Book Review: The Salvation Controversy by James Akin

The topic of Catholic vs. Protestant views of salvation has come up several times in conversation lately.  With that in mind, here's a reprint of the review I wrote several years ago of Jimmy Akin's book The Salvation Controversy, published by Catholic Answers in 2001.  The book is currently in print in electronic version only, but you can find hard copies used here and there.Read on, and see if you are the target audience.  If you're not, give it a skip; but if you are the likely reader, I' … [Read more...]

Adultery is Not the Only Option: Five Things You Can Do to Keep Your Vows Intact

Deacon Greg Kandra writes about a recent NY Times piece on priests who forsake their vows, and the women who help them do it.  You would think from the way people talk that there's something about a man in holy orders that just makes him irresistible. It's as if there's a force field emanating from that Roman collar that disables free will: Don't get too close, ladies, or you might have no choice but to fall in love! Well, the don't get too close part may be true, anyway.  But that's not bec … [Read more...]

Catholic Website Advises Parents: Obsession with the Occult is No Big Deal

The recently launched online Catholic magazine Crux has an advice column up, in which a parent is told that her child's obsession with the occult is probably no big deal:How would you feel if she were immersed in the Narnia books, written by the Christian apologist, C.S. Lewis, or in the dark and fantastical worlds imagined by J.R.R. Tolkein – a Catholic — in “The Lord of the Rings” novels? Many children in their pre-teen years find escape in fantasy.Yes, escape into fantasy is lovely.   … [Read more...]

ISIS and Just Warfare: Is Now the Time for Men of Good Will to Intervene?

To join the discussion about Rise of ISIS, a Threat We Cannot Ignore, or to order a copy, go here. This month at Patheos we're discussing Jay Sekulow's book Rise of ISIS.  For a general review, check out Rebecca Hamilton's comments here.  She's been documenting the state of affairs in Iraq all summer, so her perspective is well worth your consideration. What is this book? The Rise of ISIS is a call to arms, plain and simple. The authors document the heinous crimes committed by ISIS and … [Read more...]

Ebola and Your Spiritual Life – Why Yes, You Are Going to Die

I've been following the Ebola news with interest.  It takes a special kind of hubris to assume that Americans are somehow automatically protected from massive deadly epidemics, or any other disaster.   I'm certainly hopeful, of course, that this will turn out to be a local tragedy and not a turning point in world history.  As a general rule, turning points in world history make good reading but horrible living. *** I grew up in a family that didn't freak out about death.  It helped somewhat tha … [Read more...]

Medieval Lit for Ordinary Readers: St. Gerald of Aurillac

Today (October 13th) is the feast of St. Gerald of Aurillac, which means it's time for me to point you to fun for junior historians.  Biography in general is a useful way to study history, because you quickly get past the generalizations and see what people really did.  Even better is biography written in the era you are studying, so that you not only find out what happened, but how the contemporaries viewed the events.St. Odo of Cluny wrote a biography of St. Gerald, which you can read in E … [Read more...]

#Synod14 – In Which Justice & Mercy Try Dating for a Bit

The overall theme of this month's Extraordinary Synod on the Family seems to be this: Catholics stink at being Catholic.  No, really, we're terrible at it.  Now what?The specific topic is everything that has to do with family life, marriage residing at the heart of that.  It turns out Catholics, like the rest of the world, aren't any better at marrying than we are at, say, remembering to read the parish bulletin.  And yet, weirdly, we still long for a deep, lasting, soul-rousing relationship … [Read more...]