Good News from the Synod—9 things to know and share

10/05/2015 Comments (4)

A key Vatican official has just made remarks at the Synod of Bishops that cool speculation on a change in the Church's practice regarding Communion for divorced and civilly remarried people. Here are 9 things to know and share . . .

Remarks made by a key official at the opening of the current Synod of Bishops seem cool to the idea that there will be a change in the Church’s doctrine and practice regarding the divorced and civilly remarried.

This comes as heartening news to supporters of the Church’s historic doctrine and discipline.

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .


1) What is at issue here?

Jesus Christ taught that marriage is indissoluble. Consequently, a civil divorce does not free one from the commitments one made to be faithful to one’s spouse.

To obtain a civil divorce and then marry someone else, without establishing that the first marriage was null, is thus to enter a state of ongoing adultery....READ MORE

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The New Testament authors you rarely hear about

09/28/2015 Comments (2)

Can you name all of the authors of the New Testament? There are three *named* authors you may have trouble with . . .

Who wrote the New Testament?

Let’s see . . . there was Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul.

Those are the easy ones.

Anybody else?

If you think about it for a moment, you’ll likely come up with James, Peter, and Jude.

Good. Now, who else was there?


Harder Cases

At this point, your mind might flash to the book of Hebrews, which doesn’t list its author. Some have proposed that it was written by Apollos, Barnabas, Luke, or another member of the Pauline circle, but I’m not talking about it’s unnamed author. I’m looking for named authors.

Depending on how much you read the Church Fathers and some modern authors (like Benedict XVI), you might know that there is a question of whether...READ MORE

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Did Paul Know He Was Writing Scripture?

09/16/2015 Comments (9)

Some people argue that Paul didn't think he was writing Scripture, but there's a reason hiding in plain sight which argues that he did.

Some folks have the idea that the authors of the New Testament did not know that they were writing Scripture.

According to this view, they just thought they were writing Christian literature, and the Church gradually—even a century or more later—recognized that it was Scripture.

Some time ago, I wrote about this issue, and I argued that the authors of several books in the New Testament clearly knew that they were writing Scripture, right from the get-go.

These books were Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, and Revelation.

That’s everything in the New Testament except the letters.

So what about them?


The Case Against

If any authors of the New Testament weren’t aware or weren’t clear...READ MORE

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Pope Francis Reforms Annulment Process: 9 Things to Know and Share

09/08/2015 Comments (57)

Pope Francis has just made a major revision in how the Church handles annulments. Here are 9 things to know and share . . .

On September 8, the Holy See released a pair of documents by Pope Francis which reform the way in which the Church handles annulments.

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .


1) What is an annulment? Is it the same thing as a divorce?

An annulment (formally known as a “declaration of nullity”) is a ruling that a particular marriage was null from the beginning—that is, something was gravely wrong at the time the time of the wedding and it prevented a valid marriage from coming into existence.

This is different than a divorce, which proposes to dissolve a marriage that is in existence.


2) Why are annulments an important issue in the Catholic Church?

Jesus Christ expressly taught...READ MORE

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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?


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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."