The Church Doesn’t Teach What You Think It Does (Guest: Jimmy Akin)

May 17, 2024 01:20:44
The Church Doesn’t Teach What You Think It Does (Guest: Jimmy Akin)
Crisis Point
The Church Doesn’t Teach What You Think It Does (Guest: Jimmy Akin)

May 17 2024 | 01:20:44

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Hosted By

Eric Sammons

Show Notes

Today we’ll talk with a man who has publicly defended the Catholic Faith for more than 30 years. We'll find that Catholics often are wrong about what they think the Church definitively teaches.
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:11] Speaker A: Today we're going to talk with a man who's been engaged in catholic apologetics for over 30 years. What has he learned in that time and what queen learned from him? That's what we're going to talk about today on crisis point. And I'm Eric Sammich, your host editor in chief of Crisis magazine. Before we get started, let me just remind people to like this video. Subscribe to Channel. Let other people know about it. Subscribe to our email newsletter. Just go to crisismagazine.com, put in your email address, and we'll send you an email once a day with our articles and podcasts for links to the podcast for the day. So I feel like our guest today does not need an introduction, but I'll give you one anyway because I feel like you earned it. So Jimmy Akin is a convert to Catholicism and the author of many books, including the fathers know best, Mass Revision and the Salvation Controversy. He's a senior apologist for catholic answers and he seems to be everywhere on the Internet. At least that's, that's my impression. How's it going, Jimmy? [00:01:06] Speaker B: It's going okay. How's it going with you, Eric? [00:01:08] Speaker A: Very good. You know, I speaking your books. Okay. This has been bothering me for a long time. There's a little book you wrote long ago and it had to do with, like Calvinism. Is that this, is that the salvation controversy or was that another, it's like Calvinism Catholicism compared. I gave it to a calvinist friend. Is that one salvation controversy? Is that a different one? [00:01:32] Speaker B: Yeah. So it doesn't deal exclusively with Calvinism, but there is a chapter in it where I go through the five points of Calvinism, the famous tulip formula, and I say, how close could a Catholic get to these? And I then propose, based on the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, a catholic equivalent. Now there are some of the, some of the five points Thomas Aquinas didn't have any problem with, but a few of them. You gotta tweak it a little bit. But you can get pretty close to Calvinism within the catholic framework. On the other hand, I've always meant to do the opposite and say, how far away from Calvinism could you get? I just haven't gotten around to that. [00:02:19] Speaker A: Now didn't you have the, wasn't there a little book that was just on that topic? [00:02:23] Speaker B: No. That chapter, though did appear as an article in Catholic Answers magazine, or this rock, as it was called. It's also on my website. [00:02:31] Speaker A: Okay. That might have been it. I'm just I'm trying to remember because I remember I gave it to my calvinist friend years ago, and it was very good to kind of let him know, like, okay, here's what you don't have to change becoming Catholic, but here's what you would have to tweak some. So. Yeah, so that. That's a chapter in the salvation controversy. Okay. Good to know. Okay, so you've been around forever. You're like an OG apologist, I feel like. And I'm old enough to remember when you. I. My memory might be bad here, but didn't you at first kind of publicly go by James Aiken and then you change? Then you went to your real. Your actual name. You used Jimmy? [00:03:04] Speaker B: Yeah. So my birth name is. Is Jimmy. I mean, that's what's on my birth certificate. It is my legal name. A young man, because Jimmy is a diminutive, I felt the need to prove I was an adult, and so I started going by James for a while, and then after I grew up a little bit more, I said, I don't need to prove anything to anybody. And so I went back to use my birth name, which is also my father's name. So it was, you know, it was to honor him. [00:03:34] Speaker A: Right, right. Okay, so I was right about that. So how did. So you convert, I think, in 1992. Is that right? [00:03:42] Speaker B: Yep. [00:03:42] Speaker A: Okay. Year before me. And then you were. Very quickly, you started working with catholic answers. I feel like. How did you actually get started going from being a convert to getting associated with catholic answers and doing apologetics full time? [00:03:55] Speaker B: Well, so at the time, I was in grad school in philosophy here at the University of Arkansas, and I basically, you know, before I became Catholic, I had always made a point of reading the views of all different kinds of Christians because I realized that after I became a Christian, I realized that what church is within easy driving distance, and what church has preaching I like and what church has music I like and what church has a youth group I like. None of those are good tests of truth. And I didn't want to fall into a viewpoint within Christianity, just reflexively, I'm interested in the truth. And so in order to, you know, coming into Christianity as an adult, I mean, I was nominally christian as a kid, but I didn't have any systematic education in it. So I started reading the views of all different kinds of Christians. I read Lutherans and Anglicans and Methodists and Baptists and Presbyterians and Pentecostals and Catholics and orthodox and everybody. And. And I had been on a ministerial track in the presbyterian church in America, which is a conservative presbyterian church. And I had been, you know, learning their theology and as well as everybody else. But then I made a discovery that forced me to reconsider all that. And so I had a lot of. I had to go. Basically, I had a theological. Not a. Not a complete one, but I had a pretty substantial theological education at this point. And so I needed to go back through all of the categories, systematic theology with an open mind as to whether the catholic position on them might be true. And so I took basically a year of grad school where I kind of coasted through my classes. I got good grades, but I wasn't. What I was really doing was studying this issue. And so at a certain point, I realized I needed a knowledgeable orthodox Catholic who knew their bible to be able to bounce questions off of, because this was before the Internet. You couldn't just go look stuff up. There was no YouTube. There was no catholic radio anywhere. There were a few stations here and there, but not where I lived. There was no catechism of the Catholic Church. And so I needed someone who was knowledgeable, orthodox, and biblically educated to be able to inquire of. So I called a friend of mine who was a lutheran apologist named Bob Pasentino, and he said, why don't you come? Catholic answers. So I did got to know some of the apologists there and was able to ask questions and, you know, proceed in my resolution of the different categories of systematic theology, and ended up becoming catholic. Well, in the process of doing that now, I'd already had an interest in apologetics, you know, christian apologetics. I'm a christian philosopher. And so, you know, arguing against abortion, arguing for God, arguing for a christian worldview. I already had christian apologetics. And what I was doing by this survey of systematic theology with an open mind to the catholic position is I was essentially teaching myself catholic apologetics. Why should one prefer the catholic view to other views? And so. And it was obvious to the apologists I was talking to at catholic answers that I had talent in this area, and we thought it might be good to work together at some point. Well, to give a bit of a spoiler to my conversion story, I was received. My wife Renee, got sick as I was in the process of converting, and I was actually received into her hospital room using the. Received into the catholic church in her hospital room using the emergency shortened form of the rights four days before she died. [00:07:55] Speaker A: Oh, wow. [00:07:56] Speaker B: So after she died, I went out to California, and I auditioned for a job and I got it. And I've been there ever since. I've now been working at catholic answers for over 30 years. And I'm not only a senior apologist, I'm the senior employee now. I've been there longer than anybody else. [00:08:14] Speaker A: I was about to ask that if anybody's been there longer than you, not anymore. Okay, we got it. Now, Carl Keating, he's still, like. I mean, he's still, like, kicking and stuff and. [00:08:23] Speaker B: Oh, yeah. [00:08:23] Speaker A: He's just not directly with catholic answers anymore as far as, like, doing daily work. [00:08:28] Speaker B: Yeah, he was the founder of catholic answers, and he's retired from. From that position and hope he's enjoying his retirement and doing great stuff. [00:08:37] Speaker A: I mean, just the. The thanks we should all give him, in my opinion. [00:08:41] Speaker B: Oh, yeah. [00:08:42] Speaker A: Just, it was people today, younger people today. Let's do our old folks home talk here. But they don't realize, like, what you were saying, how dry it was as far as being able to find information about Catholicism just because