Jimmy Akin Podcast (general)

The second pilot of Star Trek the Original Series was the one that sold it. Was it less cerebral? More action? Were the characters more likeable? Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, Fr. Cory Sticha discuss what made Star Trek's second chance at network TV work.

Direct download: SST021.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union considered and even built doomsday systems that could launch nuclear strikes even if their leaders were dead. Jimmy Akin and Dom Bettinelli discuss the theoretical and actual doomsday devices as well as their practicality and morality.

Direct download: MYS012.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha discuss the very first pilot of Star Trek, The Cage, which featured a different crew, a different ship, and a different kind of Spock, yet still recognizably Star Trek.

Direct download: SST020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

What or who is the Antichrist? Is he alive today, was he an historical figure, or perhaps he's yet to be born? Does he signal the end of the world? Jimmy Akin and Dom Bettinelli tackle the mystery of the Antichrist, what the Bible says, and what the Church says.

Direct download: MYS011.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Enterprise is often the overlooked Star Trek series, with fans often having strong feelings about. Listen to what Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha think about the show, what it got right, and what it missed.

Direct download: SST019.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Across billions of stars and billions of years, logic says there'd be at least one alien species advanced enough to be noticed. Hence Enrico Fermi's famous paradox: Where are the aliens? Jimmy Akin and Dom Bettinelli discuss the mystery of a universe in which we're seemingly alone.

Direct download: MYS010.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha give their overall impressions of Star Trek: Voyager, its strengths and weaknesses, including the breakout character of Seven of Nine, as well as those limitless torpedoes and shuttlecraft.

Direct download: SST018.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Where do the Dead Sea Scrolls come from and do they contain secret knowledge about Jesus? Jimmy Akin and Dom Bettinelli discuss the claims about the ancient scrolls and what we know about them, as well as their personal experiences.

Direct download: MYS009.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha talk about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in an overview, about the darker tone, the use of religion, and how it ended up being their favorite Trek series.

Direct download: SST017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha talk about the 6th Doctor story Attack of the Cybermen, a real throwback to the mid-80s with its reference to Halley's Comet, as well as connection to the very first 1st Doctor story.

Direct download: WHO093.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin and Dom Bettinelli discuss the mystery surrounding the 1908 Tunguska incident in Siberia. What flattened 770 square miles of forest without leaving a crater? Aliens, meteor, a mini-black hole?

Direct download: MYS008.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha give their overall thoughts on Star Trek: The Next Generation, its place within Trek lore, and some of the background on how it came to be.

Direct download: SST016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha wrap up their preparation for the new season of Doctor Who with their much sought-after advice to new showrunner Chris Chibnall on how to make the show a success.

Direct download: WHO092.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin and Dom Bettinelli tackle the political mystery of Watergate, including the first question: What did Nixon know and when did he know it? Also, who was really behind the break-in and what were they after and did Woodward and Bernstein really bring down the president?

Direct download: MYS007.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha continue their overview of the various Trek series, including the Animated Series. Is it canon? What caused it to be made? And why are the Klingons in pink?

Direct download: SST015.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

As they prepare for the new season of Doctor Who, Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha review the track record of new showrunner Chris Chibnall in the six episodes of the show he's written as well as his work on Broadchurch. Does it show us what we can expect?

Direct download: WHO091.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin and Dom Bettinelli explore the mysteries of the Pyramids of Egypt, including the claims of mystical energies, extraterrestrial building help, and prophecies encoded in them. But what do history, reason, and faith have to say?

Direct download: MYS006.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha start their exploration of Star Trek with the show that started it all, giving their overall impressions of The Original Series featuring Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.

Direct download: SST014.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

As we close out the era of Peter Capaldi's Doctor, Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha review the 12th Doctor's 40 episodes over 3 seasons to find the best, the worst, and our overall assessment.

Direct download: WHO090.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin and Dom Bettinelli discuss the claims and counter-claims about the so-called Lost Gospels from both the faith and reason perspectives. Do they tell a suppressed or untold story about Jesus Christ, are they the ravings of lunatics, or something in between?

Direct download: MYS005.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha reboot the Secrets of Star Trek podcast after 6 years by looking at how they became Star Trek fans and what Trek fandom means to them.

Direct download: SST013.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha discuss the first appearance of the 10th Doctor's companion, Martha Jones. Is she just another girlfriend for the Doctor or does she have something unique to contribute? Plus, what's with the Doctor's fascination with hospital lobby shops?

Direct download: WHO089.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin and Dom Bettinelli explore the mystery surrounding Area 51, the claims that the government is hiding alien spacecraft there, the earthly secret programs to develop specialized aircraft, and the secrecy surrounding the existence of the facility itself.

Direct download: MYS004.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha discuss the 5th Doctor story, Four to Doomsday, which features frog-men, Australian aborigines, ancient Greeks, and the Pink Panther's Kato.

Direct download: WHO088.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin and Dom Bettinelli explore the claims and counter-claims about Bigfoot, the mysterious tall, hairy biped supposedly indigenous to North America. Could there be an undiscovered species of primate out in the woods?

Direct download: MYS003.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha talk about the 2006 Christmas special, The Runaway Bride, featuring once and future companion Donna Noble and the change of atmosphere she brings to Doctor Who.

Direct download: WHO087.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin and Dom Bettinelli discuss the mysteries of Transhumanism, both its promises and dangers, including what the Church says about this effort to perfect humanity through science.

Direct download: MYS002.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Fr. Cory Sticha welcomes Dom Bettinelli and Jimmy Akin to talk about what's new with the Starquest Production Network, including new shows now and in the near future and possible opportunities for the community to gather.

Direct download: LTK013.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:48am PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha consider this 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) adventure that brings them to a future space station where cryogenic humans are confronted by their own extinction at the hands of those they caused to die off.

Direct download: WHO086.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Every week, Jimmy Akin and Dom Bettinelli explore the weird, the strange, and the unusual from the perspectives of faith and reason. In this first episode, Jimmy and Dom talk about ghosts, what they could be, how they fit in a Catholic understanding of the world, and what a rational mind says about them.

Direct download: MYS001.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha discuss the 2nd season finale of New Who and the departure of Rose Tyler. Does it live up to the hype or it is just emotional manipulation of the audience?

Direct download: WHO085.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha delve into the 3rd Doctor story, Doctor Who and the Silurians, the first appearance of the underground dwelling dinosaur descendants who present some unique moral quandaries.

Direct download: WHO084.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

In a special episode, Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha react to the Series 11 trailer released for the San Diego Comic-con, including the emphasis on all that's new: faces, places, and times, and what's not emphasized.

Direct download: SDS002.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:40pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli and Fr. Cory Sticha discuss Fear Her, in which the Doctor and Rose save the 2012 London Olympics from a little girls whose angry drawings can come to life. Many fans voted it their least favorite episode. Hear how our panel came down on that question.

Direct download: WHO083.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha discuss the 2nd Doctor story, The Tomb of the Cybermen, that once again finds that megalomaniacal scientists bent on world domination get hoist on their own petard.

Direct download: WHO082.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha discuss this very different episode of Doctor Who that has very little of the Doctor. We agreed that the ELO music was the best part and if we could get rid of the last 20 minutes....

Direct download: WHO081.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha dig into The Aztecs, a great historical story from the First Doctor and confront some deep issues including the morality of a time traveler not ending the practice of human sacrifice when given the chance.

Direct download: WHO080.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha discuss this two-part 10th Doctor story that asks the big question: Is the Devil real and is hell really a planet orbiting a black hole? They also discuss whether the Ood really are a slave race, the Doctor’s religion, and Rose wanting to set up house with the Doctor.

Direct download: WHO079.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha join the First Doctor’s quest for the keys of Marinus, a classic hunt for the McGuffins in four different worlds: a deadly island, a beautiful trap, a screaming jungle, a snowbound mountain, and city of justice without mercy. Plus they discuss the morality of enforced consciences.

Direct download: WHO078.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli, and Fr. Cory Sticha discuss this 10th Doctor (David Tennant) story that combines post-WWII optimism, the pitfalls of new technology, and shades of Cold War intrigue with an alien and a coronation.

Direct download: WHO077.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:41am PST

In this episode of Catholic Answers Live (June 22, 2017, 1st hour), Jimmy answers the following questions:

02:30 - What are your thoughts about baptizing infants twice? Once in the Catholic Church, once in the Protestant church.

10:30 - Will there be free will in Heaven?

12:10 - Does 1 John 5:13 tell Christians that they know for sure whether or not they are saved?

16:25 - What are some tips for Catholics who are concerned about doing wrong?

32:05 - What is your take on protesting on blasphemous images of Jesus Christ?

41:45 - Can I attend a SSPX Mass with my family?

44:55 - I have heard that Jesus had a blood brother who was not part of the faith until Jesus died and rose again. That was why he chose Peter. What is your stance on this?

49:50 - If one is experiencing temporal punishment because he committed a mortal sin, can the punishment be used as redemptive healing for someone else?

Resources Mentioned:

http://www.scrupulousanonymous.org

Direct download: ca170622a_0.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:49pm PST

Fr. Cory Sticha, Dom Bettinelli, and Jimmy Akin discuss and analyze the fourth episode of the 10th Season of Doctor Who entitled “Knock, Knock”. Knock, Knock. Who’s there? Yes, he is. Our panel discusses this haunted house story and come up with insights and little-known facts that not only bear on this episode, but start to put together the broader picture of the rest of the season.

