apologetics

"Supper at Emmaus" (detail) by Caravaggio

The Feast that is the Sacraments

Four elements stand out in the traditional Catholic doctrine of what a sacrament is. Fundamentalism is suspicious of all four. A sacrament is “a sign that effects what it signifies, instituted by Christ to give grace.” 1. Sacraments are signs and symbols. Fundamentalism is temperamentally wary of symbolism. It has a plain, “no-nonsense” mentality. Symbols are too poetic for its […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

God Chose Mary to be His Mother

Each January 1 (the Octave of Christmas), the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  I receive more comments and questions from non-Catholics, and even some Catholics, about the Church’s Marian practices and teachings than just about any other topic. Some want to know where we can find these teachings in the bible. Some even suggest that Catholics pay […]

"The Stoning of St. Stephen" (detail) by Rembrandt

Is it okay for Catholics to call their priests “Father”?

[NB: Do not miss the video at the end of this article. You will be blessed. —Deacon Mike] “Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven” (Matthew 23:9). Throughout history, including that time since the days when Jesus uttered these words, we have referred to others on earth as father. This title is used […]

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco) Photograph © by Andy Coan

Christ’s Divinity is the Key

The doctrine of Christ’s divinity is the central Christian doctrine, for it is like a skeleton key that opens all the others. Christians have not independently reasoned out and tested each of the teachings of Christ received via Bible and Church, but believe them all on his authority. For if Christ is divine, He can be trusted to be infallible […]

"Supper at Emmaus" (detail) by Caravaggio

The Feast that is the Sacraments

Four elements stand out in the traditional Catholic doctrine of what a sacrament is. Fundamentalism is suspicious of all four. A sacrament is “a sign that effects what it signifies, instituted by Christ to give grace.” 1. Sacraments are signs and symbols. Fundamentalism is temperamentally wary of symbolism. It has a plain, “no-nonsense” mentality. Symbols are too poetic for its […]

Pope St. John Paul II

Catholic Quote of the Day — from Pope St. John Paul II

“We need a new apologetic, geared to the needs of today, which keeps in mind that our task is not to win arguments but to win souls, to engage not in ideological bickering but a kind of spiritual warfare, concerned not to vindicate or promote ourselves but to vindicate and promote the Gospel.” (Pope St. John Paul II, May 7, […]

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Celebrating Mary as God’s Mother

Each January 1st (on the Octave of Christmas), the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  I receive more comments and questions from non-Catholics, and even some Catholics, about the Church’s Marian practices and teachings than just about any other topic. Some want to know where we can find these teachings in the bible. Some even suggest that Catholics pay […]

"St. Jerome Writing" (detail) by Caravaggio

Whose Bible is it, anyway?

We needn’t be bitter in defending our beliefs. Even though many fundamentalists think the Catholic Church is under the control of Satan and all or most Catholics are headed for hell, not all think that—and we shouldn’t think the same of them. However narrow-minded their faith often is, it’s also usually genuine, both in personal sincerity and in basic Christian […]