no Internet, but also because apologetics had fallen out of favor in the church in the seventies and eighties. And then all of a sudden, Carl Keating comes around, and he starts up catholic answers. Catholicism and fundamentalism was huge for me in becoming Catholic. I mean, reading that book was just huge in helping to convert me. And, of course, then Scott Hahn's tape comes out and stuff like that. But it was just. There was nothing there before Carl Keating. And I feel like there's nothing in America. [00:09:24] Speaker B: Yeah. Nothing substantial in America. I mean, there had been catholic apologetics before, but after the Second Vatican Council and all the doctrinal confusion that happened, it basically was considered passe. It's like, oh, we don't do apologetics anymore. We're into ecumenism now. [00:09:42] Speaker A: Right. [00:09:42] Speaker B: And so there just wasn't any apologetics, especially here in America, in any organized, systematic way. And as a result, the. The catholic community owes a huge debt to Carl Keating for reinvigorating this at a time when a lot of. A lot of catholic churchmen looked down on it and didn't see the value in it. But it has a perennial value, because christians are meant to evangelize. And as you evangelize, two things are going to happen. One of them is people are going to want to say, well, you're evangelizing me. You're telling me how to believe this stuff. Why? And that gets you right into apologetics, offering evidence for the faith. It also has a perennial value, because they're not. They're. They're not blank slates. They're coming from somewhere, and they already have views on things, and they're gonna, they're gonna have objections that occur to them based on their previous background, and you need to resolve those objections. So apologetics has a positive function in, or a positive function in the sense of you need to give people evidence for, for the gospel and the catholic understanding of it. And it has a negative function of clearing away obstacles that people may have to embracing the faith. So you can't be a Christian and do evangelization without having an apologetic accompaniment to that. And so it really does have a perennial value that. Hang on just a second. I'm getting texts. I will silence that. So it really does have a perennial value. And we are very blessed today to have a much more robust apologetic community in America than we did back in the seventies and eighties. [00:11:27] Speaker A: Right. Now, since you've been doing this for over 30 years, I wanna ask your view how things have changed in kind of the catholic apologetics landscape, not just because there's a lot more, but I feel like at least my perception, and maybe it's just my own kind of world I'm in, is that things have changed a lot in that. In the nineties, it seemed like a lot of our focus was towards Protestants, good believing Protestants who had a lot of misconceptions, misunderstandings about the catholic faith, and sometimes were even anti catholic and responding to that and explaining that. And yes, of course, there was atheists always and things like that, but that seemed to be the focus. And then, of course, we had the rise of the new atheist in the early two thousands such, and we also have now a lot of intra catholic debate. More, I know weve always had that, but I feel like theres more apologetics involved in that as well. How do you see it as far as, because you've been in the trenches for 30 years now, how things have stayed the same and how they've changed over that time? [00:12:31] Speaker B: Well, it's definitely broadened out now in, so America historically is a protestant country, and Protestantism historically is very anti catholic. You know, that doesn't. Now, that may surprise some folks, because today there are a lot of Protestants who are very catholic friendly, which is wonderful. But historically wasn't that way. I mean, 400, 500 years ago, we were killing each other, and so there was anti catholic animus in the protestant community, and there was anti protestant animus in the catholic community that led to bloodshed. Well, here in America, we have freedom of religion, so we didn't have bloodshed over this issue in America. But there was still a lot of hostility. And in the mid 20th century, there were a lot of Protestants who were very anti catholic, and they didn't have a second Vatican Council that caused their apologetics to go away. So that you had a lot of anti catholic preaching. You had a lot of anti catholic apologetics coming from the protestant community here in America. And when Carl started catholic answers, that's what he was focused on. He, in fact, catholic answers began because a local protestant church leafleted all the parish, all the cars in a parish parking lot that Carl attended with anti catholic tracts. And so he wrote a response and then leafleted all of their cars. And he needed a name. He created a Po box so they could respond, and he needed a name. So he came up with catholic answers. So catholic answers was born out of interaction with protestant anti Catholicism. And protestant anti Catholicism was a big thing at the time. You know, you'd have, you know, Jimmy Swaggart on tv. He was a televangelist back in the day. He would be preaching anti catholic stuff. You had a lot of other people. You had Jack chick, you know, lots of protestant anti Catholics. And so there was a focus on this area. Now, when I came, at the time I came to catholic answers in 1993. Now, I, though, had a background in not just how to deal with Protestants, but also how to deal with atheists and how to deal with abortionists and things like that. I'd done pro life work. I'd been the director of a pro life organization. And so I had a, you know, broader interests than just Protestantism, but that was, those were the opportunities that were available in the day. Over time, things broadened out. And so I've always been a little bit envious of my colleague Trent Horne because of when he came. He had opportunities to write books about defending the existence of God and opposing pro abortion arguments and stuff like that. It's like, this is exactly what I was doing in grad school, but I didn't have the opportunity professionally to do that kind of stuff. So I'm glad it's broadened out. And I think one of the key reasons it's broadened out. You mentioned new atheism, and of course, that helped popularize atheism. That needed a response. Also the Internet. The Internet has put people in touch with each other in a much bigger way. I mean, we can tend to live in our own little social media bubbles, but fundamentally, the Internet has interconnected lots of people with lots of different viewpoints that never would have encountered each other before. So, you know, if you are here in America, you might not ever meet an orthodox person, you know, Eastern Orthodox, but you can meet them on the Internet, and you can get into discussions with them. And so by interconnecting the world, what the Internet has done is massively diversified the field of apologetics, because it's not just, I need to be able to respond to the views of some local group, I need to potentially be able to respond to the views of any group anywhere in the world. And so I find myself interacting with people from all kinds of viewpoints. I had a. It was kind of framed as a debate, but it was. I think it was more of a dialogue with a vaishnavish scholar, you know, from. He believes in a version of Hinduism known as Vaishnavism. And we had a very cordial discussion where we explored the differences and similarities of our views. But that kind of interaction would be something that would have, you know, never happened back in the mid 1990s. [00:17:06] Speaker A: Do you think that apologetics is for Catholics easier, harder, the same today as was in the nineties? Because I feel like the nineties, we had this. We had a lot of people coming in the church in America. I'm talking about american context, of course. We had a pope who was one of the most popular men in the world. In JP two, we did not know about what was going on behind the scenes with the abuse scandal that had not come up till 2002. [00:17:33] Speaker B: It wasn't as well known as it came to be known. It was known, yeah, I knew about it because there had been. When I came into the church, because there had been previous scandals, and I said, well, this is bad, but that doesn't tell me what the truth is, just because this is bad. So it didn't deter me. But then it all blew up into the public consciousness in 2002, like, the. [00:17:56] Speaker A: Depths of it, and how many bishops and priests were complicit and everything. So I feel like maybe it was a little bit of a facade, but it seemed like, you know, we looked stronger, at least the catholic church did, to the world. Do you think that's true, or do you think it's like, so do you think it's harder now because that. Or do you think it's just like, well, this is just the way it is always. [00:18:18] Speaker B: Well, so, historically, you know, there's. I mean, there's always been corruption in the church, and people in the past knew that. You know, I mean, roast priest is the famous. Is the favorite Sunday dinner dish. And so people have always been cast in shade on churchmen. You go back into the middle ages, and they're writing parody songs about, you know, corruption in the church and stuff like