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April 7, 2016

Pope Francis’s much-anticipated document on the family has now been released.

Here are 12 things to know and share.

1. What are the basic facts about the document?

It is called Amoris Laetitia (Latin, “the joy of love”), and it is what is known as a “post-synodal apostolic exhortation.”

An apostolic exhortation is a pastoral document in which the pope exhorts the Church. Although it contains doctrine, its primary focus is pastoral care. (...

April 6, 2016
Matthew McConaughey (left) and Woody Harrelson in "True Detective"

I'm sitting in my family room watching the first episode of the HBO series True Detective. It stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as Rust Kohle and Marty Hart, homicide detectives for the Louisiana State Criminal Investigations Division. The two are driving along the highway, getting to know one another, and suddenly I'm presented with what must be the most philosophically interesting conversation I've ever witnessed on screen. 

Here it is, edited slightly for...

March 23, 2016
Would there be a Last Judgment if Christ did not die for all?

No Christian I know would deny that some doctrines are more or less clear than others in Scripture. But when it comes to the atonement of Christ, Scripture is remarkably clear: Jesus Christ died on the cross for the entire world. The redemption that Christ merited through his passion and death was for every single human person who has ever and will ever live.

The Calvinist teaching of "limited atonement" denies this simple truth. We find this teaching in the Calvinist confessions'...

March 16, 2016
Baptism of Christ by Juan Fernández Navarrete, c. 1567

I have to admit, it rattled my Protestant bones to learn, as I explained in part one, that the unanimous testimony of the early Church—in fact, of Christianity until the time of the Reformation—supported a sacramental view of baptism. 
With this historical truth in mind, I turned to the New Testament. I wanted to read what it had to say about baptism as though for the first time, in the light of what I’d learned.

I began with the classic passage John 3:3-5:

...
January 4, 2016

I once gave a lecture in a Northwestern diocese—up in the morning, back to San Diego in the afternoon, the entire trip taking only ten hours—and came away with a renewed sense that things were turning around. I had been invited by the diocese to participate in a series on Catholic apologetics. Talks were geared toward CCD instructors, parish evangelization leaders, and those engaged in adult education.

That a diocese would host such a...