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02 Dec 2016 Articles Comments (1)

What happens when an atheist encounters Christ? This poet found out for herself

"Until two years ago, I was a really committed atheist and I really hated the Catholic Church," said poet Sally Read, as she explained how all that dramatically…

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03 Feb 2016 Q&A Comments (1)

Does "the Black Pope" wield the true power in the Vatican?

Full Question I heard that the Vatican is run by an individual called "the black pope," who holds all the real power. What do you say to th…

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02 Oct 2015 News USA No comments

A tale of two papal meetings

During his visit to the United States, Pope Francis waded into the US culture wars with two private visits. But how Church officials managed the narrative of…

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31 Jul 2016 News No comments

‘Go out into the world,’ Pope tells priests at St John Paul II shrine

Francis celebrated Mass at a shrine dedicated to his Polish predecessor Catholic priests and nuns must renounce their personal interests and create a church th…

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27 Apr 2016 News No comments

Cardinal Ortega, who played key role in US-Cuba diplomatic thaw, retires

Cardinal Jaime Ortega was named Archbishop of Havana in 1981 and oversaw three papal trips to Communist Cuba Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who oversaw a warming of re…

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15 Sep 2015 Americas News No comments

Pope Francis’ impact on Cuba, and its Church, is already being felt

As the countdown to Pope Francis’ maiden voyage to the United States winds on, it may be easy for Americans to forget that before he touches down in Washington …

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19 Sep 2015 News Vatican No comments

Every homeless child is ‘a cry rising up to God’, says Francis

Pope says he's troubled by 'the increasing number of young girls and women forced to earn a living on the street' It’s a disgrace that children live on the s…

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20 May 2016 Articles Comments (1)

Pope Francis’s Commission on Women Deacons: 12 Things to Know and Share

Pope Francis has agreed to create a commission to study the possibility of women deacons. Here are 12 things to know and share. 1. What happened? On…

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05 Sep 2014 Vatican Comments (1)

Holy See calls for action in Iraq, and UN sends a mission

Vatican City, Sep 5, 2014 / 12:03 am.- The Holy See on Monday urged the UN to provide humanitarian aid to Iraq during a special session of the Human Rights Coun…

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What are the Nag Hammadi writings, and do they reveal anything we didn’t already know about Christ or the Bible?

Full Question

What are the Nag Hammadi writings, and do they reveal anything we didn’t already know about Christ or the Bible?

Answer

Discovered in 1945 near the village of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt, they are fourth-century papyrus manuscripts that formed part of a gnostic library. The writings are a valuable source of information about gnostic beliefs and practices. From them we can see more clearly the arguments and the theology the gnostics used in their attacks on the Catholic Church.

Although some writings are fragmentary, enough are still intact that a fairly clear picture of gnosticism emerges in the pseudo-gospels and epistles. Included in the Nag Hammadi collection are such spurious works as the Apocryphon of John, the Gospel of Philip, the Apocalypse of Paul, and the Gospel of Mary.

Scholars were delighted to discover several works whose existence was known in the early centuries of the Church but which were presumed lost. Perhaps the best treatment in English of these writings is The Nag Hammadi Library (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988).

Many Catholic theologians of the first several centuries devoted themselves to refuting the gnostic arguments, in particular, Irenaeus of Lyons (140-202), who wrote a devastating critique of gnosticism in his masterful five-volume work, Detection and Overthrow of the Gnosis Falsely So-Called, more commonly known as Against Heresies.










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