Zechariah’s mysterious vision in the Temple: 10 things to know and share

12/17/2014 Comments (1)

Luke tells us some very interesting things about a mysterious vision that Zechariah had in the temple. Here are 10 things to know and share . . .

The Gospel reading for December 19 contains the familiar story of Zechariah in the temple.

You can read it here.

It is the occasion when the Angel Gabriel appears to him to announce the birth of John the Baptist.

Although the story is familiar, there are some fascinating details in this account, and their significance is not obvious.

Let’s take a look.

Here are 10 things to know and share . . .

 

1. When did this event take place?

Luke begins his narrative "in the days of Herod, king of Judea," by which he means Herod the Great.

When precisely Herod the Great ruled is disputed. According to a theory introduced a little more than a century ago, Herod reigned from 37 B.C. to 4 B.C.

...READ MORE

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Did Pope Francis say animals go to heaven?

12/13/2014 Comments (99)

You know how Pope Francis said animals go to heaven? Guess what. He didn't! Here are 7 things to know and share . . .

The news networks are abuzz with stories saying that Pope Francis has said pets go to heaven.

They’ve even “helpfully” noted how this contrasts with the position of his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

But the thing is . . . the whole story is false.

Here are 7 things to know and share . . .

 

1) What is being claimed?

Among other things:

Pope Francis has declared that all animals go to heaven during his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square.

The Pope made these remarks after he received two donkeys as early Christmas presents. During his discussion, Pope Francis quoted the apostle Paul as he comforted a child who was mourning the death of his dog.

Francis quoted Paul’s remarks as, “One...READ MORE

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The Immaculate Conception: 8 things to know and share . . .

12/07/2014 Comments (13)

December 8 is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Here are 8 things to know and share . . .

December 8th is the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

It celebrates an important point of Catholic teaching, and in most years it is a holy day of obligation.

Here are 8 things you need to know about the teaching and the way we celebrate it.

 

1. Who does the Immaculate Conception refer to?

There's a popular idea that it refers to Jesus' conception by the Virgin Mary.

It doesn't.

Instead, it refers to the special way in which the Virgin Mary herself was conceived.

This conception was not virginal. (That is, she had a human father as well as a human mother.) But it was special and unique in another way. . . .

 

2. What is the Immaculate Conception?

The Catechism of the...READ MORE

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My jaw dropped when I read the latest from Benedict XVI . . .

12/06/2014 Comments (52)

Benedict XVI has just weighed in on the proposal to give Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics

Since Benedict XVI resigned from the papacy and began his retirement in seclusion, he has said nothing publicly.

There’s a very good reason for that, and that’s why the most recent thing he’s written is so amazing.

He’s just publicly weighed in on Cardinal Kasper’s proposal to give Holy Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

Here’s the story . . .

 

1) Why is Benedict XVI so silent these days?

To give his successor a free hand. If a pope emeritus continued to speak out and play a substantial role as a public figure, it could cause all kinds of problems for his successor.

If the two were perceived as being in opposition to each other, it could be extremely traumatic...READ MORE

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10 Things You Need to Know About Advent

12/01/2014 Comments (7)

It's Advent again! Here are 10 things to know and share!

Advent began this last Sunday.

Most of us have an intuitive understanding of Advent, based on experience, but what do the Church's official documents actually say about Advent?

Here are some of the basic questions and (official!) answers about Advent.

Some of the answers are surprising!

Here we go . . .

 

1. What Is the Purpose of Advent?

Advent is a season on the Church's liturgical calendar--specifically, it is as season on the calendar of the Latin Church, which is the largest Church in communion with the pope.

Other Catholic Churches--as well as many non-Catholic churches--have their own celebration of Advent.

According to the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the...READ MORE

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Do sheep prove that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th?

11/30/2014 Comments (74)

Does the fact that sheep were being pastured when Jesus was born prove he couldn't have been born on Dec. 25?

St. Luke records that when Jesus was born an angel of the Lord directed a group of shepherds to go find him.

Luke introduces this group of shepherds by saying:

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night [Luke 2:8].

This has led to a common argument that Jesus couldn’t have been born on December 25th.

Why? Because it was supposedly too cold for the shepherds to be pasturing their flocks at night in late December.

Is this true?

Not on your life.

 

Shepherds’ Fields

Sheep definitely were pastured in the vicinity of Bethlehem. Luke is correct about that. In fact, they are pastured there today.

There are even two fields (one...READ MORE

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"Integral Age" Update!

11/29/2014 Comments (4)

What does a team effort reveal about the idea that Moses and other holy men lived in whole year units?

Recently I blogged about the common apologetics claim that the dates of Christmas and the Annunciation were based on the idea that Jesus lived to an “integral age.”

In other words, that Jesus died on the anniversary of his birth or conception.

According to some authors, it was popularly believed among ancient Jews that prophets and other holy men died on their birthdays.

But my own research into the topic did not back this up.

I therefore asked if others could shed any light on the subject, and they did!

With the generous help of various individuals, mostly on Facebook, I’ve been able to get further information on this subject.

 

The origin of “integral age”

Jon Sorensen noted that...READ MORE

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Is the “integral age” theory an apologetics myth? 9 things to know and share

11/28/2014 Comments (10)

Is a common apologetics argument about Christmas and the Annunciation actually a myth?

Why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25th? Why is the Annunciation on March 25th?

According to some authors, it’s due to something called the “integral age” view that was common among ancient Jews.

But this idea itself might be a myth.

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .

 

BE SURE AND READ THE UPDATE TO THIS POST BY CLICKING HERE.

 

1) What is the “integral age” view?

Supposedly, it is a belief that was common in ancient Judaism, and it held that prophets (and other holy men) died on the same day that they were born or—according to some accounts—the day they were conceived.

They thus lived their lives in whole or “integral” years (from the Latin integer = “whole”).

 

...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."