September 24, 2014

When I go surfing on the Internet, I have a wide range of web sites I visit—including strange sites maintained by eccentrics at both ends of the Catholic spectrum. I do this because I have found that you can find the most interesting things in the craziest places. For example, the other day I was browsing through a sedevacantist site.

In the midst of headlines that warned of impending doom on all fronts of the Church, I found a link to an English translation of an essay written in the early 1970s. A prominent German theologian at that time proposed a radical plan for ministering to Catholics who are divorced and remarried, while lacking an annulment from the Church.

Where a first marriage broke up a long time ago and in a mutually irreparable way, and where,...

September 19, 2014

Romans 5:1 is a favorite verse for Calvinists and those who hold to the doctrine commonly known as “once saved, always saved:”

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

This text is believed to indicate that the justification of the believer in Christ at the point of faith is a one-time completed action. All sins are forgiven immediately—past, present and future. The believer then has, or at least, can have, absolute assurance of his justification regardless of what may happen in the future. There is nothing that can separate the true believer from Christ—not even the gravest of sins. Similarly, with regard to salvation, Eph. 2:8-9 says:

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September 19, 2014

He more than likely did not. It is commonly assumed that Rabbi Saul was thrown from his horse on the road to Damascus. This assumption has been reinforced by several artistic depictions, including Caravaggio’s “Conversion on the Way to Damascus” and "Conversion of St. Paul" (1601).  However, nowhere does the New Testament make mention of Saul being thrown from his horse. In fact, it doesn’t even make mention of Saul traveling by horse!

Each of the three accounts of Saul’s miraculous conversion (Acts 9:3-4, 22:6-7, 26:12-14) asserts that Saul, upon seeing the light from heaven, fell to the ground. Most people assume that because Saul was en route to Damascus, he must have been traveling by horse at the very moment when the heavenly light appeared. This blinding light caused him...

September 18, 2014

Sacred scripture, sacred tradition, and the teaching of the magisterium are unanimous that Jesus Christ was, and still is, sinless. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” This same teaching is echoed in the Catechism (CCC 467) and also appears in the following general audience given by Pope St. John Paul II:

The same Jesus could issue the challenge, "Can any of you charge me with sin?" (Jn 8:46). The faith of the Church is expressed as follows: "He was conceived, born and died without sin." This was proclaimed, in harmony with the whole of Tradition, by the Council of Florence (Decree for the Jacobites, DS 1347). Jesus "was conceived...

September 17, 2014

On April 6, 1252, two Dominican friars hurried along a deserted road. They were in hostile territory, populated by religious extremists who wanted them dead because of their success in convincing those under the sway of the extremists' heresy to return to Catholic orthodoxy. Despite their precautions, the two were ambushed by hired assassins. One of the two, named Peter, died on the spot, but not before managing to write the opening line of the Apostles' Creed in his own blood; his companion, named Dominic, died of his injuries a few days after the attack.

Less than a year later,...

September 15, 2014

There are 235 verses in Matthew that are paralleled in Luke but not in Mark or John.

This number represents more than a fifth of Matthew and Luke, and so some scholars have proposed that there was a written source—called Q—that both Evangelists drew upon, though it is now lost.

There are, of course, other possibilities. One is that Matthew simply used Luke; another is that Luke used Matthew.

It is possible that they both used a lost written source for this material, but there are reasons to question this.

A while back, I blogged about one such reason.

Now I’d like to use a visual means of making the same point.

 

The Basic Argument

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