POSTED BY on 8:58 PM under ,
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The wonderful kids who make up L'Angelus are offering some FREE Advent and Christmas music. I've listened to every track, and, brother, this is some good listenin'. You'll be surprised and impressed and you'll give glory to God!

Click the link to get to their download page and laissez les bon temps roulet!

If you like what you hear, you'll want to check out their store (where you can listen to free previews before you buy).

P.S. - They have more free music at their Facebook Page.
POSTED BY on 11:22 PM under
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If Fr. Z requests...

Voting for the 2010 CINO Awards is underway here.

Serviam made the choice pretty hard.

  • Nancy Pelosi
  • Doug Kmeic
  • Joe Biden
  • National Catholic Reporter
  • America Magazine

For those unaware, CINO = Catholic In Name Only.

As Peter Kreeft says, "There are lots of Kennedy Catholics and not many Catholic Kennedys."
POSTED BY on 10:12 AM under
From the Protestants at Christian Audio - but be warned, it's only good through December:

Free Audiobook Download of the Month

christianaudio, William B. Eerdmans, and Naxos Music have partnered together for December 2010 to bring you the audiobook download of Handel's Messiah for FREE!

Instructions: Click the book image to the left, click the Add to Cart on the book's page, login to your christianaudio.com account, and complete the order. If you don't have a free christianaudio.com account, you'll be prompted to open one during the checkout process. A coupon code is no longer required to receive the free download!
POSTED BY on 9:58 AM under ,

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Written by the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius is a powerful book. Derived
mostly from St. Ignatius' conversion experiences in 1521-3, Spiritual Exercises has provided guidance and encouragement to its readers for several hundred years. The aim of Spiritual Exercises is to assist people in finding God's will for their life, and to give them the motivation and courage to follow that will. It is not a continuous piece of writing, but more like a program of sorts, containing a collection of thoughts, rules, encouragements, readings, meditations, prayers, warnings, and notes. Nevertheless the condensed writing is organized into four "weeks," or periods of time, with each week focusing upon a different theme--the first, human sin; the second, Christ's life on earth; the third, Christ's death on the cross; the fourth, Christ's risen life. A key theme throughout the Spiritual Exercises is discernment--the need to discern between good desires and evil desires in one's life. It is by following the four weeks, and by utilizing such discernment, that a person can better realize God's will for his or her own life. Although more profitably worked through with another person or spiritual director, Spiritual Exercises can be extremely beneficial for private personal study.

UPDATE: I'm having trouble fixing the links. The original page can be found here.
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There are a few weeks left in the year, true, but I'm still calling it. The Best New Podcast of 2010 for Catholic types is....

*drum roll*

...Catholic Stuff You Should Know.

Run by a couple of Colorado seminarians, this podcast is funny, humble, pius and informative. Plus, the last one had a surprise e-mail by Archbishop Chaput!

So go, listen and enjoy learning Catholic stuff you should know.

P.S. - I recommend starting with the one about Stylites. Crazy, man. Crazy.
POSTED BY on 9:57 PM under
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So I've recently become a fan of Owl City. It's a newer sound and it's not standard Catholic fare, so you may or may not be a fan. In any case, Adam, the man behind Owl City, recently said the following on his blog:

I was up late last night and decided to record a “cover song” of sorts.

Not for anything special, just for fun.

I’m twenty four years old, yet something about this song makes me bawl like a baby. The way the melodies and lyrics swirl together is so poignant and beautiful. If I were to count on one hand, the number of songs that have ever deeply moved me, this one would take the cake. Last night I probably spent more time actually crying at the piano than I did recording it. Such are the secret confessions of a shy boy from Minnesota.


I dig it. Figured you might, too. You can listen to it at this source. At the very least, it's nice to see someone who's Facebook posts get 2k+ "likes" in 20 minutes make something like this.

