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

Conclave: The App

03/08/2013 Comments (4)

Just wanted to let folks know about a neat little app that Logos Bible Software has just released to help Catholics (and others) learn about the upcoming conclave.

The app is FREE and is available both for iOS (iPhone/Pod/Pad) and Android.

They really rushed to get it out so that we'd have it in time for the conclave, and I know people at Logos who spent long nights getting it ready.

It's got some really cool features and material (including some by yours truly) and ways to stay in touch with important Catholic information sources, like the National Catholic Register and Catholic Answers.

Here's a description of the app:

Your free mobile hub for conclave news

Conclave is a...READ MORE

Filed under conclave, new pope

12 things you need to know about the Prodigal Son

03/07/2013 Comments (15)

There is more to the story of the prodigal son than meets the eye. Here are 12 things you should know about it.

On the Fourth Sunday of Lent, the gospel reading is the famous parable of the "prodigal son."

It is a moving story that teaches us about God's love for us and his willingness to forgive us no matter what we have done.

But there is more to the story than meets the eye . . . much more.

Here are 12 things you need to know.


1. What does "prodigal" mean?

The word "prodigal" is mysterious to us. Almost the only time we ever hear it is in the title of this parable.

It's basic meaning is "wasteful"--particularly with regard to money.

It comes from Latin roots that mean "forth" (pro-) and "to drive" (agere). It indicates the quality of a person who drives forth his money--who...READ MORE

Filed under forgiveness, gospel of luke, liturgical year, luke, mortal sin, penance, prodigal son, reconciliation, sin

Who Was the Early Visionary St. Perpetua?

03/06/2013 Comments (6)

St.s Perpetua and Felicity are commemorated in Eucharistic Prayer I (the Roman Canon) itself. But who were they, and what is their dramatic story?

Thursday is the feast of St.s Perpetua and Felicity.

Many have heard their names. They're early saints mentioned in Eucharistic Prayer #1 (the Roman Canon).

But often we don't know much more than that, which is a pity.

They have a dramatic story, which St. Perpetua recorded herself in the days before her martyrdom. It also records the visions she received during this time.

Here are 10 things you need to know.


1. Who was St. Perpetua?

She was a young Christian woman and martyr, who died just after the year 200 in North Africa. When she was still a catechumen, she and several acquaintances were taken into custody.

According to the Martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity:


Filed under felicity, liturgical year, perpetua, perpetua and felicity, private revelation, seer, visionary, visions

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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."