that. You read the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, and it's like he's got these churchmen like the pardoner who is overtly corrupt, you know, so there's always been corruption in the church. It's always been a harm to the witness of Christ, and it's always been something the church has had to deal with. The pedophilia scandal was a notable event, but because human nature is fallen, every institution has flaws that become obvious over time to at least the people who are in contact with it. I think that when the pedophilia crisis happened, even though it turned a lot of people off, it also reinvigorated the faith of a bunch of people. There was a rally round the flag effect of, the church denounces this, and the church is going to take steps to deal with this. And it did. You know, it's an ongoing reform, but the church has actually made progress on this. So I don't think that per is. I think that's part of the normal ups and downs in history in terms of, is apologetics easier or harder today? Well, a lot of the anti catholic animus that used to exist, particularly in the protestant community, has gone away in significant measure because of the pro life movement, because that forced Protestants and Catholics to work together and get to know each other and realize, oh, hey, that other side, you know, turns out they're not devil worshippers. And. And so that helped build a lot of bridges between Christians, between Catholics and Protestants in the christian community. Even the new atheism has faded. And you have Richard Dawkins saying positive things now. I mean, who knew that was ever going to happen? I was reading an article the other day about how, by an atheist, about how secularism has somewhat faded in the current phase of history. So I think that in part because of more open mindedness, at least among thoughtful people, that apologetics is easier in some ways. At the same time, there is a big secular hostility towards faith, including both Protestantism and Catholicism in the west, in America, and even more in Europe, that hampers the work of apologetics. But there are other parts of the world where, like in Africa, for example, where there's a lot of friendliness and interest in the christian faith and in the catholic understanding of the faith. So I think it. I think it depends on where you are and who you're interacting with, what kind of opportunities and difficulties you're going to face as an apologist. [00:21:45] Speaker A: Right. It's going to be very different in, like, New York City than perhaps in Alabama as far as how people perceive Catholicism, religion in general. What about the difficulties? And this has been something that's been true throughout the 30 years you've been doing it, but I feel like it's gotten even worse is the doctrinal confusion within the Catholic Church that has been really prevalent since, like, kind of the spirit of Vatican II and all that, and like we were talking about before with the confusion that happened after VaTican II, but where you will say, you know, I've had this experience. I'm sure you've had two where you will say something about what the church teaches, and they will say, well, Bishop X says this or father so and so says this, or even Pope Francis says that. And it's like they're like, I trump you because I have, you're a lay person. I have a priest or a bishop or even a pope who seems to disagree with you. How do you kind of address the doctrinal confusion within church when you're dealing with people outside of Catholicism? [00:22:43] Speaker B: Well, so I think that there is confusion today in the church. It was even worse in the 1970s. I mean, you had people like Hans KUnG and Edward Skillebax who were writing books that were regarded as like, okay, this is, this is, this is catholic teaching, or this is a legitimate understanding of catholic teaching. And it wasn't. And what then happened was with the election of John Paul II, they started in a very measured way to respond to that with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith issuing notifications. I mean, like, Hans Kung ended up getting stripped of his, of his status as a catholic theologian. Edward Scilibix had warnings put out about his books, and that started to address some of the doctrinal confusion. It made Joseph Ratzinger very unpopular in liberal circles, and people thought, oh, he's never going to be pope. But what I think was the big turning point in this, I mean, the reign of John Paul II followed by the reign of Benedict XVI were both massive stabilizers in terms of church teaching that repaired a lot of the confusion that happened after the Second Vatican Council. And I think one of the key moments in that was the publication of the catechism of the Catholic Church. That was a watershed moment. So anybody who wanted to know what the church teaches could read it for themselves. This was a current, authoritative document. There weren't questions about, is this authoritative? This was a, this was a, a guiding star for people. And it, and then they redid here in America all of the catechetical materials to bring them into conformity with the catechism of the Catholic Church. So you didn't have crazy, loopy stuff like what I had to endure when I was in RCIA. I mean, I remember watching. They had, they had a video lecture series that we watched in my RCIA program, which was terrible. The program was terrible. The video series was terrible, too. I remember in the episode on the Trinity, the lecture was being given by some woman who was explaining that logic is kind of a greek thing. It's not so much a hebrew thing. Yeah. And then for the episode on confession, a priest was the one who did the lecture on confession, and he spent most of the lecture. Almost all of it is my memory, anyway, summarizing the plot of an episode of gunsmoke that involved forgiveness. [00:25:31] Speaker A: Straight out of the eighties right there, and early nineties right there. [00:25:35] Speaker B: Yeah. So the catechism played an enormous stabilizing role. Currently, we're in the reign of Francis, who, by his own admission, he has a high tolerance for, for risk. And so after the stabilization that even Pope Francis has said was needed following Vatican II, he was willing to, in his words, make a mess, and not in the idea of deliberate destruction, but in the idea of creative destruction. You know, where you try new things, you experiment. You're not going to get everything right, but you're also going beyond what you had before. So that's what he's trying to do, but it has caused a lot of confusion. And he is not the careful communicator that John Paul the second or Benedict XVI was. So he has a tendency to put his foot in his mouth and he creates these sound bites where if you study what the context he, what he's saying is not what it sounds like when it hits the media. To give a famous example from one of his airplane interviews early on as Pope, he was asked about a specific priest who apparently was homosexual, but was now trying to live a chaste life. And he said, well, if, you know, if someone is homosexual, but they're trying to live a chaste life, and who am I to judge? Well, what the press picked up was Pope says about homosexuality. Who am I to judge? And that is not what he was saying. He was talking about a specific individual who would apparently, who was apparently trying to be chaste. And so because of the way he communicates and because he's not the same kind of a theologian as John Paul II, who is more of a philosopher or, and certainly not the same kind of theologian as Benedict XVI. There is confusion today. So what happens when people, you know, confront me with that? Well, I usually find myself saying, and this is because I work in the field. I mean, I've actually written a book about the magisterium and how it works and how to evaluate church documents and what different levels of authority are and so forth and what can change and what can't change. I'm usually equipped to just off the top of my head, to be able to respond to individual challenges, but they frequently begin with, that's not what you think it is. It's, you've heard it wrong in the press. I don't care what father so and so said. Here's what a church document says. Actually, no, that's not infallible, you know, or that's a discipline rather than a doctrine. And so there are a range of responses, but fundamentally, if you want to be well prepared for all that, they have to be taken on a case by case basis. And the best thing that I could recommend is getting a background in how the magisterium works and how to understand what it does, which is why I wrote the book, because there wasn't one out there like this. So there's a book plug for you. Check out teaching with authority by Jimmy Aiken. [00:28:43] Speaker A: Teaching with authority. Okay. Yeah. And I kind of want to explore that a little bit more because I do feel like there is some confusion among Catholics about the kind of the limits of church authority, the limits of magisterium. I think most Catholics who are decently catechized, they know that the church has authority and faith and more, and not outside of that. And so, but the, but I feel like that that's very simple. That's very simple. But yet in practice, it becomes much more difficult to really analyze completely. So, for example, like faith and morals. So then how does that touch politics? How