You can download the track here.
POSTED BY on 7:51 PM under
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As should be no surprise if you read my sidebar, sometimes I get stuff from the Catholic Company to review. I get to keep the stuff and in return I post a review. Below us just such an event. :0)

Review of Rebuild My Church: God’s Plan for Authentic Catholic Renewal—by Alan Schreck.

Dr. Schreck—a Franciscan University theology professor—has written a book on Church renewal as a way of “telling the ‘story’ of Catholicism.” In Rebuild My Church, Schreck explains what renewal is and serves up a fascinating account of renewal figures and movements in Church history. He also gives a prescription for what he believes will bring about the authentic renewal of today’s Church.

The Church, Schreck writes, is in a constant state of renewal as she responds to the Holy Spirit in each age and situation. But what is “renewal?” It’s the “revitalization of the church, making her ‘new again’ or ‘like new’ in her practice, spirit, or ideals.” Authentic renewal, he says, involves the rediscovery and reappropriation of elements that truly belong to the church as it has been instituted by Jesus Christ and that therefore strengthen her and enrich her.” It emphasizes the rediscovery and stirring up of authentic aspects of the Church’s nature that have been neglected or forgotten. And it involves revitalizing the Church’s fervor in living her life and carrying out the mission Christ gave her. Authentic renewal, Schreck explains, has unfolded in history through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, which is “the church’s fountain of youth.”

How is the Church renewed? Schreck says the foundation of renewal is repentance and prayer. He explains that “[t]here is no authentic renewal without the pursuit of and growth in holiness of the church’s members, and there is no growth in holiness without repentance from sin and heartfelt commitment to break from sin by God’s grace.” And prayer, “which ushered in the first sending of the Holy Spirit upon the church . . . will precede the renewal of the church in the future.”

The most interesting part of Schreck’s book is his section of vignettes of individuals, communities, and Catholic movements in Church history that served, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as agents of authentic renewal. For instance, he explains how monasticism was the most important agent of renewal of the early Church. As the monastic movement developed, Benedictine monasteries became centers of Christian life and “of the preservation and transmission of culture for decades and even centuries.” Schreck also gives fascinating accounts of the accomplishments of Catholic spiritual giants such as St Dominic, St Francis, St Catherine of Siena, St Teresa of Avila, St Philip Neri, and St John Bosco. Their lives, he maintains, are proof that throughout history, “[w]henever the church experiences difficulty, the faithfulness of God is revealed in those who respond to his grace and become agents of renewal.”

But God’s grace at work in particular individuals isn’t enough to bring about renewal. “In order for a grace or charism to renew the church, it must be recognized, accepted, and approved by the proper ecclesial authorities, the church’s pastors.” Otherwise, bearers of charisms can divide or weaken the Church, Schreck explains, citing Montanus (the founder of the Montanist heresy) and Luther as examples. Schreck also cites ecclesial reforms instituted during the reigns of Pope Gregory VII, Pope Innocent III, Pope Paul III, and Pope Leo XIII as instances of Church leadership fostering renewal.

Schreck ends with advice for the authentic renewal of today’s Church. For one thing, he favors the ordinary form of the liturgy established by Vatican II. But, for Schreck, whether it’s Latin Mass or “a vernacular Mass with guitars or keyboard accompanying contemporary music . . . all magisterially approved forms of liturgical worship ought to be accepted, with room for the Holy Spirit to act and guide the church, enabling us to ‘worship in spirit and truth’ (John 4:24).” Schreck also writes that “one characteristic of church renewal today is that God is acting to renew the whole church, across denominational lines and boundaries.” Thus, he concludes, ecumenism has an important part to play.

