Summary of Theology
A summary of the most important speculative theological conclusions in my writings.
by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
I. On the Perfect Virgin Mary
A. The Virgin Mary was conceived of both her parents, Saint Joachim and Saint Ann, in an entirely virginal manner, solely and entirely by a miracle of God, without marital relations.
II. Original Sin and Personal Sin
B. The Virgin Mary was born from the womb of Saint Ann, in an entirely virginal manner, solely and entirely by a miracle of God, without any part of the usual process of delivery.
C. The Lord Jesus Christ was conceived of the Virgin Mary, in her womb, with her as his sole immediate ancestor, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in an entirely virginal manner, solely and entirely by a miracle of God, such that his body and soul were created and united, with his body being created miraculously from the body of the Virgin Mary, with his soul being created by the Holy Spirit, and his eternal Divine Nature was united to his human nature, all in one and the same moment, which was the moment of conception.
D. The Lord Jesus Christ was born from the womb of the Virgin Mary, in an entirely virginal manner, solely and entirely by a miracle of God, without any part of the usual process of delivery; one moment He was in the womb, and the next moment He was out of the womb, without traveling through any place in between.
E. The life of the Virgin Mary was entirely free from all personal sin, including all actual sin, all objective sin, all mortal sin, all venial sin, all deliberate sin, all partially-deliberate sin, and every degree and type of sin whatsoever, for she was, is, and always will be entirely free from all sin without exception, like her sinless Savior Jesus Christ.
F. In the manner and from the moment of her Immaculate Virgin Conception, to the end of her exceedingly holy life on earth, and continuing forever, the Perfect Virgin Mary was, is, and always will be, in every manner, entirely and perfectly a virgin, like the perfect Virgin Jesus Christ.
G. The Virgin Mary has never been, is not, and never will be: Divine, nor a partaker of the Divine Nature, nor truly and entirely one with the Most Holy Trinity, nor greater than or equal to any of the Three Persons of the Trinity, nor greater than or equal to the human nature of her Son Jesus Christ considered by itself, nor a Savior or Redeemer of anyone, nor a Mediator of the same type as her Son Jesus Christ, nor an Advocate of the same type as her Son, nor an Advocate of the same type as the Holy Spirit. The Virgin Mary's participation in the Beatific Vision does not differ by kind, but only by degree, from the participation in the Beatific Vision of all the Elect in Heaven, even the very least of the Elect, and of all the holy Angels. Jesus Christ's participation in the Beatific Vision is a direct result of the Incarnation and the hypostatic union of His two natures, Divine and human, so that His participation in the Beatific Vision differs by kind and degree from that of Mary and the rest of the Elect in Heaven.
H. At the end of her life on earth, the Virgin Mary died, not as a punishment for sin, since she herself was always entirely free from all sin, but in perfect imitation of her Savior and Son Jesus Christ and as a participation in the Salvific Act of His death on the Cross for our salvation.
I. Immediately after her death, the Virgin Mary experienced the particular judgment, just as it is experienced by each and every mere human person immediately after death, and immediately thereafter she entered into the glory of Heaven and the Beatific Vision of the Most Holy Trinity.
J. Some number of days after her death, the soul of the Virgin Mary, surrounded by holy Angels, was brought down from Heaven by Jesus Christ, and then the Virgin Mary was raised from the dead by her Divine Son Jesus Christ by the union of her soul with her body, and immediately thereafter she was assumed, with her body and her soul united, into Heaven, by her Son and Lord Jesus Christ.
K. When Jesus Christ returns to this earth, the Virgin Mary will accompany him, for she is truly his most perfect follower, most perfect imitator, and most perfect disciple, who participates in all that he does for our benefit and salvation.
L. The Virgin Mary's role as co-Redemptrix is nothing other than her participation in Christ's role as Redeemer. Mary is neither a Redeemer nor a co-Redeemer herself, not even with and under Christ, nor does she do any work of redemption or co-redemption apart from participating in Christ's work of redemption. Mary's role as co-Redemptrix is nothing other than to immerse herself completely in Christ's role as the Redeemer of mankind.