does that touch science? How does that touch these various other areas where the church has authority? And so kind of, what are the principles that a Catholic should look at, where we say, okay, this is something we just have to believe as Catholics, and this is something that might be, a lot of Catholics believe it, but we don't have to believe it, kind of. What are those general principles that we should have approaching those questions? [00:29:46] Speaker B: Okay, so there are a couple of interlocking situations here. The first one is, what is the scope of church teaching? And as you mentioned, it's commonly said to be faith and morals. But we have to understand that with a little bit of nuance, because in Latin, the term that gets translated, morals, is broader than what we think of as morals. We think of morals as like, is it ethical or moral to kill somebody or to lie or love thy neighbor? All those things are moral issues. But the latin word is broader than that, and it refers to what we would think of more as mores or practices. So it's. It would be actually a little more accurate to translate that phrase, faith and practice. And so it can include things like practices of the christian faith, you know, like how we're going to celebrate the liturgy or things like that. So it's actually a bit broader. Within that realm of christian faith and practice, the church has a spectrum of authority. At the bottom are things that get said in passing that don't really have any doctrinal authority. If you're reading a magisterial document and it says something like, the church knows that the people of today desire freedom, okay, well, that's an acknowledgement of something, but it's not a doctrinal statement. It's not telling you you must believe something. Similarly, when the church says in the catechism that it appreciates the contributions of modern science, okay, that's an appreciation, but it's not a teaching. What one should do with things of this nature is give them respectful consideration, you know, so you shouldn't, unless you have serious reason to think science is fundamentally mistaken, well, you should probably take a positive attitude towards it, too, like the church does, at least in general terms. Even if you have criticisms of specific areas, like embryonic research, for example, which the church does condemn, a step up from that are doctrines, things the church actually teaches. But there's a range of authority even there. Some things have been very tentatively proposed. Some things have been very firmly proposed. And so you have to look at where does a particular teaching fall on this spectrum? And there are sort of three clues that the Second Vatican Council, and later the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, directed theologians to look to in terms of trying to assess the value or weight of particular non infallible teachings. They include the nature of the document. Is it a high level document like an encyclical, or a low level document, like a papal homily? The frequency with which the doctrine is repeated, because every time it gets repeated, that adds force to it, and the forcefulness of the language that's used when it's articulated. And so when evaluating a non infallible teaching, you have to look at those factors to figure out where is it? And a lot of the hot button things that you hear about are actually non infallible teachings. And many of them, many of the recent ones, are very low on the spectrum of authority, including, like a lot of the stuff Pope Francis has said. It's all new. It's tentative, it's quite low. Then above the non infallible doctrines, you have the infallible doctrines, and these are guaranteed to be true by the charism of infallibility, but there's way less of them than people think. There are. In fact, the code of canon law establishes that we are to presume that any church teaching is not infallible unless the contrary is manifestly evident. Meaning it's not just evident, it's infallible. It's manifestly evident. And that means the number of teachings that actually are infallible is really quite small. Now, it's more than some liberals would like. I would put it, if I had to guess off the top of my head, because there's no official list. I would say there's a couple hundred doctrines that are infallible, but it's way less than what you would imagine. Then a step above that are the dogmas. So a dogma is. Dogmas are subsets of infallible teachings. A dogma is an infallible teaching that the church has defined to be divinely revealed. Meaning the church has infallible. Not just infallibly said, it's true. It's infallibly said it's part of divine revelation. God revealed this to us. And so, for example, you can have infallible teachings that are not. Are not dogmas. It may not be something that God has revealed to us, but it may be closely enough related to divine revelation that the church could infallibly define it anyway, because the church needs the ability. This is what's known in theology as the secondary object of infallibility. The primary object is God's revelation, but there's a secondary object of things that are needed in order to secure the primary object. Like, for example, let's suppose there's some heresy going on in the church, and the church calls an ecumenical council to deal with it, and the council then issues it an infallible definition that says, this heresy is wrong. Well, what's going to happen there? The heretics are going to say, oh, that council didn't really have that authority. I don't think that was an ecumenical council. So the church needs the ability to come back and say, infallibly. No, that really was an ecumenical council, and it really did in issue an infallible definition. So in order to protect the primary object of infallibility, that, yeah, this is really a heresy. You need the ability to be able to define a few non revealed things because God didn't tell us this was a valid ecumenical council. Divine revelation stopped with the death of the last apostle. This council happened centuries later. So you need the ability to define some things that aren't yet or that haven't been established as divine revelation. To give an example that Joseph Ratzinger cited, the non ordination of women to the priesthood is currently an infallible teaching. So the church has said, can't do this. It's not possible. But the church has not yet said that's a matter of divine revelation. So the non ordination of women to the priesthood is an infallible teaching, but it's not yet a dogma. If, as Ratzinger said, the Holy Spirit guides the consciousness of the church to discern that this is part of revelation itself, then it one day could become a dogma. But it's not yet. So that's kind of the. The different spectrum within the field of what the church can teach. [00:37:43] Speaker A: So the difference between, like, a dogma and a. Just about. Make sure everybody's clear about this. A dogma and like an infallible doctrine, that's not a dogma. For the perspective of just an average Catholic, we have to accept both. Yep, that's true. There's not like we can dispute one of them. Both of. It's only when we drop into the non infallible that we can start to say, maybe have some discussion, some debate. And the amount of debate probably determined is determined a little bit by how. What level it is, because I feel like there's certain teachings, I'm not thinking on top of my head that are not infallible, but they're pretty close as far as, like, they've been taught for so long and by so many that you really need to have a good reason to dispute it. Whereas something like you said, like Francis might bring up something new. I mean, they even say, I mean, it's. They say it's innovative and new. Well, by its very. By its very nature, then it hasn't been repeated over time. And therefore it's. It's. It doesn't have quite the binding force, is that what you're saying? [00:38:45] Speaker B: On Catholics to accept newly proposed things tend to tend to be low down on the authority spectrum. The only way they would not be is if the pope uses really strong language, like the language of infallibility. Well, there's not a restriction on him. He could introduce a new infallible teaching that, you know, previously was not a teaching at all. Hypothetically, he could do that, but popes almost never do that. In fact, in the history of the papacy, there are only something like. And scholars debate this a little bit, but there's something like eight papal documents that contain infallible statements. Some of them contain more than one infallible statement. So there's more infallible statements from popes than that. And there are more infallible statements from councils, too. But there's really only like eight documents in church history where that's been done. And so popes almost never use this. They do in extreme situations, but it's very unusual for them to do it in non extreme situations. The only two cases where, of the eight where popes were not, you could argue that they were doing it and it wasn't an emergency was the immaculate conception in the assumption. Because there wasn't like a doctrinal crisis that provoked those. [00:40:14] Speaker A: Right, right. One of the frustrations I have when dealing with liberal Catholics is they will often quote, I don't say luna gentium 25, or is it 24? I think it's 25. [00:40:25] Speaker B: 25 deals with the