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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...

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...

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...

September 12, 2014

St. Luke begins the second chapter of his Gospel with a chronological note about when Jesus was born: writing:

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.

This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria [Luke 2:1-2].

This passage has been subject to a lot of criticism, because Luke has already linked the birth...

September 11, 2014

As Christian Europe tore at her own throat during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) the Ottoman Turks missed a golden opportunity to strike their centuries-old enemy.  Why?  They were themselves absorbed with war in Persia.  Moreover, they were beset by a turbulent period of harem intrigue and governed—or not—by a string of ineffectual and self-indulgent sultans, one of whom was deposed and two of whom were murdered.  The last of these was Ibrahim I. He was deposed and murdered....