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Showing posts from October, 2013

Reclaiming Halloween

Halloween is the popular vernacular term for "All Hallows Eve," which is the old English way of saying "All Saints Evening."  All major Catholic celebrations always begin at sundown the night before, such as Christmas Eve and the Easter Vigil for example.  So All Hallows Eve begins at sundown the night before All Hallows, or All Saints Day.  The word "hallow" itself is an old English way of saying "holy."  We say it all the time in the Lord's Prayer: "Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name..."

All Hallows Eve is a Catholic celebration -- 100% Catholic!  This video explains it in detail, so I won't dive too deeply into it in this article.  Please watch it HERE.  You'll be glad you did.

I've already covered the concept of Purgatory in a previous article this month which you can read here.  In short, All Hallows was a feast day created by the Catholic Church on November 1st to combat the Pagan practises of fea…

Prayer In School

In the early 1960's, the United States Supreme Court, in two landmark cases, Engel v. Vitale (1962) and Abington School District v. Schempp (1963), ruled against state sponsored prayer in public schools. From this point on, public schools could no longer engage in school-initiated prayer, Bible reading, or any other religious activities on public school campus during school hours.  This is widely regarded as the time when the U.S. federal government "kicked God out of public schools."

Prior to these cases, practises varied from state to state, even from school district to school district.  However, as a general rule, going back to the late 1800's, public school children in the United States were required to read from Protestant Bibles and recite Protestant prayers, while in class, even if some of the children were Catholic, Jewish or Mormon.  The Protestant nature of American public school policy was quite obvious, and was contested by Catholic parents as far back …

Salvation by Faith Alone?

I was asked by my daughter the other day "what is a Protestant?"  My answer was simply this. A Protestant is simply a Catholic who "protests" various teachings of the Catholic Church, but retains core Catholic teaching, such as the Trinity, Incarnation, and Atonement through Christ's sacrifice on the cross for example. I stopped there as the answer seemed to be satisfactory to her young ears.

Yes, Catholics and Protestants have these core teachings in common, but where we start to diverge is on the issue of Atonement, and in particular, what that Atonement of Christ's sacrifice means in practical everyday terms. The issue of salvation has for the last five centuries been the core issue fuelling the rift between Catholics and Protestants. Now, let us have just a little review here before we get started. 
Martin Luther (the 16th century father of Protestantism) was spurred to act by abuses within the Catholic Church during his time. The abuses were real, and…

What Is Purgatory?

The subject of purgatory is a very difficult one for Protestants to grasp, namely because in their view, it just doesn't make any sense.  From the typical Protestant perspective, a person is either saved, or not saved, at the moment of death. If saved, the person's soul should go immediately to heaven, right? If not saved, that soul should go immediately to hell, correct? So what is this deal with purgatory?

Over the centuries, many artists have tried to depict the concept of purgatory in a pictorial way. Such as we see here with Ludovico Carracci's 1610 painting entitled: "An Angel Frees the Souls of Purgatory." For a Catholic, this is a beautiful (and totally non-literal and symbolic) representation of something that cannot really be accurately envisioned with human eyes. For a Protestant, this is just more confusing than ever. If the painting is to be taken literally, what are we to think?

The typical Protestant misunderstanding of Purgatory goes like this. Wh…

New Book Becomes Evangelistic Tool

Reports are starting to come in now about my new book "Catholicism for Protestants," and this is from both Catholic and Protestant readers alike. What I am learning is that the book is being used as a evangelistic tool, as follow up for conversations with Protestants.  I am learning that some Protestants are reading through it very quickly, usually within a day or two, and one in particular read through it in just one hour! The information contained in this short book is explosive to those who are seeking answers. I have recently seen orders for as many as 50 books at one time! So it's definitely making the rounds.

WARNING, SHAMELESS PROMOTION COMING... This is how I have used apologetic materials in the past with some success. Suppose you have a Protestant friend who has a lot of misconceptions about Catholicism. You've corrected those misconceptions from time to time, but now you have a copy of my book in hand.  This is for your friend that you loan to him/her, as…