November 2014

On Sunday Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew signed a joint declaration affirming their common commitment to full Christian unity as well as their support for suffering Christians in the Middle East.

“We cannot resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians, who have professed the name of Jesus there for two thousand years,” the joint statement reads.

Sunday marked the third and final day of Pope Francis’ trip to Turkey, and coincided with the Christian feast of the apostle Saint Andrew, of special significance to the Orthodox Church. Andrew was brother to Saint Peter and the Orthodox consider Patriarch Bartholomew to be his successor.

The joint statement calls on Middle East leaders to do all in their power to enable Christians to remain in their native land. “Many of our brothers and sisters are being persecuted and have been forced violently from their homes,” the declaration reads. “It even seems that the value of human life has been lost, that the human person no longer matters and may be sacrificed to other interests.”

The two leaders describe the tragic situation of Christians in the Middle East as “an ecumenism of suffering” drawing Christians closer together. Just as the blood of the martyrs was a seed of strength and fertility for the Church, the declaration continues, “so, too, the sharing of daily sufferings can become an effective instrument of unity.”

“The terrible situation of Christians and all those who are suffering in the Middle East calls not only for our constant prayer, but also for an appropriate response on the part of the international community,” the declaration says.

Thomas D. Williams can be followed on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome

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Topic: St. Paul Teaches Us to Run the Race on Catholic Answers Live 

Questions I answered on Catholic Answers Live tonight. You can access the link to listen on-line or to download as a podcast – as soon as the links are available. Listen here.

1. St. Paul speaks rather strongly regarding women’s participation in the liturgy. How do we read his comments about women participating in the Mass, especially regarding lectors and altar servers?

 2. I am a catechist for our RCIA program. We have many Protestant converts coming into the Church. One question I often get is this: “Did St. Paul consider himself to be “saved”?

 3. When Paul wrote to the Romans, (e.g., Romans 3:28) he said we are saved by faith and not by works. Our Protestant brethren use this verse to counter Catholic teaching. How do we understand what Paul taught in Romans and Galatians?

 4. According to Fr. Barron, after St. Paul’s conversion he disappeared for three years and went to Arabia. Do you think this really happened and if so, where is that in the Bible? Why did he go there?

 5. Do you think Paul’s letters were written for a different time or are they still applicable to us in the modern world?

6. My mother just passed away on Sunday and I am setting up her Memorial Mass. Is there a particular scripture passage from St. Paul that I can have read at Mass that focuses on running the good race and the resurrection? I want to help reach my non-believing family members.

 7. When St. Paul was struck down on the road to Damascus Jesus said, “Why are you persecuting Me?’ Does that mean that people that persecute Catholics and the Church today are actually doing it against Jesus?

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Infant Baptism

by Steve Ray on November 26, 2014

100_1650Infant Baptism is discussed and argued about quite a bit in some circles. I, of course, was raised Baptist and taught that Infant Baptism was a man-made tradition invented by the heretical Catholics who abandoned the Word of God to follow ill-advised tradition.

(Picture: My granddaughter Elizabeth Arabella Rose Ray is baptized.)

But not all Protestants reject Infant Baptism. My favorite theologian during my later years as an Evangelical Protestant was Dr. Francis Schaeffer. He actually wrote a booklet on Infant Baptism. Granted, they do not accept the full Catholic understanding, but they did teach and practice infant baptism. Another author that I read was R. C. Sproul.

Protestant Reformed theologian R. C. Sproul writes, “The first direct mention of infant baptism is around the middle of the second century A.D.  What is noteworthy about this reference is that it assumes infant baptism to be the universal practice of the church.  If infant baptism were not the practice of the first-century church, how and why did this departure from orthodoxy happen so fast and so pervasively?

“Not only was the spread rapid and universal, the extant literature from that time does not reflect any controversy concerning the issue. . . . Those who dispute the validity of infant baptism make it less inclusive with respect to children, despite the absence of any biblical prohibition against infant baptism” (Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, [Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1992], 228).

For my simple article on Infant Baptism, click here. For my blog on Baptism in general, click here. The whole middle section of my book Crossing the Tiber goes into the biblical and early Church teaching and practice of baptism, including that of infants.