magisterium. Yeah. Yeah. [00:40:27] Speaker A: And it says the consent of mind and will, the submission of religious. Submission of mind and will to the teachings of the magisterium of the pope and things like that. And it's used as a kind of, as a hammer to say, you have to therefore accept as true everything Pope X says, and Pope X usually is, whoever the current pope is, in this case, Pope Francis. And that just seems to me a real. It's clearly not the case. That doesn't make any sense because we know we've had popes who have contradicted other popes in the past, and so if that was true, then we would just be believing whatever the current pope said, even though it contradicted previous pope. So, like, so is this the way we kind of have to understand that what lomangentium there is saying is this, have this, like, religious submission of mind and. Well, I guess that's what I'm really asking about is how does that then apply to these different views, like understanding what the different duty is to a Catholic? Is that kind of what we're saying here? [00:41:28] Speaker B: Yeah. So the fundamental principle is you need to proportion your, your assent to the authority that a teaching has. If it's infallible, it's guaranteed to be true and you better believe it. If it's not infallible, then there's a possibility it's wrong or defective in some way, it might need to be rephrased, let's say. And so the stronger the level of authority the church has invested in a teaching that's non infallible, the more assent you need to give to it. If the less authority it has, the less assent you need to give to it. But you still should ascend under ordinary circumstances. In 1990, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a instruction called donum veritatis, or the gift of truth, which was about the role of theologians in the church. And it covers a lot of what we're talking about right now. I highly recommend people go read it if they want. But one of the things it acknowledges is that sometimes non infallible teachings may contain mistakes. Especially, it says, in interventions of the prudential order, like when bishops or popes are giving social policy recommendations. It acknowledges bishops and their advisors may not have taken into account all of the relevant factors. And therefore, there are situations in which theologians may call into question the timing, the phrasing, or even the content of non infallible teachings. But it says, this is an exception, not the rule, because the Holy Spirit guides the church in the integral or complete exercise of its teaching function. And so the presumption is that the Holy Spirit has guided them into the truth, like jesus said the Holy Spirit would. So consequently, we start with a presumption that what the magisterium has said as a matter of teaching, as opposed to, you know, something that's not even a matter of teaching. But if it's a matter of teaching, we presume that it's correct. But if it's not infallible, it is possible that you could run across a situation, an exceptional situation, where you have evidence that this teaching is just mistaken, and it then gives advice about what to do in those circumstances. [00:44:02] Speaker A: Right? [00:44:03] Speaker B: Yeah. And hint, don't hold a press conference and announce your opposition to the world. That constitutes dissent. [00:44:10] Speaker A: Okay. Okay. So what. How would you then do your opposition if you really did think like you've researched it, you prayed all this stuff, and you really think, okay, this. I really do think the magisterium on some level is wrong about this. [00:44:27] Speaker B: Well, so you already mentioned the first step, which is do your research. Theologians are, and the same principles are going to apply to laypeople, too. And lay people are going to need to be even more cautious in how they approach this because they're operating out of their field. If you're not trained in theology, you need to be even more careful if you're trying to do theology, but you want to do your research. You want to try to understand with an open mind what this teaching is and the reasons for it. And you want to cross examine your own hesitations about it. Don't just assume that you're correct. I mean, really try to think this through with an open mind. If that does, and you also then kind of step two, as part of research, talk to others about it. Talk to theologians who say, what can we figure out on this subject? Talk to bishops. The document, since it's written for theologians, even envisions a theologian approaching the congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and saying, I got a problem here, help me with this. You also. And so, of course, this means you can discuss it, and this means you can discuss it in ways that Americans wouldn't expect. Because in here in America, we use the term descent to mean any disagreement. You know, it's like if you say something and I disagree with it, it's. I dissent from that viewpoint. That's not how the magisterium uses the word dissent. It defines it very carefully. Dissent means public opposition. So that's why I said, don't hold a press conference and say the pope is wrong. You can discuss it with people and say, you know, I have a problem with that teaching. I don't. I don't think that's right. And you can discuss it, for example, in academic journals that are read by specialists, but not like in People magazine that's read by ordinary laypeople. So you can, as someone who has a problem with the teaching, kind of discuss it among friends and stuff. But what you. What the church doesn't want to see happening is you starting a movement to publicly oppose it, like Charles Quran did after humane vitae was released. He was an american priest and theologian who, when Pope Paul VI issued humane vitae, he did have a press conference. He stirred up a big movement. And that was the classic example of dissent for that generation. And that's what the church does not want to see happening. Also, the code of Canaan law protects the right of the faithful to make known to church leaders their views on what needs to be done for the spiritual good of the church, provided they say it respectfully. Because like St. Paul says to Timothy, you know, if you're rebuking an elder, rebuke him as a father. You know, don't go to town on him. Treat him like he's your own dad. And so you could respectfully, you know, contact bishops or the pope and say, I think respectfully, that this needs to be revisited. One could say, one could go on Facebook and say, just to your own little group of friends, I mean, me doing this as a public figure is different, but you could go on Facebook and say, you know, I really got a problem with that. You just want to be respectful about it. But what you don't want to do is lead a movement in opposition, and you don't want to trash talk the pope or whoever it is. We need to be respectful of our spiritual fathers. So those are some kind of general parameters. [00:48:24] Speaker A: And I think, I feel like in today's world, with the Internet and everything, social media, it's a little difficult at times to know where these lines are because you'll get a bishop who will tweet something that, let's be honest, is stupid. I mean, and it's like, and so, like, and there's a concern there that people will think, well, a bishop said this, so it must be what the church teaches. But it's really not. It's really their personal views on some political movement or something like that. And so I think a lot of lay people will be like, well, I don't see anybody really kind of saying what this, this bishop has said is really not church teaching. It's not something we have to believe, and frankly, it's harmful. So kind of, like, I feel like there's, there shouldn't. Like, what is the role? What do you think, then, a layperson should do in these situations where you have this kind of messy interaction? We're not talking about a formal document or anything. We're just talking about a bishop kind of spouting off or a priest. I mean, I think the most famous example, Father James Martin, some of the stuff he does on social media, like, there's got to be, I feel like there, at least from my perspective, there should be some resistance to that from, from Catholics. And so kind of. How, how would that, how do you think that should be done? [00:49:38] Speaker B: Well, it can be done in different ways, and it depends on the individual. The, I mean, what nobody in our culture should be doing is using, is dropping f bombs or, you know, openly insulting language like that. One of the most famous incidents in, in United nations history of kind of putting someone in their place happened in the 1960s when Nikita Khrushchev spoke at the United nations, and he actually, like, took off his shoe and started pounding the table with it. And the gentleman who was speaking at the time was the ambassador from Great Britain. And you've just had the leader of one of the two superpowers put on this enormous display, and you're the guy who is talking. How are you going to respond to that? Well, he used british understatement, and he said, I'm sorry, I'm still waiting for the translation of that. And everybody laughed and they went on. And he totally put Khrushchev in his place. So I often think of that kind of strategy for correcting people in public. You know, I think I'll just tell you how I handle this kind of