6 things you need to know about Triduum

03/27/2013 Comments (1)

What is Triduum, and why is it so important?

We are about to leave Lent and enter the liturgical season known as "Triduum."

What is this season, and why does the Church say that it is "the culmination of the entire liturgical year"?

Here are 6 things you need to know.


1. What does "Triduum" mean?

It comes from Latin roots that mean, essentially, "the three days" or "period of three days" (tri- = three, -dies = days).

Today it refers to the liturgical season that follows Lent and precedes the Easter season.

According to the main document governing the celebrations connected with Easter, Paschales Solemnitatis:

38. . . . This time is called "the triduum of the crucified, buried and risen"; it is also called the...READ MORE

Filed under abstinence, easter, easter sunday, fasting, good friday, holy saturday, holy thursday, liturgical year, mass of the lord's supper, triduum

9 things you need to know about Palm (Passion) Sunday

03/23/2013 Comments (9)

Why is Jesus' entry into Jerusalem so important? What is going on here?

Palm Sunday--or is it Passion Sunday?--marks the beginning of Holy Week.

This day commemorates not one but two very significant events in the life of Christ.

Here are 9 things you need to know.


1. What is this day called?

The day is called both "Palm Sunday" and "Passion Sunday."

The first name comes from the fact that it commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when the crowd had palm branches (John 12:13).

The second name comes from the fact that the narrative of the Passion is read on this Sunday (it otherwise wouldn't be read on a Sunday, since the next Sunday is about the Resurrection).

According to the main document on the celebration of the feasts...READ MORE

Filed under crucifixion, holy week, liturgy, palm sunday, passion sunday

Pope Francis on Homosexual Unions

03/20/2013 Comments (243)

In 2010, Cardinal Bergoglio spoke out forcefully against homosexual "marriage." What was his position on "civil unions" for homosexuals?

There have been a flurry of stories reporting that, in 2010, when he was still a cardinal, Pope Francis supported the idea of civil unions for homosexuals.

What are we to make of this?


Getting the Facts

A starting point is trying to get the facts on the matter, as best they can be known.

According to press accounts, back in 2010 when the Argentine government was in the process of approving homosexual "marriage," then-Cardinal Bergoglio suggested the possibility of civil unions for homosexuals as a way of keeping homosexual marriage from being made legal.

He was absolutely adamant on the impermissibility of homosexual marriage, stating:

In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will...READ MORE

Filed under bergoglio, civil unions, francis, homosexual, homosexual marriage, pope francis

Should We Be Concerned About Pope Francis's Inaugural Mass?

03/18/2013 Comments (89)

Should we be concerned about some of the aspects of Pope Francis's inaugural Mass?

Pope Francis's inaugural Mass is unique in several respects.

That's raised a lot of questions: Only some cardinals doing the act of obedience? Different Mass readings? The Gospel reading in Greek? No offertory procession? No Communion distributed by the pope?

What does all this mean about the pope and where he stands on liturgy?

Is he striking out on a radical new course?

Let's take a deep breath . . . and a closer look at these differences.


1) Only Some Cardinals Doing the Act of Obedience?

This change is not as strange as you might think.

The last time a pope had this kind of Mass (when Pope Benedict had his in 2005) they didn't have all the cardinals present make the...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, communion, francis, homosexual marriage, inauguration, liturgy, marriage, mass, pope francis, same-sex marriage

9 things you need to know about Pope Francis's inaugural Mass

03/17/2013 Comments (9)

Pope Francis is having his "Inaugural Mass"? What happens in this Mass, and why is it important?

On Tuesday, March 19, Pope Francis will participate in his inauguration Mass.

If he hasn't been inaugurated, is he pope yet?

If he is pope, why is this called is "inauguration" Mass?

Here are 9 things you need to know.


1. Is Pope Francis already Pope, if he isn't "inaugurated"?

Yes. According to the Code of Canon Law:

Can. 332 §1. The Roman Pontiff obtains full and supreme power in the Church by his acceptance of legitimate election together with episcopal consecration. Therefore, a person elected to the supreme pontificate who is marked with episcopal character obtains this power from the moment of acceptance. If the person elected lacks episcopal character, however, he...READ MORE

Filed under election, francis, inaugural mass, inauguration mass, mass, pope francis

9 things you should know about the woman caught in adultery

03/14/2013 Comments (16)

The story of the woman caught in adultery is one of the most dramatic and beautiful stories in the Bible. Here are 9 things the popes want you to know about it.

This weekend Pope Francis is scheduled to give his first Angelus address, a kind of address that popes give every Sunday.

He's very likely to comment on the Gospel reading of the day, which is the famous, beautiful, and dramatic story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8).

We don't know what Pope Francis will say about the passage, but previous popes have commented on it.

Here are 9 things they wanted you to know.


1. What happens in this account?

Pope Benedict said:

The Gospel passage recounts the episode of the adulterous woman in two vivid scenes:

In the first, we witness a dispute between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees concerning a woman caught in flagrant...READ MORE

Filed under adultery, angelus, john 8, pope, woman

When to Watch for the White Smoke

03/11/2013 Comments (9)

Soon the cardinals will send up black smoke or white smoke to indicate that we have a new pope. When should you be watching?

Many people across the world are wondering when we should be watching the chimney above the Sistine Chapel to see the smoke that will tell us whether a new pope has been elected.

Here is a quick guide to when to watch and what to expect . . .


The Color of the Smoke

After casting ballots, the cardinals burn them, and this is what produces the smoke. They also burn other things--straw or chemicals--to change the color of the smoke, though precisely what they're burning this time is a bit of a mystery.

As most people know, it is supposed to be black if there is no new pope but it is supposed to be white if there is.

In practice, there have been troubles with the color of the...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, cardinals, college of cardinals, conclave, new pope, next pope, papal resignation

9 things you need to know about how cardinals actually vote in conclaves

03/10/2013 Comments (10)

The cardinals will be entering the conclave to vote for the new pope. How do they actually decide who to vote for? Here are 9 things you should know.

Soon the cardinals will enter the conclave and begin casting their votes for the new pope.

What's going through their minds as they do this? How do they actually go through the process of deciding, on any particular ballot, who to vote for?

Why is the first ballot so important? What patterns does history teach us? And is there any way we can help them?

Here are 9 things you need to know.


1. Why is the first ballot significant?

It is the first time that the cardinals get the "lay of the land" in a concrete way.

Up to this point, they have had discussions among themselves about who would be a good pope, and they have done some informal nose counting to get a sense of how...READ MORE

Filed under cardinals, conclave, new pope, papal election, voting

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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 the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to Catholic Answers Magazine, and a weekly guest on "Catholic Answers Live."