M. The Virgin Mary is more fittingly called co-Redemptrix, rather than simply Redemptrix. The co-prefix indicates that she cooperates with us in our participation in our own redemption. No one can be a mediator or an advocate in his own case; these terms inherently refer to the assistance given to one person by another. But no one can be saved without his own cooperation in his salvation. Therefore, the prefix co- is added to the term Redemptrix to indicate that, in so far as we cooperate in our own salvation, the Virgin Mary is ever-present to cooperate with us.
N. The Virgin Mary's role as Mediatrix is nothing other than her participation in Christ's role as Mediator. Mary is not a mediator herself, nor does she do any work of mediation apart from participating in Christ's work of mediation. Just as Eve was created by God to be a helper to Adam, so also was Mary created by God to be a helper to Christ in all that he does for our salvation. Mary's role as Mediatrix is nothing other than to immerse herself completely in Christ's role as the one Mediator between God and mankind.
O. The Virgin Mary is not the Mediatrix of all graces without exception, for she is certainly not the Mediatrix of the great graces which flow from the Divine Nature of Jesus Christ to His human nature within the hypostatic union, nor is she the Mediatrix of the great but lesser graces which flow from Jesus Christ to the Virgin Mary. But of all other graces, including all other graces to all created persons, including the angels, and all other graces given in Heaven, in Purgatory, at the particular judgment, at the general judgment, and throughout all Creation and all Time and beyond, she is the Mediatrix.
P. The Virgin Mary's role as Advocatrix is nothing other than her participation in Christ's role as our Advocate and in the Holy Spirit's role as our Advocate. Mary is not an Advocate herself, nor does she do any work of advocacy apart from participating in Christ's work and the Holy Spirit's work of advocacy. Mary's role as Advocate is nothing other than to immerse herself completely in Christ's role and in the Holy Spirit's role as our Advocates.
Q. Mary is not a Redeemer, nor a Mediator, nor an Advocate; she is co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocatrix. Just as God created woman to be a helper to man, so also did God create Mary to be a helper to Christ. Therefore, the feminine form of these terms indicates the God-given feminine role of a helper to Christ. Mary does not have her own role of co-redemption, mediation, and advocacy, not even with and under Christ. She has no such role of her own at all, except by participation in Christ's role.
R. Mary's triune role as co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocatrix is a reflection of the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity. All three aspects of this one role are substantially different from, and wholly subordinate to, Christ's triune role as Redeemer, Mediator, Advocate. Mary's role is different from, and subordinate to, Christ's role because, in God's plan for Creation, the role given to women is different from, and subordinate to, the role given to men.
S. Mary does not stand before God to redeem, to mediate, or to advocate. Christ alone stands before God to redeem, to mediate, and to advocate. The Virgin Mary humbly kneels before Christ in worship of Him, immerses herself entirely in Him, and in this way she assists Christ, with her entire self, in His work of redemption, mediation, and advocacy. The Virgin Mary's role as co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocatrix differs substantially, by both kind and degree, from Christ's role as Redeemer, Mediator, Advocate. Mary participates in Christ's role as Redeemer, Mediator, Advocate, but she has no role of redeeming, mediating, advocating of her own.
T. The teaching on Mary's triune role as co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocatrix is neither the fifth Marian dogma, nor the final Marian dogma, nor will its proclamation usher in a time of peace for the world. These and other false claims are based on false private revelation, are not found in Sacred Tradition or Sacred Scripture at all.
U. Mary's participation in Christ's role as Redeemer, Mediator, Advocate differs by kind and degree from Christ's own role. Mary's participation in Christ's role as Redeemer, Mediator, Advocate differs by degree, but not by kind, from the same participation to which all the faithful are called. In one sense, her role is unique, in that she is the only Mother of God and the holiest of all mere human persons; but in another sense, her role is not unique, in that all the faithful are called to the same type of participation in Christ's role as Redeemer, Mediator, Advocate as Mary received. Christ's role as Redeemer, Mediator, Advocate is altogether unique, but Mary's role as co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, Advocatrix is not altogether unique.