stuff. So, principle one, do I need to respond at all? And, you know, as everybody's mama taught them or should have taught them, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. So I just let a lot of stuff slide. If I conclude I also have a sense of perspective, just because I could say something about it doesn't mean that I need to, you know, I'm. I. Do people really need to hear what Jimmy Aiken has to think about this? I'm not that of an important of a guy. I don't need to be a hero and take on every single false statement out there in the world, because if I did that, it would distract me from my primary mission. My primary mission is not correct and stupid stuff that people in the church say. So I need to keep my powder dry and use my ammunition for my mission and not get distracted by side things. But if I conclude in a particular circumstance that I really need, do need to say something, then. And also, I'm aware there are other people whose job it is to, you know, monitor what bishops are saying and give pushback. But if I. If I do decide to engage, I'm going to be polite about it. And if I saw a bishop say something stupid on Twitter, I would. A typical way I might respond on Twitter would be to say, well, that's bishop so and so's perspective, but it's not a matter of church teaching and leave it at that. Or if I need to go further, I might. Now, of course, Twitter is hard because the character count, unless you pay him $8 a month, which I don't. The, you know, I could. I could maybe give a reference to where the church does teach on this subject, or I could say, well, here's a problem with that idea, and give a brief, you know, critique of the some. Here's an argument against it or here's some evidence against it or something like that. But I do it. I do it politely. [00:53:05] Speaker A: Right? Okay. Yeah. You're taught well by your mother. It sounds like the I want to go back a little bit to your personal experience, if you don't experience, if you don't mind. You recently had a debate with James White, and I think a lot of us who've been around for a long time know exactly who James White is. He's one of the most prominent protestant apologists, anti Catholic, basically, apologists out there. You had a debate with him. We had a review of one of them on crisis. I encourage people to look at that and to watch the debates obviously, as well. What is, like, in your experience, you've been, you've done a lot of these debates, kind of, what is your, what's your favorite debate you've ever done? Or some of the ones that you, they kind of stick out to you is like, wow, this one was a good one. Not necessarily because you did well, maybe it is because that, or because you just thought the topic was good. The opponent, so to speak, the other person was, was very good or something like that. [00:53:56] Speaker B: Well, so it's, I've done so many, it's kind of hard to think about them all. And there's probably some recency bias in my answer because of what's on the top of my mind. I was very glad to be able to do those two debates with James White. One of them was on sola scriptura, and the other was, even though it was framed in terms of how do you find peace? It was really debate on justification. And I was very pleased with how they went, disagreed with what I said, but he did very little to argue against it. And I resisted going down rabbit trails that he would try to get me on. And I think the cross examination periods were, I think I made the points I wanted to make. And I think they, I mounted strong arguments in both debates. I think the cross examination periods in both were also particularly strong. But actually, and again, this could just be recency bias. But I had an even more recent debate. In fact, it was just last night, and it was a tag team debate with me and Trent Horn debating a couple of protestant gentlemen. And it's on my YouTube channel if you want to see it. That's YouTube.com jimmyaiken. But it was also on justification. And so I debated one gentleman on justification in general, and then Trent and the other gentlemen debated on, on the church fathers and justification. And this debate was beset by problems. We had technical problems and all kinds of stuff. But what I really appreciated about it was that the other two gentlemen, unlike James White, really tried to understand the catholic position. They didn't just assume it's false and attack it. They really tried to understand it. They were much friendlier. And, and I enjoy that kind of environment where you're, you're not dealing with someone who just hates your position so much. He's going to disagree no matter what. You know, like in the James White debate, at one point in a cross examination question, I said, so do you acknowledge that not all human beings are perfectly, experientially righteous at the point of death? And he said, of course they're not. So do you acknowledge that all human beings will be perfectly, experientially righteous when they, they're in heaven? Because we're not going to have sin and temptation and stuff? And he says, of course they are. And so I said, well, then it seems like you're saying that between death and heaven, something must happen. I'm not saying what that is or what it involves or whether it takes time. Something must happen to give people the experiential righteousness that they're lacking. And he wouldn't agree. He just squirms at that point and evades and evades. And I put it to him a couple different ways. He just evades and won't agree. Someone then on Twitter took a clip of that and titled it James White accidentally proves purgatory. [00:57:12] Speaker A: Right. [00:57:13] Speaker B: But, but, but you know, the obvious thing is, yeah, something happens. How hard is it to say that? That doesn't mean you believe everything everybody's ever said about purgatory, but just be honest and admit it. Well, so these other two gentlemen were much more open. Now, they, when I pressed them, I actually put that same question to them. And one of them actually did try to evade. But in general, they were much more open and friendly and trying to understand the catholic position instead of just presenting it as an evil that must be attacked. [00:57:50] Speaker A: Now, you've done a million debates. I know Trent does all these debates and things like that. I do understand on some level the value these debates. But I admit I'm not a big debate guy because when I'm trying to explore something, what I do is I read everything I can on one side. I read everything I can on the other side. Then I kind of come to my own. Okay, what do I think is right? Might be a combination of two. Might be all on one side, whatever. And like when I, when I watch a debate, I see it. I feel like it's more of a performance often of who's the better debater, who can pull things up in their head faster than the other one can or has the, the better ways, you know, understands the debating process. So when, since you've done all these debates, what do you see as the value of them? And kind of, what are the value you've seen over time of these debates, in actuality? Because I kind of want to be convinced that these debates are worthwhile to me, to be honest. [00:58:42] Speaker B: Yeah, well, I think they provide different values, and the value will be different for different people. Now, the first thing is you have to be realistic about these debates. Most people do not change their minds on the basis of a debate. You know, most people are committed to their position and they stick with it. But that doesn't mean you can't open the mind and plant seeds and give them things to think about. So that's one of the values of debates, is you can, you're not, I never expect anyone to convert in front of me. You know, that's a classic mistake of evangelization. I have seen it happen, but it is very rare. Normally, the sane approach to doing evangelization for the christian faith or for any position is to give someone something to think about that challenges their current position. And then you let them go off and think about it, and it can blossom over time. So planting seeds is a lot of what I'm doing in a debate, also because of the way debates are, are done because they're adversarial. You know, like, we have an adversarial justice system here in the US to try to get at the truth in a court system. Well, the same thing, in principle, is true of adversarial conversation in a debate. In principle, if the debaters are good, it can get us to the core issues and thrash out those core issues. That assumes the debaters are operating ethically and are not using slimy debater tactics like the gish gallop to just present someone with more than they can possibly respond to and then say, well, you didn't respond to what I said, you know, they need to be ethical in how they're doing it. But that clash is something that's compelling. Adversarial encounters are compelling. You know, that's built into human nature. That's why people are fans of so sports ball, you know, I'm not. So that doesn't sing for me. And as a result, I'm actually not a big debater guy. I don't, I don't follow a lot of debates. I do debates and I study debates, you know, especially if I'm preparing for one. I'll I'll watch my opponent's previous debates. But I don't watch debates for fun. And I think it's because I don't have the sports ball itch, and so. But other people do. And because it's