Yay! Benedict writes again! (9 things to know and share)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 9:11 PM Comments (50)

What did former Pope Benedict say when he took an Italian atheist to the woodshed?

Pope Emeritus Benedict has kept a low profile since his retirement, but he has released a new and extremely interesting letter.

In it, he takes an Italian atheist scholar to task.

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .


1) Why did he write the letter?

Former Pope Benedict wrote his letter in response to Piergorgio Odifreddi, an Italian mathematician who is also an atheist—and sharply critical of the Faith.

Some time ago, Odifreddi published a book called A Word to You, Dear Pope (Italian, Caro papa ti scrivo), which was a reply to Benedict’s own Introduction to Christianity—one of his first major works.

Apparently, Benedict read Odifreddi’s work and was moved to reply...READ MORE

Filed under atheism, benedict xvi, historical jesus, jesus, odifreddi, pope benedict, pope emeritus, priestly sex abuse, ratzinger, secularism

Did Pope Francis say atheists don’t need to believe in God to be saved? (9 things to know)

Sunday, September 15, 2013 9:14 PM Comments (390)

Did Pope Francis say that atheists can go to heaven (or that man can save himself by his own efforts?)

The press is full of accounts that, once again, claim that Pope Francis has said you don’t need to believe in God to go to heaven.

Even atheists can go there, according to these reports.

What’s the real story here? What’s going on? And why can’t the press get this kind of thing right?

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .


1) What is the basis of this story?

In July and August, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica ran a pair of open letters to the pope by Dr. Eugenio Scalfari, an atheist commentator.

In his open letters, Dr. Scalfari asked the pope a number of questions.

Much to everyone’s surprise, though thoroughly in keeping with his way of doing things, Pope...READ MORE

Filed under atheism, atheists, kirk cameron, pope francis, salvation

Is Pope Francis about to eliminate celibacy? (9 things to know and share)

Thursday, September 12, 2013 10:36 PM Comments (88)

Do recent remarks by Pope Francis's new secretary of state mean that the Church is about to eliminate celibacy?

The mainstream media is all atwitter made by Pope Francis’s incoming secretary of state about the possibility of eliminating clerical celibacy.

Is this a sign of things to come?

Is this yet another indication of Pope Francis “breaking with tradition”?

Is this an indication the mind of Pope Francis himself?

Is it a major new development?

Or is it just the press hyperventilating because they have no idea what they’re talking about?

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .


1) Who made the remarks?

That would be Archbishop Pietro Parolin, who is set to replace Cardinal Tarciscio Berone as the head of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.

He currently lives in Caracas,...READ MORE

Filed under celibacy, pietro parolin, pope benedict, pope francis, priesthood, priestly celibacy

What should we make of Pope Francis bowing when greeting people?

Friday, August 30, 2013 9:27 PM Comments (214)

Pope Francis recently bowed to Queen Rania of Jordan. What should we make of this?

Word is racing around the Catholic blogosphere that Pope Francis recently bowed to Queen Rania of Jordan.

Is this yet another stunning break with tradition on the part of Pope Francis?

Has he overturned 2,000 years of tradition?

Is this one of the signs of the apocalypse?

Is it no big deal?

Let's look at the question . . .


According to the Telegraph

At the root of the current gbuzz is a story published by the British newspaper/website The Tablet.

It has the provocative headline:

Pope breaks with protocol by bowing to Queen Rania of Jordan

And it immediately says:

The Pope has broken yet another point of Vatican protocol by bowing when he met Queen Rania of...READ MORE

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Who was John the Baptist? (11 things to know and share)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 9:36 PM Comments (17)

What do we know about the mysterious John the Baptist? Here are 11 things to know and share . . .

John the Baptist is a mysterious figure in the New Testament.

He was famous in his own day, even before he became the herald of Christ.

We even know about him from outside the New Testament.

His memorial is August 29th, so it’s an excellent time to catch up on him.

Here are 11 things to know and share . . .


1) How was John the Baptist related to Jesus?

John was related to Jesus through their mothers. In Luke 1:36, Elizabeth is described as Mary’s “kinswoman,” meaning that they were related in some way through marriage or blood.

Most likely, it was a blood relationship, but neither a particularly close or distant one.

Elizabeth, being elderly, may have been an aunt,...READ MORE

Filed under august 29, baptism of jesus, bible, herod, john the baptist, josephus

The Assumption of Mary: 12 things to know and share

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 11:14 PM Comments (52)

What is the doctrine of the Assumption, how did it come to be defined, and how can we apply it in our lives? Here are 12 things to know and share . . .

August 15 is the solemnity of the Assumption of Mary.

In the United States, it is a holy day of obligation.

What is the Assumption of Mary, how did it come to be defined, and what relevance does it have for our lives?

Here are 12 things to know and share . . .


1) What is the Assumption of Mary?

The Assumption of Mary is the teaching that:

The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory [Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus 44].


2) What level of authority does this teaching have?

This teaching was infallibly defined by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950 in the bull...READ MORE

Filed under assumption, assumption of mary, holy day of obligation, mary, virgin mary

Why did Mary remain a virgin after the birth of Jesus?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 10:44 PM Comments (48)

Why did the Virgin Mary remain a virgin even after the birth of Jesus?

Why did the Virgin Mary remain a virgin even after the birth of Jesus?

It is an interesting question, and it can be answered on both a divine and a human level.

In the video below, I explore both aspects of the question, showing why, on a human level, Mary would have chosen to remain a virgin and why, on a divine level, God would find it fitting to have his Son born of a woman who remained a virgin for her whole life.

In the process, I quote from a little-known document from the A.D. 100s that sheds some light on the question.

Was Mary originally planning an ordinary marriage with St. Joseph? If so, why did Jesus' birth change their plans?

Was she already a consecrated virgin?...READ MORE

Filed under blessed virgin, jesus, mary, perpetual virgin, perpetual virginity, virgin birth, virgin mary, virginity

What did Jesus mean when he said not to judge others? (10 things to know and share)

Thursday, August 08, 2013 10:09 PM Comments (336)

What did Jesus mean when he said not to judge others? Here are 10 things to know and share . . .

Jesus famously said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Today, some people use this to shut down conversations when the subject turns to sexual morality.

“Didn’t Jesus say not to judge others?” they ask. “Who are you to judge?”

Did Jesus mean his words to be used this way?

If not, what did he mean?

Here are 10 things to know and share . . .


1) Not a cover for immoral behavior in general

It’s clear that Jesus did not intend his words to be used as a cover for immoral behavior.

He did not mean them to be used as a conversation stopper to shut down attempts to admonish people engaged in immoral behavior.

In fact, Jesus himself did rather a lot of admonishing regarding...READ MORE

Filed under jesus, judging, judging others, morality

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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."