A. It is possible, by a special grace of God, for someone who has original sin to nevertheless remain entirely free from all personal sin, from conception and birth through childhood and into their adult years, even until death.
B. John the Baptist was conceived with original sin, by both his parents, St. Zechariah and St. Elizabeth. However, by a special grace of God, in view of his role as the precursor to Jesus Christ, he remained free from all personal sin throughout his entire life.
C. Saint Joseph was conceived with original sin, by both his parents. However, by a special grace of God, in view of his role as the virgin husband of the perfect-virgin Mary and as the legal father, under religious law, of the Christ-child, he remained free from all personal sin throughout his entire life.
D. The First Fruits spoken of in the Book of Revelation (Rev 14:1-5) are a group of men, women, and children, who will, in that future time, each be conceived with original sin, by their respective parents. However, by a special grace of God, in view of their role as precursors to the Return of Jesus Christ, they will each remain free from all personal sin throughout their entire lives.
E. All of these persons who remain free from personal sin throughout their entire lives, including John the Baptist, Saint Joseph, and the First Fruits, are conceived with original sin and, after Baptism, each still has that remnant of original sin called concupiscence. It is not true that John the Baptist, or Saint Joseph, or anyone else, had original sin removed after conception to such an extent that concupiscence does not remain, or such that it would be as if they never had original sin. For this would be essentially the same as the Immaculate Conception, which was a singular grace and privilege given only to the Mother of God.
A. The tribulation is divided into two parts. The first and lesser part is for the present generation. The second part is for the distant future.
IV. Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium
B. Although many persons in history and perhaps in future years can be fittingly compared to the Antichrist and may even be referred to as foreshadowings of the Antichrist, there is only one human person who is properly called the Antichrist. He is not yet in the world. His brief reign of nearly seven years will occur in the 2430's A.D. At the end of his reign, Jesus the true Christ will Return.
C. Upon the Return of Jesus Christ in 2437 A.D., there will be a brief time for repentance. Then Jesus Christ will punish the unrepentant wicked, and he will establish his kingdom on earth.
D. The proper interpretation of Revelation chapter 20 is that Jesus will return twice, once at the end of the Antichrist's reign, so as to establish his kingdom more fully on earth, and again, well over a thousand years later, for the general Judgment and general Resurrection.
E. At his first Return, Jesus will be accompanied by the Virgin Mary. In order to establish his kingdom more fully on earth, Jesus will then raise from the death the true Saints and Martyrs of the one holy Catholic Apostolic Church.
F. Soon after beginning to establish his kingdom more fully on earth, Jesus will ascend again to Heaven and Mary will be assumed again into Heaven.
G. Shortly thereafter, in order to more firmly establish his kingdom on earth, Jesus will send out the Holy Spirit in the Second Pentecost, this time on the whole world.
H. Thereafter, a long time of great peace and great holiness will begin on earth, during which time the whole world will be ruled by Jesus Christ through his one holy Catholic Apostolic Church, and especially through the Sacraments, and most especially through the Most Blessed Sacrament.
I. This time of peace will last over 1200 years (Song 8:13).
J. At the end of this time, the devils will be loosed on earth and permitted to tempt its inhabitants. Despite hundreds of years of peace and holiness, and despite a very holy society with many examples of great virtue, a significant number of persons will choose evil over good. They will rebel against Christ and his Church, and they will attempt to defeat the faithful in warfare. They will be destroyed by fire from God without a battle.
K. Sometime after this event, perhaps a short time or perhaps a long time later, the general Resurrection and general Judgment will occur. At that time, God empties all the souls out of Heaven and Purgatory and Hell. All the souls of the just will be given holy bodies, like the glorious bodies of Jesus and Mary; their souls also will glorified, even more so than when they were in Heaven. All the souls of the unjust from Hell will be given horrible bodies, befitting of their sins. God will take away Heaven and earth and Purgatory and Hell. God will make a new Heaven, which will persist forever, which will be fit for the glory of both the body and the soul. God will make a new earth, which will persist forever. God will make a new Hell, which will persist forever, which will be fit for the punishment of both the body and the soul. And death shall be no more. And Purgatory shall be no more.