“This means that Catholics can share perspectives and wisdom concerning renewal with other Christians, as well as learn from other Christians approaches that may help us in our quest for renewal.” The Vatican II liturgical reforms and ecumenical emphasis, Schreck writes, are forms of renewal endorsed by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Most importantly, for authentic renewal, “[a]ll members of the church must strive tirelessly for holiness and not settle for anything less.” Such holiness is achieved through both personal and liturgical prayer. (Here, Schreck perhaps should have emphasized the important role that frequent and reverent reception of the Eucharist—the source and summit of the Christian life—plays in the pursuit of holiness.) Schreck also argues that the Church needs to embrace personal charisms, which include prophesy and glossolalia (speaking in tongues), that the Holy Spirit gives individuals for the purpose of renewal. And Schreck calls for an increase in lay involvement and leadership. Finally, Schreck explains that the effective renewal of the church will ultimately be measured by charity, which Pope Benedict calls “the synthesis of the entire law.” Schreck says that any renewal that doesn't result in greater love of God is of dubious value.

Throughout his book, Schreck chooses to not capitalize the “C” in “Church.” He frequently quotes papal encyclicals, Church councils, and official Church documents, which uniformly capitalize “Church” when speaking of the Catholic Church; when he does, he uses a capital “C.” But Schreck uses a lowercase “c” when he himself refers to the Catholic Church. Perhaps he does this based on a well-meaning ecumenical sensitivity, but it is nevertheless distractingly ambiguous. G. K. Chesterton said it best in The Catholic Church and Conversion:

[T]he first fallacy about the Catholic Church is the idea that it is a church . . . it is simply a historical fact that the Roman Church is the Church and is not a sect. Nor is there anything narrow or unreasonable in saying that the Church is the Church. . . . As a matter of fact, in the case of things so large, so unique and so creative of the culture about them as were the Roman Empire and the Roman Church, it is not controversial but simply correct to confine the one word to the one example. Everybody who originally used the word “Empire” used it of that Empire; everybody who used the word “Ecclesia” used it of that Ecclesia. . . . the Catholic Church stands alone. It does not merely belong to a class of Christian churches. It does not merely belong to a class of human religions. Considered quite coldly and impartially, as by a man from the moon, it is much more sui generis than that.

But this is minor and doesn’t outweigh the obvious value of Schreck’s book. His historical narrative is very helpful, and his essential prescription for renewal—repentance, prayer, and growth in personal holiness—is sound. While Schreck is perhaps less convincing in his endorsement of certain aspects of charismatic Catholicism, such as glossolalia and charismatic worship, Rebuild My Church is recommended to all Catholics who want to learn more about how the Holy Spirit raises up ordinary individuals to renew the Church when she needs it most.

So there you have it. Hope you enjoy.

Also be sure to check out their great selection of baptism gifts.

POSTED BY on 9:13 PM under
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Mary's Aggies posted the following:

St. Mary's Institute of Catholic Studies - Distinguished Speaker Series hosted Dr. Christopher T. Baglow on the evening of October 15, 2010. Dr. Baglow spoke to about 400 students about "Belief Under Assault: Scientific Atheism and the Assault on Reason and Faith."

Dr. Baglow is the author of Faith, Science, and Reason: Theology on the Cutting Edge. Christopher T. Baglow is from New Orleans, LA. He has a B.A. in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, an M.A. in Theology from the University of Dallas and a Ph.D. in Theology from Duquesne University. He currently works at Notre Dame Seminary, where he serves as Professor of Theology and Director of the Master of Arts Program in Theological Studies for lay students.


You can now listen to the podcast of the presentation at the links below:
POSTED BY on 9:02 PM under ,
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The hyper-loquacious and ever-ubiquitous Mark Shea writes the following:

Jennifer Roback Morse, one of the most reviled advocates of common sense in America, shouts into the gale force winds of "What could it possibly hurt?" attempting prevent us from reaching the "How were we supposed to know?" phase of history.

For more, check out the Dept. of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Sacramento.
Will do! Episode 1 below, episodes 2-4 on YouTube.


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Is the only good Muslim a bad Muslim? Let's hear from one of my Catholic intellectual heroes Dr. Peter Kreeft!


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Steve Ray is a popular Catholic author, speaker and Holy Land tour guide extraordinaire. Here's a quick bio from his author's page at Ignatius Insight:

Stephen K. Ray was raised in a devout, loving Baptist family. His father was a deacon and Bible teacher and Stephen was very involved in the Baptist Church as a teacher of Biblical studies and lectured on a wide range of topics. Steve and his wife Janet entered the Catholic Church in 1994.