Direct download: WHO026.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:19pm PST

Jimmy Akin, Fr. Cory Sticha, and Dom Bettinelli discuss and analyze the third episode of the 10th Season of Doctor Who entitled “Thin Ice”. Regency England, giant man-eating sea creatures, and a mustache-twirling villain–not to mention antics on the ice–leave the discussion skating on “thin ice”. We’ve also got some great tidbits from the history of Doctor Who that relate to this episode and some speculation on “who’s” behind the locked vault.

Direct download: 25_WHO025__Thin_Ice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:37pm PST

We discuss the second part of the Doctor Who finale of series 8, “Death in Heaven”. Love, Life, Death and the survival of the human soul: big themes in this epic finale of this season of Doctor Who. How well did the writers wrap up this year’s story line? Hear our thoughts in this episode of ‘Secrets of Doctor Who’.

Join Jimmy Akin, Fr. Cory Sticha, Dom Bettinelli and Fr. Roderick for discussion, analysis and speculation!

Links for this episode:

Check out Jimmy Akin’s blog Let’s Watch Doctor Who and Dom Bettinelli & Fr. Roderick’s podcast Secrets of Star Wars! Subscribe to the Feed | Subscribe with iTunes

Direct download: WHO012.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:33pm PST

We discuss the first part of the Doctor Who finale of series 8, “Dark Water”. What did we think of the revelation of the nethersphere that was hinted at during the entire season? And what to think of the true identity of ‘Missy’? Hear our thoughts in this episode of ‘Secrets of Doctor Who’.

Join Jimmy Akin, Stephanie Zimmer, Fr. Cory Sticha, Dom Bettinelli and Fr. Roderick for discussion, analysis and speculation!

Links for this episode:

Check out Jimmy Akin’s blog Let’s Watch Doctor Who and Dom Bettinelli & Fr. Roderick’s podcast Secrets of Star Wars! Subscribe to the Feed | Subscribe with iTunes

Direct download: WHO011.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:33pm PST

In this podcast episode we review and analyze episode 10 of season 8, entitled ‘In the Forest of the Night’ and discuss the underlying themes, inside jokes and hidden gems.

Join Jimmy Akin, Stephanie Zimmer, Dom Bettinelli and Fr. Roderick for discussion, analysis and speculation!

Links for this episode:

Check out Jimmy Akin’s blog Let’s Watch Doctor Who and Dom Bettinelli & Fr. Roderick’s podcast Secrets of Star Wars! Subscribe to the Feed | Subscribe with iTunes

Direct download: WHO010.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:32pm PST

NOTE: I've gotten a bit behind in posting podcast episodes, so I'm going to try to catch up by posting a number of my appearances on other shows over a fairly short period. I'm also looking to resume completely new podcasts in the near future.

In this podcast episode of Secrets of Doctor Who, we review and analyse episode 9 of season 8, entitled ‘Flatline’ and highlight all the themes, inside jokes and easter eggs.

Join Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli and Fr. Roderick for discussion, analysis and speculation!

Links for this episode:

Check out Jimmy Akin’s blog Let’s Watch Doctor Who and Dom Bettinelli & Fr. Roderick’s podcast Secrets of Star Wars! Subscribe to the Feed | Subscribe with iTunes

Direct download: WHO009.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:31pm PST

In this episode of Catholic Answers Live (hour 2 of 1/13/15), Jimmy answers the following questions:

  • My father-in-law started a lay movement in the church and was killed about 35 years ago. Some documentation has been sent to the Vatican regarding possible sainthood. Because his work was secretive, my mother-in-law was not aware of the work he did for the Church. Is there a possibility of her ever gaining access to those documents to learn more about her husband’s life?
  • What is the Church teaching regarding the requirement of marriage prep for a couple already civilly married?
  • Were the polygamist marriages in the Old Testament valid? When it comes to polygamist marriages in Africa with converts to Catholicism, are those marriages considered valid?
  • Can I determine what the ten horns of the beast are from the Book of Revelation?
  • Why are the laws of the Church changing from pope to pope?
  • Are the different parishes allowed to rewrite the Gloria, Sanctus (Holy, Holy), and the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) for Mass?
  • When it comes to NT Apocrypha, are these books still valid reading material even though they didn’t make it into the bible?
  • What is the difference between how angels intercede for us and how Mary intercedes for us?
  • As a Mormon, we believe in Apostasy/Restoration. But, I find this in every church (faith belief). What is the Catholic belief?
  • How is the Just War Doctrine applied in today’s society?
Direct download: ca150113b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:59pm PST

In this episode of Catholic Answers Live (hour 1 of 1/13/15), Jimmy answers the following questions:

  • How do we account for the problem of evil prior to humanity?
  • Where is the evidence of the Real Presence in the Eucharist in the Bible?
  • Can you explain to me what was ironed out with the Lutheran Church in terms of justification during the papacy of Pope JP II?
  • Is there any set rule about a non-Catholic or a Catholic who is not in a state of grace receiving a blessing during Communion? If I consider taking a job that limits my ability to attend weekly Mass, would that be considered a sin?
  • Was God’s original plan for the world that there be no suffering?  
  • How do I respond to my Protestant father-in-law about baptism and faith alone?
  • Is it morally wrong to do favors for my son like cleaning his house knowing he is cohabitating?
  • Regarding blessings at Mass, I see this as a golden opportunity for me to find out why the person did not receive Holy Communion. Then I can try to help them correct the situation in a pastoral way.
Direct download: ca150113a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:56pm PST

In this episode of Catholic Answers Live (1/8/15), Jimmy answers the following questions:

  • Can you reconcile Natural Family Planning with Leviticus 18 about intimacy and the times and restrictions on intimacy?
  • Is it okay to listen to protestant preachers and go to their church to listen to them preach?
  • Why does the Catholic Church not refer to marriage as Holy Matrimony?
  • About purgatory, my friend is planning to leave the Catholic Church and purgatory is an issue for her. How can I help her understand that purgatory is biblical and a reasonable belief?
  • How can you explain how Mary can hear and answer so many prayers all at the same time? Does it have to do with God being infinite and Mary being outside of time with God?
  • About confession and the frequency: I have had priests discourage me from coming to the sacrament, and they say “That is not a sin” and I feel discouraged. What do you suggest?
  • About Mary being at the foot of the cross. I have heard some priests say that she was not at the foot of cross and I thought the Bible says that she is. Why would a priest say that she was not?
  • About the star of Bethlehem and the documentary “Bethlehem Star”, can Jimmy comment on how accurate is the film?
  • The book of Sirach: is that in the KJV? Is it in another book in the KJV that I can refer to my friend?
Direct download: ca150108a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:52pm PST

In this episode of Catholic Answers Live (1/6/15), Jimmy answers the following questions:

  • I don’t feel that receiving communion in the hand is appropriate. If indeed, this is the Real Presence and every particle is fully Jesus, why was it approved to receive communion in the hand in the first place given the ability to unintentionally desecrate the consecrated host?
  • If the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived without original sin, did she experience a natural death?
  • How can I effectively talk to people about the Faith without being abrasive?
  • Wasn’t the original intent for receiving Holy Communion on the tongue to avoid spillage of the particles of the consecrated host rather than for reverence?
  • Does the Church teach that Mary directly helps us or is her assistance via her intercession for us to God
  • How can someone be tempted to do something that’s impossible for them to do?
  • In the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, I have a problem with the statement, “Eternal Father, I offer You the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ…”   Can you explain the meaning of this line in the Chaplet?
  • Since John the Baptist’s mother recognized the Savior in Mary’s womb, why didn’t John himself recognize Him?
  • If Catholics receive grace through the sacraments, how do non-Catholics receive the sanctifying grace to be saved?
  • What is the Church’s stand on pornography from a pro-life perspective?
  • How can you speak with adult children who are leaning toward New Age thinking, expressing that love is the most important thing, finding that the riches of the Vatican are a problem, etc.?
Direct download: ca150106a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:27pm PST

In this episode of Catholic Answers Live (12/23/14), Jimmy answers the following questions:

  • What did Jesus mean when he said not to judge others?
  • Can divorced and civilly remarried people receive Communion?
  • Is it true that “Once a deacon, always a deacon”?
  • How to argue for the intercession of the saints?
  • What does “the fear of the Lord” mean?
  • Why are Catholic obliged to believe what the Church teaches?
  • How to help a neo-pagan son?
  • Can deacons a dispensation to get married?
  • If Jesus is omnipresent, why is his presence in the Eucharist important?
  • Was Jesus in his incarnation created?
Direct download: ca141223a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:56am PST

Mummy on the Orient Express

Doctor Who as an exorcist, redeemer and detective on the Orient Express? In this podcast episode we review and analyse episode 8 of season 8, entitled ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’ and highlight all the themes, inside jokes and easter eggs.

Join Jimmy Akin, Fr. Cory Sticha, Stephanie Zimmer, Dom Bettinelli and Fr. Roderick for discussion, analysis and speculation!

Links for this episode:

Check out Jimmy Akin’s blog Let’s Watch Doctor Who, Stephanie’s podcast TV Rewind and Dom Bettinelli & Fr. Roderick’s podcast Secrets of Star Wars! Subscribe to the Feed | Subscribe withiTunes

Direct download: WHO008.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:43pm PST

Kill the Moon

In this episode we review and analyse episode 7 of season 8, entitled ‘Kill The Moon’.

Join Jimmy Akin, Fr. Cory Sticha, Stephanie Zimmer, Dom Bettinelli and Fr. Roderick for discussion, analysis and speculation!

