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The Immaculate Conception: A Gift for You

Filippino Lippi, The Annunciation (1491)
One of the tragedies of the Protestant Reformation is that it resulted in a lot of Protestants squeamish about talking about the Virgin Mary, and a lot of Catholics squeamish about talking about grace and predestination (in both cases, out of a fear of the other side's perceived excesses). In reality, if you want to know what God's predestination looks like, look to the Virgin Mary. And you can't understand Mary without understanding predestination.

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Can We Be Americans AND Christians?

A recent Facebook commenter claimed that "To be a Christian American, you must believe in the separation of Church and State. The Will of God has no place in superseding a rule of law. By living a Christian Life and not judging others, we show our ability to follow in the footsteps of Christ." Here are five reasons that's a dangerous position to hold as either a Christian or an American.

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5 Radical Lessons Christ Reveals About the Kingdom of God

Matthias Grünewald, Crucifixion of Christ (1510)
The idea of the "Kingdom of God" is absolutely central to the Christian Gospel. The first words out of the mouth of Jesus in St. Mark's Gospel are “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). St. Matthew says that Jesus "went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people" (Mt. 4:23). And we pray for the coming of this Kingdom every time that we pray the Lord's Prayer. So what do we mean by the "Kingdom of God," and how should it impact our approach to the Church, to civil society, and to our own responsibilities?

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Reformation Day Ironies, 500th Anniversary Edition

This year, in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I've decided to do another round of "Reformation Day Ironies." This year's theme is "Luther against the Reformation," looking at the various ways that Martin Luther spoke against the Reformation he helped to spark, including what he had to say on the papacy, teaching authority, and schism.

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Did Vatican II Change Church Teaching On the Church?

Chances are, if you've done any reading about the Catholic Church's vision of "the Church," you've probably come across the claim that everything changed at Vatican II. Prior to Vatican II, as the story goes, the Catholic Church thought that only she was "the Church;" after Vatican II, she recognized that the Orthodox and Protestants (and perhaps even non-Christians!) also form part of the Church. But is it true?

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