In addition to running a family business, Steve spends time researching, writing, and teaching about the Catholic Faith. He is the author of Crossing the Tiber: Evangelical Protestants Discover the Historical Church, Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church, and St. John's Gospel: A Bible Study and Commentary.

Here are a few of his talks:
If you like what you hear, there's still room on his Holy Land trip.

POSTED BY on 8:55 PM under ,
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If you think Catholics don't know the Bible, give a listen to Tim Staples. Tim Staples is a former southern Baptist, an Assemblies of God Minister and a tough-talking US Marine. Before that, he was one of those aggressive atheists you meet at parties. Growing up, he and his brothers were on a first-name basis with the local police. Now he’s a Catholic apologist with a growing reputation as an inspiring speaker.

In January of 2009 he gave a talk in Michigan about Baptism. You can download it here.

Oh, and if Tim were here he'd ask you to check out his tape sets. Lol.
POSTED BY on 4:24 PM under
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...wants to go to the February 2011 Holy Land Pilgrimage led by famed author, apologist and sometimes tour guide Steve Ray. Unfortunately, not enough folks have signed up yet to make it happen.

This is where you come in! :0)

The trip lasts 11 days and costs $3,799, a cost which includes hotel, meals and the plane trip (not including air fare to/from New York).

If you're interested -- as you should be -- you can get the details here.
POSTED BY on 10:32 PM under
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And in news related to the last post...from America Magazine:

George V. Coyne, S.J., president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation, recounts the history of this institution, and explains how the Vatican became involved in the study of the planets and stars. Father Coyne also weighs in on the contemporary debate about the compatibility of science and religion, and makes the case that Stephen Hawking is wrong about the origins of the universe.

Download
POSTED BY on 10:00 PM under
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I'm not exactly sold on the idea - in large part because it relies so heavily on the Fine Tuning argument (good article defending it here) and other such teleos based assertions. Personally, I think the Angelic Doctor did it better with his Five Ways - See ST I, Q2 Art. 3 or the Catholic Answers summary here.

In any case...Via First Things:

Should Intelligent Design be taught as science? Stephen Barr, professor of physics at the University of Delaware (and First Things contributor), debates that question with Michael Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute.

You can listen to the audio or watch the video at the website of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

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I'm putting a link to a page at Lighthouse Media. If you aren't familiar with them, spend a few minutes checking out their program. Basically, you put up a "free CD" rack at your parish (requesting donations, of course) and let people get free CDs with talks by folks like Scott Hahn, Tim Staples, Pat Madrid -- all the good ones. The up-front cost is kinda' steep but their experience is that donations cover costs quickly and your fellow parishioners get sold-out for Jesus in a hurry.

Another option is to just join their CD club and they'll send you a disk for you to listen to and hand on. Pretty easy way to evangelize, frankly. I've heard about 15 of the CDs and they've all been solid.

In any case, they're giving away free MP3 talk by Dr. Scott Hahn on confession. Check it thou out.
POSTED BY on 11:40 PM under ,
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Here's a fantastic talk about the importance of male friendship by Fr. John Riccardo:


Also, because I enjoyed it when I heard it and I like to share, here's another talk of Fr. John Riccardo's on Lectio Divina:



POSTED BY on 10:27 PM under , ,
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Here's a real treat! Catholic apologist (and devoted geocentrist - lolwut?!?) Robert Sungenis debating "Dr." (lolwut again?!?) James White, elder at Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church.

I remember when I was first learning about Catholic doctrine. I got my hands on all of the James White debates I could because I wanted to find the truth and he seemed so...persuasive, I suppose. I've heard him debate a number of Catholics, a few Protestants and even some Muslims. I even exchanged a few e-mails with him (which he posted, in heavily edited, straw-man created form on his blog -- which still doesn't allow comments where one might challenge his mildly deceptive tactics).