Links for this episode:

Check out Jimmy Akin’s blog Let’s Watch Doctor Who, Stephanie’s podcast TV Rewind and Dom Bettinelli & Fr. Roderick’s podcast Secrets of Star Wars! Subscribe to the Feed | Subscribe withiTunes

Direct download: WHO007.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:59pm PST

The Caretaker

In this episode we review and analyse episode 6 of season 8, entitled ‘The Caretaker’.  Does Clara lead multiple lives? What is Missy’s relation to the Doctor? How will the relationship between the Doctor and Danny evolve?

Join Jimmy Akin, Fr. Cory Sticha, Stephanie Zimmer, Dom Bettinelli and Fr. Roderick for discussion, analysis and speculation!

Direct download: WHO006.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:01pm PST

You Mean Fish *Aren’t* Vegetables? Christian vegetarianism (And more!)

In this episode of Catholic Answers Live (9/25/14), Jimmy takes on the following questions:

 

  • How is the landowner in the parable of the workers in the vineyard “fair”?
  • How to deal with nephew getting married tomorrow in a non-Catholic ceremony?
  • How to understand Romans 9 when it talks about the “vessels of wrath”?
  • Who are “the elect”? What are the different ways this word is used?
  • Technically speaking, what is a shrine?
  • Can people with dementia receive the sacraments?
  • If salvation is a gift then why do we need to go to confession?
  • How to help a godchild who has a health problem and whose parents are in a destructive relationship?
  • What obligations do we have regarding attending weddings that are known up-front to be invalid?
  • How to respond to people who say that we must abstain from eating meat?

 

Direct download: ca140925b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33am PST

Time Heist

In this episode we review and analyse episode 5 of season 8, entitled ‘Time Heist’.  Is life less valuable when we lose our memories? Plus, What do all the Greek references mean?

Join Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli and Fr. Roderick for discussion, analysis and speculation!

Links for this episode:

Check out Jimmy Akin’s blog Let’s Watch Doctor Who and Dom Bettinelli & Fr. Roderick’s podcast Secrets of Star Wars!

Subscribe to the Feed | Subscribe with iTunes

Direct download: WHO005.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:42pm PST

Listen

In this episode we review and analyse episode 4 of season 8, entitled ‘Listen’.  The overarching theme in this episode was overcoming fear. We also get some rare glimpses of the Doctor’s past! Join Jimmy Akin, Dom Bettinelli and Fr. Roderick for discussion, analysis and informed speculation!

Links for this episode:

Check out Stephanie Zimmer’s podcast TV Rewind, Jimmy Akin’s blog Let’s Watch Doctor Who and Dom Bettinelli & Fr. Roderick’s podcast Secrets of Star Wars!

Subscribe to the Feed | Subscribe with iTunes

Direct download: WHO004.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:19pm PST

Did Jesus give Judas Communion--And, If So, WHY?

In this episode of Catholic Answers Live (9/16/14), Jimmy answers the following questions:

  • How to describe the relationship between faith and reason?
  • Did the priest used to break the host during the words of institution?
  • How do Protestants defend divorce and remarriage in light of what Scripture says?
  • Can priests “reach down into hell” and save souls? Can we pray for the damned?
  • Was Judas in mortal sin? Did Jesus offer Communion to Judas? If so, why did he do so when the Church today doesn’t offer Communion to those in mortal sin?
  • A Lutheran caller asks why he couldn’t receive Communion from an extraordinary minister when he was in the hospital?
  • Who is going to be resurrected—and why?
  • What is the Church’s teaching on predestination? What is Jimmy’s personal opinion?
  • What translations are approved by the Catholic Church? What makes them approved? Can I read translations that aren’t approved?
  • If the gates of heaven were closed before Jesus’ death and Resurrection, where did Moses and Elijah go?
  • What happens to those who never knew about Christ and who were never baptized?
Direct download: ca140916a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01pm PST

Robot of Sherwood

In this episode we review and analyse episode 3 of season 8, entitled ‘Robot of Sherwood’. The Doctor and Clara travel to 1190 to meet Robin Hood. Why is the Doctor so cynical? What are the robots up to? And why are the references to the ‘Promised Land’ so disturbing to the Doctor? Join Jimmy Akin, Fr. Cory Sticha, Dom Bettinelli and Fr. Roderick for discussion, analysis and informed speculation!

Links for this episode:

Check out Stephanie Zimmer’s podcast TV Rewind, Jimmy Akin’s blog Let’s Watch Doctor Who and Dom Bettinelli & Fr. Roderick’s podcast Secrets of Star Wars!

Subscribe to the Feed | Subscribe with iTunes

Direct download: WHO003.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38pm PST

What did Pope Francis mean when he said he wants "a poor church for the poor"? (And more!)

In this episode of Catholic Answers Live, Jimmy takes on the following questions:

  • What did Pope Francis mean when he said that he would like “a poor church for the poor”?
  • How can anybody be a saint if we are all sinful?
  • Can a priest say the ordinary form of the Mass facing East or facing the altar rather than the people?
  • Where did the idea that either the man born blind or his parents had sinned?
  • How to obtain an annulment?
  • What happened to the people who rose from the dead at the time of the Crucifixion?
  • What does it mean when the Apostles’ Creed says that Jesus descended into hell?
  • What does it mean when Hebrews says that Jesus learned obedience through suffering?
  • How to respond to “None is righteous, no not one”?
  • How to respond to the claim that humans are equal to all other species?
  • What does St. Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 8 when he talks about us using our knowledge to tear down our brethren rather than build them up?
  • Why is there a difference between documentary process and formal process annulments?

 

Direct download: ca140911a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:26pm PST

Into the Dalek

In this episode we review and analyse episode 2 of season 8, entitled ‘Into the Dalek’. The Doctor enters the innards of his arch enemy in an attempt to save its life… and its soul. But what about the soul of the Doctor himself? Join Jimmy Akin, Stephanie Zimmer, Fr. Cory Sticha, Dom Bettinelli and Fr. Roderick for discussion, analysis and informed speculation!

Links for this episode:

Check out Stephanie Zimmer’s podcast TV Rewind, Jimmy Akin’s blog Let’s Watch Doctor Who and Dom Bettinelli & Fr. Roderick’s podcast Secrets of Star Wars!

Subscribe to the Feed | Subscribe with iTunes

Direct download: WHO002.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:55pm PST

Can You Give Candy to the Baby Jesus? (And More!)

In this episode of Catholic Answers Live, Jimmy takes on the following questions:

  • Can we “interpret Scripture with Scripture”?
  • What does the word “desuetude” mean and how does it relate to women’s head coverings?
  • Can we wear pictures of people other than saints?
  • Is leaving candy before a statue of Baby Jesus okay or is that idolatry?
  • Is the Church contradicting Scripture with its teaching that the use of force in legitimate defense is okay?
  • Do we grow in our relationship with God in heaven?
  • Can Latin Catholics attend the Melkite rite?
  • Is the ice bucket challenge a Satanic ritual? Do you have to mean for a ritual to be Satanic for it to actually be Satanic?
  • What does a former Catholic who has been attending a non-Catholic church need to do to return to the Faith?
  • Thomas Aquinas’s arguments may prove the existence of a God, but how do you prove the existence of the God of the Bible?
  • How does it work when a person has enough evidence for the existence of God but they choose not to convert?
  • How to deal with religious compulsions? Are they sinful?

 

Direct download: ca140904a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PST

Deep Breath

In this episode Jimmy joins Fr. Roderick Vonhögen, Stephanie Zimmer, Fr. Cory Sticha and Dom Bettinelli to review the first story of the new season of Doctor Who, "Deep Breath."

This is part of the SQPN podcast series The Secrets of Doctor Who, which will be reviewing all 12 episodes of this year's season of Doctor Who.

To learn more about the series, visit doctorwho.sqpn.com.

Jimmy will also be adding new theological podcasts, in and among the 12 episodes of Secrets of Doctor Who.

Direct download: WHO001.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:10pm PST

Jimmy appears on Catholic Answers Live in this episode of the podcast and answers these questions:

  • Why does the book of Baruch not appear in some early lists of the Old Testament canon?
  • Are we sinning if we don’t have a different disposition when praying to Mary and the saints than when praying to God?
  • Did St. Jerome write anything concerning Tobit being inspired, given the question of the Sadducees in Matthew?
  • Would it be appropriate or even mandatory for the Blessed Sacrament to be removed from the Tabernacle if someone is going to speak in a church?
  • How has the Church changed its evaluation of the writings of St. Faustina Kowalska?
  • Is it better to serve the poor by giving them money or making sandwiches and passing them out?
  • How to explain to an ex-Catholic (now Protestant) why they shouldn’t receive Communion in the Catholic Church? Also, how to explain why Transubstantiation does not occur in Protestant services?
  • What is the official Church teaching regarding the idea that Mark was the first Gospel written and that Matthew and Luke used Mark and a lost source known as Q?
  • Is the Church the New Israel?

(Original Airdate: December 9, 2013)

Direct download: ca131212a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:07pm PST

Pope Francis recently released a major new document on evangelization—how to share the gospel of Jesus with others.

In this episode of Catholic Answers Live, Jimmy discusses the document and the implications it has.

