Did Pope Francis say it doesn’t matter what kind of Christian you are? 9 things to know

05/26/2015 Comments (130)

Did Pope Francis say that it doesn't matter what kind of Christian you are? Here are 9 things to know and share . . .

Recently I’ve received several queries about a video message that Pope Francis sent to an ecumenical gathering in Arizona.

A Zenit news story implied that the pope stated that Jesus doesn’t care what kind of Christian you are.

But that’s not what he said at all.

Here are 9 things to know and share . . .

 

1) What were the circumstances of the video?

An ecumenical gathering was held in Phoenix, Arizona last Saturday (May 23), and the organizers—the John 17 Movement—had invited Pope Francis to attend.

He didn’t, but he did send a video message—mostly in Spanish.

You can read the full text of the message (in English) here.

 

2) What did Zenit say about the message?

The Catholic news...READ MORE

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Shock Treatment or Selfishness?

04/26/2015 Comments (27)

Sometimes when we're going to "teach someone a lesson," we're really being selfish.

Recently I heard a priest describe something that happened to him in the early days of his priesthood.

From his age, I’m guessing this would have been the mid-1970s.

He said that, for the first twenty-five years of his priesthood, he had really long hair (down to his waist, if he stretched it out) and a full beard.

At one point, he was assigned to a parish and came to know a local gentleman by phone but not by sight.

In one phone conversation the gentleman said that he really respected the priest and wanted his help with his son, who he felt was “going over to the other side.”

By this, he meant that his son was getting rebellious and not wanting to have his hair cut.

The gentleman...READ MORE

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8 things you need to know about Easter Sunday

04/04/2015 Comments (15)

Easter is the most important day of the Christian calendar, even more important than Christmas. Here are 8 things you need to know.

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

04/03/2015 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.

Every time 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

04/02/2015 Comments (6)

Good Friday was the day we were redeemed from our sins by Jesus' death on the cross. Here are 9 things you should know about the day and how we commemorate it.

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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9 things you need to know about Palm (Passion) Sunday

03/27/2015 Comments (8)

Why is Jesus' entry into Jerusalem so important? What is going on here?

Palm Sunday--or is it Passion Sunday?--marks the beginning of Holy Week.

This day commemorates not one but two very significant events in the life of Christ.

Here are 9 things you need to know.

 

1. What is this day called?

The day is called both "Palm Sunday" and "Passion Sunday."

The first name comes from the fact that it commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when the crowd had palm branches (John 12:13).

The second name comes from the fact that the narrative of the Passion is read on this Sunday (it otherwise wouldn't be read on a Sunday, since the next Sunday is about the Resurrection).

According to the main document on the celebration of the feasts connected with...READ MORE

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How did Paul get his name?

03/25/2015 Comments (3)

How did St. Paul get his name?

Sometimes people in the Bible experience name changes. Some famous examples include Abram (Abraham), Jacob (Israel), and Simon (Cephas, Peter).

In each of these cases, there was a specific reason, and the new name had special significance (thus the name Peter means “Rock,” with Simon being the rock on which Jesus built his Church; Matt. 16:18).

Often, people propose that Paul belongs in this category.

 

Saul, also [called] Paul

When he’s first introduced in Acts, he’s known as Saul, but then later, once his ministry outside the Jewish community begins, Luke starts referring to him as Paul.

The transition point comes in Acts 13:9, where we read:

But Saul, who is also called Paul,...READ MORE

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"He said this to show by what death he . . . "

03/22/2015 Comments (26)

What surprise does John's Gospel contain about the martyrdom of St. Peter?

Some time ago, I made a surprising discovery in the Greek text of John's Gospel.

In its final chapter, Jesus says to Peter:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” 

(This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, “Follow me” [John 21:18-19].  

The surprising thing is in the parenthetical remark by John: "This he [Jesus] said to show by what death he [Peter] was to glorify God."

Standard English translations render the final verbal phrase in the past tense ("was to...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."