The Catholic Church teaches that the Apostles were given the ability to forgive penitents of their sins. One of the frequent objections to this is that "It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7). Ironically, that objection originally comes from the Scribes and Pharisees, and Jesus' response explains precisely how we can know that the Apostles were given authority to forgive sins.
Partly, this is a post about St. Peter, and why he's the "Rock" in Matthew 16. Partly, it's a post about the connection between the Cross and Jesus' Messiahship. Mostly, though, it's a post about Jesus Christ, and the continual need to grow in our understanding of Him.
This is really two short posts rolled into one: (1) is the Catholic Church the origin of the Bible? and (2) What's the Gospel message of salvation, according to the Catholic Church?
St. John says that "there are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree." Why does he limit it to three witnesses? And why *these* three? What can the waters of Baptism, the Blood of Christ, and the Third Person of the Holy Trinity do that no other witnesses can do?
In its rush to enter "the Christmas season," the world has forgotten about the holy season of Advent. That's a pity, because if we're going to welcome Christ into our hearts this Christmas, we need to take the time to make room for Him. Here are 6 ways that you can reclaim Advent.
We all know that priests, monks, and nuns are celibate, but why? Is it just an arbitrary Church rule? Is it just for pragmatic reasons, like ensuring that the priest has enough time to minister to the People of God? Or is there a deeper, prophetic meaning to celibacy?
A Protestant website suggests that Jesus hated the Jewish sacrificial system. This claim is obviously false, given that (1) God established the Jewish sacrificial system; (2) Jesus personally participated in it; and (3) the sacrificial system reached its apex on Calvary, when Jesus became our Sacrificial offering.
The awful terrorist attacks unfolding right now in Paris recall for me the martyrdom, at the hands of Islamic extremists, of a group of French monks living in Algeria. The abbot of those monks prepared for his death with a shocking, thought-provoking "Last Testament." It's worth the read.
The Catholic Deuterocanon - the set of seven books accepted by Catholics and rejected by Protestants - clearly teaches the morality of praying to the Saints and praying for the souls of the deceased. But can we trust that the Deuterocanon is canonical? Evidence from Romans 9 -- a favorite passage amongst many Protestants -- strongly points to a "yes" answer.
Be Bartimaeus. The Gospel presents Bartimaeus to us to show us that this is what it looks like to follow Jesus. This is what we’re called to. So what can we learn from him? I would propose three things: (1) see your blindness; (2) beg boldly; and (3) make Jesus’ Way your way.