The thing is, the more I learned about Catholic doctrine the less persuasive he became. I started to see where he was manipulating the debate by using ambiguous terms to distort or misrepresent Catholic teaching. I noticed his failure to answer direct questions. I even went so far as to document several of his errors and misrepresentations at the Catholic Answers forum. In my defense, it was Mr. White's idea -- he wanted people to substantiate their allegations. So I did.

ANYWHO...here are two debates, HT to Filipino Catholic. The first is on Calvinistic double predestination. The second is on the Bodily Assumption of Our Lady. Even though I find many of his comments frustrating now (he really should know better by this point), I still like listening to his debates. Hope you do, too. Enjoy!

POSTED BY on 10:46 PM under , ,
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If you find some change in the cracks of your couch, please send it to the Miles Christi religious order. In return, they bring you this:

Sacerdótes Dei (Introito) Download
Kyrie (De Angelis) Download
Allelúia (Hic est sacerdos) Download
Ecce quam bonum (Gradual) Download
Sanctus (De Angelis) Download
Agnus Dei (De Angelis) Download
Sacris Solémnis (Himno) Download
Regina Caeli Download
Crux Fidélis (Himno) Download
The Passion according to St. John Download
Bells Download
POSTED BY on 10:24 PM under
Just wanted to put out a reminder that porn is very real and very evil. Give this talk by famed Catholic author and speaker Jeff Cavins a listen, then go spend about an hour at The Porn Effect (register - Matt Fradd won't spam you). They have videocasts and additional free audio available for download that will either (a) help you personally or (b) will help you evangelize the culture, because believe me, if your life isn't touched by the evils of porn I guarantee it's in the life of someone you know.

The Pornography Plague
Written by Jeff Cavins

Jeff was excited to see the great work of The Porn Effect and so along with Ascension Press decided to donate this talk which usually costs $10 for free.


UPDATE: The folks at The Porn Effect would be glad to give it to you for free, but you've got to register first. No worries, though -- once you do you'll have access to a dozen or so additional talks. Now go be holy!
POSTED BY on 10:05 PM under
I've posted about it before, but this Bible study is so good I think it deserves a second go. You'll hear things here that you won't hear in any of the other talks on my site -- believe me, I've listened! In any case, Carson Weber, the Catholic layman who gave these talks (and freelance web designer - you know your parish website needs it give him a call!) wrote in and gave me some updated links. If you've been pining for a Catholic Bible study, here's your chance!

POSTED BY on 9:26 PM under
He encontrado un podcast español sobre el Santos. Dale un vistazo!



POSTED BY on 11:44 PM under
Here are some songs I grabbed from my "competition" over at CatholiciCast:

[A] beautiful song sung by Angelina, “The Deer’s Cry,” an arrangement of St. Patrick’s Breastplate. Also from Catholic Planet, from Angelina’s album Wake Up Call. (Click to Listen, Right Click to Download)

The Deers Cry

Ave Maria

Whisper In The Other Ear


POSTED BY on 11:21 PM under ,
Christopher Hitchens, famed atheist and one of my favorite debaters (for style, not substance), has cancer. You may have heard. If you would, please say a prayer or two for his conversion.

A friend of mine recently asked me to track down a "debate" he did with Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League. Well...here's what I've got:


POSTED BY on 10:58 PM under , ,
Fr. Paul Scalia, son of Justice Antonin Scalia, has given a series of talks on the Seven Deadly Sins. They're good. Really good. The hook? There aren't seven, they're not deadly and they're not sins. Don't believe me? Give him a listen.

Oh...but first, he'd like for you to listen to his Natural Law talk as an intro.

Time for the good stuff:

Natural Law - the Intro:

Talk 1:

Talk 2:

Talk 3:

Talk 4:
POSTED BY on 11:30 PM under
Got the following in the old e-mail bag:

I've been listening to these podcasts and love them. I searched for them on your site but no query match. Perhaps they are new to you?

