People have asked me a bunch of theological questions online. I collected the best on my CuriousCat recently and am posting them here as a Q&A. This is the third in a series: the other two have been on prayer but this is theology. Hopefully, you enjoy these theological questions on laicization or defrocking, free will, fate, the death penalty, papal infallibility, Hell and Isalm.
I hear talk about “laicization” or “defrocking” of priests. Practically, what does this look like? Is priesthood an indelible mark or can one actually take away a priest’s ability to celebrate sacraments?
Laicization or defrocking of priests means that they are removed from the clerical state and lose the permission to celebrate the sacraments (unless someone asks for confession on their deathbed).
This does not affect that they are priests and could still validly – although completely illicitly and contrary to morals – celebrate the sacraments.
Sometimes priests ask for this when they don’t want to act as priests and sometimes it is forced upon them when they have done something seriously wrong as a priest.
God foresees all that is to happen but he doesn’t cause it. Just because God knows what we’ll choose, doesn’t mean he causes it. The best analogy I’ve heard is that time is like a parade going on in a valley: all of us are part of are spectators right there who can only see a small bit but God is up on the mountaintop & can see the whole parade at once. This isn’t a perfect analogy but I hope it helps.
I’ve read your recent posts on the death penalty. In an online discussion that I’ve had, several people insist that the church’s ordinary magisterium has always taught infallibly that the death penalty is acceptable. Is this accurate?
From whence does the Bishop of Rome derive his special charisms (e.g., infallibility when speaking ex-cathedra)? He didn’t get them by receiving a sacrament since he had already been ordained a bishop and received the charisms associated with that the sacrament of holy orders. The Papal election isn’t a sacrament, any more than the appointment of a cardinal is. So how did he get his special charisms?
The early Church recognized that the bishops were successors of the apostles. Like the apostles had one who had a certain priority in the group – Peter – the place he was a bishop – Rome – got enshrined permanently as the one holding that certain priority over the successors of the apostles as a group.
According to Islam, God has, since the establishment of the final faith, promised to no longer incur his wrath onto humanity till the final day of judgment. I was wondering if this was the belief in Christianity also? Will God, who has established the true way of salvation, abstain from bringing his wrath down onto humanity till the day we come before Him? If so, how does that mesh with age-old ideas of diseases, natural disasters, etc. being ‘God’s wrath’ for sinful societies?
We Christians believe that God will not destroy the earth until the final day of the second coming when we will get a new heaven and a new earth. That is the promise to Noah.
However, that God will not express his wrath on humanity might imply that nobody will suffer in Hell until the end of time. We know Hell is real, people suffer there, and at least some people go there. If someone is in Hell they will be suffering God’s wrath before the end of time but the main force of God’s wrath is held back until the end of time. Hopefully, this clarification helps.
If you enjoyed that, check out my other two Q&A articles or ask me more on CuriousCat.