a challenge from the highest authority that priests and people, whatever their temptations and sins, must accept the teaching of the Church and at least try to live up to it or have the decency to leave.  It is time for truth and courage. It is time to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15).