In this episode, Jimmy discusses the issues:

  • Is Pope Francis the most misunderstood pope in recent history?
  • Is the press malicious or just incompetent?
  • Does the Pope hate capitalism?
  • How should we understand Pope Francis’s treatment of Islam?
  • What level of authority does an apostolic exhortation have?
  • How did Pope Francis write this document?
  • Are there translation problems in this document?
  • What is the major thrust of the document? Should we evangelize “without words”?
  • Does Pope Francis understand his pontificate as being “to the world” in addition to “to Catholics”?
  • What are the priorities of Pope Francis’s pontificate?
  • What to make of the interview with an atheist journalist that was taken down from the Vatican web site?
  • What level of authority do press interviews with the pope have?
  • Should the Vatican web site publish papal press interviews?
  • What is the Acta Apostolicae Sedis?
  • Will Pope Francis do major specific things in his pontificate? Is he an innovator or an implementer?
  • What to make of Pope Francis washing the feet of a Muslim girl on Holy Thursday?
  • Does Pope Francis hate the Traditional Latin Mass?
  • Why shouldn’t we read our own preferences into what the pope says and does?
  • Will the rule on women’s foot washing be changed? Should we be upset about this?
  • What gravity should we attribute to rubrics in the liturgy, and how does it relate to the doctrines in the hierarchy of truths?
  • How to understand John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis in relation to each other?

(Original Airdate: December 9, 2013)

Direct download: ca131209b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:41pm PST

Then, a few verses later, he appears to the Virgin Mary to tell her that she will be the mother of Jesus Christ.

Both Zechariah and Mary ask questions of the angel--but with very different results.

Zechariah is rendered mute and unable to speak until John the Baptist is circumcised!

Mary . . . isn't.

So, what's the difference? 

They both asked questions about the seemingly impossible pregnancies that Gabriel had come to announce?

Why is Zechariah treated so differently?

Is God just playing favorites with Mary?

Or is there a subtle difference between their questions and the attitudes which the questions reveal?

That's what I take a look at in this podcast.

Direct download: How_Is_Marys_Question_Different.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:41pm PST

Jimmy appears on Catholic Answers Live in this episode of the podcast and answers these questions:

·      Why don’t we call bishops “apostles” if they’re the successors to the apostles? When did we start having bishops? (2:30)

·      Why did the Catholic Church support the “bad guys” in the Spanish Civil War? (5:00)

·      What can Jimmy recommend to a searching Protestant for understanding the pope and Mary? (12:15)

·      Are there apostles living today? (20:35)

·      Are all churches the same? (22:25)

·      Does the fact that Paul was sent to the Gentiles and Rome disprove the authority of Peter? (30:00)

·      Why do Catholics pray to saints if Jesus is the only Mediator? Can we pray for those who have passed on, and if so, do they have to be canonized saints? (34:35)

·      Does Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees imply sola scriptura? Where do Catholics and Protestants differ on sola scriptura? (44:40)

(Original Airdate: December 5, 2013)

Direct download: ca131205a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:02pm PST

Jimmy appears on Catholic Answers Live in this episode of the podcast and answers these questions:

•          What does Jimmy think of the pope’s new apostolic exhortation? (2:35)

          Why do the early Church Fathers know best? Why are they authoritative? (6:15)

          Is there evidence that the apostolic Fathers carried over the deposit of faith? (9:00)

          Did the Reformers educate the people, whereas the Catholic Church deprived people of knowledge? (14:45)

          Is it okay to lie the way Rahab did? (22:05)

          Does the existence of non-canonical Gospels diminish the authority of the ones in the Bible? (27:35)

          Were the four canonical gospels established at the Council of Carthage? (32:40)

          What resources review Catholic books and movies in light of Catholic teaching? (34:30)

          Can people do things pleasing to God before they know Jesus? (40:05)

          Do conceptions have to occur through a sexual act? (48:40)

          Is it morally permissible to contribute to a fund that your job requires you to permit to if it’s pro-abotion? (51:45)

 

(Original Airdate: November 26, 2013)

Direct download: ca131126a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27am PST

Jimmy appears on Catholic Answers Live in this episode of the podcast and answers these questions:

  • Do our souls go to sleep when we die? (3:00-8:25)
  • How to deal with an anti-Catholic husband? (11:45-19:35)
  • How to interpret 1 John 3:9? (19:40-24:53)
  • What does Scripture have to say about Tradition? (27:50-33:45)
  • Are the differences in the Gospels due to the audiences they are written for? (33:45-38:40)
  • Is it moral to sell your organs? (42:23-49:40)
  • Was Adam more culpable for the Fall than Eve? (49:45-53:00)

(Original Airdate: November 19, 2013)

Direct download: ca131119a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:17pm PST

The Catholic Church associates the image of fire with the final purification known as purgatory.

Why does it do this?

Is there a scriptural basis for this image?

Also, what kind of fire is this?

In past centuries, many theologians have speculated that it might be a form of material fire.

Although that has been a common opinion historically, there's a difficult question that the idea raises: How could material fire affect the holy souls in purgatory? They don't have their bodies, so how could material fire affect them? And why would it accomplish a spiritual effect on them?

More recently, some theologians have suggested that the fire is something else entirely.

In fact, they have suggested that the fire of purgatory is an intense, transforming encounter with Jesus Christ.

You might be surprised to find out just who has been proposing this idea.

Direct download: is_the_fire_of_purgatory_jesus_christ_himself.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:22pm PST

Why did the Virgin Mary remain a virgin even after the birth of Jesus?

It is an interesting question, and it can be answered on both a divine and a human level.

In this video, Jimmy Akin explores both aspects of the question, showing why, on a human level, Mary would have chosen to remain a virgin and why, on a divine level, God would find it fitting to have his Son born of a woman who remained a virgin for her whole life.

In the process, Jimmy quotes from from a little-known document from the A.D. 100s that sheds some light on the question.

Direct download: Why_did_mary_remain_a_virgin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:56pm PST

It’s an interesting question.

Today most scholars date the book of Revelation to late in the first century, during the reign of the Emperor Domitian.

According to this view, it was written around A.D. 96.

But there is very good reason to think that the book was written earlier than this—quite a bit earlier.

Here’s why. 

WATCH A VIDEO VERSION HERE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x27mjKaRQ4A

Direct download: whenwasrevelationwritten.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:55pm PST

Some people claim that, a long time ago, there was a god.

This god was born of a virgin on December 25th.

He was baptized.

He had twelve disciples.

He healed the sick and raised the dead.

But he was betrayed and crucified, and on the third day he was raised from the dead.

And according to the people who claim this, this god was not Jesus Christ.

Instead, he was the god Horus.

And, since Horus was worshipped before Jesus Christ, they claim that Jesus Christ is just a rip off of the god Horus.

Are they right?

That’s what we look at in this episode of the Jimmy Akin Podcast.

Direct download: Is_Jesus_Based_on_Horus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:43pm PST

St. Paul tells us:

 

"For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:21-22).

 

Does this mean that there was no death--of any kind--before the Fall of Man?

 

Would that mean that no animals, plants, or microbes died?

 

What about animals that are carnivores?

 

Were lions vegetarians? How about alligators? Or sharks?

How about carnivores like Tyrannosaurus Rex?

 

Let's take a look at the subject . . .

Direct download: 052_did_dinosaurs_and_other_animals_die_before_the_fall.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:29pm PST

It has been widely reported that, when he was still the cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, the future Pope Francis washed the feet of women during the Mass of the Lord's Supper.

Now he has done so as pope.

Did he break the Church's law?

What does this event mean, and how can we understand what he was trying to do?

CLICK HERE TO READ WHAT I'VE WRITTEN ABOUT THAT.

 

Popes Who Thought About Resigning . . . But Didn't

Benedict XVI's resignation may have been the first papal resignation in hundreds of years, but it didn't come completely out of the blue.

He'd already indicated that he had been thinking about the subject of resignation.

What is less well known is that other recent popes had been thinking about it, too.

lot of recent popes.

CLICK HERE TO READ WHAT I'VE WRITTEN ABOUT THAT.

 

Two Interviews

This special, extra episode of the Jimmy Akin Podcast contains two interviews I recently did on these two subjects on Al Kresta's and Drew Mariani's radio shows.

I thought they were very interesting, productive discussions, and so I thought I'd share them with you.

Direct download: xtra_footwashing_resigning.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:54pm PST

In this episode, Al Kresta interviews Jimmy about the St. Malachy prophecy and how reliable it is (or isn't).

They also discuss the history of pope names and what name the new pope is likely to choose.

To get Jimmy's new ebook "Pope Names," visit . . . 

http://www.PopeNamesBook.com

Direct download: xtramalachypopenames.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:21pm PST

Jimmy and historian Dr. Andrew Jones discuss the history of papal resignations.

In this episode they cover the most recent papal resignations, including that of St. Celestine V, who is the most direct parallel to Pope Benedict XVI's resignation.

They comment on how Pope Benedict is modeling his resignation after that of Celestine V and what light this sheds on Pope Benedict's thinking.

They also discuss what this means for the future and why Pope Benedict XVI's resignation may be as momentous an event in the history of the Church as the development of the conclave.

Direct download: 051_Papal_Resignations_-_Part_II.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:31pm PST

Jimmy is joined by the historian Dr. Andrew Jones to discuss the fascinating history of papal resignations.

Before Pope Benedict XVI, which popes have resigned, why have they done so, and how did their resignations shape Catholic history?

Part 1 of 2.

Direct download: 050_Papal_Resignations.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:45pm PST

Wouldn’t it be nice is the devil and his angels all repented, stopped doing evil in the world, and turned back to God so that they could be saved?

But can something like this really happen? What is the biblical evidence and how does the Church understand this question?

Direct download: 049final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:30am PST

In this episode of the show, we tackle the following issues . . .

