Pope's Twitter Handle: What Does "Pontifex" Mean, Anyway?

12/03/2012 Comments (7)

The Emperor Augustus was a "pontifex maximus." So how did that become a term for the pope?

Recently it was announced that Pope Benedict's new Twitter handle is @pontifex.

Why did he pick this name, and what does it mean, anyway?

The word's origin is more surprising than you might think!


Other Possible Names

Pope Benedict might have picked other names. Some plausible ones include:

  • @pope
  • @popebenedict
  • @popebenedictxvi
  • @benedictxvi
  • @popebenedict16

Why didn't he pick any of these?

I would suggest two reasons.


Some May Already Be Taken

People have already been using some of the plausible papal Twitter handles, and Twitter does not easily reassign such names.

That's why my own Twitter handle is @JimmyAkin3000 (Click here to follow me)....READ MORE

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VIDEO: Unborn babies struggle in womb!

12/01/2012 Comments (11)

Jacob and Esau struggled in the womb. Now new video shows what this looked like.

According to Genesis, Jacob and Esau struggled with each other while they were still in the womb.

Apparently, it was quite a struggle!

Many women pregnant with twins have experienced the same thing, but now we have motion video of unborn children doing just this.

Here's the story . . . and the video.


Jacob and Esau

First, here's the biblical story of Jacob and Esau:

Genesis 25

21 Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.

22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.

23 The Lord said to...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, babies, genesis, pro-life, unborn

10 Things You Need to Know About Advent

11/29/2012 Comments (17)

Advent is about to begin. What do the Church's official documents say about this season?

Advent begins this Sunday.

Most of us have an intuitive understanding of Advent, based on experience, but what do the Church's official documents actually say about Advent?

Here are some of the basic questions and (official!) answers about Advent.

Some of the answers are surprising!

Here we go . . .


1. What Is the Purpose of Advent?

Advent is a season on the Church's liturgical calendar--specifically, it is as season on the calendar of the Latin Church, which is the largest Church in communion with the pope.

Other Catholic Churches--as well as many non-Catholic churches--have their own celebration of Advent.

According to the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and...READ MORE

Filed under advent, calendar, canon law, gaudete, gaudete sunday, lent, liturgy, year

What Should We Make of "Two and a Half Men" Star's Outburst?

11/28/2012 Comments (31)

Angus T. Jones denounced his TV program as "filth" and urged people not to watch it. What are we to make of this?

A few days ago a video went viral in which Angus Jones of the sitcom Two and a Half Men called the show "filth" and urged people not to watch it.

Then there was a day where neither he nor the show's producers could really be reached for comment.

I said to myself, "Desperate, back-stage damage control discussions."

Now Angus Jones has come out with a kinda, sorta apology.

That didn't take long.

Here's the story . . .


Who Angus Jones Is

Angus Jones is a nineteen year old man who is making the difficult transition from being a child star to being a mature adult.

This process does not have a high success rate, and it often involves a painful wrench and a career change....READ MORE

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Who Says Jesus Couldn't Predict the Fall of Jerusalem?

11/25/2012 Comments (21)

The Romans destroyed Jerusalem's temple in A.D. 70. Does the fact the gospels predict this mean they were written after A.D. 70?

One of the reasons that people often date the gospels after A.D. 70 is that they contain predictions of the destruction of the Jewish temple, which happened in that year.

Jesus couldn't have predicted that event in advance, it is supposed. Therefore, the gospels had to be written after the event.


Would it surprise you to learn that Jesus wasn't the only person to predict the fall of Jerusalem and the temple before it happened?

Or that we know this apart from the Bible?


I find your lack of faith disturbing

First things first: Jesus is God. He knows the future.

If he chooses to disclose to man part of what he sees, that's well within his ability.

The idea that Jesus...READ MORE

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Are the Seven Churches a Map of Church History?

11/20/2012 Comments (11)

Does this map of the seven churches of Asia contain a hidden map of Church history?

Tuesday's liturgy contains a reading from the message to the Church at Sardis, from the book of Revelation.

Revelation contains seven messages written to "the seven churches, which are in Asia."

Some Christians, particularly in the Protestant world, think that these seven messages contain a map of Church history, from the first century until the end times.

Are they right?


About the Seven Churches

The names of some of the seven churches to which John writes are familiar to us. The very first of the seven--Ephesus--is already familiar as the place to which St. Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians, for example.

Others are less familiar, but they were all located in a...READ MORE

Filed under apologetics, bible, rapture, revelation, seven churches

Are Christians Forbidden to Consume Blood?

11/18/2012 Comments (46)

Many people like their steak "rare and bloody." Is that a problem? Is it okay to consume animal blood?

A common objection to the Catholic faith is the idea that the Bible forbids the drinking of blood, yet Catholics claim to drink the blood of Christ in the Eucharist.

It's true that the Old Testament forbids consuming blood, but what is the status of this requirement for Christians?

Soon we will look at drinking Christ's blood specifically, but here let's look at the Old Testament prohibition on consuming animal blood . . .


Animal Blood as Food

Neither Christianity nor Judaism are vegetarian religions. Both acknowledge the possibility of eating animals. Biblical Judaism even mandates it, with the requirement of consuming the Passover lamb.

But what parts of an animal are okay...READ MORE

Filed under apologetics, blood, dietary laws, food, jehovah's witnesses, law of moses, noah, transfusions

Is It Okay to Force a Woman You've Captured to Marry You?

11/15/2012 Comments (11)

Suppose you've captured a woman in wartime. Is it okay to force her to marry you?

Sometimes atheists claim that God endorses rape because Deuteronomy says it's okay to force women you've captured in wartime to marry you.

Is that true?

Let's look at the issue . . .


Captive Brides

(NOTE: This post is part of a series on the "dark passages" of the Bible. Click here to see all of the posts in the series.)

Several years ago I was in an art museum with the children of a family I'm friends with.

We were in the classical art section when, suddenly, the four-year old at my knee asked, "Where are those men taking those women?"

I bent down to look at the painting that was oddly hung at her eye-level (!) and realized it was a depiction of an event from early...READ MORE

Filed under apologetics, atheism, bible, dark passages, moral theology

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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."