Everything That Rises May Diverge: In Memory of Fr. Ray Ryland

04/02/2014 Comments (13)

Though others have commented on the passing of Fr. Ray Ryland, beloved priest and father, I would like to add a few remarks of my own.

I knew Fr. Ryland, he was very kind to me, and for a time he served as my confessor.

 

Just the Facts

For those who may not be aware of who Fr. Ryland was, here are some of the basic facts:

Oklahoma native Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D., was an Episcopal clergyman from 1950–1963. In 1963 he was received with his wife, Ruth, and their five children into the Catholic Church. Twenty years later, he was ordained to the priesthood of the Catholic Church, with a dispensation from the rule of celibacy under the Pastoral Provision.

Fr. Ryland served as a naval...READ MORE

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8 things to know and share about the Annunciation

03/23/2014 Comments (11)

This Tuesday we're going to be celebrating the solemnity of the Annunciation.

This day celebrates the appearance of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to announce of the birth of Christ.

What's going on and why is this day important?

Here are 8 things you need to know.

 

1. What does the word "Annunciation" mean?

It's derived from the same root as the word "announce." Gabriel is announcing the birth of Christ in advance.

"Annunciation" is simply an old-fashioned way of saying "announcement."

Although we are most familiar with this term being applied to the announcement of Christ's birth, it can be applied in other ways also.

For example, in his book Jesus of Nazareth 3: The...READ MORE

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Why would anyone take the missing Malaysia Airlines plane?

03/16/2014 Comments (57)

Why would anyone want to take the missing Malaysia Airlines plane?

The story of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane has been getting weirder and weirder.

Instead of being a simple crash in the sea, it seems that the plane was deliberately hijacked, that its communications gear was largely switched off, and that then it flew along for hours, seemingly being guided expertly using navigational landmarks.

It may be a long shot that the passengers are still alive, but we should pray for them and for their families—and the safety of the whole world.

There are a lot of theories about the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, and we’ll undoubtedly know more in coming days, but I thought I’d put down a few thoughts as I clarify my own thinking on the subject.

Of...READ MORE

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Did Pope Francis just diss apologists? 9 things to know and share

03/09/2014 Comments (122)

Did Pope Francis just diss apologists?

If he did then, as an apologist, I’d be severely annoyed.

But wait! Could this be yet another case of people taking the pope out of context?

Yes. Yes it can.

And it is.

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .

 

1) What’s being claimed?

It’s being claimed that Pope Francis said the Church doesn’t need apologists or crusaders.

 

2) Where did he allegedly say this?

In a speech to the Congregation for Bishops.

It isn’t yet online in English, but it’s in Italian here.

 

3) What did he say?

According to the Washington Post:

He exhorted them to find “authentic” pastors who display “professionalism, service and holiness of life.”

Bishops, he continued, should be “guardians of...READ MORE

Filed under apolgetics, apologists, pope francis

Hidden Harmonies in the Gospels

03/06/2014 Comments (18)

How do hidden harmonies in the Gospels show that the authors were telling the truth about Jesus?

It’s obvious that the four Gospels agree on the main facts about Jesus’ life:

  • He lived in first century Palestine.
  • He travelled through Galilee and Judea.
  • He worked miracles.
  • He taught.
  • He was crucified in Jerusalem at the time of Passover during the administration of Pontius Pilate.
  • He rose from the dead.
  • And so on.

All that’s obvious.

 

Contradictions Among the Gospels?

Critics of the Gospels therefore tend to focus on lesser matters—various differences among the Gospels on matters of detail.

The charges of contradictions among the Gospels tend to vanish, however, if one reads the texts carefully and if one understands the way ancient narrative texts worked and the freedom...READ MORE

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9 things to know and share about Ash Wednesday

03/04/2014 Comments (10)

Ash Wednesday is upon us again!

Here are 9 things you need to know and share . . .

 

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 are blessed and distributed.

These are made from the olive branches or branches of other trees that were blessed the previous year [on Palm/Passion Sunday].

 

 

2. What does the putting on of ashes symbolize?

According to the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy:

...READ MORE

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Responding to the “Go To” Skeptic on the Star of Bethlehem

02/26/2014 Comments (29)

Skeptic Aaron Adair argues that the Star of Bethlehem didn't exist and could not have been a natural (if providential) phenomenon. Does his argument work?

Among skeptics, Dr. Aaron Adair is sometimes hailed as the “go to” guy on the Star of Bethlehem.

He’s even written a book arguing that the Star didn’t exist.

Recently, he engaged a post I wrote about the Star of Bethlehem.

Here is my reply . . .

 

First Things First

First, you can read our previous interaction in the comments box on this post.

I want to thank Dr. Adair for striving to maintain a positive tone, both in the combox and in his book, The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View.

Although he has occasional lapses (who doesn’t?), it’s clear that he is striving to avoid the kind of snark and venom that are often found in works by some skeptics.

As a non-fan of snark and venom (...READ MORE

Filed under aaron adair, bethlehem, bethlehem star, birth, christmas, jesus, nativity, skeptic, skepticism, star

Was the Star of Bethlehem a myth? A UFO? Or something else? 8 things to know and share

02/23/2014 Comments (31)

Did the Star of Bethlehem move the way normal stars do? And were the magi actually following it?

The Star of Bethlehem is endlessly fascinating. All kinds of theories about what it was have been proposed.

Based on the way Matthew describes it, some have thought it was a supernatural manifestation that led the magi around.

Some have even suggested it was a flying saucer.

Some have said it was a myth and never really existed.

All of these views are based on the idea that the star didn’t move the way a normal star would.

Is this correct?

Here are 8 things to know and share . . .

 

1) Why would people think the star’s motion was unusual?

There is a popular impression that the magi began following the star in their eastern homeland and that it led them to Jerusalem. This is taken...READ MORE

Filed under apologetics, bethlehem star, bible, star, star of bethlehem

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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."