I wrote this article 20 years ago to give an overview of some of the biblical aspects of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Pius IX, who defined this dogma, declared that Our Lady, “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin” (Ineffabilis Deus, 1854).
His face stiffened, and his eyes narrowed to slits. Until now the Calvary Chapel pastor had been calm as he “shared the gospel” with me, but when I mentioned my belief in Mary’s Immaculate Conception, his attitude changed.
“The problem with you Roman Catholics,” he said, his forefinger stabbing the air a few inches from my face, “is that you’ve added extra baggage to the gospel. How can you call yourselves Christians when you cling to unbiblical traditions like the Immaculate Conception? It’s not in the Bible–it was invented by the Roman Catholic system in 1854. Besides, Mary couldn’t have been sinless, only God is sinless. If she were without sin she would be God!”
At least the minister got the date right, 1854 being the year Pope Pius IX infallibly defined the doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, but that’s as far as his accuracy went. His reaction was typical of many Evangelicals. He was adamant that the Catholic emphasis on Mary’s sinlessness was an unbearable affront to the unique holiness of God, especially as manifested in Jesus Christ. . . . (continue reading)
I bet you can’t. But here’s a hint: It’s in your home right now. In fact, a batch of it is very probably within 3 feet of where you are seated. It’s vastly more expensive than gold. And guess what else: You go to a store routinely and pay for it. Can you guess what it is? By now, you probably can.
P.S. For more examples of shockingly high mark ups you pay on a 9 other common items, be sure to press the “next” link just below this part of the article.
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:28-33).
Then you haven’t seen this. For me, the best part of this show (if “best” can properly be used as an adjective in this case, which I don’t think it can) is the sustained expression of disbelief and consternation on the faces of the show’s judges. Oh, and I like the music.
Blessed Miguel Pro is a prominent example of Christian heroism in the twentieth century. The indefatigable Jesuit priest was martyred by the Mexican government in 1927 for performing his priestly duties.
Born on January 13, 1891, Miguel Pro Juarez was the eldest son of Miguel Pro and Josefa Juarez. His birthplace, the humble central Mexican village of Guadalupe, was especially fitting in view of his intense, lifelong devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.
Miguelito, as his doting family called him, was, from an early age, intensely spiritual and equally intense in his mischievousness. From the time he could speak he had the reputation of being a motor-mouth, frequently exasperating his family with his humor and practical jokes, a trait which remained with him into adult-hood.
As a child he had an unbridled precociousness that sometimes went too far, tossing him into near-death accidents and illnesses. On regaining consciousness after one of these episodes, young Miguel opened his eyes and blurted out to his frantic parents, “I want some cocol” (a colloquial term for his favorite sweet bread). Cocol became his nickname, which he would later adopt as a code name during his clandestine priestly ministry. . . . (continue reading)
“Amish Haircut Attacks.” One might assume it is the name selected by an imaginative garage band or perhaps it’s a lost-in-translation title of a Pennsylvania-German language B movie. But one would be mistaken. In fact, the “Amish Haircut Attacks” in question were a real and quite bizarre series of depredations involving “forcefully cutting the beards and hair of Amish men and women.”
Several members of the group carried out the attacks in September and October by forcefully cutting the beards and hair of Amish men and women, authorities have said. Cutting the hair is a highly offensive act to the Amish, who believe the Bible instructs women to let their hair grow long and men to grow beards and stop shaving once they marry.
The attacks struck at the core of the Amish identity and tested their principles. They strongly believe that they must be forgiving in order for God to forgive them, which often means handing out their own punishment and not reporting crimes to law enforcement. . . .
Aside from the Associated Press article’s clumsy and potentially misleading word order (Amish women don’t have beards), another weird element of this sad story is that the surname of one of the principle suspects is, get this, Mullet.
—The door to the vault must have accidentally been left open by the cleaning woman.
—The guard must bend over to tie his shoes and somehow he gets all the shoelaces tied together. He can’t get them apart, so he takes out his gun and shoots all his bullets at the knot. But he misses. Then he just lies down on the floor and goes to sleep.
—Most of the customers in the bank must happen to be wearing Nixon masks, so when we come in wearing our Nixon masks it doesn’t alarm anyone.
—There must be an empty parking space right out in front. If it has a meter, there must be time left on it, because our outfits don’t have pockets for change.
—The monkeys must grab the bags of money and not just shriek and go running all over the place, like they did in the practice run.
—The security cameras must be the early, old-timey kind that don’t actually take pictures.
—When the big clock in the lobby strikes two, everyone must stop and stare at it for at least ten minutes.
—The bank alarm must have mistakenly been set to “Quiet.” Or “Ebb tide.”
—The gold bars must be made out of a lighter kind of gold that’s just as valuable but easier to carry. . . . (continue reading)
The Catholic Encyclopedia explains that All Saints Day is a “solemnity celebrated on the first of November.”
It is instituted to honor all the saints, known and unknown, and, according to Urban IV, to supply any deficiencies in the faithful’s celebration of saints’ feasts during the year.
In the early days the Christians were accustomed to solemnize the anniversary of a martyr’s death for Christ at the place of martyrdom. In the fourth century, neighboring dioceses began to interchange feasts, to transfer relics, to divide them, and to join in a common feast; as is shown by the invitation of St. Basil of Caesarea (397) to the bishops of the province of Pontus.
Frequently groups of martyrs suffered on the same day, which naturally led to a joint commemoration. In the persecution of Diocletian the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each. But the Church, feeling that every martyr should be venerated, appointed a common day for all.
The first trace of this we find in Antioch on the Sunday after Pentecost. We also find mention of a common day in a sermon of St. Ephrem the Syrian (373), and in the 74th homily of St. John Chrysostom (407).
At first only martyrs and St. John the Baptist were honored by a special day. Other saints were added gradually, and increased in number when a regular process of canonization was established; still, as early as 411 there is in the Chaldean Calendar a “Commemoratio Confessorum” for the Friday after Easter.
In the West Boniface IV, 13 May, 609, or 610, consecrated the Pantheon in Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs, ordering an anniversary. Gregory III (731-741) consecrated a chapel in the Basilica of St. Peter to all the saints and fixed the anniversary for 1 November.
A basilica of the Apostles already existed in Rome, and its dedication was annually remembered on 1 May. Gregory IV (827-844) extended the celebration on 1 November to the entire Church. The vigil seems to have been held as early as the feast itself. The octave was added by Sixtus IV (1471-84). (source)
Here’s the audio of the talk on moral relativism I gave awhile back for the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, before a Catholic audience of approximately 500. It was held at the diocesan center’s super-plush auditorium. It’s always a pleasure to speak in such a nice venue.