Are the German Bishops Just Greedy?

09/26/2012 Comments (80)

Did the German bishops make the right decision?

That's certainly the impression you would get from some discussing a recent decree issued by the German bishops' conference.

It's being characterized as a "pay to pray" policy, whereby the Church will deny you the sacraments if you don't give it money.

One news source headlined the story "German Bishops To Catholics: Pay Up Or Die Without Absolution."

That seems to be about as misleading a headline as you could want, because the decree in question expressly refers to the possibility of people receiving the final sacraments.

But let's look at the matter . . .


The Basic Facts

A member of the Secret Information Club writes:

Dear Jimmy,

What would your view be of the...READ MORE

Filed under apostasy, bishops, church, communion, defection from the faith, excommunication, german bishops, germany, heresy, schism

Did the Authors of the New Testament Know They Were Writing Scripture?

09/26/2012 Comments (16)

Did the authors of the New Testament know they were writing Scripture or did they think they were writing something else?

You'd think that the answer would be an easy, "yes," but a startling number of people--including New Testament scholars--say "no."

I'm always taken aback when I'm reading along and suddenly encounter a statement like, "Of course, the authors of the New Testament didn't know that they were writing Scripture. Their writings only came to have this status later."


How do you know that?

Let's take a look at the issue . . .


What Scripture Is

Today we often think of a particular book as Scripture based on whether it is in the Bible. If it is in the Bible, it's Scripture. If it's not in the Bible, it's not Scripture.

This may be a practical test for us today, but it's not...READ MORE

Filed under acts, bible, gospels, john, luke, mark, matthew, revelation, scripture

Explaining Away the Greatest Miracle of Jesus' Ministry

09/20/2012 Comments (22)

Did Jesus feed 5,000 men (plus women and children) with just five loaves and two fish? Or was there a "miracle of sharing"?

Of all the many miracles Jesus performed during his earthly ministry (that is, before his passion, death, and Resurrection), there is one that stands out: the feeding of the five thousands.

Unlike any other miracle from his ministry, this one is recorded in all four gospels is the feeding of the five thousand.

You would think that people would have a handle on the fact that this was a miracle--an unmistakable supernatural intervention in the order of nature.

Yet every year we are subjected to homilies that try to explain it away as a natural event, suggesting that all Jesus really did was motivate people to share the food that they had with them, so it was really a "miracle of...READ MORE

Filed under bible, gospels, jesus, miracle, miracles

Does New Document Prove That Jesus Had a Wife?

09/18/2012 Comments (86)

Does this piece of papyrus prove that Jesus had a wife?

The New York Times is carrying a story of a scholar who has a piece of papyrus which refers to Jesus having a wife.

She's even dubbed it "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife."

Isn't that "special."

Does this mean that Dan Brown was right all along? That Jesus was married? To Mary Magdalen even?

Are we going to have to deal with all that nonsense again?

Before things get too far out of hand, let's take a look at this issue and what it means . . .


The Basic Facts

According to the NYT:

A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece...READ MORE

Filed under archaeology, coptic, da vinci code, fraud, gospel of jesus's wife, gospels, holy blood holy grail, jesus, papyrus, wife

What Are Dogma, Doctrine, and Theology?

09/17/2012 Comments (11)

Dogma, doctrine, and theology--what's the difference?

Many people are curious about the difference between dogma and doctrine. I'm asked about it surprisingly often.

It would be nice if the Church had an official dictionary I could use to answer this question, but it doesn't.

Instead, it uses terms in documents and most of the time it expects you to already know them. Sometimes it gives you a partial definition, or at least clues about what a word means, but in general it leaves the writing of dictionary-style definitions to the writers of Catholic dictionaries.

Recently I wrote a study of the terms "dogma," "doctrine," and "theology." You can read it here, but in this post I'll give you with the results in an easy-to-read form.


Filed under

Dark Passages: The Principle of Voice

09/13/2012 Comments (10)

Jael prepares to do in General Sisera

NOTE: This post is part of a series. Click here to see all of the posts in the series.

Recently I was reading an atheist web site which presented the following passage from the book of Judges as proof of the idea that God endorses rape:

They must be dividing the spoils they took: there must be a damsel or two for each man, Spoils of dyed cloth as Sisera's spoil, an ornate shawl or two for me in the spoil.   (Judges 5:30 NAB)

Is this what the passage means?

Not even close!

And the reason it's not gives us an illustration of an important principle when interpreting the Bible . . .

The "Dark Passages" of Scripture

This is another in our series of occasional posts on the "dark...READ MORE

Filed under bible, dark passages, rape, scripture, violence

Pope Benedict on the "Dark Passages" of Scripture

09/12/2012 Comments (16)

What are we to make of the "dark passages" in the Bible?

NOTE: This post is part of a series. Click here to see all of the posts in the series.

There are certain Bible passages, particularly in the Old Testament, that are disturbing. The question of how these are to be interpreted has been with us for a long time, and apologists and Bible scholars--not to mention Church Fathers and theologians--have made many suggestions.

Recently Pope Benedict provided some guidance. Here's what he had to say . . .

Verbum Domini

The document in which he made his remarks is titled Verbum Domini, which is Latin for "The Word of the Lord."

It was prepared as an exhortation following the 2008 meeting of the Synod of Bishops, a select group of Catholic...READ MORE

Filed under bible, error, inerrancy, infallibility, massacre, problem, rape, scripture, violence

Should Women Keep Silence in Church?

09/09/2012 Comments (56)

The ancient world was very far from being politically correct, and as a result, the Bible contains passages that seem politically incorrect today.

For example, in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, St. Paul seems to suggest that women should be totally silent in church.

Is this true?

If so, how do we square it with the practice of the Church today?

This is an interesting question.

Recently, a priest who is a member of the Secret Information Club wrote and said:

I would appreciate your thoughts on 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. This is difficult to address in front of a group of women.

I understand the difficulty.

Reading the Passage Itself

Let's begin by looking at what the passage says,...READ MORE

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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."