L. Those persons who will be still alive on earth at the time of the general Resurrection will be given the benefits of the Resurrection, including a glorified body and soul, without having to die and then immediately rise again.
A. The holy Catholic Christian Faith is based on the teachings of Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church. The faithful should learn directly from each of these sources, and should use their God-given reason to understand what these three sources of truth are teaching.
V. On the Most Holy Trinity
B. Sacred Tradition itself is 'the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation.' (Dei Verbum, n. 2). These truths of Sacred Tradition are found in the deeds of God, most especially in the deeds and way of life of Jesus, the Son of God, and foremost in the salvific act in which Christ died for our salvation. Sacred Tradition itself is not words, spoken or written, nor is it an oral tradition; it is the deeds of God as distinguished from the words of God.
C. The transmission of Sacred Tradition is distinct from Sacred Tradition itself. Everyone who lives and worships according to the way of truth lived and taught by Jesus Christ participates in the transmission of Sacred Tradition. The Church participates in the transmission of Sacred Tradition by continuously living and worshipping according to the way of life and worship taught by Jesus Christ. Sacred Tradition is transmitted partially by the words, written and spoken, of the faithful followers of Christ, but to a much greater extent Sacred Tradition is transmitted by the lives and deeds of the faithful, in so far as they live in imitation of the deeds of God.
D. Everything asserted as true by Sacred Scripture is entirely true, without flaw, omission, or imperfection. A flaw is the presence of something that ought not to be present. Sacred Scripture is without flaw, containing nothing contrary to the will of God. An omission is something lacking that ought to be present. Sacred Scripture is without omission, containing all that God wills it to contain. Sacred Scripture contains all those things and only those things that God wills. An imperfection is the presence, in a lesser form, of something that ought to be present in a better form. Sacred Scripture is without imperfection, for it contains all that God wills it to contain, in complete fulfillment of the perfect will of God. Sacred Scripture is three times perfect and entirely perfect: without flaw, omission, or imperfection. Sacred Scripture is a perfect reflection of the will of God.
E. Some of the truths of Sacred Scripture are made deliberately and knowingly by the sacred writers, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Other truths of Sacred Scripture are made by the Holy Spirit, even beyond the understanding and intention of the inspired writers. In both cases, everything asserted as true by the words of Sacred Scripture is entirely true. These inspired and inerrant truths include truths of faith and morals, truths of science, history, geography, human nature, human society, and all other areas of knowledge and understanding. These truths include, but are not limited to, those truths written for the sake of our salvation.
F. The Magisterium teaches infallibly only in three ways,
1) solemn definitions of the Roman Pontiff, just as defined by the First Vatican Council,
All other teachings of the Magisterium are ordinary and non-infallible, and are subject to the possibility of not insignificant error, even on matters of faith and morals, but never to such an extent that any error or set of errors could lead the faithful away from the path of salvation.
2) solemn definitions of Ecumenical Councils, under the same criteria as used for solemn definitions of the Roman Pontiff, except that the one who acts ex cathedra is the Council led by the Roman Pontiff,
3) the Universal Magisterium, under the same criteria as for an Ecumenical Council, except that the definitiveness of the teaching depends upon its universality, not upon one particular solemn definition.
G. Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium are three aspects of one gift to the universal Church. This one gift is a reflection of the Most Holy Trinity. Tradition is a reflection of the Father; Scripture is a reflection of the Son; Magisterium is a reflection of the Spirit. Tradition is the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation. The Father is the First Source of all the Deeds of the Most Holy Trinity. Scripture proceeds from Tradition, just as the Son proceeds from the Father. The Son is the Word of God; Scripture is the written Word of God. The Magisterium proceeds primarily from Tradition and secondarily from Scripture, just as the Spirit proceeds primarily from the Father and secondarily from the Son. The Magisterium is a work of the Holy Spirit acting within the Body of Christ. Scripture and Magisterium depend upon Tradition, just as the Son and Spirit depend upon the Father.
H. The whole truth about God can never be contained within Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, nor can it ever be fully expressed by the Magisterium. The whole truth about God can never be fully understood by any created thing, not even the Human Nature of Christ, nor even the Virgin Mary with all the Saints and Angels put together. God is greater than all of Creation. God is beyond the complete comprehension of all, except God alone.