compelling. And a lot of people are interested in seeing that clash. That helps you plant the seeds because it exposes people to that. And hypothetically also, another benefit is by letting the two people interact. And this is most notable in cross examination, but by letting the two people interact and present their viewpoints, if they're doing it right, then you get to see weaknesses and strengths exposed. And that helps people make their own decisions about these matters, if they're open to making their own, if they're not just going to stick with what they previously believed. And so there is an orientation towards getting at the truth in these debates, provided the debaters are doing it right. So I think there is value in debates. They're not for everybody, but I think they do play a useful role, which is why we've had them all the way through human history. I mean, even Elijah versus the prophets of Baal, that was a classic apologetic debate. [01:02:09] Speaker A: Yeah, and he had a trump card on that one. [01:02:11] Speaker B: Yeah, well, that was his point. Who is God? [01:02:13] Speaker A: Yeah, right. Exactly. So one last kind of area I wanted to ask you about is you're kind of known in the catholic projects world for addressing, let's just say, weird topics. I mean, I think that's probably a good way to put it. A lot of things about the paranormal, just crazy things like that. Why is it that. I assume it's a personal instance, yours, but have you found that, like, this helps, like, catholic apologetics in general? Is this more just something you just enjoy talking about things like paranormal type of things? [01:02:44] Speaker B: Well, there is a. You know, I grew up in the seventies, and there were lots of books and documentaries on paranormal subjects, and then I was a fan of the X Files and things like that. So there is a personal interest element here, but it's more than that. So I'm most famous in this area for a podcast I do called Jimmy Aiken's mysterious world, where we look at mysterious subjects, and unlike other mystery oriented shows, we actually try to solve the mystery. We don't just generate wonder and imagine what if we really try to solve them to the extent they can be? And that's crypto evangelization. It's come for the mysteries, stay for the faith, because with every mystery we look at, we. Even if there's not a lot to say, with every mystery we look at, we look at it from the reason perspective and say, what would reason tell us about this mystery? And we look at it from the faith perspective and say, how would the faith understand this? What would it tell us about it? And so one of the purposes of the show, in addition to just being interesting, I mean, it's infotainment, you know, but it's also crypto evangelization. And so there's a. That's a conscious element of it. And I want to train people, including Catholics, in terms of how to use critical thinking to approach these topics, to not just automatically assume it's aliens or automatically assume it's demons or automatically assume it's alien demons. I want to teach them how to sort through things, and I get a lot of feedback, including from parents who say that their children are learning some. I mean, I get adults who say, I'm learning critical thinking by listening to you, but I also get parents who say, my kids are learning critical thinking and how to integrate their faith with. With other areas of life and interest by listening to this show. One of my favorites was I got. I got a message from a father who had, like, a, I don't know, four year old son and a three year old son in the backseat. And they're driving down the road, and they hear this airplane low zoom over them, and they hear the zooming noise, and the. The little kids are talking about what that could be. And they started just like on the show, I make a list of possible explanations, and then we go through them to see which ones are better than others. And they concluded. So they did that. They made a list of what could. Caused that big noise in the sky. Could it have been an alien? Could it have been a robot? Well, they concluded it wasn't an alien and it wasn't a robot, but it might have been an alien robot. And I thought that was great. Another parent contacted me and said, you know, my kids were sitting around the table having an argument about something, and one of them pounds their fist and say, we need to think more like Jimmy Aiken, meaning in some systematic way. So that's part of that also. You know, I treat, and this goes back years. I. All through my apologetic career, I take every question I'm asked seriously. You know, I never diss a person for asking a question. You know, sometimes I've seen people do that, you know, apologists, and they're like, oh, that's ridiculous, or whatever, and. And. Or they'll, you know, trivialize the question or just give a reflexive answer. And I never want to do that I want to treat every question as. As a serious one, no matter what it is, and give people an answer. Well, the listeners on catholic answers live noticed that that's how I operate. And so they would start to call in and ask edgier questions, you know, get a serious answer. So, you know, what about UFO's or whatever it is, and. And I'd give them a serious answer and try to be open minded and in conformity with church teaching, because the church has a lot less teachings than you'd think. And the church has been a lot more open to things. I mean, people like, if you approach someone who's not educated in the field and say, so what does the catholic church teach about psychic powers? A lot of people are going to say, oh, it's all demonic. Well, you know, who wouldn't say that? St. Augustine and pope, St. Gregory the great and St. Thomas Aquinas, three doctors of the church who all believed in psychic powers. So, you know, the. The church is much more sophisticated ways of thinking about this than a lot of people are aware. And so what I'm trying to do, I'm not interested as an apologist, I decided this years and years ago. I'm not interested in just repeating textbook arguments. I want to push the envelope of apologetics and expand it by bringing in new material. That's why, you know, people sometimes ask me, oh, what do you think of this latest apologetics book? I don't know. I haven't read it. I don't read apologetics books. Well, not occasionally I may, but I'm reading books in other fields, like history and science, and so I can pull in additional information that's not part of the standard apologetic set of arguments at present. I want to expand and interact, and so that's part of why I do this. I've learned much more about these different areas. I started mysterious world five years ago. At the time, I knew episode one was about ghosts, because I knew enough about ghosts that I realized they're not alien to the catholic tradition. I mean, a ghost is just the word for spirit. Humans have spirits. Spirits survive death. Therefore, there are ghosts. Can they ever appear to people? Well, in the catholic view, historically, the answer is yes. And it's commonly understood that most of the ghosts that people report are souls that are experiencing some aspect of purity, purification. You know, they're in purgatory, so they're allowed to show up, for example, to tie up loose business with the living. They're allowed to show up to ask for prayers, or they're allowed to show up to, you know, work something out or serve as a warning. So, okay, that was basically all I knew about ghosts, and I presented it in episode one, but I delayed. People would ask for ghost stories on the show, and it's like, where can I get a good source of information about ghost stories? Because I don't want to just repeat something that has no good evidence for it. And so I started to go off and get educated in the paranormal. I started taking classes at the Ryan education center. I actually teach for them now. I'm teaching right now. At the moment, I'm teaching, and for the second time, I'm teaching introduction to parapsychology. Later in the year, I'm supposed to teach introduction to parapsychology again, and Christianity and parapsychology and then world religions and parapsychology. So I have a substantial education in this field now. Now I know what the sources are. And so now I have ghost stories on the show that are credible. [01:09:51] Speaker A: By the way. I've listened to a number of the episodes of mysterious world, and usually when I have, I want to look into something that's a little bit odd like that. I'm like, oh, let's see if Jimmy Akin has a podcast on this. And I find that usually you do have an episode on it at this point, because one. But I think this all ties into what you were saying before about the magisterium and the levels of authority, because one of my pet peeves is, when Catholics say something, it must be believed by Catholics, but it's not. And, like, I've seen people say this with the whole alien demon thing, like, aliens are all demons, and Catholics must believe that. [01:10:25] Speaker B: Yeah, that's ridiculous. [01:10:26] Speaker A: And so, like, your, um. Your podcast on this is great, because you never said all the aliens we've seen, supposedly seen, aren't demons. No, you said. But it's like. Because maybe that is possible. It's. You just laid out. Okay, as Catholics, though, we're not saying that they have to be demons, that, yeah, they could be demons. They