The Next Pope Will Be God's Choice . . . Right?

02/28/2013 Comments (37)

The cardinals will soon meet in the Sistine Chapel to elect a new pope. Should we pray for them?

It's common for Catholics to say that a newly elected pope is "God's choice" or that, the Holy Spirit chooses the new pope.

There's a sense in which this is true.

But does that mean that we can just sit back and assume the ideal candidate will be elected?

If so, why do we need to pray for the election of the new pope?

And what has Pope Benedict XVI had to say about the matter?


The Mystery of Providence

Since God is omnipotent, he could stop any particular thing in the universe from happening. Therefore, if something does happen, it is only because God allowed it to happen.

If God chose to allow it, anything that does happen could--in this broadest sense--be described as...READ MORE

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

How Old Will the Next Pope Be?

02/25/2013 Comments (17)

How old a man will the college of cardinals elect as pope--and what does that tell us about *who* they might elect?

Pope Benedict's resignation because of age-related health issues has implications for how old the next pope will be.

It gives the cardinals a push to elect a younger man who will have more energy to bring to the office of pope.

But how young are they likely to go?

It's possible, with a knowledge of the current college of cardinals--and a knowledge of history--to make an educated guess.

And that tells us something about who is likely to be elected.


An Initial Impression

My initial impression was that the cardinals will likely want to elect someone who was older than John Paul II but younger than Benedict XVI.

John Paul II was made pope at age 58, which led to he unusually...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, cardinals, college of cardinals, conclave, election, electors, new pope, next pope, papal, papal electin

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

Filed under 40 days, desert, jesus, lent, temptation, temptations

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

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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."