Holy Year Gestures on Abortion and the SSPX: 12 Things to Know and Share

09/01/2015 Comments (22)

Pope Francis has just made dramatic gestures regarding abortion and the SSPX in the Year of Mercy. Here are 12 things to know and share . . .

Pope Francis has just released a letter in which he made several announcements concerning the upcoming Year of Mercy.

This includes absolution for those who have procured abortion and the ability to go to priests of the Society of St. Pius X for confession.

These have raised a lot of questions, so here are 12 things to know and share . . .

 

1) What is the Year of Mercy?

Popes periodically dedicate a year to a particular theme. For example, Benedict XVI dedicated 2010 to priests and 2013 as a Year of Faith. Now, Pope Francis has devoted 2016 to the theme of mercy.

Designating such years are one of the ways that the popes call attention to particular themes and help people understand...READ MORE

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Elijah’s journey: 40 days and 40 nights?

08/09/2015 Comments (13)

Elijah set off on a journey of "40 days and 40 nights." What does this mean?

Sunday’s readings contain an interesting illustration of the way that the Bible can use numbers.

In the Old Testament reading, Elijah is on the run from the evil queen Jezebel and he goes out into the wilderness and asks God to let him die.

Instead, God sends and angel who makes Elijah eat and drink two times in order to strengthen him for a journey.

Then we read:

He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.

One of the first things that you learn about the geography of the Holy Land is that it’s tiny by American standards. From north to south, the modern state of Israel is only 290 miles long, and its...READ MORE

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Pope Francis on the Divorced and Remarried: 10 Things to Know and Share

08/05/2015 Comments (89)

Pope Francis recently made remarks on the situation of those who have divorced and remarried without an annulment. Here are 10 things to know and share . . .

Pope Francis recently gave a general audience in which he discussed the situation of those who have divorced and remarried without an annulment.

His remarks are particularly significant in light of the upcoming Synod on the Family and the proposals to give Holy Communion to those in this situation.

They also attracted attention because he stressed that people in this situation are not excommunicated.

Here are 10 things to know and share . . .

 

1) Where did the pope make his remarks and where can I read them?

He made them at his Wednesday general audience on August 5, 2015. They are part of a series of catecheses he has been doing on the family.

You will eventually be able to read...READ MORE

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10 things you need to know about Jesus' Transfiguration

08/03/2015 Comments (2)

"The Transfiguration" by Giovanni Gerolamo Savoldo

This Thursday commemorates the mysterious event known as the Transfiguration.

This event is hard to understand. Why did it happen? What did it mean?

Here are 10 things you need to know.

 

1. What does the word "transfiguration" mean?

The word "transfiguration" comes from the Latin roots trans- ("across") and figura ("form, shape"). It thus signifies a change of form or appearance.

This is what happened to Jesus in the event known as the Transfiguration: His appearance changed and became glorious.

Before looking at the Transfiguration itself, it's important that we look at what happened immediately before it in Luke's Gospel.

 

2. What happened right before the Transfiguration?

In...READ MORE

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Pope Francis on Weapons: 12 things to know and share

06/27/2015 Comments (53)

Did Pope Francis recently condemn all weapons and weapons manufacturing? Here are 12 things to know and share . . .

Recently Pope Francis made some impromptu remarks about weapons manufacturers at a meeting with young people in Turin.

These were poorly misreported in the press and have resulted in a number of questions being asked.

First we will take a look at what he said and then look at some of the questions that have been asked.

Here are 12 things to know and share . . .

 

1) Where can I read the pope’s remarks in their entirety?

The Italian original is here.

At present, there is no official English translation, but Fr. Stephanos Pedrano, O.S.B. of Prince of Peace Abbey kindly provided me with an unofficial one of the part of his remarks dealing with weapons manufacturers.

You can read it...READ MORE

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Waiting for a Medjugorje Decision: 12 things to know and share

06/25/2015 Comments (14)

We're getting near a Vatican decision on Medjugorje and there are new reports about what it will be. Here are 12 things to know and share . . .

We are now in the period of waiting before the Holy See announces a decision regarding the reported apparitions at Medjugorje.

In recent days, several developments have emerged which people have examined to see what they might reveal about that decision.

One set of stories claims to know the decision reached by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Here are 12 things to know and share . . .

 

1) What are the basic facts about Medjugorje?

Medjugorje is a town located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, part of the former Yugoslavia.

In 1981, several young people there began reported receiving apparitions of the Virgin Mary. This led to the development of a global movement around the...READ MORE

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The Logic of Baptism

06/21/2015 Comments (4)

According to Jesus, is baptism important for salvation?

There is a classic passage in the final chapter of Mark’s Gospel, where we read:

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” [Mark 16:15-16].

Christians through the ages have seen in this passage a powerful statement of the importance of baptism. Taken at face value, it indicates that baptism is instrumental in salvation.

Or does it?

Some (though by no means all) in the Protestant community argue that this passage doesn’t do that. Let’s look at a few such arguments.

 

Jesus’ Statements and Logic

The first argument is based on the logical structure...READ MORE

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Pope Francis’s Environmental Encyclical: 13 Things to Know and Share

06/18/2015 Comments (71)

Here are 13 things to know and share about Pope Francis's new encyclical on the environment

Pope Francis’s highly anticipated encyclical—Laudato Si’—is now out.

Here are 13 things to know and share . . .

 

1) What are the basic facts about this encyclical?

An encyclical is a teaching document issued by the pope. Encyclicals are among the more solemn and thus more authoritative papal documents.

This one is called Laudato Si’ (“Be praised” or “Praise be to you”)—a line from the Canticle of the Sun by St. Francis of Assisi.

It is Pope Francis’s second encyclical. His first was Lumen Fidei, which was largely drafted by his predecessor, Benedict XVI. Laudato Si’ is thus the first encyclical prepared entirely at Pope Francis’s initiative.

It is devoted to ecology and related...READ MORE

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About Jimmy Akin

Jimmy Akin
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Jimmy was born in Texas, grew up nominally Protestant, but at age 20 experienced a profound conversion to Christ. Planning on becoming a Protestant pastor or seminary professor, he started an intensive study of the Bible. But the more he immersed himself in Scripture the more he found to support the Catholic faith. Eventually, he entered the Catholic Church. His conversion story, "A Triumph and a Tragedy," is published in Surprised by Truth. Besides being an author, Jimmy is a Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to This Rock magazine, and a weekly guest on "Catholic Answers Live."