The Immaculate Conception: 8 things to know and share . . .

12/07/2014 Comments (13)

December 8 is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Here are 8 things to know and share . . .

December 8th is the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

It celebrates an important point of Catholic teaching, and in most years 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 the...READ MORE

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My jaw dropped when I read the latest from Benedict XVI . . .

12/06/2014 Comments (53)

Benedict XVI has just weighed in on the proposal to give Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics

Since Benedict XVI resigned from the papacy and began his retirement in seclusion, he has said nothing publicly.

There’s a very good reason for that, and that’s why the most recent thing he’s written is so amazing.

He’s just publicly weighed in on Cardinal Kasper’s proposal to give Holy Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

Here’s the story . . .


1) Why is Benedict XVI so silent these days?

To give his successor a free hand. If a pope emeritus continued to speak out and play a substantial role as a public figure, it could cause all kinds of problems for his successor.

If the two were perceived as being in opposition to each other, it could be extremely traumatic...READ MORE

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10 Things You Need to Know About Advent

12/01/2014 Comments (7)

It's Advent again! Here are 10 things to know and share!

Advent began this last 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 the...READ MORE

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Do sheep prove that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th?

11/30/2014 Comments (75)

Does the fact that sheep were being pastured when Jesus was born prove he couldn't have been born on Dec. 25?

St. Luke records that when Jesus was born an angel of the Lord directed a group of shepherds to go find him.

Luke introduces this group of shepherds by saying:

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night [Luke 2:8].

This has led to a common argument that Jesus couldn’t have been born on December 25th.

Why? Because it was supposedly too cold for the shepherds to be pasturing their flocks at night in late December.

Is this true?

Not on your life.


Shepherds’ Fields

Sheep definitely were pastured in the vicinity of Bethlehem. Luke is correct about that. In fact, they are pastured there today.

There are even two fields (one...READ MORE

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"Integral Age" Update!

11/29/2014 Comments (4)

What does a team effort reveal about the idea that Moses and other holy men lived in whole year units?

Recently I blogged about the common apologetics claim that the dates of Christmas and the Annunciation were based on the idea that Jesus lived to an “integral age.”

In other words, that Jesus died on the anniversary of his birth or conception.

According to some authors, it was popularly believed among ancient Jews that prophets and other holy men died on their birthdays.

But my own research into the topic did not back this up.

I therefore asked if others could shed any light on the subject, and they did!

With the generous help of various individuals, mostly on Facebook, I’ve been able to get further information on this subject.


The origin of “integral age”

Jon Sorensen noted that...READ MORE

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Is the “integral age” theory an apologetics myth? 9 things to know and share

11/28/2014 Comments (10)

Is a common apologetics argument about Christmas and the Annunciation actually a myth?

Why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25th? Why is the Annunciation on March 25th?

According to some authors, it’s due to something called the “integral age” view that was common among ancient Jews.

But this idea itself might be a myth.

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .




1) What is the “integral age” view?

Supposedly, it is a belief that was common in ancient Judaism, and it held that prophets (and other holy men) died on the same day that they were born or—according to some accounts—the day they were conceived.

They thus lived their lives in whole or “integral” years (from the Latin integer = “whole”).



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What's wrong with The Principle?

11/13/2014 Comments (95)

What's wrong with the arguments used in the geocentrism-promoting documentary The Principle?

The Principle is a documentary promoting geocentrism, or the idea that the earth is at the center of the universe.

In a previous post, I looked at how well it worked as a film. (I gave it * * 1/2 stars out of 5.)

What about the content of the film? How well does that stand up?

It depends on the level you are talking about.

At the highest level, the film contains a message that science and faith are not enemies and should not be pitted against each other.


But that doesn’t mean that the earth is at the center of the universe, which is what the film wants to suggest.

The summaries that The Principle provides about the history of astronomy also are generally accurate, though I was...READ MORE

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The Principle: A Movie Review

11/12/2014 Comments (58)

How well does "The Principle" work as a movie?

Recently the Register asked me to review The Principle—a documentary that promotes geocentrism, or the idea that the earth is at the center of the universe.

This film is much smaller than most of those the Register reviews. Indeed, at the time of this writing it has only reported $16,826 at the box office—half of which was made in a single theater on its opening weekend.

But the film is being disproportionately discussed in conservative Catholic circles, so I agreed.

Like any documentary, this one can be looked at more than one way. One perspective concerns the production values and how well it is executed. Another concerns the content of the film and how successfully it argues its case....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 a Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to This Rock magazine, and a weekly guest on "Catholic Answers Live."