1) Was St. Peter the greatest of Jesus' original Twelve disciples?

St. Peter is certainly the most commonly mentioned of the original Twelve. He always stands at the head of the list whenever the names of the Twelve apostles are listed in the Bible. And he was clearly part of Jesus' inner circle, even within the Twelve. He is, unquestionably, the most prominent of the Twelve.

But did Jesus give him a special role among the Twelve, a special position, or was he just more active than the others?

Jesus gives us an answer to this question, and in an unexpected place . . .

2) The Number of the Beast vs. the Number of Jesus

We've all heard that, in the book of Revelation, the number of the Beast is 666.

Whatever does this mean?

And if the Beast has a number, do others?

Does the name of Jesus have a number?

Does the name of God have a number? . . . 

3) Did the Gospel Writers Feel Free to Make Stuff Up?

Some people hold the view that the writers of the four gospels felt free to basically make stuff up, to freely shape the narratives they were writing about Jesus' life by either manufacturing stories about his deeds or making up teachings and putting them on his lips.

The idea is that they used the figure of Jesus as a vehicle for their own ideas, and they made up material to serve the perceived needs of their local Christian communities.

It's easy to show that by the second century there were a lot of people identifying themselves as Christians who did exactly this. That's why there were so many Gnostic gospels dating from the second to the fourth century.

But what about the first century, canonical gospels? . . .

4) Are Scary Halloween Costumes Okay?

Many people of conscience view Halloween with some suspicion, and the way it is often celebrated today, that’s understandable.

Some have chosen not to celebrate Halloween at all, and that’s a respectable choice.

Others have chosen to invert the popular celebration by dressing up–or having their children dress up–as entirely wholesome figures, like doctors, nurses, and firemen or even has historical figures, like saints.

But what about scary Halloween costumes? Are those okay? . . .

Direct download: 48final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:41pm PST

You sometimes encounter the charge that the Catholic Church wrongly "changed the sabbath" from Saturday to Sunday.

This claim is often made by Seventh-Day Adventists, for example.

But even if one isn't accusing the Church of wrongdoing, the question can still arise: Why do Catholics worship on Sunday rather than Saturday?

Here's the story . . .

First, let's clear away a potential source of confusion. While it's true that people sometimes speak of Sunday as "the Christian sabbath," this is a loose way of speaking.

Strictly speaking, the sabbath is the day it always was--Saturday--though it should be noted that traditionally Jewish people have celebrated the sabbath from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday.

Sunday is a distinct day, which follows the sabbath. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:

Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ.

That same paragraph explains why we celebrate on Sunday. For Christians the ceremonial observance of Sunday replaces that of the sabbath. Properly speaking, we're not celebrating the sabbath on Sunday. We're celebrating something else, but it's something that the sabbath points toward.

What we are celebrating instead of the sabbath is "the Lord's day."

That's something Christians have celebrated since the first century. In fact, in the very first chapter of Revelation, we read that John experienced the inaugural vision of the book on "the Lord's day." He writes:

I John, your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet [Revelation 1:9-10].

And he goes on to describe the vision of Jesus Christ he received.

For our purposes, the important thing to note is that he speaks of the Lord's day as an already-established thing. He expects his readers to know what it is.

So, when is it?

The first Christians commonly spoke of Jesus Christ as "the Lord," and the Lord's day is Jesus Christ's day--the day he rose from the dead and his tomb was found empty. That's the day after the sabbath, or Sunday.

In Matthew's gospel we read:

Now after the sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Mag'dalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulcher.

But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay [Matthew 28:1, 5-6].

The fact that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week is something stressed by all four gospels:

And that's why Christians celebrate the Lord's day. The Catechism explains:

Jesus rose from the dead "on the first day of the week." Because it is the "first day," the day of Christ's Resurrection recalls the first creation. . . . For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica), Sunday.

We can confirm that the early Christians were meeting on the first day of the week from the letters of St. Paul, because he tells the Corinthians to take up a collection on that day of the week so that they won't have to take up a collection when he arrives. He says:

Now concerning the contribution for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do.

On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that contributions need not be made when I come [1 Corinthians 16:1-2].

He expects the collection to already be taken up by the time he arrives so that they don't have to get people to give at that point. This indicates that the early Christians were meeting on the first day of the week, celebrating the Lord's day.

Does that mean that no Christians in the first century ever celebrated the sabbath?

No. Many Jewish Christians celebrated both the sabbath and Sunday in the first century, just as many also practiced the Jewish dietary laws and ritual circumcision and offered sacrifices in the Temple.

St. Paul himself went to synagogue services on the sabbath so that he could preach the message of Jesus to his Jewish countrymen, for that is where and when they would gather together.

But Paul is clear that sabbath observance is not binding on Christians.

He addresses this very directly in the letter to the Colossians, where he writes:

And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. . . .

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath.

These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ [Colossians 2:13-17].

When St. Paul refers to the bond which stood against us with its legal demands, he is referring to the Law of Moses. Christ cancelled this bond. That is why he says not to let anyone pass judgment on us in questions of food and drink--what is kosher and what isn't.

And he says not to let anyone judge us with regard to keeping a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. Those are the three types of days on the Jewish liturgical calendar: the annual feasts (like Yom Kippur), the monthly new moon, and the weekly sabbath.

All of these things had a symbolic value, which pointed forward to Christ, but now that the substance which cast the shadow has come--Christ himself--the things pointing forward to him are no longer needed.

The Church Fathers agree. Thus in the early A.D. 100s, we find St. Ignatius of Antioch writing:

Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord's day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death [Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians 9:1].

So let's loop back to our original question of whether the Catholic Church "changed the sabbath." From what we've seen, it didn't.

There was no Medieval pope or council who said, "We're now going to celebrate the sabbath on Sunday."

The weekly sabbath is the day it always was--Saturday--the day before the Lord's day.

What's different is that Jewish Christians are no longer obligated to celebrate the sabbath, because Jesus Christ himself fulfilled it and all the other Old Testament ceremonies and instituted the New Covenant.

And he had the authority to do that, for as he himself told us:

The Son of man is lord of the sabbath [Matthew 12:8].

Of course, Gentile Christians were never obligated to celebrate the sabbath in the first place, because the Law of Moses was given to the Jewish people and was only binding on them (in contrast to God's eternal, moral law, which is binding on everyone).

What we are obliged to celebrate is the Lord's day, which fulfills the principles that were contained within the sabbath, including the need to set aside adequate time for rest and worship.

But there wasn't a Medieval pope or council who instituted that, either. As we've, seen, it's something that dates from the New Testament age itself. Thus the Catechism states:

This practice of the Christian assembly dates from the beginnings of the apostolic age. The Letter to the Hebrews reminds the faithful "not to neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but to encourage one another" [Hebrews 10:25].

Direct download: 047final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:19pm PST

Abortion is a controversial issue, and at the center of the controversy is the question of whether the unborn are human beings. If they are, then abortion kills a human being.

Many people think that this is somehow a religious issue and involves religious questions like when the soul arrives.

Some people deliberately try to frame the issue this way in order to shut down rational discussion of the subject.

So let's set the question of religious aside <em>entirely</em>.

Instead, let's look at something we should all be able to agree upon: science.

What does science say about whether the unborn are human beings?

Direct download: 046final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:14pm PST

One of the most controversial passages in the Bible is Matthew 16:18, where Jesus tells Peter, "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church."

Catholics see this passage as evidence that Jesus made Peter the first pope.

Many Evangelicals look at it as just the opposite.

Who is right?

It's an interesting question, and I've been on both sides of the question. In fact, this passage played a pivotal role in my conversion to the Catholic Church.

You may think you've heard all the arguments about whether Peter is the rock, but I'm going to show you the one that convinced me, and you probably haven't heard it anywhere else . . .

 

The Basic Argument

A common claim in Protestant apologetics is that in Matthew 16:18, Jesus is actually contrasting St. Peter with the rock on which he will build his Church.

The argument is based on the fact that in Greek the word for Peter is petros, while the word used for "rock" here is petra.

It is often claimed that these words meant two different things--that petros meant a small stone or a pebble, while petra meant a large rock.

The idea is that Jesus is contrasting Peter--a tiny, insignificant stone--with the great rock on which he will build his Church, which is often said not to be Peter but Peter's faith.

How well does this argument work?

 

Small Stone vs. Large Rock?

In the Expositor's Bible Commentary, the esteemed Evangelical Bible scholar D. A. Carson writes on this passage:

Although it is true that petros and petra can mean "stone" and "rock" respectively in earlier Greek, the distinction is largely confined to poetry.

Moreover the underlying Aramaic in this case is unquestionable; and most probably kepha was used in both clauses ("you are kepha and on this kepha"), since the word was used both for a name and for "rock."

The Peshitta (written in Syriac, a language cognate with Aramaic) makes no distinction between the words in the two clauses.

The Greek makes the distinction between petros and petra simply because it is trying to preserve the pun, and in Greek the feminine petra could not very well serve as a masculine name.

So the argument that petros and petra have different meanings in this passage is actually quite weak.

But for the sake of argument, let's suppose that they did. Would this mean that Peter isn't the rock?

 

You May Look Small . . . 

The argument that he isn't is based on the fact that there is a clear parallelism between Peter and the rock in this passage, and it assumes a particular kind of parallelism--one that contrasts Peter with the rock.

This is sometimes called antithetic parallelism.

But that isn't the only kind of parallelism there is. The Bible often uses another form, known as synthetic parallelism.

In synthetic parallelism, the second item mentioned builds on or amplifies the meaning of the first.

