How Close Were We To A Papal Resignation?

02/12/2010 Comments (8)

Apparently, we were closer than commonly realized.

Recently the blogosphere and the mainstream media have been discussing John Paul II’s practice of self-mortification. Though some of the details had been known before, new life was given to the story by Msgr. Slawomir Oder’s new book on John Paul II, which revealed new information.

Oder’s book has ruffled some feathers at the Vatican, because Oder is the postulator of John Paul II’s cause for sainthood, and it is not customary for postulators to write tell-all books including the kind of behind-the-scenes information that Oder’s does. Worries include that this book may make it harder for future postulators to get witnesses to be frank if...READ MORE

Filed under canon law, john paul ii, resignation

Pro-Life LITE Super Bowl Advertising

02/10/2010 Comments (4)

So the much commented-upon Tim Tebow Super Boal ad is now out.

I thought it was really, really . . . sweet.

Tim Drake offers similar thoughts on the beauty of the ad.

The ad was disarmingly non-controversial. It was just really, really sweet.

Yes, I did see a comment from NOW proclaiming that the ad fostered violence against women due to the unexpected mom tackle in the ad, but . . . c’mon. This is an ad to be aired in a football game. It’s a joke. Even I, a total non-football fan, “get it.” And mom even has the “You’re nowhere near as tough as I am” line as the capper. This is all playful, not threatening.

It’s sweet.

And that’s about all.

The pro-life issue was so buried in the ad...READ MORE

Filed under advertising, focus on the family, pro-life, super bowl, tim tebow

Just Who Are You Calling A "Vegetable," Bub?

02/09/2010 Comments (8)

File this one under “Dr. Frankenstein’s Medicine Show.”

Let’s deal with the medicine part first and the Frankenstein part second.

On the medical front, good news! Researchers have found a way to communicate with patients who are in a “persistent vegetative state.”

Turns out that they, or some of them, ain’t so vegetable-like after all!

Here’s how it works: Hook the “vegetable” up to an MRI machine and ask the


person to think about playing tennis. Note what areas of the brain light up.

Then ask the person to think about walking through their house. Note what areas light up then.

Then say, “I’d like to ask you some questions. If you want to answer ‘yes,’ think about playing...READ MORE

Filed under brain, dr. frankenstein's medicine show, euthanasia, medicine, moral theology, pro-life, science, vegetative state

Well That's Cool (As Far As It Goes)

02/08/2010 Comments (2)

Christianity Today has a web article noting (and quoting from) our recent discussion of John Paul II’s practice of self-mortification.

The piece—written by an Evangelical—is noteworthy in that it doesn’t just lash out against the concept. (No pun intended! Honest! Didn’t even notice that until later!) Indeed, it devotes a significant amount of attention to understanding the practice from a Catholic perspective.

Though ultimately the author sees self-flagellation as “misguided,” he acknowledges and recommends the practice of self-denial, including fasting.

(So . . . why is self-flagellation “misguided” whereas fasting is to be recommended? As long as you don’t permanently injure your body...READ MORE

Filed under

Whoa, Dude!!! Taliban Catholicism?!?!

02/05/2010 Comments (25)

File this one under the heading “defending the indefensible.”

Author and blogger John Allen, of the National Catholic Reporter (not the Register, just to avoid any misunderstanding), is a competent and insightful journalist whose pieces I enjoy reading.


A thing that occasionally mars them is his desire to play waggish phrasemaker, a role in which he can display a tin ear.

For instance, in today’s column he writes:

I may have inadvertently added fuel to the fire by introducing something new to fight over: My phrase “Taliban Catholicism” to capture a certain trajectory within the church. (At least I think I coined the term, though for all I know somebody else got there first.)


Filed under defending the indefensible, george weigel, john allen, taliban

Vatican Vs. Killer Robots!

02/03/2010 Comments (1)

Opinionated Catholic asks: In 25 Years Will There Be A Papal Statement on Robots?

Who can say? Always in motion, the future is.

But this one seems a pretty sure bet, in part for the reasons that Opinionated Catholic cites:

What happens when warfare can be conducted just by robots. . . .
It appears this world is fast approaching. That is one reason when I hear of aircraft that have no humans, tanks that have no commander, and ships with no crews I start wondering if we want to go down this road.

What about new Just War theory issues? An inequity between nations that can have robots do the dying for them and those that have to use real live human beings?

However there is no stopping it....READ MORE

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How Much Freedom of Religion Do You Have?

02/01/2010 Comments (6)

This is a chart showing the fifty largest countries by population and the religious freedom they offer.

The chart was prepared by the Pew Forum, and it measures religious freedom along two axes. The first—the horizontal axis—is the amount of freedom allowed by law, with the most freedom on the left and the least freedom on the right.

The second—the vertical axis—is the amount of freedom allowed culturally (i.e., how much social hostility you are likely to meet apart from the law), with the most freedom at the bottom and the least freedom at the top.

The size of the circles represents the number of people living in the country.

When I first saw this, several questions occurred to...READ MORE

Filed under freedom of religion

STUNNER! Pope Practiced Self-Mortification.

01/29/2010 Comments (13)

So various circles have been atwitter about news reports that Pope John Paul II practiced certain forms of self-mortification or, in the immortal words of the Associated Press, “John Paul II used belt to whip himself.”

It is not surprising that our pleasure-obsessed culture would find this unusual, nor is it surprising that latent anti-Catholic tendencies in the culture would cause people to read it in a negative light—as something shocking or repulsive.

So what can we say to those who have this kind of reaction?

Let’s start with what we can say to fellow Christians (Catholic or not) who find themselves thinking this way: While not every person is called to the kind of...READ MORE

Filed under john paul ii, mortification, spirituality

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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."