I. The Sacred Deposit of Faith does not and cannot contain every truth. The Sacred Deposit of Faith does contain the whole moral law. Every truth about right and wrong can be found, explicitly or implicitly, within the Sacred Deposit of Faith. Even the Crucifixion of Christ by itself implicitly contains the whole moral law. However, not every truth about God can be found within the Sacred Deposit of Faith. God is greater than words can ever express, even the words of Sacred Infallible Scripture. God is greater than even His own Deeds in Sacred Tradition. God is infinite and eternal. God cannot be completely described or completely understood, even by Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium, nor by any finite thing, nor by all Creation together. Therefore, not every truth of Faith is found within the Sacred Deposit of Faith.
J. The Sacred Magisterium consists of three charisms given to the Church as a gift of the Holy Spirit. The first charism, called papal infallibility, is the ability and authority of the Roman Pontiff, by himself, to exercise the infallible Sacred Magisterium, under the conditions taught by the First Vatican Council and reiterated by the Second Vatican Council. The second charism is the ability and authority of the Roman Pontiff to guide and govern the Bishops in their participation in the infallible Sacred Magisterium of the Church. This charism is exercised both in Ecumenical Councils and under the Universal Magisterium. The third charism is the ability and authority of each Bishop to participate in the infallible Sacred Magisterium both in Ecumenical Councils and under the Universal Magisterium. Though individual Bishops, other than the Pope, lack the ability to teach infallibly as individual Bishops or as local groups of Bishops, they possess the ability and authority to participate in the infallible Sacred Magisterium in communion with the body of the Bishops led by the Pope. The Sacred Magisterium consists of nothing other than these three charisms. Only the Pope possesses all three charisms within the gift of the Sacred Magisterium given to the Church through the Holy Spirit. The other Bishops of the Church possess only the third charism.
K. A valid Pope is
1) a man who has been validly ordained to the episcopate,
Nothing else is required for the validity of the Pope, the visible head of the one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
2) who has been validly selected for the office of Roman Pontiff, and
3) who has willingly accepted the office of Roman Pontiff.
L. It is entirely impossible for any valid Pope to fall into heresy. It is entirely impossible for any man, if he were a heretic prior to accepting the office, to remain in a state of heresy once he has all three elements of validity. Neither public nor secret heresy can possibly remain, exist, or enter into the person of any valid Pope because the Pope is the seat of the infallible Sacred Magisterium and he possesses all three charisms of the Sacred Magisterium. If a man were a heretic of any kind prior to his selection for the office of Roman Pontiff, his heresy does not make his selection invalid, nor does it make him an invalid Pope, nor does the heresy remain in him at all, not even in the inmost recesses of his heart. For once he freely accepts the office, by an act of both his free will and the all-powerful grace of God, his heresy is immediately and entirely vanquished in him, from that moment and for the remainder of his time as the Roman Pontiff.
A. God is One Divine Eternal Act. Even the existence of God is the One Act. Even the procession of the Son from the Father, and of the Spirit from the Father and the Son, is the One Act. All that God is and all that God does is One Divine Eternal Act. In God, being and doing are exactly the same Act.
VI. Catholic Sexual Ethics
B. The Son proceeds from the Father; the Father does not proceed from the Son. The Son is dependent upon the Father; the Father is not dependent upon the Son. The Spirit proceeds primarily from the Father and secondarily from the Son. The Spirit is primarily dependent upon the Father and secondarily dependent upon the Son. The Father is the First Person, the Son is the Second Person, the Spirit is the Third Person, of the Most Holy Trinity.
C. The Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity are entirely equal as concerns their Divine Nature, but unequal as concerns their Divine Personhoods. This inequality is due to the distinctions between the Three Persons based on procession. The Father does not proceed, and so He is not dependent. The Son proceeds only from the Father, and so He is entirely dependent on the Father for all that He is. The Spirit proceeds primarily from the Father and secondarily from the Son, and so He is primarily dependent on the Father and secondarily dependent on the Son for all that He is. These differences in procession result in the distinctions between the Three Persons and in their inequality. Without this inequality, there would be no distinctions between the Three Persons.
