Saturday, June 09, 2007


I'm going on my annual retreat this week, so I won't be able to blog for a little while. I'll pray for the intentions of everyone who reads this. God bless you!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Red Terror on the Amber Coast

That's the name of a film some Dominican priests are putting out. It's about the Soviet communistic persecution of the Church in Lithuania. It caught my interest since my mother's parents were immigrants from that country in the early 20th century.
It's inspiring to realize the heroic courage of so many people who fought against great odds to keep their faith and spread it.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Pope's new book

I just obtained a copy of Pope Benedict's new book on Jesus and started to read it over this weekend. It's tremendous! Every Catholic should read it. It has so much food for thought that it's the kind of book that one can go back to again and again.
In the introduction, he says that the book is not an exercise of the papal magisterium. It's something he wrote on his own as a scholar, so he says that everyone is free to contradict him! He must certainly be a very humble man. As I read it I'll do more posts about it.
If you have read it, please leave your comments about it. Thank you!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Was St Joseph a widower?

Before he married Mary, that is.
This question came up in the feedback I got about the presentation I did on Mary and Joseph's virginity. So I did some reading to find out more about it.
First, this is not a matter of faith; as Catholics we can hold that Joseph was or was not a widower when he married Mary. It's a speculative question that we can't really answer with absolute certainty. But the ancient sources are interesting.
The idea that he was a widower first came up in the Proto-evangelium of James.That's one of the apocryphal Gospels, so it's not a reliable historical source but it shows what early Christians thought. The reason he's portrayed as a widower is to explain who Jesus' "brothers" are. In this theory they would have been Joseph's children by an earlier marriage. There's another writing in Coptic called History of Joseph the Carpenter. That work said he was 91 when he received Mary!

In the Eastern Church, the idea that Joseph was a widower was more prevalent, thanks especially to the writings of Epiphanius of Salamis (end of the 4th century). In the West, however, the indomitable St Jerome vigorously defended the idea that Joseph was always a virgin throughout his entire life. Augustine, too, followed Jerome on this. So the influence of these two "heavy-weight" doctors of the Church made that view prevalent in the West. In the Middle Ages it became the common teaching of almost all Western Church writers.

Personally, I like to think of Joseph as a young man when he married Mary. He had to support her and Jesus through his work, so it doesn't seem likely to me that he would have been so old he couldn't have done that.What do you think?