What's happening at the Presentation of the Lord?

02/02/2014 Comments (12)

40 days after his birth, Christ was presented at the temple. Why?

Later this week the Church celebrates the Presentation of the Lord.

It's a feast that happens every year on February 2nd.

We read about the presentation of the Lord in Luke 2, but the text can be a little mysterious.

What is actually happening there?

Some claim that Luke himself didn't know . . .


What Luke Says

Here is what Luke actually says about the event . . .

[22] And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord [23] (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") [24] and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said...READ MORE

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What are celibacy, chastity, and continence? 9 things to know and share

01/26/2014 Comments (21)

What are celibacy, chastity, and continence?

There is a great deal of confusion about what celibacy, chastity, and continence are.

Each one of these concepts is subject to common misunderstandings, but the differences between them are easy to sort out.

A reader from the Asian country of Myanmar writes:

Please, may I ask your help to explain the similarities and differences between celibacy and chastity, especially in the context of consecrated life, among diocesan clergy, and in married life.

I’d be happy to help! I’ll also throw in the related concept of continence.

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .


1) Formal vs. Informal Speech

People often think that celibacy means not having sex, or having a commitment...READ MORE

Filed under celibacy, chastity, continence

Is a Clash Brewing Between Two Cardinals over Divorce and Remarriage? 12 things to know and share

01/23/2014 Comments (133)

Cardinal Rodriguez recently gave an interview in which he seemed to take a swipe at the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Archbishop Muller) and his defense of the Church's practice regarding giving Communion to those who have been civilly divorced and remarried. What should we make of this?

Recently one of the most prominent cardinals in the world made remarks regarding the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office that could be taken as insulting.

The issue was receiving Communion following divorce and civil remarriage.

This kind of situation is a very rare event. We don’t normally see cardinals seeming to publicly take apparent swipes at each other.

The two involved in this case are Cardinal Rodriguez and soon-to-be Cardinal Muller.

Here are 12 things to know and share . . .


1) Who is Cardinal Rodriguez?

His full name is Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga.

He is the Cardinal Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

He is also the coordinator of the group of...READ MORE

Filed under annulment, annulments, communion, divorce, francis, maradiaga, muller, remarriage, rodriguez

Does Vatican Insider have the inside scoop on Medjugorje? 11 things to know and share

01/20/2014 Comments (64)

Vatican Insider claims to have discovered some of the findings of the Medjugorje commission. Have they? And what should we make of it if they have?

The Medjugorje Commission has completed its work, and a new phase of the inquiry has begun.

In the wake of that, Vatican Insider carried a story which purported to describe some of the Commission’s findings.

What is the present state of things, and what should we make of Vatican Insider’s claims?

Here are 11 things to know and share . . .


1) What is the Medjugorje Commission?

The Medjugorje Commission is a special body of experts that was called by Pope Benedict XVI to investigate the apparitions being reported in connection with Medjugorje.

These began to be reported in 1981, when Medjugorje was still part of Yugoslavia (it is now part of Bosnia and Herzegovina).


Filed under andrea tornielli, apparitions, benedict xvi, cdf, commission, congregation for the doctrine of the faith, gerhard muller, medjugorje, medjugorje commission, pope benedict xvi

Did Pope Francis Endorse Breast Feeding in the Sistine Chapel? 5 things to know and share

01/15/2014 Comments (76)

Did Pope Francis just invite women to breastfeed in the Sistine Chapel? Here are 5 things to know and share . . .

The Interwebz are ablaze with the story that Pope Francis encouraged breastfeeding—and in the Sistine Chapel of all places!

What did he say? And what did he mean?

Here are 5 things to know and share . . .


1) When did Pope Francis make his remarks?

It was Sunday, January 12, the commemoration of the Baptism of the Lord.

He was in the Sistine Chapel, where he baptized 32 babies.

It is customary for Popes to perform baptisms on this day.

We’ve talked about that before.

He took the occasion to give a brief homily.

It’s online in Italian here, but the full English translation is not up yet.


2) What did he say?

According to a Vatican Radio story:

The Holy Father...READ MORE

Filed under baptism, breastfeeding, pope francis, sistine chapel

What did the Gospel writers know?

01/15/2014 Comments (17)

Some Bible scholars are quick to say that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John simply didn't know a particular tradition about Jesus. How likely is this?

Some biblical scholars are too quick to say that, because a particular Gospel doesn’t include a given story or saying of Jesus, the Evangelist who wrote it must not have known about it.


What would cause a person to think this?


The Infodump Hypothesis

One thing that might motivate such a view is the idea that the Gospels represent total infodumps of everything that a particular Evangelist knew about Jesus.

But if that were the case then they wouldn’t ready the way that they do.

They hang together as narratives and display too much literary artistry for that.

If they were frantic attempts to record everything the author knew about Jesus, there would be too many...READ MORE

Filed under apologetics, bible, evangelists, gospels, john, luke, mark, matthew, scripture, scriptures

Did Pope Francis baptize a baby whose parents aren’t married? 12 things to know and share

01/12/2014 Comments (75)

Pope Francis recently baptized a baby whose parents may not be married in the eyes of the Church. What should we make of this?

Press reports are claiming that Pope Francis recently baptized the child whose parents were not married in the eyes of the Church.

Since many priests in America have refused to baptize such children, it raised some eyebrows.

What are the real facts in this case?

Here are 12 things to know and share . . .


1) What was the occasion of the baptism?

Every year the pope baptizes people on the commemoration of Christ’s baptism.

This takes place in the Sistine Chapel at St. Peter’s basilica.

This is an entirely normal practice.

For example, here’s a piece about Pope Benedict baptizing twenty babies on the Baptism of Our Lord in 2013.


2) What happened in this case?


Filed under baptism, francis, infant baptism, pope francis

Why was Jesus baptized?

01/11/2014 Comments (18)

Jesus--who was completely without sin--insisted on being baptized. Why?

This Sunday, the Church celebrates the baptism of Jesus Christ.

It's an event that is recorded in all four gospels, so we know it's important.

But there's a question that has puzzled Christians all down through the ages.

It even puzzled John the Baptist, who performed the baptism.

Why was Jesus baptized?


The Problem

We all know what baptism does.

According to the Catechism:

The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes:

  • forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins,
  • birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit.


By this very fact the person...READ MORE

Filed under baptism, baptism of jesus, jesus

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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."