Form and Matter in the Sacraments (Continued)

In this post we continue our look at form, matter, and intent in sacraments. Previously, we explored the who, what, when, where, and how of the sacraments of initiation. As a refresher, intention, form, and matter, are the absolute minimum required for a sacrament to be valid. First of all, sacraments require a minister who intends to confect the sacrament.…

Fatima: Two Popes, One Queen, Many Blessings

Exactly one hundred years ago this weekend, on May 13, 1917, an event occurred which set into motion extraordinary occurrences which would change the world and essentially define twentieth-century Catholicism.

How to Determine the Morality of an Action

What if there were a great tool to determine the morality of an action? In writing posts like this, I often answer questions seeking such a tool, because many questions sent to Ascension begin with “Is it a sin if I …?” While some acts are always inherently wrong (I took a Thomistic approach to this with regards to lying…

Deleting Debate: McCarrick, Capital Punishment, and the Demise of Discourse

Have talking points killed actual talking? In an era defined by polarization, I fear that humans have abandoned the ability to communicate via exchanging points of view. Recent trends, both in and out of the Catholic realm, seem to have given credence to the argument that soundbites and memorable moments have supplanted thoughtful discussion. Is this actually what people desire,…

A Burning Question: What Does the Church Teach on Cremation?

Recently we were asked what the Church’s teaching is regarding the scattering of ashes after cremation. To understand the Church’s answer, we need to consider these words: “Indeed for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.” These words from the preface…

The Prominence and Placement of Tabernacles Explained

In her book, Fulfilled: Uncovering the Biblical Foundations of Catholicism, Sonja Corbitt, writing on the Old Testament Tabernacle of God, discusses the precise instructions given to the Israelites regarding the design and layout of their Tabernacle. She writes: “The strictly prescribed Tabernacle setup informed the Israelites that they could only draw near God in the way he offered” (Fulfilled, 240).…

You Shall Not Kill … in War?

Today’s reflection covers a very difficult application of a very simple commandment.  Exodus 20:13 states “You Shall Not Kill.” In light of this, we received a question from someone who served in the Navy and asked “Is it a sin to kill in war?” For this we will rely on several paragraphs, all contained in Part Three, Section Two, Chapter…

Missing Mass and More on the Nature of Sin

Among the more frequently addressed types of questions we respond to, questions of morality come up the most often. Some moral questions require nuance, understanding, and a deeper look. Others are straightforward. Today’s question fits in the second category. Victor asks, “Is missing Mass intentionally a grave (mortal) sin? I’m not referring to being sick or an emergency or when…

Ascension Roundup May 25-31

Did you know that Ascension publishes several new videos, podcasts, and articles every week on its website that feature respected Catholic speakers and writers such as Fr. Mike Schmitz, Jeff Cavins, Mark Hart, Danielle Bean, and Sonja Corbitt? We just want to be sure you were aware of it all, so we put together this roundup that summarizes all the…
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