Why Did Joseph Plan to Divorce Mary?

12/11/2012 Comments (23)

God sent an angel to convince St. Joseph not to divorce Mary. But why was he planning to divorce her in the first place?

Matthew tells us that when "Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly."

Why did Joseph intend to divorce Mary?

The view that suggests itself to most people is that Joseph thought Mary had been unfaithful to him.

But there is another theory: that Joseph knew the Child had been conceived "of the Holy Spirit" and so Joseph was afraid to take Mary as his wife.

What are we to make of this issue?

And what does Pope Benedict have to say in his new book, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives?


What Did...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, bible, jesus of nazareth, joseph, mary, virgin birth

8 Things You Need to Know About the Immaculate Conception

12/05/2012 Comments (35)

Dec. 8th is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. What is the Immaculate Conception and how do we celebrate it?

This Saturday, December 8th, is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. It celebrates an important point of Catholic teaching, and it is a holy day of obligation.

Here are 8 things you need to know about the teaching and the way we celebrate it.


1. Who does the Immaculate Conception refer to?

There's a popular idea that it refers to Jesus' conception by the Virgin Mary.

It doesn't.

Instead, it refers to the special way in which the Virgin Mary herself was conceived.

This conception was not virginal. (That is, she had a human father as well as a human mother.) But it was special and unique in another way. . . .


2. What is the Immaculate Conception?

The Catechism of...READ MORE

Filed under immaculate conception, liturgy, mary

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

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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."