History

In 1517, Martin Luther drafted a document known as The 95 Theses, and its publication is used to date the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. The recent 500th anniversary of that event focused a good bit of attention on the 95 Theses. Here are 8 things to know and share . . .   1) […]

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In recent years both Catholics and Protestants have been puzzled by occasional mentions in the press that the two groups would be jointly commemorating of the upcoming five hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. What on earth? Why would Catholics commemorate such an event? Let’s talk about that.   “And So, It Begins . . […]

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Just a quick note to keep track of something of apologetic interest. I’m currently continuing my project of summarizing Josephus’s Jewish War, and there is a passage in it in which he refers to “binding and loosing” (a phrase also found in the teachings of Jesus; cf. Matt 16:19, 18:18; and in other Jewish writings). Josephus […]

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There is a persistent claim that the early Christians were pacifists—in the strong sense of being opposed to all use of violence—and that it was not until the time of the Emperor Constantine that this began to change. After Christianity became the official religion of the empire, the Church embraced the use of military force, […]

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December 12 is the commemoration of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In the United States, the day is a feast. Linked to this day is December 9, which is the optional memorial of Juan Diego, to whom she appeared. Here are 6 things to know and share . . .   1) Who was Juan Diego? […]

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The 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination is upon us. John F. Kennedy was the first—and so far only—American president to be Catholic. He was not a particularly good Catholic. His policy on Church-state relations has been widely faulted as contributing to the marginalization of religion in American society. But nobody deserves to be gunned down in the […]

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April 29th is the memorial of St. Catherine of Siena. She is a saint, a mystic, and a doctor of the Church, as well as a patroness of Italy and of Europe. Who was she, and why is her life so significant? Here are 8 things to know and share . . . 1. Who […]

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Thursday is the feast of St.s Perpetua and Felicity. Many have heard their names. They’re early saints mentioned in Eucharistic Prayer #1 (the Roman Canon). But often we don’t know much more than that, which is a pity. They have a dramatic story, which St. Perpetua recorded herself in the days before her martyrdom. It […]

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Pope Benedict’s resignation has stirred up a good bit of discussion of the so-called “Prophecy of the Popes,” attributed to St. Malachy of Ireland (1094-1148). The prophecy is a list of 112 mottoes that allegedly describe the popes stretching from St. Malachy’s time to the end of time. Supposedly, Pope Benedict is identified with #111, […]

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There haven’t been that many popes who have resigned, and none of them offer an exact parallel to the case of Pope Benedict. However, there is one pope–St. Celestine V–who is by far the closest parallel. Who was he? Why did he resign? And what does his strange case tell us about Pope Benedict’s decision […]

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