could be fake. They could be actually aliens. You know, all these different options that we have. So I do appreciate that, and I think that's important for all of us as Catholics, that we want to apologize is about ultimately bringing people into the catholic faith. We want them to know kind of what the. We don't want to add burdens, I guess, you know, use Jesus's terms. We don't add these burdens to them that, okay, to be catholic, you have to believe in the Trinity. You have to believe Jesus. We also have to believe that all aliens are demons, and you have to believe, you know, I feel like that's. Now we're starting to add on things that we shouldn't. [01:11:20] Speaker B: And on that subject, I almost never say something can't be a demon. I just say you need evidence if you want to propose it is. So do we have good evidence for this? [01:11:30] Speaker A: Right? And you have to do in each instance, each situation. Okay, so my final question to you is related to this, about the weird. And it's only. And I'm asking it because my brother, my son in law, I said, hey, I'm having Jimmy Aiken on the podcast. What should I ask him? He said, you know, so my guys in my men's group, they want to know, what does Jimmy Aiken think about Bigfoot? You probably have a podcast about this, but for some reason, this was unknown. So give me your. Because this would be a good example of something kind of paranormal and Catholicism. So, as a Catholic interested in this, what would you say about Bigfoot? [01:12:03] Speaker B: Well, Bigfoot is commonly understood to be a primate. And, you know, the Catholic Church doesn't have opposition to believing that primates exist. So, you know, and there have been large primates who have only recently been discovered, like the mountain gorilla in Africa that was only discovered 100 years ago. Previous to that, the mountain gorilla was a. Was a. Was regarded as a piece of folklore that local african tribes would talk about, but that Europeans didn't have any evidence for, didn't believe in. And then we found mountain gorillas, and they became an established part of biology. So if Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, or whatever you want to call him, is just another primate, then, well, he's undiscovered, but there's no reason he couldn't exist. The catholic faith isn't going to say Bigfoot is impossible. If we then proceed to the question of, does he exist? I actually did do an episode on this. I think it's episode three. Three of the show, by the way. Yeah, you can get to these episodes by going to mysterious FM, and you can also use the episode number. So this would be like mysterious FM three, but in that episode, and it's one of the first we did. So it's very primitive compared to what we do on the show now. But I said I had some misinformation about the Patterson gimlin film, which is the famous film that was taken in 1967 by two guys named Patterson and Gimlin. It's the one where you see Bigfoot walking across this creek bed. And I had some bad information that someone had admitted they were the person in the suit. Well, someone did say that, but they are not credible. They were trying to take credit for a bunch of Bigfoot things that there's no way they could have actually done. And so I, at the beginning of the show, I didn't vet things as strongly as I do now. And so I repeated that information to me. I'd love for Bigfoot to be real. To me, the thing that makes me skeptical is, could a larger than human primate exists undiscovered with a breeding population here in North America, where it's not all dense jungles, and we've got lots of people, lots of eyeballs who are looking for Bigfoot, and we've got camera traps in the woods, you know, so even if there's not a person around, they, they see the forest creatures. And so where, you know, why don't we have good video evidence of Bigfoot? Well, okay. So I was very skeptical when I did episode three. I've started to revise that opinion. I have since become aware of some of additional evidence that I didn't know then that would support the existence of Bigfoot. I am not convinced that Bigfoot exists. I'm still have a concern about, well, how could you have a breeding population of these seven foot tall primates in North America where we have all these eyeballs and cameras? So that's still a weighty argument for me. But I have become aware of actual evidence that is significant. So I'm re evaluating that position. If you'd like a good book on that subject, I recommend the book Sasquatch, and I believe I'll get the. Get the author's name right quick. Hang on. Oop, I don't have it there. I'll get it over here because I want to give you the right name. I was right. It's Jeff Meldrum. And it is a. I forget exactly what he. Jeff Meldrum is a scientist. I think he may be a biologist or he may even be a primatologist. But he has some, some evidence that that is noteworthy that I still haven't formed a conclusion on. But it is compelling enough that I'm open on this issue, but still quite concerned about the camera eyeball problem. [01:16:47] Speaker A: Right, right. [01:16:48] Speaker B: Yeah. [01:16:48] Speaker A: I think in general, kind of my attitude towards a lot of these, like, paranormal and just weird, like aliens and UFO's and Bigfoot and all that stuff is like, I don't want to be credulous where I just accept everything like, okay, yeah, this is definitely true. But I also kind of feel like God has created such a magnificent universe like that. It's got so much that we, and we, and we know from history, we've learned more and more about it over time. Like, we know more about the universe than people 5000 years ago did, just by the very nature of how science develops and our abilities and technology. [01:17:21] Speaker B: The sky in the big dome. [01:17:23] Speaker A: Right, right. And so, like, just the idea that, that we learn all these things, and I think it all kind of gives the glory God. So if there is a bigfoot, then it's like, okay, well, then God created this awesome, like, you know, creature that, for some reason was created in such a way that it can stay hidden pretty well, and yet it's still immense and all this stuff. So I think it's one of these things where it's fun, first of all. But also, I do think it points to the glory of God in a lot of ways. If it's taking the proper attitude, don't. Don't accept everything we hear. [01:17:55] Speaker B: Yeah. Well, as the catechism says, animals glorify God just by their own existence. They reflect aspects of the grandeur and greatness of God. And if bigfoots exist, then they're doing the same thing. [01:18:07] Speaker A: Yes. And speaking of animals, your dog just showed up in the little bit, and I was like, that's a beautiful dog there. [01:18:14] Speaker B: Yeah, that's actually my sister's dog. Her name is Luna, and my sister's out of town, so I'm watching her for the week. [01:18:21] Speaker A: Well, she's a very well behaved dog. She was very quiet behind you, and all of a sudden, just a couple minutes ago, she kind of just moved a little bit so we could see her. She's like, I want to get on camera, too. Let everybody. [01:18:30] Speaker B: Yeah. She's an extraordinarily sweet dog, and you can hear her ears pricking up because she heard her name. She almost never barks. It's really surprising. She will whine a little bit if she wants attention, but I was surprised. She. She's very quiet. She. She will woof a little bit if she hears someone at the front door, but that's it. [01:18:51] Speaker A: Well, that's. That's great. That, that's nice to have. [01:18:53] Speaker B: Yeah. [01:18:53] Speaker A: Okay, so, um, we'll wrap it up here, but is there. Where are the best places? We've mentioned a few of them. I'll make sure I put links. Where are the best places? People want to find out all the stuff you're doing. [01:19:03] Speaker B: Where. [01:19:03] Speaker A: Where should they go? [01:19:04] Speaker B: So I work at catholic answers, and so there's a lot of stuff there that I've done. Audio, video, text, you know, that's catholic.com. Also, my personal website is jimmyakin.com, and the only thing you have to do to get there is spell my name correctly. Jimmy is Jimmy. And Aiken is exactly like. It sounds just four letters. A k I n. There are no s's, t's, or e's as part of my name. It's just a ken. And if you go to jimmyaken.com, that's kind of a hub for the stuff I do. My YouTube channel is YouTube.com. Jimmy Aiken and the mysterious world homepage is mysterious FM. [01:19:53] Speaker A: Great. Okay. I'll make sure I put links to all that stuff here so people can find it easily. [01:19:56] Speaker B: Awesome. [01:19:57] Speaker A: Well, thanks a lot, Jimmy. I really appreciate. This was fascinating. I wanted to. I want to go all afternoon, to be honest. Just go for hours. [01:20:03] Speaker B: But I did. I did 6 hours with Matt. Frat. Six and a half hours with Matt. So I'm up for those things. [01:20:09] Speaker A: Yeah, Matt. Matt's more of a hardcore. I mean, he's like the hardcore hours and hours. I think we'd. I had to be in person with somebody, I think, to go that long, because then we can take bathroom breaks. We can kind of, you know, chat a little bit and stuff like that. But anyway, hopefully this was helpful for everybody. Yeah, thanks a lot, Jimmy. I appreciate it. Until next time, everybody. God love.

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