If that's what's happening in this passage--even if we grant that petros means a small stone and petra means a large rock--then it does not follow that Peter and the rock are two different things.

Instead, Jesus would be saying something like, "Although you may seem to be a small stone, Peter, on the large rock that you really are, I will build my Church."

In this case petra or large rock would bring out the actual significance of the small stone that Peter appears to be.

But there are even more decisive arguments, and you don't have to speak Greek or Aramaic to understand them . . .

 

My Own Conversion

A key moment in my own conversion occurred one day when I was reading a book, and it had an extended quotation from Matthew 16.

I suddenly realized that there was a structural feature in the text that pointed to Peter being the rock.

Soon afterward, I noticed additional features that indicated the same thing.

I realized that these were far stronger indicators than the arguments I had previously taken for granted regarding the alleged difference in meaning between petros and petra, and I had to change my view.

Here is what I discovered . . .

 

Jesus Asks a Question

If we back up a few verses, we find Jesus asking the disciples a question:

[13] Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare'a Philip'pi, he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that the Son of man is?"

[14] And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli'jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

[15] He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

[16] Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

That's the correct answer, and Jesus says three things to Peter in reply:

[17] And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

[18] And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.

[19] I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

What I noticed was that there are structural features in Jesus' three statements to Peter that indicate he is the rock.

 

Blessed Are You

One thing I noticed is that the statements immediately before and after the "You are Peter" passage are both blessings.

First, Jesus says "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona!" That is clearly a blessing.

Then he says, "You are Peter."

And finally he says, "I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven." That also is clearly a blessing.

So "You are Peter" is sandwiched between two blessings. The passage unambiguously stresses the blessedness of St. Peter.

That argues against the idea that Jesus is belittling Peter in this passage.

It would be like Jesus saying, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! . . . You insignificant pebble. . . . Here are the keys to the kingdom of God!"

 

What It Means to Be Peter

I also noticed that each of Jesus' three statements to St. Peter has a two-part explanation attached to it.

The first statement, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona!" is explained by "For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you," which is then further explained by "but my Father who is in heaven."

These are why Peter is blessed. He didn't learn of Jesus' identity from man. It was revealed to him by the Father.

The third statement, "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven," is explained by "and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven," which is then further explained by "and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

These are part of what it means for Peter to have the keys of the kingdom. He is able to bind things with authority from God, and he is able to loose things with authority from God.

So when it turns out that the second, or middle statement also has the same structure, then we need to read it in the same way.

The statement "you are Peter," is explained by "and on this rock I will build my church," which is further explained by "and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it."

So that is what it means for him to be Peter: Jesus will build his Church on him, and the gates of hades will not prevail against it.

 

What This Means for Us

When I realized these things, I realized that Peter had to be the rock Jesus was talking about. And that was a pivotal moment in my journey with God.

Because if Peter is the rock on which Jesus builds his Church, that means that Peter is the chief apostle, the chief shepherd of Christ's flock. And that means that, once Jesus has ascended to heaven, Peter is the earthly head of the Church.

That's a good description of the office of the pope.

And so, when I realized these things, I concluded that I had to reconsider matters. I had to review my beliefs with an open mind toward whether the Catholic Church was right after all.

In the end, I concluded that it is, and so I became Catholic.

In the years since, my conviction has only strengthened as I have learned more about Catholic teaching and its basis in the Bible, including the role of the pope.

Direct download: 045final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:50pm PST

The Bible records a number of ancient civilizations. Perhaps the most famous of these is ancient Rome.

By the time of the New Testament, Rome was the major world power, and it was in control of the Holy Land during the entire earthly life of Jesus and during the lives of his immediate followers.

Jesus was born during the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus. He was crucified during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius. The book of Acts records the Roman emperor Claudius by name. And both St. Peter and St. Paul were crucified at Rome by the Emperor Nero.

It is clear that the Romans were extraordinarily important to the world in which the New Testament was written.

All that makes it worth asking: Who were the Romans, and where did their civilization come from?

<video>

The Legendary Founding

The answer is shrouded in the mists of time, and ancient legends get in the way of an exact knowledge of the facts.

According to the Romans’ own account, the city of Rome was founded in the wake of the famous Trojan War.

Specifically, it was founded on April 21st in 753 B.C. by two twins named Romulus and Remus.

These two twins were supposedly the grandsons of an earlier king—Numitor—but they were raised by a she-wolf, and so they were feral children.

When they founded the city of Rome they had a quarrel, and Romulus killed Remus. Romulus thus became the sole and original king of Rome.

The Roman Kingdom

This led to a period known as “the Roman kindom,” in which Rome was ruled by a series of kings.

This period is supposed to have lasted from the founding in 753 B.C. until about 509 B.C.

It is characterized by the fact that Rome was ruled by kings, just like other peoples were. During this time seven kings supposedly reigned over Rome, beginning with Romulus and ending with Tarquinius Superbus, or “Tarquin the Proud.”

Eventually, however, the people of Rome were fed up with their kings and overthrew them, leading to a new period in the history of Rome.

The Roman Republic

This led to the “Roman Republic,” a period in which Rome lacked a monarch.

The word “republic” comes from the Latin res publica, which means “public thing”—a reference to the fact that how the state was governed was now a public thing rather than a matter for just the kings.

To replace the kings, power was divided between two men, known as consuls, who were elected every year and had significant checks on their powers, including term limits. 

The Roman Republic lasted from the overthrow of the kings around 509 B.C. until the first century B.C.

The Roman Empire

The Romans found that their system of divided government, with power split up among the consuls and other government officials, was at times unwieldy. 

As a result, in times of crisis, they sometimes appointed dictators—men who could run the state as single individuals, but only for a limited period prescribed by law, to keep the dictator from turning into a tyrant.

Eventually this system broke down, when one particular dictator—Julius Caesar—engineered a situation in which he was proclaimed “dictator in perpetuity.”

That was too close to the idea of kingship, and the situation didn’t last long. He was quickly assassinated by a conspiracy in the Senate.

His heir was a man named Octavian, and he eventually accumulated as much power as Julius Caesar had possessed—and more.

Some wanted him to be given the title “king,” but Octavian knew that would be dangerous, so he allowed the Roman Senate to vote him different titles.

One title became the name he is known by today: Augustus.

The other was a military title that meant “commander.” In Latin this word is imperator, and from it we get the English word emperor.

Augustus this became the first of the Roman emperors, and the Roman empire was born.

Rome and the Life of Jesus

Rome had been accumulating power through conquest even since the time of the Roman kings, and by the reign of Augustus Caesar it had become the dominant power in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

They were in political control of the Holy Land at the time Jesus was born, and it was they who had appointed Herod as “king of the Jews.” It was also Augustus Caesar who called for the enrollment that led Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem.

The impact of the Romans on the gospel story is thus apparent right from the beginning.

Their impact was still present at the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, when other members of the Herod family were ruling parts of his kingdom, and when the Roman governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, agreed to have Jesus crucified.

“We Have No King But Caesar”

It is ironic that, at the time of Jesus’ Passion, the crowds cried, “We have no king but Caesar!” 

The Roman ruler of the day was Augustus’s successor, Tiberius Caesar, and he did not technically have the title “king.” The Romans were too proud of having overthrown their kings for that. But the emperors were functioning as kings, and it was obvious to everyone.

The Empire Strikes Back

The power of the emperors continued to have an impact on the early Church. Just a few decades later it was the Emperor Nero who put St. Peter and St. Paul to death at Rome.

Later emperors launched the persecutions that martyred so many early Christians—and paradoxically caused the Church to grow, until the Roman empire itself was converted to Christ.

The Roman empire was something that the first Christians had to deal with constantly. It loomed over their lives and tried to destroy them and their faith.

It will help us all understand and appreciate our faith better if we know something about the Roman empire and the impact it had on the Bible and the early Church.

Learning More

The persecution by the Roman authorities is a big part of what the book of Revelation is about. 

If you’d like to learn more about that, I’d like to invite you to join my my Secret Information Club at www.SecretInfoClub.com.

It’s a service I operate by email which is absolutely free. I send out information on a variety of fascinating topics connected with the Catholic faith.

The very first thing you’ll get if you sign up is an “interview” I did with Pope Benedict on the book of Revelation. What I did was compose questions about the book of Revelation and take the answers from his writings.

He has a lot of interesting things to say!

If you’d like to find out what they are, just sign up at www.SecretInfoClub.com. Thank you!

Direct download: 044final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48pm PST

One of the distinctive Protestant principles is expressed in the slogan sola scriptura, which is Latin for “by Scripture only.” The idea is that every teaching on faith or morals must be directly or indirectly based on the Scriptures. 

That leads to the common question, “Where’s that in the Bible?”

It’s an important question. In fact, it’s a question that needs to be asked about the doctrine of sola scriptura itself. Because if every teaching on faith or morals has to be based on the Bible then sola scriptura must be based on the Bible. 

If it’s not, then it is a self-refuting claim and is false.

So what passages do Protestant Christians appeal to in support of sola scriptura?

One that is sometimes cited is Acts 17, which deals with an incident that happened when St. Paul preached in the Jewish synagogue in the Greek city of Berea.

St. Luke writes:

[11] Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Many in the Protestant community have found this an inspiring story, and some have even named their ministries after the Berean Jews. If you go online you can find all kinds of Berean churches, schools, ministries, and bookstores.

The idea is that we should imitate the Berean Jews and take a skeptical attitude of theological ideas we are presented with. Instead of just accepting them, we should search the Scriptures daily to see if what we are being told is true or not. If it’s not, then we should not accept it.

