The Pope Who Inspired Pope Benedict's Resignation

02/23/2013 Comments (1)

Pope Benedict's resignation is patterned after that of St. Celestine V. Here Pope Benedict visits the relics of St. Celestine V.

There haven't been that many popes who have resigned, and none of them offer an exact parallel to the case of Pope Benedict.

However, there is one pope--St. Celestine V--who is by far the closest parallel.

Who was he? Why did he resign? And what does his strange case tell us about Pope Benedict's decision to resign?

In this episode, Dr. Andrew Jones and I discuss the most recent papal resignations, including that of St. Celestine V.

We comment on how Pope Benedict is modeling his resignation after that of Celestine V and what light this sheds on Pope Benedict's thinking.

We also discuss what this means for the future and why Pope Benedict XVI's resignation may be as momentous an...READ MORE

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10 things you need to know about Jesus' Transfiguration

02/21/2013 Comments (6)

Jesus appeared to three of his disciples in the mysterious event known as the Transfiguration. What was happening here? What did it mean? Here are 10 things you need to know!

The Gospel reading for the Second Sunday of Lent 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...READ MORE

Filed under transfiguration, transfiguration of jesus

9 things you need to know about the "Chair of St. Peter"

02/20/2013 Comments (7)

February 22 is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. Here are 9 things you need to know about it.

Yes, there is a physical object known as "the Chair of St. Peter."

It is housed at the Vatican, at the back of St. Peter's basilica.

February 22 is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter.

And there is more to the story.

Here are 9 things you need to know . . .


1. What is the Chair of Peter?

It depends on what you mean.

On the one hand, there is a physical object--an ancient, ornamented chair--located in the apse of St. Peter's Basilica.

On the other hand, there is the spiritual authority that this chair represents.

Here we will look at both the physical object and the spiritual reality it represents.


2. What is the physical Chair of St. Peter?

This object--known...READ MORE

Filed under cathedra, chair of peter, chair of st. peter, feb 22, february 22, peter, pope

What is the history behind papal resignations?

02/16/2013 Comments (3)

Pope Benedict has announced his resignation from the papacy. What popes have done this before, and how has it changed the Church?

In the wake of Pope Benedict's announcement that he is resigning from the papacy, I thought I would speak with the historian Dr. Andrew Jones about the history of papal resignations.


While it hasn't happened often in history, there have been popes who have resigned before, and their resignations (technically, their renunciations of the papacy) have left a lasting impact on Church history.

There are also some fascinating cases where we aren't quite sure what happened.

In this episode of the Jimmy Akin Podcast, Dr. Jones and I begin to go through the cases, explaining what happened, what we know, and what impact the papal resignations have had.

First of two parts.

Here are...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, papal, pope, resign, resignation

9 things you need to know about the mysterious temptation of Jesus

02/14/2013 Comments (6)

Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days and then was tempted by the devil. What is going on in this mysterious incident?

This Sunday the gospel reading speaks of a mysterious event, just after Jesus' baptism, in which he was tempted by the devil in the wilderness.

How could Jesus--the All-Holy Son of God--be tempted?

Why did this event happen, and what was going on?

Here are 9 things you need to know about Jesus' "temptations" . . . and ours.


1. Why did Jesus go into the desert after his Baptism?

Empowered and led by the Holy Spirit, Jesus spent forty days fasting in the desert in preparation for his ministry, which his baptism inaugurated. Click here for more information on his baptism.

Forty days recalls various periods of preparation in the Old Testament, including the forty days Moses...READ MORE

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6 Liturgical No-No's During Lent

02/13/2013 Comments (62)

Should we have holy water in the fonts during Lent or should they turn into little ash trays? What does the Church say?

Like other liturgical seasons, Lent has its own special rules, and there are certain things that should not be done in Lent.

Here are 6 of them . . .


1. Instrumental music with no singing

In some parishes, instrumental music is used at certain points during Mass. A passage will be played on an organ or on another instrument or instruments, even though nobody is singing.

But not in Lent (with a few exceptions).

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) states:

313. In Lent the playing of the organ and musical instruments is allowed only in order to support the singing. Exceptions, however, are Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts.



Filed under lent, liturgical year, liturgy

9 things you need to know about Ash Wednesday

02/11/2013 Comments (17)

Ash Wednesday is February 13th this year. Do you know what you need to about it?

Of course, the big news in the Catholic world is that Pope Benedict is renouncing his office (here are some thoughts on that).

At the same time, Ash Wednesday is coming up.

And, in fact, Ash Wednesday--and Lent in general--is a good time to pray for Pope Benedict and the upcoming conclave.

Here are 9 things you need to know about Ash Wednesday.


1. What is Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday is the day that Lent begins (see: 9 things you need to know about Lent).

The name comes from the fact that a particular rite is always celebrated on this Wednesday in which the faithful have ashes put on their foreheads.

According to the Roman Missal:

In the course of today's Mass, ashes...READ MORE

Filed under ash wednesday, lent, liturgical year, liturgy

9 things you need to know about Lent

02/09/2013 Comments (9)

Lent is about to start. Do you know what you need to know?

This week the liturgical season of Lent begins.

Here are nine things you need to know about it . . .


1. What is Lent?

According to the Universal Norms for the Liturgical Year and the General Roman Calendar [.pdf]:

27. Lent [is a liturgical season that] is ordered to preparing for the celebration of Easter, since the lenten liturgy prepares for celebration of the paschal mystery both catechumens, by the various stages of Christian initiation, and the faithful, who recall their own Baptism and do penance.


2. Where does the word "Lent" come from?

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

The Teutonic word Lent, which we employ to denote the forty days' fast preceding Easter,...READ MORE

Filed under abstinence, ash wednesday, fast, fasting, lent, liturgical year, liturgy, meat

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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."