Why the Good Thief Doesn’t Justify Protestant Doctrines

The Catholic Church has always looked to the good thief as an example par excellence of conversion (see Luke 23:39-43). This is why he is called good. But for some Protestants, the good thief, traditionally named St. Dismas, is good for a different reason than his last-minute conversion. It would seem that his story justifies doctrines held by many Protestants. For example, Dismas …

Did Jesus Believe in Purgatory?

The Magna Carta for all Christian evangelists is Christ’s great commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). Notice Christ’s command restricts the Christian evangelist to teaching only what Christ revealed and not his own opinions. Many Protestants think the Catholic Church fails in this regard. …

Doesn’t Hell Make God an Unjust Tyrant?

For many people, the Catholic doctrine of hell serves as an obstacle to belief in God. They think an all-good God wouldn’t allow someone he loves to experience everlasting torment. And they think the permanent nature of hell’s punishment is incompatible with a just God. A recent caller on Catholic Answers Live asked, “Given that we have a finite life with limited …

Evidence Christ Offered the Last Supper as a Sacrifice

It is an infallible teaching of the Catholic Church that the Eucharist is a sacrifice—in particular, the one sacrifice of Christ. The Council of Trent declared: If any one saith, that, by the sacrifice of the mass, a blasphemy is cast upon the most holy sacrifice of Christ consummated on the cross; or, that it is thereby derogated from; let him be …

Burying the Denial of Jesus’ Burial

In a recent article posted at the Catholic Answers blog, I showed why the hallucination and vision theories fail as explanations of Jesus’ resurrection. One of the arguments I gave is the empty tomb argument: if the apostles were hallucinating or only having a vision of the dead Jesus, then the early skeptics could have produced Jesus’ body and disproved his resurrection. …

The Resurrection: Hallucination or Vision?

Suppose your ninety-year-old grandmother tells you she sees leprechauns dancing in the butter dish in the cafeteria at her assisted living home. Would you think her perception conforms to objective reality? Or would you think she’s hallucinating? My guess is the latter. Imagine now your grandmother dies, and then a few days later you see her sitting in a chair …

John’s First Letter to the Protestants?

St. John’s letters are numbered among the New Testament epistles commonly referred to as the Catholic epistles. But it would seem that his first letter, in particular, is far from Catholic. For example, he seems to teach the Protestant doctrine of the inner testimony of the Spirit and deny the need for a magisterium (a living, teaching authority): “You have …