If that’s what the passage means—if it is commending the Bereans for their skeptical attitude and refusal to believe a teaching unless it can be found in Scripture—then this would be good evidence for sola scriptura.

But that’s not what it means, and it’s easy to show that.

You’ll notice that Acts 17:11 says that the Berean Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, which raises an immediate question: “What were the Thessalonian Jews like?”

If they are less noble in contrast to the skeptical Bereans, presumably they were credulous individuals who accepted what they were told without Scriptural proof.

That’s not what they were like at all. To see this, let’s back up to the beginning of the chapter, where we read:

Acts 17

[1] Now when [Paul and his companions] had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews.

[2] And Paul went in, as was his custom, and for three weeks he argued with them from the scriptures, 

[3] explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ." 

[4] And some of them were persuaded, and joined Paul and Silas; as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. 

[5] But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked fellows of the rabble, they gathered a crowd, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the people. 

[6] And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brethren before the city authorities, crying, "These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 

[7] and Jason has received them; and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus." 

[8] And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard this. 

[9] And when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go. 

[10] The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Beroea; and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue.

It’s in that context that we now return to the verse where we started:

 [11] Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

So the contrast isn’t between the skeptical Bereans, who insisted on Scriptural proof of what Paul was saying, and the credulous Thessalonians, who accepted it without question.

Instead, the contrast is between the open-minded Bereans, who were willing and eager to examine the Scriptures and see if what Paul was saying was true, versus the hostile Thessalonians, who started a riot and got Paul in trouble with the authorities, even though he had proved from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.

This understanding is confirmed by the following verses, where we read:

[12] Many of [the Bereans] therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. 

[13] But when the Jews of Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Beroea also, they came there too, stirring up and inciting the crowds. 

[14] Then the brethren immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there.

So the Thessalonians forced Paul to flee Berea, just as they had forced him to flee from their own town.

Thus it wasn’t the Bereans who were skeptical. It was the Thessalonians.

There is also another reason why this passage isn’t a good proof text for sola scriptura, which is this: The Christian faith contains doctrines that aren’t found in the Old Testament.

What’s why even those who favor doing theology “by Scripture alone” don’t favor doing it “by the Old Testament alone.”

While the Old Testament does contain prophecies that point forward to Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, it doesn’t contain the whole of the Christian faith.

What the Berean Jews were willing to do, therefore, was to open-mindedly look at the Old Testament Scriptures, see if they confirmed Paul’s preaching that Jesus was the Messiah, and then go on to accept the new, Christian revelation that Paul also imparted.

And he imparted it by preaching, because the books of the New Testament were not all written yet.

If we were to follow the example of the Bereans, we would look at whether the Scriptures we do have support a particular message and, if they do, then be willing to accept further revelation not found in those Scriptures.

We would, ironically, embrace the attitude of those at Thessalonica who did accept the Christian faith, for in 2 Thessalonians 2, St. Paul told them:

2 Thessialonians 2

[15] So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.

In other words, we would recognize the authority of all of the traditions passed on from Christ and the apostles, whether they were written or not.

And this is what the Catholic Church says we should do.

If you’d like to learn more about these and other matters, I’d like to invite you to join my Secret Information Club at www.SecretInfoClub.com.

It’s a service I operate by email which is absolutely free. I send out fascinating information on a variety of topics connected with the Catholic faith.

The very first thing you’ll get if you sign up is an “interview” I did with Pope Benedict on the book of Revelation. What I did was compose questions about the book of Revelation and take the answers from his writings.

He has a lot of interesting things to say!

If you’d like to find out what they are, just sign up at www.SecretInfoClub.com. Thank you!

Direct download: 043final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:46pm PST

The book of Revelation contains a passage in which St. John sees a great sign in the sky. He wrote:

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

She brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne [Rev. 12:1, 5]. 


Who is this mysterious Woman clothed in the sun?

Note that she gives birth to a male child who is to rule the nations with a rod of iron. That’s a reference to the Messianic prophecy in Psalm 2, where we read:

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron [Ps. 2:8-9].

Jesus fulfilled this Messianic prophecy. 

The fact that the male child is caught up to the throne of God is a reference to Jesus’ Ascension into heaven, so we have another confirmation that the male child is Jesus.

And since the Woman who gives birth to him is his Mother, we could infer that the Woman here is Jesus’ mother, the Virgin Mary.

But there is more to the story.

The symbolism connected with the Woman is drawn from the book of Genesis, where the patriarch Joseph has a dream involving the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Then he dreamed another dream, and told it to his brothers, and said, "Behold, I have dreamed another dream; and behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me." 


But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him, and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” [Gen. 37:9-10].

The symbolism of the sun, moon, and twelve stars comes from Genesis, where it refers to the family of Jacob and the twelve patriarchs, who headed the twelve tribes of Israel.

That has led some to say that the Woman in Revelation 12 is Israel. 

You could go further and note that the Church is the spiritual Israel. So some have suggested that the Woman as the Church.

Which view is true?

Is Woman Mary?

Is Woman Israel?

Is Woman the Church?

You could try to solve this problem by making some of the symbols primary and some secondary.

For example, you could make the Woman’s role as the mother of Jesus primary, so she’s his literal mother, Mary, and the sun, moon, and stars imagery only means that Mary was a Jewish woman.

Or you could make the sun, moon, and stars imagery primary and say that she’s Israel, and the fact that Mary was the particular Jewish woman who gave birth to Jesus is secondary.

We don’t have to make that choice, because if you study the way symbolism is used in the book of Revelation,  it often uses a single symbol points to more than one thing.

For example, Revelation 17 tells us what the seven heads of the beast represents

This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the [Whore of Babylon] is seated; they are also seven kings (Rev. 17:9-10).

If the seven heads can be seven mountains and seven kings then the Woman clothed with the sun might be the Virgin Mary and Israel and the Church.

That’s what Pope Benedict suggests. In his book Jesus of Nazareth, volume 2, he writes:

When the Book of Revelation speaks of the great sign of a Woman appearing in heaven, she is understood to represent all Israel, indeed, the whole Church. . . . 

On the basis of the “corporate personality” model—in keeping with biblical thought—the early Church had no difficulty recognizing in the Woman, on the one hand, Mary herself and, on the other hand, transcending time, the Church, bride and mother, in which the mystery of Mary spreads out into history [Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth 2:222].

On another occasion, Pope Benedict said:

This Woman represents Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer, but at the same time she also represents the whole Church, the People of God of all times, the Church which in all ages, with great suffering, brings forth Christ ever anew [General Audience, Aug. 23, 2006].

As Pope Benedict shows us, we don’t have to make a forced choice between the possible meanings of what the Woman represents.

In keeping with the richness of the way Revelation uses symbolism, to use Pope Benedict’s phrases, she can be Mary and “all Israel” and “the whole Church” in different ways.

If you’d like to learn more about what Pope Benedict says about the book of Revelation, I’d like to invite you to join my Secret Information Club at www.SecretInfoClub.com.

The very first thing you’ll get is a free “interview” with Pope Benedict where I composed the questions and took the answers from his writings.

He has lots of interesting things to say!

You’ll also get lots of additional information on fascinating topics, absolutely FREE, so you should join now at www.SecretInfoClub.com.

Direct download: 042final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:05am PST

Jimmy explains about his recent struggle with cataracts and his eye surgery.

Yolanda from Washington state asks about spiritual warfare.

Cheryl from Singapore asks about prayers to the hungry ghosts being performed on Catholic school property.

Direct download: 041final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:40pm PST

Scientists are abuzz with word that the long-sought "God particle" (aka the Higgs boson) may have finally been discovered.

While most scientists don't like the nickname "God particle" (and while many religious people might not neither), it's certainly generated a lot of coverage in the media.

Because of the God-based nickname the particle has been given, the discovery of the Higgs has attracted a lot of press attention, and I've received quite a number of requests to comment on it.

In this episode, I take a look at these and similar questions to give you the basics of the new discovery and what to make of it from a religious perspective.

Before we get to the video, though, here's a Higgs-related joke (adapted from one I read on the Internet):

<p style="padding-left: 30px;">A Higgs boson walks into a church. The priest, offended by its nickname of the "God particle," immediately orders it out.</p>

<p style="padding-left: 30px;">The Higgs shrugs and turns to leave. "Okay," it says. "But without me, you can't have Mass."</p>

<em>Groan!</em>

At least if you know the basics of what the Higgs boson is supposed to do.

If not, listen the episode and find out!

Direct download: 040final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:23pm PST

In this episode of Catholic Answers Live, Jimmy Akin answers:

What is the history of chapel veils? Why did women stop wearing them?

What is the best resource for helping Catholics understand Scripture?

If I have a lot of debt, should I still tithe 10%? How do we know when to stop tithing and start paying our debts?

Do you think the laity’s attitude toward the priest is still that he is a member of the community, or do people just go to him for the sacraments and then ignore him?

What must I do to be saved?

In The Passion of the Christ, Satan asks, “How can one man bear the full burden of sin?” -- how do Catholics address this question?

Where can I find proof that the Bible comes from the Catholic Church?

What can I do to help my daughter who is dating a Muslim stay strong in her faith?

How long does the sacrament of the anointing of the sick last? Can you receive it more than once? 

What resource do you recommend for information about the permanent diaconate?

Is it disrespectful to refrain from bowing during the Nicene Creed and from striking your breast during the Penitential Rite?

My 24-year-old son always talks about the Vatican’s “corrupt” police force -- can you tell me anything about this?