A. The only moral sexual act is natural marital relations open to life.
VII. On the Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ
B. A sexual act is natural if it is the type of intercourse between a man and a woman that is inherently capable of procreation. If the man or woman is infertile, the act is still natural if that act would be capable of procreation in fertile individuals. If the man or woman use artificial contraception (which is immoral), the sexual act itself is still of the natural type (though substantially impaired) if that act, absent the contraception, would be capable of procreation in fertile individuals. Natural sexual intercourse is the type of sexual act which has served to propagate the human race since after its inception, and which has served as an essential part of the Sacrament of Marriage since its inception.
C. Any sexual act is unnatural if it is a type of sexual act not inherently capable of procreation.
D. All unnatural sexual acts are intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral. Therefore, such acts cannot be considered moral under any circumstances, even if completed by, combined with, preceded by, or followed by an act of natural marital relations.
E. Each sexual act must be considered separately as to whether or not it is an act of natural marital relations open to life. A sexual act that is unnatural cannot be justified by the claim that it is partial (i.e. not brought to completion) or that it is combined in some way with natural marital relations. A sexual act that is not open to life cannot be justified by the claim that it is partial or that it is combined in some way with natural marital relations open to life.
F. All unnatural sexual acts, including oral, anal, and manual stimulation, whether partial or completed, even if used as so-called foreplay with the sexual act being completed in natural marital relations, even if used after natural marital relations to bring the woman to completion, even if preceded by, combined with, or followed by an act of natural marital relations, are nevertheless intrinsically disordered and always objectively gravely immoral.
G. Certain kinds of acts are intrinsically evil. Such acts are immoral regardless of circumstance or intention. Such acts cannot become moral by any means whatsoever because the acts are in and of themselves immoral. Intrinsically evil acts do not depend for their morality on intention or circumstance; they do not depend upon the internal state of the individual, nor upon the result of the act, nor upon events which precede, coincide with, or follow the act. Nothing whatsoever can make an act that is intrinsically evil into a good or a morally-acceptable act. That which is in itself evil is never good. Intrinsically evil acts are not defined by intention or circumstance, but only by the act itself and the meaning inherent in the act itself under the eternal law of God.
H. An actual sin occurs when a person knowingly chooses what is immoral. In all areas of morality, each act must be evaluated on its own as to whether it is good or evil. If a person knowingly chooses to do what is evil, such an act cannot become good, even if the act occurs before, during, or after another act that is good.
I. The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, other than in natural marital relations open to life, is intrinsically evil because each and every sexual act must retain both the unitive and procreative meanings in order to be moral.
A. Jesus Christ is the Incarnate Word of God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity made man. He is one Person with two natures, the Divine Nature and a perfect sinless human nature.
[an on-going work of Roman Catholic theology]
B. The human soul of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was created by the Holy Spirit. The beginning of the human body of Jesus Christ was created by the Holy Spirit from the body of the Virgin Mary. The Incarnation of the Son of God occurred by an act of the Son of God. The Holy Spirit conceived the human nature of the Son of God, but it was the Son of God Himself who took flesh, that is, who became Incarnate.
C. The creation of the soul of Jesus Christ, the creation of the body of Jesus Christ, and the union of the Divine Nature of Jesus Christ with His human nature, that is, the Incarnation, all occurred in one and the same moment, at the miraculous virgin conception of Jesus Christ in the womb of the Virgin Mary.
D. Jesus Christ, in His human nature is like us in all things but sin. He received both habitual grace and actual grace in His human nature, directly from His Divine Nature, within the hypostatic union. Jesus Christ, in his human nature, had sanctifying grace from the first moment of His conception, which was the same moment as His Incarnation. Throughout His human life, He continued to receive grace, in His human nature, directly from His Divine Nature, within the hypostatic union, without mediation or intercession of any kind.
E. Between the death of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection, His body and soul were separated, for death is the separation of body and soul. But throughout that time, His Divine Nature remained ever united to His human nature, both to His dead body and to his soul.