Whats New on Unam Sanctam Catholicam?

Wedding Cake Q and A

We are in an interesting time in American legal and cultural history. On the one hand, the advance of modernity is throwing down traditional legal barriers to same-sex so-called marriage and opening up new doors to homosexuals to not only practice homosexuality but have their unions recognized by the State. On the other hand, there is a growing movement of concerned Americans protesting infringements against religious liberty by the new regime which in many cases compels Christians to support things contrary to their faith, either implicitly or explicitly. These two contrary movements have come crashing together in the controversies over whether Christian bakers, florists, restaurants, etc. are legally obligated to provide services for homosexual weddings, the so-called "wedding cake" dilemma.


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Geisler and Mackenzie: Refutation of Sola Scriptura (part 1)

By Wesley Hunt. Protestant apologists Ralph Mackenzie and Norman Geisler have put out an apologetic dissertation in defense of one of the hallmark doctrines of the Reformation, namely, sola scriptura. The article is titled, “A Defense of Sola Scriptura (http://www.donotlink.com/ehzn),” and seeks, among other things, to provide a thorough yet succinct justification for sola scriptura. Throughout the article, the apologists approach the issue from a number of angles, and it is the goal of this essay to address simply those claims Geisler and Mackenzie make from scripture. The other two posts, which will hopefully be soon to follow, will cover their arguments from both tradition, as well as other miscellaneous arguments presented in their paper. With that in mind, pull up a chair and enjoy...


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Is Easter Pagan? The Eostre-Easter Connection

Every Easter this debate comes up regarding whether Easter is actually a pagan holiday derived from the worship of the Teutonic Eostre or even the Babylonian Ishtar. An essay on the much controversial alleged Easter-Eostre-Ishtar is long overdue on this website. We have already dealt with the question of Halloween's allegedly pagan origins ("Is Halloween Pagan? (apologetics/86-contra-protestantism/389-is-halloween-pagan.html)") and have also addressed a similar question with regards to the origin of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th ("Pagan Origins of Christmas? (component/content/article/79-history/406-pagan-origins-of-christmas.html)"). In both preceding articles, we have demonstrated that the alleged "pagan connections" much trumpeted by secularists and fundamentalist Protestants do not stand up to historical scrutiny in the least. As we shall see, the same is true with the accusation that Easter, the highest...


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Mandatum: Liturgical History

The Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper is distinctive for two unique features: the foot washing ceremony known as the Mandatum, and the Eucharistic procession to the Repository, which sets the stage for the services of Good Friday. Both features are well attested in the history of the East and the West and serve to highlight the Mass of the Lord's Supper as the opening of the Triduum, the "Still Days" preceding the celebration of our Blessed Lord's Resurrection on Easter. The washing of the feet has its origin in the actions of our Lord after the Last Supper, as narrated in the Gospel of St. John; it later became a sign of service in the early Christian community and eventually found its way...


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St. Patrick's Lent on Cruachan-Aighle

According to various lives of St. Patrick, the great Apostle of Ireland retreated to the summit of a desolate peak called Cruachan-Aighle near Loch Derg on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday in the year 441. Patrick spent his entire Lent upon the peak, weeping for the sins of men and begging God to grant to him a certain number of souls for the heavenly kingdom. After suffering demonic attacks in the form of black birds, Patrick was visited by an angel who was sent to negotiate Patrick's demands on God's behalf. What followed was reminiscent of Abraham's negotiations with the Angel of the Lord for the lives of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, as related in the Book of Genesis. Due to the perseverance...


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The Public Apostasy of Pope Marcellinus

The Sedevacantist would have us believe that a pontiff can lose his office by professing "manifest" heresy or committing public acts of apostasy. Yet in such statements there is usually lacking a distinction on what constitutes a "manifest" heresy or a "public act" of apostasy. As we shall see, there is not a direct correlation between holding or teaching a heretical proposition and being a "heretic", nor between committing an act of apostasy and being an apostate in the formal sense. We shall explore this distinction with a lengthy examination of one of history's less memorable pontiffs, Marcellinus, who was pope during the Great Persecution of Diocletian. Marcellinus is of great interest to this discussion because he very well may have committed a public act...