Fr Daniel Jones - excellent

And homilies by Fr Daniel Jones

Fr Edwin Palka - catechism classes - excellent

And some Traditionalist Sermons

It is so hard to tell whether some people who are "traditionalist" or whatever are still in line with the Vatican. I love these sermons but the one on the "New Mass" seemed suspect. See what you think. I'm simply not educated enough in the nuances to know if it orthodox to speak so badly of the New Mass

You were right to be concerned. The Traditionalist Sermons are from Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) folks. While we are making some progress towards a restoration of unity, and while there's much good in what they say, we are not yet fully one. I would recommend not listening to the Traditionalist Sermons unless you are well aware of the issues surrounding the SSPX.

In an case, enjoy the rest! Thanks for the tip, Bonne!

UPDATE: According to the combox, "It is Bp. Daniel Dolan's church, he is a straight-up Thuc-line sedevacanist." In other words, DANGER, Will Robinson! DANGER!
POSTED BY on 10:06 PM under
Our Sunday Visitor is listing the top Catholic websites and is seeking input. If you feel so inclined, I would appreciate if you mentioned this site in the News & Resources category. Here's what they say:

The number of Catholic-oriented websites out there has exploded, and keeping track of the ones that are truly useful gets harder as they proliferate.

OSV Newsweekly is pulling together a "best of the (Catholic) web" for its annual Catholic Internet Guide.

Tell us your favorites in four main categories we've chosen (spirituality, news and resources, opinion and community building) and if your pick makes the cut we'll give you credit (either by full name or initials; your choice) and a free copy of the guide. If the sites you submit are hidden treasures (until now!), even better.

For fun, you'll also have an opportunity to submit your favorite Catholic YouTube videos and mobile device apps.

Here's the link to the survey. Don't miss your chance for fame! And to help out your fellow Catholic web-pilgrims!
POSTED BY on 9:48 PM under
You may notice that the blog looks a little different than the last time you visited. Above you'll see links for RSS feeds for posts and comments, as well as a button you can click to e-mail me. There's also a search bar. To use the search bar, simply enter in the term(s) you want to search and hit the 'enter' button on your keyboard.

Hopes this makes things more convenient. I'll keep working out the kinks as I go.

God Bless,
Ryan
POSTED BY on 11:01 PM under ,
Double-barreled Catholic Michael Voris continues to shoot straight with his One True Faith show, but beware: they're On The Road:

On The Road

Episode One : Love in Truth
Episode Two : How to Change the World
Episode Three : Being Catholic
Episode Four : The Church and Modern World
Episode Five : Western Civilization

Everyone's hurting these days, but 501(c)3s are taking it on the chin. If you're willing, skip your Starbucks (offer it up) once this week and send the $6.23 to Michael Voris. Here's his donation page.
POSTED BY on 10:49 PM under
I've found me some good listening! Thanks to readers Lukas and Martin for sending in the Institute of Catholic Culture, a well-designed site with LOTS of free audio. Here's a talk by Fr. Paul Scalia (son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia) called Technology and the Tree that I enjoyed today:

Holy Spirit Presenter: Fr. Paul Scalia
Date Play with Quicktime
Play with Windows Media Player
Download
June 19, 2010

If you enjoy this as much as I did, you might consider dropping a five-spot on 'em to keep them going!
POSTED BY on 10:42 PM under
You may notice that I added a blog bar titled "J-10 Blogs". These are blogs by priests or seminarians who are living out the Holy Father's January 2010 call for them to evangelize via new media. If you are or know of a priest or seminarian with an orthodox blog, shoot me a link and I'll add 'em.
POSTED BY on 11:29 PM under
Got a free book from the Catholic Company to review. The only condition they had for me was that I provide you kindly folks an assessment of the thing. So. Yeah. Here's the assessment.

