Salvation

"Adoration of the Mystic Lamb" (detail) by van Eyck

What is Happening at Mass?

As many Catholics know, the Second Vatican Council famously referred to the liturgy as the “source and summit of the Christian life.” And following the prompts of the great figures of the liturgical movement in the first half of the twentieth century, the Council Fathers called for a fuller, more conscious, and more active participation in the liturgy on the […]

Peter Claver vs. Immanuel Kant

One of the greatest heroes of the social justice wing of the Church is, quite rightly, the seventeenth century “slave of the slaves,” St. Peter Claver. Born in Barcelona, Claver joined the Society of Jesus and was known, even as a young man, as a person of deep intelligence and piety. Spurred by what he took to be the direct […]

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

Grace or Karma?

Just a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Stephen Davis, retired professor of the philosophy of religion at Claremont University. In preparation for the meeting, I read Dr. Davis’s book called Christian Philosophical Theology, which includes a chapter contrasting two basic approaches to religion throughout the world. The first—which can be found in much of the […]

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

Why Do You Confess Your Sins to a Priest?

Have you ever been asked why you confess sins to a priest? In discussing the Catholic faith with non-Catholics, the doctrine concerning confessing one’s sins to a priest often arises. Indeed, in my experience, the Sacrament of Reconciliation ranks right up there with Marian Dogmas among the Church’s teachings that prompt the most questions from those inquiring about the Catholic […]

"General Judgment" (detail) by Michelangelo

Lord, will those who are saved be few?

I once heard a comment from a friend who was preparing a homily for today’s passage from Luke’s Gospel (see Luke 13:22-30). He was finding it difficult to preach on the “fact” that there will be so few in heaven. He has no problem on preaching about death, judgment, Heaven and Hell; but, he is disturbed and sad that, in his understanding, […]

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

“Have you been saved?”

Have You Been Saved? In Acts 4, St. Peter delivers a powerful sermon. He concludes by saying, “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” I have written before in these pages of the time when I was growing up in the […]

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

“Have you been saved?”

Have You Been Saved? In Acts 4, St. Peter delivers a powerful sermon. He concludes by saying, “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” I have written before in these pages of the time when I was growing up in the […]

"Return of the Prodigal Son" (detail) by Murillo

“Have you been saved?”

Have You Been Saved? In Acts 4, St. Peter delivers a powerful sermon. He concludes by saying, “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” I have written before in these pages of the time when I was growing up in the […]

"The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek" (detail) by Peter Paul Rubens

Melchizedek Priest of the God Most High

Perhaps the most mysterious, enigmatic and intriguing figure in all of the Old Testament is Melchizedek the Canaanite priest who makes a brief appearance in the Old Testament in Genesis. He is also mentioned in the Book of Psalms and is referred to eight times in the New Testament Letter to the Hebrews. Speculation, conjecture, and sometimes just pure wild […]

"Baptism of Christ" (detail) by Pietro Perugino

Are Catholics “Born Again”?

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). My mother was Catholic and my father Baptist. My mother was firmly committed, as was my father after serious and prayerful consideration, to raise their children Catholic and baptize us at infancy. Years later I met […]