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Family Rosary Pledge Campaign

November 25, 2014

My friend Karen from New Hampshire wrote: The Family Center has just kicked off a Family Rosary Pledge Campaign! Our aim is to get 1,000 + families to pledge to say the Rosary together weekly – we want this to spread world-wide! I’ve got my son on it at the International Theological Institute – he […]

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Pope Emeritus Benedict: Interreligious Dialogue No Substitute for Spreading the Gospel

November 17, 2014

Less than a month ago, from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:  Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures, and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as “lethal to faith.” He also said the true motivation for missionary work is not to increase the […]

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The Jewish Cardinal

November 16, 2014

I met a new hero today, but only through the medium of a movie. It was entitled The Jewish Cardinal. After returning home exhausted from the Raising Rebels Conference in Manchester NH where I gave three talks yesterday, I was ready for a good movie tonight. My wife found this one on Netflix.  This drama […]

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11 Things You Won’t Believe Can Fit in St. Peter’s Basilica

November 15, 2014

Everyone knows that St. Peter”s is not only beautiful, but enormous as well (realtor.com has it valued at $11 trillion – “vintage artwork, charming accents, big back yard surrounded by Italy”). But even those who have been inside the colossal structure don’t fully appreciate how big it is. This is because the sheer enormity of […]

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Geocentrism Debunked Again and Again and their Movie Bombs (more on that soon)

November 14, 2014

DAVE PALM WRITES: The really exciting thing about this latest update of Geocentrism Debunked (www.geocentrismdebunked.org) is that I didn’t write any of the new material myself.  Others are seeing the problems with the geocentric enterprise and weighing in.  Over four years ago physicist Dr. Tom Bridgman issued the “Lagrange point challenge” in response to geocentrist […]

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Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Official Affirms Teaching on Absolution, Communion for the Remarried

November 14, 2014

Catholic World News – November 14, 2014 In a letter written three days after the conclusion of the recent Synod of Bishops, the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith affirmed St. John Paul II’s teaching on absolution for those who have remarried outside the Church. Asked by a French priest whether […]

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Have They Discovered a New “Lost Gospel” that Says Jesus was Married?

November 13, 2014

Jimmy Akin writes: It’s getting near Christmas, and you know what that means. That’s right! It’s time for another book to be released telling us the sensationalistic “truth” about Christianity. This time we have The Lost Gospel: Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus’ Marriage to Mary the Magdalene by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson. […]

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Bishop Conley’s Comments on our Cruise: “In the Footprints of St. Paul”

November 12, 2014

The ancient Christian writer and theologian Tertullian once asked the Church, “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?” He asked the question as Christianity spread from Israel into the Greek world; and as Greek intellectuals looked for deeper insight into the Christian mystery. Tertullian was asking whether pagan Greek culture—philosophy, poetry, the arts, history […]

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“The Principle”: Bob Sungenis’ Poor Attempt to Prove Geocentrism

November 12, 2014

UPDATE Jimmy’s Critique of CONTENT of the Principle movie http://jimmyakin.com/2014/11/whats-wrong-with-the-principle.html The Principle: A Movie Review by Jimmy Akin Recently the Register asked me to reviewThe Principle—a documentary that promotes geocentrism, or the idea that the earth is at the center of the universe. This film is much smaller than most of those the Register reviews. Indeed, […]

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What Do 2,400 Vatican Workers Actually Do?

November 11, 2014

Interesting article in Legatus Magazine. Read it HERE.  It gives us an idea what goes on behind the Vatican Walls and the Swiss Guards.

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Christmas in Bethlehem, Sign up Now, Don’t be Afraid of the Holy Land

November 9, 2014

Written today from a pilgrim who has traveled to the Holy Land with us numerable times: “For those committed or considering, don’t let anyone keep you away. Steve and Janet would never put you in danger, and the experience is a once in a lifetime event. I would go back for a fourth time with […]

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What Did People Say? Comments and Farewells from Athens

November 8, 2014

It is always hard to say goodbye after spending two weeks together visiting all the biblical sites in the footprints of St. Paul, St. John and Mary. It was a wonderful trip and here are a lot of comments and thoughts of the people who joined this pilgrimage including Bishop Conley of Lincoln Nebraska and […]

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Corinth, Erastus’ Name; Bishop Conley Explains Our Gift

November 8, 2014

Thunderstorms were forecast but the rain stopped when we arrived in Ancient Corinth. Blue sky broke thru and we had a moving Mass on a rock outdoors in front of the Judgment Seat where Paul was brought. After a tour of the ancient city where St. Paul lived for 18 months we went to a […]

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