Catholicism 101

Thu

01

Nov

2018

Martyrs, Confessors, and the Call to Sainthood

by Mathieu Ronayne

 

In his youth, when St. Maximilian Kolbe saw the Blessed Mother in a vision, she offered him two crowns: a white crown for heroic virtue, and a red crown for martyrdom. Willingly accepting both crowns, he went on to live a life of such deep devotion to God that St. Pope John Paul II named him “the patron saint of our difficult century.”

 

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Thu

01

Nov

2018

Cornerstone: Icons or Idols?

by Gjergji Evangjeli

 

From the earliest days of the Church, Christians have kept depictions of Christ and the saints. The Good Shepherd is depicted in the catacombs of Rome, and a Church in Dura-Europos contains depictions of Christ and Peter dating back to AD 235. As Christianity gained ground in the fourth century, such depictions became prominent, and were known as icons. They became widespread under the reign of Emperor Justinian in the sixth century, and Christ was even depicted on Byzantine coins in the seventh and eighth centuries.

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Thu

01

Nov

2018

Thomas Asks: Laying Down the Law

by Gerard DeAngelis

 

Today, when many people think of “the law,” they see it as, at best, a necessary evil to maintain order—or at worst, as a harmful imposition. This contrasts directly, however, with the Biblical notion of a law that is to be loved: “I love thy law / Seven times a day I praise thee / for thy righteous ordinances…The law of thy mouth is better to me / than thousands of gold and silver pieces…I delight in thy law” (Ps 119:163-164, 72, 70).

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Thu

01

Nov

2018

The (Church) Doctor Is In

St. Therese of Lisieux of Lisieux (left) and St. Teresa of Avila (right)
St. Therese of Lisieux of Lisieux (left) and St. Teresa of Avila (right)

by Patrick Stallwood

 

Earlier in October, the Church celebrated the feast days of two notable saints—St. Therese of Lisieux on October 1, and St. Teresa of Avila on October 15. These holy women share many similarities: both were Carmelite nuns who modeled lives of radical simplicity, and both provided significant insight to Christian spirituality. Their written works have contributed so much to theological understanding that these saints have been recognized as Doctors of the Church. This sounds like an important title, but what does it mean? How does one become a Doctor of the Church?

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Wed

26

Sep

2018

The Council of Ephesus: Who Really is Christ?

by Mina Ghaly

 

The setting is fifth century AD, and the assailant is Nestorius, Archbishop of Constantinople. The true nature of Jesus Christ is under attack by heresy, and the Virgin Mary is no stranger to Nestorius’ ill-intentioned ways. Ironically enough, we would tend to believe that a bishop would shepherd his people, leading them to eternal salvation—not so with Nestorius. Nestorius had argued that Christ should be viewed as being two separate persons—human and divine—united by will.

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Wed

26

Sep

2018

The Finer Points of Papal Infallibility

by Mathieu Ronayne

 

Few elements of Catholicism are as broadly misunderstood by Catholics and non-Catholics alike as the doctrine of papal infallibility. This teaching refers to the inability of the Church to formally teach error—a gift owing to divine guidance. Within specific contexts, infallibility encompasses the college of bishops. The Second Vatican Council states in Lumen Gentium that “although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they can nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly.” Furthermore, the bishops’ authority is even clearer when they are all “gathered together in an ecumenical council.” Uniquely, however, as the head of the college of bishops and the Vicar of Christ, the pope maintains individual infallibility, as granted by Christ.

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Wed

26

Sep

2018

Thomas Asks: What is Grace, Anyway?

by Gerard DeAngelis

 

What exactly is grace? We often claim to be in someone’s “good graces,” or we might sit behind Grace in Calculus. Luckily, in the “Prima Secundae,” or “First Part of the Second Part,” of his Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas gives an answer. In Question 110, getting ready to present his treatise on the theological virtues, St. Thomas turns his attention to what grace is—what he calls its “essence.”

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Wed

26

Sep

2018

Saint of the Issue: Augustine of Hippo

by David O'Neill

 

On August 28th, the Church celebrated the Feast of St. Augustine of Hippo. As the patron saint of sore eyes, his invocation usually becomes necessary around this time of the semester as the amount of reading increases.

 

Augustine was born in 354 in a small Roman city called Tagaste, in present-day Algeria. His mother Monica was a Christian, and his father was a pagan.

 

 

At the time, infant baptism was not a common practice of the Church. As a boy, Augustine became perilously ill and his mother wanted to baptize him, thinking he was about to die. However, he recovered, and his family decided against baptizing him out of fear that the sins he committed after baptism would make him more guilty than those committed before baptism.

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