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“Hot Topics” in the Catholic Church. Ish Ruiz SLS - BILAC 2013 Spiritual Development Day. Agenda:. Overview of “hot topics” War Contraception Same-sex Marriage Abortion Conscience Formation Challenges in a Catholic s chool classroom Conclusion. War. First thought: Non-violence

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Hot topics in the catholic church

“Hot Topics” in the Catholic Church

Ish Ruiz

SLS - BILAC 2013

Spiritual Development Day


  • Overview of “hot topics”

    • War

    • Contraception

    • Same-sex Marriage

    • Abortion

  • Conscience Formation

  • Challenges in a Catholic school classroom

  • Conclusion

Hot topics in the catholic church

  • First thought: Non-violence

    • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God (Mt. 5:9)

    • If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also(Mt. 5:39)

    • Love your enemies; pray for persecutors (Mt. 5:43)

  • Comparative Justice: Should people remain non-violent while others suffer OR should they use violence to prevent further suffering?

Usccb statement after 9 11
USCCB Statement after 9/11

  • “National leaders bear a heavy moral obligation to see that the full range of non-violent means is employed. We acknowledge, however, the right and duty of a nation and the international community to use military force if necessary to defend the common good by protecting the innocent against mass terrorism” (USCCB, Living with Faith and Hope after September11)

War is sometimes a necessity
War is sometimes a necessity

  • Just War Doctrine (CCC 2302-2317):

    • The damage inflicted by the opponent must be grave, lasting, and certain.

    • All other means to solve the conflict must have been rendered inefficient

    • Proportionality – gains must be greater than cost

    • There is a serious probability of success.

    • Civilians*, wounded soldiers, and prisoners* must be treated humanely [No torture].

    • No genocide.

    • Arms must be strictly regulated. Over-armament may escalate the conflict. [No chemical or nuclear warfare*]

War peace
War & Peace

  • Just War Doctrine is based on an “Honor Code” – not everyone abides by this

    • What happens when a country does not abide by it? (e.g. US torture of prisoners in Guantanamo, US Use of the Atom Bomb, Syrian government's use of chemical warfare on civilians)

  • Conclusion: The goal of War should be to reestablish peace, not to gain power.

Catholic teaching on sex
Catholic Teaching on Sex

  • Catholic Church teaches that Sexuality is a gift. However, sexual acts must be moral.

  • According to the Church, Sex is moral when the following are true:

    • Context of marriage

    • Unitive Purpose

    • Purpose of Procreation

  • Chastity: Moderation and temperance over sexual conduct. (Chastity is NOT Celibacy)

Use of contraception
Use of Contraception

  • Prevents or significantly reduces the possibility of “procreation,” therefore it is considered immoral. (Paul VI, Humanae Vitae)

  • Church makes the distinction between:

    • Artificial birth control

    • Natural birth control

Artificial methods of birth control
Artificial Methods of Birth Control

  • Include:

    • Condoms and other “barrier methods”

    • Sterilization

    • Spermicides

    • Coitus interruptus (withdrawal methods)

    • The “pill”

    • Etc.

Natural methods of birth control
Natural Methods of Birth Control

  • Involves awareness of the woman’s fertility.

  • The Church promotes this method because:

    • It requires self awareness of the body

    • It promotes more communication between the couple

    • It increases the significance of conjugal sexual activity

    • It promotes chastity and self-control

Recent developments
Recent Developments

  • Similar to “Comparative Justice” – In some cases it would be more “permissible” than others to use artificial birth control methods.

    • E.g. It would be more permissible for a male to use a condom in order to prevent he spread of AIDS (Benedict XVI, 2009).

Same sex marriage
Same Sex Marriage

  • Homosexuality and the Bible:

    • “If a man lies with a man as with a woman, they shall both be put to death” (Lv. 20:13)

    • Destruction of Sodom

    • St. Paul – calls homosexuals profane

  • Church’s stance has changed throughout history:

    • Intolerance towards homosexuals (early church to post reformation times)

    • Modern times: accepting of the homosexual but not accepting the act (1975)

Always our children usccb 1997
“Always Our Children” (USCCB, 1997)

  • “Church teaching acknowledges […] homosexuals who are definitively such because of some kind of innate instinct”

  • “Having a homosexual orientation does not necessarily mean a person will engage in homosexual activity”

    • Distinction: Homosexual Orientation and Homosexual Action

      • Orientation: experience of attraction towards the same sex

      • Action: engagement in sexual conduct with someone of the same sex

Homosexual activity
Homosexual Activity

  • Homosexual activity is not allowed because:

    • It is not in the context of Marriage

    • It does not contain the possibility of procreation

  • Same-Sex Marriage

    • Solves the issue if context of Marriage

    • Encourages homosexual activitywithout the possibility of Procreation

    • *** The Church does NOT deny the love that may exist between to people of the same sex ***

      • Channeled into friendship – Responsible Love

  • Homosexuals, like heterosexuals, are called to Chastity

Homosexual person
Homosexual Person

  • “All humans are created in God’s image and likeness and deserve to be treated with dignity”

  • Homosexuals must be respected, cared for, treated pastorally, and included in the active life of the Church.


  • From “A Place at the Table”

    • It has become clear that there are GLBT members of the Marianist family, as well as the broader Church community, that do not feel free to be themselves; persons who have a deep spirituality but feel alienated from their communities. "We are committed to ongoing dialogue and collaboration, remembering that all of us are bearers of charism, of the Marianist vision and dream." (Marianists' Commitment Prayer).


  • Abortion debate falls under two different “fields”

    #1: Right to Live:

    • “All human life should be respected and treated with dignity”

      #2: Right to Choose

    • Everyone should have the sole control of their own body and the ability to choose what to do with it and who to have in it.

Right to live
Right to Live

  • Main issue: When does “life” begin?

    • Some argue that it begins at conception

    • Some argue that it begins after some time

    • Some argue that life begins at conception, but it is not a “human life” yet

  • Church considers human life to be a gift from God and to begin at conception

Right to choose
Right to Choose

  • Main issue: Women’s rights over her body

  • Pro-Choice DOES NOT mean Abortionist

    • Pro-Choice is about freedom to control one’s body and choose what to do with it.

  • Part of living with dignity is to have the ability and control over one’s body.

Catholi c teaching
Catholic Teaching

  • Catholic Church considers the Right to Live to be above all rights – everyone deserves to live and live with dignity.

    • Pro-Life stance combined with Sex Teaching

  • Pastoral care should be provided for women (and men) before, during, and after their pregnancy

Conscience formation
Conscience Formation

  • “Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator” (CCC 1783)

  • “Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters”(CCC 1782)

  • “The education of the conscience is a lifelong task” (CCC 1784)

S e e r

  • Study

    • Conscience involves the intellect - It is important to have knowledge of the issue, scripture, the Church’s teaching, etc.

    • Part of “study” also require living out the sacred knowledge

    • Prayer: discernment of God’s will

    • This is an INTERNAL process

  • Elect

    • Choosing the right course of action

  • Execute

    • Putting into action the decision made based on conscience

  • Review

    • Evaluate past actions and repeat process

    • This is a life-long process

Challenges in catholic schools
Challenges in Catholic Schools

  • If you do not agree with the Church on a particular issue, how would you address a situation in your classroom in which you are asked to voice your opinion about this issue?

  • How would you address a student that comes to you promoting a teaching that is against the Church?

Conclusion and challenges
Conclusion and Challenges

  • Why are these “Hot Topics” so “hot”???