There's a spiritual malady afflicting our homes, our workplaces, our political conversations, and how we speak to (and of) one another, both on- and offline. A major part of the cure is learning to recognize that those who are hardest to stand are often the ones closest to us, and that the call to charity is often in the little things of daily life.
Let’s talk about the Bread of Life discourse in John 6:22-70. The Catholic interpretation makes sense, but it's a shocking one. We think that this lengthy passage is about the Eucharist, and that Jesus Christ literally means that we eat His Flesh and drink His Blood in Communion. This teaching, radical to twenty first-century ears, was no less radical to first-century ears, and even many of Jesus’ own disciples stopped following Him upon hearing it. Protestants typically disagree with this interpretation, arguing that Jesus’ commands that we should eat His Flesh and drink His Blood are just metaphors. Often, both sides are so busy debating the credibility of the Catholic interpretation that neither stop to seriously ask, “Does the Protestant interpretation make any sense?” The obvious question is if Jesus is speaking metaphorically, what’s it a metaphor for? What is Jesus actually saying?
Protestants frequently claim that there are only 66 books in the Bible. This isn't the Bible used by early Christians, by Luther, by Calvin, or by the Catholic, Orthodox, or Coptic Churches. So where do they draw support? Strangely, they cite a single fourth century Church Father: St. Jerome. But there's a problem with that approach. Or more accurately: four problems.
Seth Millstein at Bustle has compiled a list of 11 pro-choice responses to common pro-life arguments. This is my response to his three biggest points: about the life of the unborn child, about whether sex carries with it a responsibility for motherhood, and about whether "rape exceptions" make any sense.
Why should we care about the writings of the Church Fathers, or early Church history? Consider the Church of the early 100s. Protestants typically (a) reject the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ, that the Eucharist becomes His Flesh and Blood; and (b) believe that once you are saved, you'll never permanently fall away from the faith. But holding these views would require believing that the very same Symrnaean and Ephesian Christians praised by Christ in 96 A.D. are heretics by 107 A.D.
Why do Catholics care about the perpetual Virginity of Mary? And does the doctrine make any sense, or does it just reflect an unhealthy disdain for marital sex? After all, why shouldn't a married woman, like St. Mary, engage in sexual relations with her husband? Such relations aren't just not sinful: they're good. So why have Christians from the time of the earliest days of the Church onwards consistently insisted upon Mary's perpetual virginity, even after the birth of Christ?
C.S. Lewis, in a passage in Mere Christianity, lays out a surprising case for the papacy... a case that might have been surprising to the man himself, given that he was an Anglican.
I've been gone for the better part of the last two weeks because of World Youth Day. It was emotionally and physically exhausting, but an incredibly rich experience.
Certain Protestants have taken to referring to the Scriptures as "66 love letters." That gets something fundamentally right about God's revelation, but goes wrong in three ways.
It's election season again, and this one's a particular mess. "While our broken civilization will inevitably cease to be someday, the same isn't true of our souls. And it's these immortal souls that we are rushing to sacrifice on the altar of partisanship. We're sacrificing the eternal for the temporal, and not even managing to swing the outcome of the election (an election that turns out to matter a lot less than we've been made to believe). It's a Faustian bargain beneath our human dignity. "