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Are Some People’s Prayers More Valuable Than Others?

Julio Romero de Torres, La Saeta (1918)
When Catholics talk about praying to Mary, a classic Protestant objection is "but I can go directly to Jesus!" To that, I'd say, "True, you could go to Jesus alone... but if you pray to Mary, you and the Virgin Mary can go directly to Jesus!" The "why not just go directly to Jesus" objection points to one of the real differences between Catholics and Protestants on this question: we Catholics believe that some people's prayers are more efficacious than others.

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Christianity: A Bargain That Will Cost You Everything

Sometimes, when we talk about Christianity, we present it as a great deal. “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” Jesus says (Matthew 11:30). But other times, it sounds like Christianity is costly. Remember that Jesus also says “he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:38). So which view is right? Both of them. Here's are two parables that Jesus gives that explain that apparent contradiction.

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The Catholic Mass in Scripture, the Early Church, and Today

Abraham Bloemaert, The Emmaus Disciples (1622)
In Luke 24:13-35, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus have a surprise encounter with the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. There are basically four "stages" of communion in this encounter, and it's the same four stages, in the same order, that we find in the earliest Christian worship, and that we see in the Mass today. So let's look at each of the four stages, and then consider why it matters that they should all follow the same structure and pattern....

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Three Christian Views on Excommunication (And Why Two of Them Are Wrong)

Expulsion of the Cathars from Carcassone in 1209 (1415)
Within Christianity, there tend to be three major views of the place of excommunication: (1) We shouldn't excommunicate anyone, because it's not merciful. (2) We should excommunicate, because we want to purify the Church of the damned. (3) We should excommunicate, because it's merciful to sinners. So which of these views is the one endorsed by Scripture?

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