Playing on the old saying about love, Time Magazine recently entitled its cover story, “Why Being Pope Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry.” Taking the Pope to task for his response to the priest sex abuse crisis, Time indignantly demanded more than “mealymouthed declarations buttressed by arcane religious philosophy.” According to Time, the Pope and the Church won’t take full responsibility for their sins for fear of undermining the doctrine of papal infallibility, which, Time says, is, “in rough terms, the church’s ability to open the gates of heaven to you or damn you to hell because it will always be holier than thou.” This doctrine is the legacy of “Pope Pius IX, who stage-managed the First Vatican Council into approving infallibility in 1869 with a suspect majority of bishops.” Consequently, “[i]n obedience to its divinely absolute monarch, the Vatican bureaucracy, the Roman curia, became even more centralized and domineering.” You get the gist of Time’s take on the papacy.

In addition to getting facts about the papacy and infallibility wrong, Time simply takes for granted the falsity of the Church’s claim that the papacy was instituted by the second person of the trinity and protected and perpetuated by the third. Alas, this is par for the course when it comes to the secular media’s treatment of Catholicism. Yet it’s not just the media that misunderstands the papacy—many Mass-going Catholics couldn’t articulate a defense of the papacy against hatchet jobs like Time’s.

This is where Catholic Answers’ We Have a Pope comes in. Written by Stephen Ray (hear him speak) and Dennis Walters, this pithy, 31-page booklet effectively explains the papacy and corrects the most common misconceptions about it. First, pointing to the (at least) 33,000 Protestant denominations, the authors explain why we need the papacy. Then they establish its Biblical basis: St Matthew’s account of Christ singling out Peter to receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven and the power to bind and loose. Ray and Walters draw upon the Old Testament to illuminate the significance of the “keys of the kingdom” and Christ’s act of changing Simon’s name to Peter. The booklet explains what St Peter’s new authority entailed and how he—not a apostolic democracy—led the early Church. And we learn that the authority to wield the keys of the kingdom didn’t die with the original grantee; rather, as the book of Isaiah foreshadows, it is passed on to his successors. Ray and Walters then proceed to explain how St Peter’s authority has indeed been passed—unbroken—through the ages up to the present day. We Have a Pope also sheds light on little known subjects such as how Popes were elected in the past and how they’re elected now. And it quotes the Church fathers to prove that the idea of papal primacy is not a recent invention but rather a given from the outset.

Perhaps most importantly, We Have a Pope explains what papal infallibility is and what it isn’t. Rather than a ecclesiastic club used to bludgeon opposition, as suggested by Time, the doctrine of papal infallibility is surprisingly discrete and subtle. Indeed, as Ray and Walters explain, “[m]ost papal teaching (in audiences, homilies, and written documents) does not claim to be infallible (guaranteed from error).” But from time to time the pope speaks infallibly regarding faith and morals—and when he does, he does so without error. And the booklet proves that the doctrine of papal infallibility wasn’t a product of Pope Pius IX’s political maneuverings:
Long before infallibility was formally defined in 1870, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church understood that what popes taught about faith and morals was final. In the thirteenth century, Thomas Aquinas held that the pope ‘is empowered to decide matters of faith finally, so that they may be held by all with unshaken faith’ (Summa Theologiae II-II:1:10). So when the First Vatican Council (1870) defined papal infallibility, it was already the faith of the Church and had been down through history. In fact, the doctrine that the pope could speak infallibly was not under discussion at the Council. It was recognized by all. The Council dealt with the manner in which the pope speaks infallibly.
Finally, Ray and Walters disabuse Time and other would-be papal experts of the idea that the doctrine of papal infallibility equates to papal impeccability (i.e., inability to sin): “The charism of infallibility doesn’t protect the pope from sin, only from officially teaching error. Sinlessness is not required.” So popes can personally sin and then apologize for it—all without necessarily implicating the doctrine of papal infallibility.

We Have a Pope provides a concise and effective defense of the papacy and its attendant doctrines. At $1.95 a copy, I recommend Catholics buy the booklet in bulk to give to their friends—Catholic and non-Catholic alike. Your money will be well spent.

Listen to the Catholic Answers Live! radio program these two authors did in 2003:
An Introduction to the Papacy.

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