Saturday, February 20, 2021

It is not an understatement to say the St. Ignatius of Antioch, who was eaten by lions in Rome in AD 106 is one of my favorite men of all time. He was a link to help me grasp the Catholic Church. He dragged me in with his seven letters.

So it was with interest that I read John C. Evans treatise of St. Ignatius, his times, his associates, his speculated relationship with St. John and the Blessed Virgin Mary, with Peter and others. The star of Bethlehem association is also an interesting twist.

John Evans shared this with me and it intrigued me enough that I wanted to share it. Everything below the line of asterisks belongs to John Evans.

Below the article is a video of John interviewing me about the life of the Holy Family in their own historical context.


Ignatius of Antioch and The Christmas Star

Through the Eyes of John and Mary

A brief hypothesis on chapters 18 and 19 of Ignatius of Antioch’s Letter to the Ephesians and his primary sources.

The following consists of a blog entry and not an exhaustive study of the questions raised. As such, it is intended as a rough outline of my thesis and is subject to critique, revision, and further dialogue.

downloadThe letter to the Ephesians attributed to the early second-century martyr, Ignatius of Antioch, conspicuously stands out from the six other epistles generally believed to be authentic by mainstream voices in the field of patristics. This is largely due to a famous or infamous passage toward the end of the letter, comprising of chapters 18 and 19 in which Ignatius, on his way to execution in Rome, seemingly diverts from the flow of his discourse to expound the events surrounding the passion and nativity of Christ.

The minimalist scholar will inevitably hold to the conviction that these references comprise of merely one layer in a series of “ecclesiastical traditions” of dubious origin with little to no foundation in the person of the historical Jesus. Such a conviction, however, is founded on the presupposition that either the apostolic memory died before Ignatius gave his life in Rome toward the very dawn of the second century or that the successors to the Apostles had little concern for historicity as we would conceive of it. However, such a presupposition ignores two steady streams of evidence branching from a wealth of patristic sources.

Most would place the death of John, the last surviving apostle, to circa A.D 90 in Ephesus, hardly twenty years before the martyrdom of Ignatius of Antioch. John was active in Asia Minor toward the end of his life and according to the second-century father Irenaeus, a well-known student of Polycarp, he was responsible for combating heretical sects toward the close of the first century, which sought to distort the memory of what the rest of the twelve witnessed and died defending.

met+stills.00_01_58_10.Still003John was an eyewitness of the crucifixion of Jesus, was caretaker for His Mother in Ephesus, until her passing or assumption, possibly in the 60s, and is listed as a pillar of the faith by Paul alongside James, the brother or cousin of the Lord. There is also the witness of Papias. Papias authored an “exposition on the oracles of the Lord,” which is now lost. However, fragments survive. Papias claims to have faithfully passed on what he learned from a series of eyewitnesses of “the truth” and to have an interest in truth as it factually happened, and he references the name “John” twice. As we read:….

For the whole article, click here to visit John C Evans’ Book and Spade website. You comment on the article below AND learn more about this fascinating young man named John C. Evans and write to him at


On Restoring the Sunday Mass Obligation

by Steve Ray on February 20, 2021

This article was released Saturday, February 20 at The Catholic Thing.

As American Catholics enter Year II of lockdown, a number of dioceses are beginning to roll back the universal dispensation from Sunday Mass.  The Archdiocese of Detroit is the most prominent, announcing that as of March 13, the universal dispensation of the faithful from the dominical precept will be replaced by eight specific grounds for dispensation,  including illness of various kinds, caring for sick or homebound people, pregnancy, being 65 or older, not being able to get there, or “significant fear.”….

…The usual suspects quickly jumped out to assure us that “conscience” and not the hierarchical church has the final word on so esoteric a discipline for Catholics as participating in the Sunday Eucharist….

It’s time to end universal dispensations.  Two obvious things make that case.  Lots of secular activities are now pretty robust.  Churches aren’t.

I love this guy! I love this guy!

Over two recent weekends, I was looking at a local brewery, gym, grocery, and clothing store.  They might not be as filled as they were a year ago, but they weren’t doing too badly, either.  While arguably people need the grocery store, Friday night foursomes over beers at the bar seem less compelling….

(Picture: Priest with a sign saying, “If you can come grocery shopping then you can come to Mass.“)

Some bishops have posed the question, “If you feel comfortable dining out in a restaurant, why can’t you return to church?”  Today’s Twitter crowd criticized such tactics as stoking people’s “guilt,” a clearly impermissible motivation – for them – to get people to question their behavior.  But the question remains: If we are willing to take public risks on exposure not strictly necessary to at-home survival (e.g., going to a bar or restaurant), what makes the risk factor of Church so much more dangerous, at least in our minds?

We are at a dangerous crossroads.  Catholicism is a sacramental religion, i.e., one that involves the physical. COVID is a particularly apt disease for our gnostic-tinged age: it treats the physical as suspect, dirty, contaminated…..

…. Governments that suggest we “can worship in the privacy of the home” are governments implicitly advancing a Protestant theology of “Jesus as my personal Savior,” for which the church is a nice but ultimately unnecessary accessory.

Lots more in this excellent article. To read the whole exhortation, click here.

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