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Quinisext Council in Trullo and Priestly Celibacy

The discipline of clerical celibacy is a sticking point between the Catholic Church and the Eastern churches, both those in and out of union with Rome. Eastern Christians allow a married, sexually active priesthood while the Latin Church has always insisted on sexual continence from its clerics. This discussion is often framed in such a way that the East is said to be preserving a very ancient tradition in the while the West is maintaining a tradition that "only" dates from the 10th century. Implicitly, the Eastern discipline is given a more credible historical pedigree. In fact this is not the case. The Latin custom of perfect continence for clerics is actually much more ancient than the current Eastern tradition, which only goes back to...


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Benedict XIV Non Ambigimus

In honor of Lent, we bring you the 1741 encyclical letter Non ambigimus of the great Pope Benedict XIV (Prospero Lambertini, r. 1740-1758) in English. In this great encyclical, Benedict XIV elaborates on the importance of the Lenten fast, which he sees as one of the distinguishing characteristics of the true Church, at least vis-a-vis Protestantism. Another important take away relevant to our own condition is Benedict's observation that failure to take the Lenten fast seriously or to observe it with appropriate devotion is responsible for a general decline in morals, and that the degree of this damage is not negligible. Therefore, we are happy to present an English translation of Benedict XIV's Non ambigimus. Note: This is an original translation from the Italian and...


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A Miserable Cup of Coffee

Some time ago, we featured an article on the acceptable, good and perfect will of God. Looking at passages from the Scriptures, some of the Fathers and the life of St. Galgano, we endeavored to explain that there are varying degrees of holiness a Christian is capable of obtaining. One degree is merely doing what is acceptable to God; i.e., not sinful. This may allow one to eek one's way into heaven, but it does not constitute holiness in the strict sense. Another degree is doing the good, that is, orienting our life around God and making a sincere effort to be a good Catholic. Then there is the third degree, the way of perfection, which consists in denying attachments to this world in a...


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Probability and Statistical Impossibility

Late last year, Wall Street Journal columnist Eric Metaxas published an interesting piece titled "Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God". The article argues that recent scientific discoveries about the universe increase the likelihood that the cosmos is the result of an intelligent designer. Though the article is brief, we recommend a studious reading of it, as it brings to the fore several essential problems with purely materialist theories of the origin of the universe. In this essay, we will examine the issue of probability and the concept of "statistical impossibility" and how it undermines the materialist assumption that given enough time, anything is possible.


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History of the Catholic Church

  • St. Patrick's Lent on Cruachan-Aighle

    According to various lives of St. Patrick, the great Apostle of Ireland retreated to the summit of a desolate peak called Cruachan-Aighle near Loch Derg on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday in the year 441. Patrick spent his entire Lent upon the peak, weeping for the sins of men and begging God to g…

    Read more: St....

Theology & Liturgy

Catholic Spirituality

  • A Miserable Cup of Coffee

    Some time ago, we featured an article on the acceptable, good and perfect will of God. Looking at passages from the Scriptures, some of the Fathers and the life of St. Galgano, we endeavored to explain that there are varying degrees of holiness a Christian is capable of obtaining. One degree is mere…

    Read more: A Miserable...

Saints, Reviews & More!

  • Cinderella (2015)

    When I went out to see the new Walt Disney Cinderella film directed by Kenneth Branagh (PG, 2015), I expected to see a lot of the typical revisionist themes that are common in remakes of fairy tales: a darker, edgier Cinderella; maybe a Cinderella who fights or knows martial arts; a new, imaginary…

    Read more: Cinderella...

Economy & Society

  • Wedding Cake Q and A

    We are in an interesting time in American legal and cultural history. On the one hand, the advance of modernity is throwing down traditional legal barriers to same-sex so-called marriage and opening up new doors to homosexuals to not only practice homosexuality but have their unions recognized by th…

    Read more: Wedding Cake...