The "infallibility problem" in Eastern Orthodoxy is more similar to the infallibility problem in Protestantism than you may realize. In each case, rejection of centralized infallibility leaves them with fallible (and hazy) collections of infallible teachings.
The earliest recorded prayer to Mary, dating to about 250 A.D. says: "Beneath your compassion, We take refuge, O Mother of God; do not despise our petitions in time of trouble, but rescue us from dangers, only pure, only blessed one." Here's what that tells us about the early Church.
We moderns think of trial by ordeal as proof positive of the irrational dogmatism of our religious ancestors' culture. The idea of determining someone's innocence or guilt by having them hold a red-hot iron seems, well, insane. But new evidence suggests that the process worked... and might provide documentary evidence of a huge number of miracles. That modern researchers refuse to even consider this possibility reveals a great deal more about the irrational dogmatism of our own irreligious culture.
Even a number of ordinarily sober-minded Catholics have begun panicking that the Synod on the Family is about to lead the Church into apostasy. While we should always pray for the Church, and pray especially for the Synod, these fears are unfounded... and heretical.
When Richard Dawkins and American Atheists write off the Bible as a "Bronze aged book," they're only demonstrating their historical ignorance and the strength of the case for Biblical inspiration. If the human authors of Scripture were primitive ignoramuses, how do we account for the credibility of the Apostles' testimony?
St. Peter’s, Rome In 2007, Dr. Francis Beckwith, the president of the Evangelical Theological Society — the nation’s largest Evangelical coalition of scholars, with over 4,000 members — announced that he was converting (technically, reverting) to Roman Catholicism. Last week, I had the opportunity of meeting Dr. Beckwith, and hearing his reversion story in person (I’d […]
Hendrick van Someren, Saint Jerome (17th c.) After St. Augustine, St. Jerome seems to be the favorite Church Father of many Protestants (most likely, because he argued for the Old Testament canon that they now use). We Catholics love him, too: he translated the Latin Vulgate, wrote beautifully on the Virgin Mary, and is one […]
Yesterday was Martin Luther’s 531st birthday, and today is the Feast Day of St. Martin. It seems like a fitting time to give an honest assessment of some of the darker parts of Luther’s legacy, and consider their implications. There’s a popular Luther narrative that plays out a little like Star Wars. A humble son […]
Martin Luther Jack-o’-lantern For most Americans, today is Halloween. But for some Protestants, today is Reformation Day, the day to commemorate October 31, 1517, when Luther (allegedly) posted his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenburg church, sparking the Protestant Reformation. But while it may or not really be the 497th anniversary of the posting […]
Paolo Veronese, The Battle of Lepanto (1572) On Sunday, I stumbled upon a group of Venetian nationalists commemorating the Battle of Lepanto, which occurred 443 years ago today, October 7, 1571. I spoke to one of the men, who explained that they wanted to remind people of the battle (and of Venice’s contributions to the […]