If I enter into the Catholic Church with a lot of spiritual “baggage,” will that be taken care of before I join, or do I bring it to confession after I become Catholic?

Direct download: ca120712b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am PST

If you read some older English translations of the Bible, like the Catholic Douay-Rheims (pub. 1609) or the Protestant King James (pub. 1611) you come across some passages that seem a bit mysterious. For example in the Douay-Rheims, in Psalms 91:11 we read:

"But my horn shall be exalted like that of the unicorn."

In the equivalent verse in the King James (Ps. 92:10) we read:

"But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn."

In reading such passages, you might think, what on earth does that mean? In these cases, the horn is being used as a symbol of strength or vigor. The Psalmist is saying that thanks to God, I'm going to be given a lot of strength and vigor, so praise God.

Fine, but what's this stuff about unicorns? I, mean does this mean unicorns are real?

In this episode we go to the heart of the matter and reveals the startling truth about what the Bible might be referring to in these passages.

We also look at how the word "unicorn" got into these passages in the first place and what ancient but real creature the translators may have been referring to. (Unless you've heard this before, it can come as a real surprise.

Direct download: 039final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:43am PST

There is a common argument used against the idea of purgatory in some circles which goes like this: "St. Paul says that 'to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord' (2 Cor. 5:8). It's that simple: If you're a Christian and you aren't in your body then you are with Jesus in heaven. There is no room for purgatory in St. Paul's view. Purgatory is just a Catholic fable--a 'man made tradition.'"

Is this true?

It turns out that if you examine what St. Paul really said, the whole argument is based on a misquotation. St. Paul said nothing of the kind.

Furthermore, if you look elsewhere in St. Paul's writings--to the very same church he was addressing in his "absent from the body" passage--you find strong evidence for purgatory.

Far from being a Catholic fable, purgatory is rooted in the thought of the Apostle Paul himself--as I show in this episode.

Direct download: 038final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:59pm PST

In this episode of the program I answer two questions regarding apostolic succession and whether, in fact, we have an unbroken chain going back to the apostles.

The first question comes from Marci in Mexico, who wonders about the effect that various practices have on the liceity (lawfulness) and validity of episcopal consecrations.

The second question comes from a gentleman who asks about a particular figure from the 1500s--Cardinal Scipione Rebiba--who has a very unusual property: 91% of all modern Catholic bishops trace their episcopal lineage back to him, and we're not entirely sure who ordained Rebiba.

What are the implications of that for apostolic succession.

In the process of answering this, I invite Dr. Andrew Jones of Logos Bible Software on the show. Dr. Jones has a doctorate in medieval history, so this is right up his alley.

In the second half of the show I keep Dr. Jones on the line to update us about current Logos Bible Software projects, including the newly-released Catechism of the Catholic Church set (which you may already have--free of charge) and their forthcoming translations of certain key works by St. Thomas Aquinas that have never been translated into English before. (I'm excited about getting my hands on those!)

Direct download: 037final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30pm PST

At some point in their lives, virtually everyone has wondered whether they can be forgiven for what they've done. The good news is, they can!

But sometimes the doubts linger, particularly for people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and particularly in connection with certain passages in the Bible, such as some in the book of Hebrews that deal with the subject of apostasy--the complete rejection of the Christian faith.

Can an apostate be forgiven? If you've ever knowingly and deliberately rejected Christ, will he take you back? And what is the real meaning of those passages in Hebrews?

In this episode Jimmy responds to a gentleman who is struggling with these very issues.

He demonstrates that the Hebrews passages do not mean what the gentleman fears and reveals the infinite mercy of God.

The good news is: No matter what you've done, if you are willing to come back to God, God is eager to take you back. He loves you, and your sins are not greater than his love.

Direct download: 036final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:50pm PST

Recently an article on the Internet that claims same-sex "marriage" used to be a Christian rite has been trending. It's been cited repeatedly, in many different places, and Jimmy has gotten multiple queries about how to respond to it.

According to the article:

Contrary to myth, Christianity's concept of marriage has not been set in stone since the days of Christ, but has constantly evolved as a concept and ritual.

Prof. John Boswell, the late Chairman of Yale University’s history department, discovered that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient Christian church liturgical documents, there were also ceremonies called the "Office of Same-Sex Union" (10th and 11th century), and the "Order for Uniting Two Men" (11th and 12th century).

In this video episode of the Jimmy Akin Podcast, Jimmy discusses the piece, where it came from, what it is based on, and what the problems with it are.

He demonstrates that the article is derived from a deliberately falsified piece of scholarship by deceased professor John Boswell, who used outrageously false mistranslations to twist ancient documents to fit a modern agenda.

Jimmy Also reveals the true nature of the "same-sex unions" that Boswell discussed--and the fact that these very same rites are practiced in some parts of the Christian world today.

This must-see video will prove eye-opening for anyone interested in this subject.

By the way, in light of President Obama's recent endorsement of homosexual "marriage," Jimmy is preparing a special Secret Information Club "interview" with Pope Benedict on the subject of homosexual marriage.

To get your copy, you should sign up at www.SecretInfoClub.com by Thursday, and you'll get Pope Benedict's teaching on homosexual marriage by email on Friday.

Direct download: Boswell.m4v
Category:general -- posted at: 9:11am PST

This Sunday's readings deal with one of the most important events in Christian history.

Although the majority of Christians have little or no knowledge of the event, a pivotal moment in the history of the Church is recorded in Acts 10.

This event is the conversion of the household of the Roman centurion Cornelius, and it is important because, when this event occurred, it became clear that one did not have to become a Jew in order to become a Christian. This opened the door to a wave of conversions from people of all nations and kept Christianity from being a purely Jewish phenomenon, ethnically speaking.

But the conversion of Cornelius is controversial. It was in its own day, and it is in ours as well.

Some try to draw lessons from it like everyone should speak in tongues upon their conversion to Christ . . . or that baptism is merely a symbol that does not convey God's grace.

How can one respond to these claims, and what are the *true* lessons that one can learn from this turning point in the history of Christianity?

In this video episode of the Jimmy Akin Podcast, Jimmy discusses the arguments and reveals both surprising and reassuring facts about the conversion of Cornelius.

This must-see video will prove eye-opening for Christians of all persuasions.

Direct download: Cornelius.m4v
Category:general -- posted at: 8:34am PST

Vegetarianism is a hot topic today. Many people are cutting out some or all animal products from their diet.

When done for health reasons, this is a matter of science rather than faith. But what about claims that Christians should be vegetarians for religious reasons?

Some even claim that Jesus himself was a vegetarian.

And what are we to make of the slogan "A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy"?

In this video episode of the Jimmy Akin Podcast, best-selling author Jimmy Akin looks at the evidence and reveals startling facts that are often overlooked, though they are right there in the Bible.

With charity and patience, Akin explores the truth about the Bible and vegetarianism and provides a balanced view of the relationship between humans and animals.

Direct download: 005_Should_Christians_Be_Vegetarians.m4v
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30pm PST

We’re coming up on May–a month associated with the Virgin Mary–so here’s a new video on one of the most common objections to the rosary: the charge that it amounts to “vain repetitions,” in violation of Jesus’ command (Matt. 6:7).

By the way, I’m also preparing an “interview” with John Paul II on the rosary, so if you’d like to get his wisdom on this special devotion, sign up for the Secret Information Club and on May 1st you’ll get it by email.

You should sign up for the Secret Information Club using the form on the right (top) or byclicking here to go to SecretInfoClub.com.

Direct download: v002-vain-repetitions.m4v
Category:general -- posted at: 5:36pm PST

SHOW NOTES

JIMMY AKIN PODCAST EPISODE 035 (04/21/12)

This week the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome mandated a thoroughgoing reform of the largest leadership conference for women religious in the United States.

In an exclusive interview, Ann Carey joins Jimmy Akin to go in-depth on this dramatic announcement, why it happened, what it means, and what may happen next.

Ann Carey is a journalist who has been covering the subject of women religious for many years. She is the author of the book "Sisters in Crisis: The Tragic Unraveling of Women’s Religious Communities."

According to the Vatican report, there are serious doctrinal problems associated with the activities and publications of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious--some which challenge the core of the Christian faith itself.

The leadership of the LCWR has also flouted the authority of the bishops, as when they publicly sought to neutralize the U.S. bishops' leadership during the 2010 health care debate in Congress and when they later honored Sr. Carol Keehan, CEO of the Catholic Healthcare Association, which also broke with and defied the bishops over the issue of health care.

You can read more about this subject in an article Jimmy authored, which is online here:

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/holy-see-mandates-reform-of-u.s.-women-religious-conference/

How the LCWR will respond to the mandated reform is unknown, but in this interview Ann and Jimmy preview the dramatic developments that may lie ahead of us.

Today’s Music: Joy Trip (JewelBeat.Com)

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Direct download: 035final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:11am PST

SHOW NOTES:

JIMMY AKIN PODCAST EPISODE 034 (03/31/12)

ERIC ASKS ABOUT THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD AND THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH

2 Kings 2:1 

Letter on Certain Questions Concerning Eschatology

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19790517_escatologia_en.html

Some Current Questions in Eschatology (1992)  

http://www.nd.edu/~afreddos/courses/43801/International%20Theological%20Commission%20Eschatology.pdf

1 Thessalonians 4:14-18

2 Peter 3:3-14

Revelation 6:12-17

Revelation 20:11-21:5

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1042-1047, 1060

Direct download: 034final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:14pm PST