The Pope’s New Document on Marriage: 12 Things to Know and Share

04/08/2016 Comments (40)

What does the new papal document say about Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried?

Pope Francis’s much anticipated document on the family has now been released.

Here are 12 things to know and share . . .


1) What are the basic facts about the document?

It is called Amoris Laetitia (Latin, “the joy of love”), and it is what is known as a “post-synodal apostolic exhortation.”

An apostolic exhortation is a pastoral document in which the pope exhorts the Church. Although it contains doctrine, its primary focus is on pastoral care. (Apostolic exhortations are different than encyclicals, which do focus primarily on doctrine.)

When a pope issues an apostolic exhortation in response to a meeting of the synod of bishops (a gathering of bishops from around the world), it is...READ MORE

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When were the New Testament authors born?

04/05/2016 Comments (2)

Let's figure out when the authors of the New Testament were born!

It's surprising, but with a little sleuthing, we can get good estimates of when the authors of the New Testament were born.

Let's put on our detective hats and see what we can learn about Paul and his circle of New Testament authors.

(Yesterday we looked at the Twelve and the brethren of Jesus.)



We first meet Paul in Acts 7:58, at the stoning of Stephen, where Luke describes him as “a young man named Saul.”

Since the Jewish authorities were imposing the death penalty on Steven—something they were normally forbidden by the Roman authorities to do (cf. John 18:30), this event likely occurred during the period immediately after Pontius Pilate’s dismissal as governor in A.D. 36,...READ MORE

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When were the apostles born?

04/04/2016 Comments (4)

Let's put on our detective hats and see what we can discover . . .

Wouldn’t it be neat to know more about the apostles?—like when they were born?

How about members of Jesus' family?

It turns out, we can figure that out with more reliability than you might suppose.

Let’s put on our detective hats and see what we can discover . . .


A Key Insight

I was a child in the 1970s. It was a tumultuous time. It followed the youth rebellion of the late 1960s, and there were many, similar youth rebellions and protest movements in different parts of the world in the ’70s.

Listening to TV and radio reports of everything that was happening, I couldn’t help but notice that—over and over again—the people involved in these movements were young. It didn’t matter where...READ MORE

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UK’s Mirror Incompetently Botches Easter Pope Story

03/27/2016 Comments (6)

Why did the UK's Mirror incompetently botch a story about the pope on Easter Sunday?

On Easter Sunday Matt Drudge was carrying the following headline:

POPE: Defeat ISIS with ‘weapons of love’ . . .

The link was to this story by the UK’s Mirror, which itself carried the headline:

Pope Francis says defeat Islamic State 'with weapons of love' during Easter message

The headline is utterly false—as well as an example of incompetent journalism.

The headline makes it look like the pope was advocating some kind of nonviolent approach to ISIS, and that’s simply not what he was doing.

Here are the facts . . .


1) What message was the story referring to?

Although the story did not say so, it was the pope’s Easter Urbi et Orbi message.

Every Christmas and Easter, pope...READ MORE

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8 things you need to know about Easter Sunday

03/26/2016 Comments (1)

The great day has finally arrived! Here are 8 things you need to know about Easter . . .

The great day is finally here: Easter, the most important day of the Christian calendar. More important even than Christmas.

What happened on this day?

Was Jesus' resurrection a real, historical event?

How does the Church celebrate this day?

Is Easter a pagan holiday?

Here are 8 things you need to know.


1. What happened on Easter?

Among other things:

  • The women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body.
  • They saw angels, who told them he wasn't there.
  • They went to tell the apostles, who initially didn't believe them.
  • Peter and the beloved disciple rushed to see the tomb and found it empty.
  • Mary Magdalen, in particular, had an encounter with the risen Christ.
  • So did the...READ MORE

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12 things you need to know about Holy Saturday

03/25/2016 Comments (4)

On Holy Saturday the earth waits in stillness for the Resurrection of the Lord. Here are 12 things you need to know about it.

Everytime we say the creed, we note that Jesus "descended into hell."

Holy Saturday is the day that commemorates this event.

What happened on this day, and how do we celebrate it?

Here are 12 things you need to know.


1. What happened on the first Holy Saturday?

Here on earth, Jesus' disciples mourned his death and, since it was a sabbath day, they rested.

Luke notes that the women returned home "and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment" (Luke 23:56).

At the tomb, the guards that had been stationed there kept watch over the place to make sure that the disciples did not steal Jesus' body.

Meanwhile . . .


2. What happened to...READ MORE

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9 things you need to know about Good Friday

03/24/2016 Comments (2)

Good Friday is the most somber day of the Christian year. Here are 9 things you need to know . . .

Good Friday is the most somber day of the Christian year.

It is the day our Savior died for us.

It is the day we were redeemed from our sins by the voluntary death of God Himself at the hands of man.

Here are 9 things you need to know.


1. Why is this day called "Good Friday"

It's not for the reason you might think.

Despite the fact that "good" is a common English word, tempting us to say the name is based on the fact that something very good (our redemption) happened on this day, that's not where the name comes from.

Precisely where it does come from is disputed. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains:

The origin of the term Good is not clear. Some say it is from "God's Friday" (...READ MORE

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10 things you need to know about Holy Thursday

03/23/2016 Comments (2)

Holy Thursday was one of the most important days in all of history. It was a pivotal day in the life of Jesus Christ. Here are 10 things you should know about it and how we celebrate it today.

Every single Mass, we hear the words "on the night he was betrayed."

That night was Holy Thursday, and it is one of the most important nights in all of history.

Here are 10 things you need to know.


1. What happened on the original Holy Thursday?

An amazing amount of stuff! This was one of the most pivotal days in the life of Jesus Christ.

Here are some of the things the gospels record for this day (including events that happened after midnight). Jesus:

  • Sent Peter and John to arrange for them to use the Upper Room to hold the Passover meal.
  • Washed the apostles' feet.
  • Held the first Mass.
  • Instituted the priesthood.
  • Announced that Judas would betray him.
  • Gave the "new...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."