Author: Dr. Erik Estrada

An image of the Catalan atlas; shows various monarchs and regions of North Africa, Europe and the Near East
The Atlas of Christian History What are some of the best tools for figuring out dates and places in Christian history? In this brief episode we talk about an important tool for the study of our Catholic faith, namely, the Atlas of Christian History, which was published by Dr. Tim Dowley. Church history is full… Read More
Apostle John and Marcion of Pontus
Who Was Marcion? - Second-Century Christianity Series Who Was Marcion? In this episode we discuss the work of Marcion of Pontus (fl. 140s AD). We note why Marcion of Pontus, a pivotal figure of second-century Christianity, played a key role in pushing Christian conversation around critical questions such as the canon of Scripture, Paul’s authority… Read More
What is an up to date and affordable resource for the study of the Catholic heritage? The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church has been for many years my go to resource when studying the vast history of the Christian tradition. Read More
Image of a woman reading the Bible.
The Importance of Tradition for Catholic Interpretations of the Bible - Catholic Approach to the Bible Series - CHS 83 How important is tradition for Catholic interpretations of the Bible? In this episode, I provide my first response to a recent book written about the value of Reformation principles for the interpretation of the Bible. Read More
A gathering of various Christian leaders (Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Lutheran and others) standing before the congregation in Santiago, Chile. Image taken by Eduardo Frei
In the Second Vatican Council’s Unitatis Redintegratio (Restoration of Unity – The Decree on Ecumenism 21 Nov 1964), the Council fathers spoke of the shared heritage among all Christians. The Council fathers wrote as follows: “On the other hand, Catholics must gladly acknowledge and esteem the truly Christian endowments from our common heritage Read More
An image of the Council of Trent meeting in assembly. The presiders of the council are set to the left with the bishops and theologians to the right.
Was the Council of Trent the First Ecumenical Council to Canonize the Deuterocanonical Books? In general introductions to the history of the Bible or in books critical of Catholic Christianity, the claim is often made that the Council of Trent was the first ecumenical Council to canonize the Deuterocanonical books. This claim is made Read More
Helping the Next Generation Keep the Faith - Why Study the Catholic Heritage Series
Helping the Next Generation Keep the Faith - Why Study the Catholic Heritage Series Recent sociological research done by Christian Smith indicates that a high percentage of teens from all US Christian denominations are quickly abandoning Christianity altogether. In a decades long study, Dr. Smith discovered that the religious faith of most US Christian teens… Read More
Augustine remains among the most well-known Fathers of the early Church. But, how did Augustine’s writings become known to a wider audience after his death? In this episode, we will explore how Augustine’s writings survived in to sixth century Italy through the work of Cassiodorus. Augustine had an initial audience among Italy’s Christians. Read More
The Truth is Known Only to a Few People – The Gnostic Character of Recent Criticism of Pope Francis Series One of the salient characteristics of recent criticisms of Pope Francis is the insistence that this awareness is only enjoyed by a few people. Recent English-speaking critics of Francis across the globe have argued that… Read More
Every Sunday, various Christian groups (Catholic, Orthodox and certain Protestants) recite a creed which encapsulates some of the central tenets of their faith. In this episode we talk about the practical benefits of reciting the creed on the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed or the Apostles’ Creed on a weekly basis. Read More
What did early Christians think about the Scriptures? In this episode, I reflect upon a comment left in class by my former instructor, the late Manlio Simonetti, who stated that in the early church, the Scriptures enjoyed a primacy of place in early Christian Read More
Why is counterargument important for discerning the truth? In this episode, we talk about the importance of critically evaluating not only the ideas of others, but also one’s own ideas. We encourage our audience to examine the various media they consume and ask themselves Read More
What did medieval theologians think about a diversity of theological ideas on the eve of the Reformation? In this episode, we will explore the phenomenon of theological pluralism on the eve of the Reformation. Read More
In the recent past, certain US and Canadian lay Catholics have taken to criticizing Pope Francis. Among their various and numerous criticisms, they often insert a personal testimony about their initial reaction to his election. They note that when they first saw him step out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, they immediately experienced… Read More
What did early Christians of the greater church think about the relationship between Scripture, tradition and the authority the church. In this episode, we argue that early Christians of the greater church believed that apostolic session was the glue connecting the early post-apostolic church to the apostles and ultimately to Christ. The teaching of apostolic… Read More
Ambrose of Milan played a very important role in Augustine’s conversion. When Augustine met Ambrose, he was in a difficult position: he was no longer intellectually committed to Manicheism but he had not yet overcome some of the major philosophical and theological challenges which the movement had posed to him. Read More
Evaluating Secondary Sources – How to Study the Catholic Heritage Series How does one discern good from poor quality materials online or in printed materials? In this episode, we talk about the important roles that the gatekeepers, that is, acquisitions editors, play in ensuring the high-quality the materials they publish. We contrast the rigor of… Read More
An image of Robert Bellarmine facing the viewer of the image.
Who was St. Cardinal Robert Bellarmine? In this episode, we take a look at the life and work of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) who was arguably the most learned Catholic theologian and apologist of the sixteenth century. Read More
How can Catholics become better students of the Catholic Heritage? In this episode, we discuss the importance of considering the genre of a document. Not all documents are the same. Authors in the Catholic heritage have composed letters, poems, theological treatises, Read More
A recent trend has emerged among certain lay Catholics with substantial online internet followings. In their social media feeds and various media productions, they are making various claims about Pope Francis and US Catholic bishops on the authority of their unnamed “sources.” Read More
My Recent Trip to the Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro North Carolina The month of February marks African American History month. I recently visited the Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, in order to better understand the history of the Civil Rights Movement (1950s-1960s) in the Southeast. In this episode, I briefly discuss the Read More
Identifying the Commitments of the Author – How to Study the Catholic Heritage Series How does one properly interpret the records of the Catholic heritage? In this episode we discuss the aspect of examining the stated or unstated commitments of any author, especially secondary source authors such as contemporary scholars. What authors believe about the… Read More
What is the best translation of the Bible in the year 2019? In this episode, we briefly discuss some of the best translations of the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament. Among other things, we note that students of the Bible should Read More
Did Catholicism exist before the reign of the Emperor Constantine (r. 306-337 AD)? Various historians and other scholars claim that Catholicism, as we would recognize it today, did not exist before the reign of either Constantine or his later successor, the Emperor Theodosius I (r. 379 -395). In this episode, we look at Read More
Catholic laity have recently begun to use Gnostic rhetoric in their criticism's of Pope Francis. In this episode, we provide a brief overview on Gnosticism's origins, tenets and conflicts with the bishops of the early Church. Read More
How does one properly interpret the records of the Catholic heritage? In this episode we discuss the aspect of expecting the unexpected from the sources. By expecting surprises, by not assuming the author's position and by avoiding assumptions, readers can obtain a more accurate sense of a given author’s meaning at the time of composition. Read More
Is media coverage of Pope Francis’s words fair? In this episode we discussed the various factors that go into the ways the media handles Pope Francis’s words. We consider such factors as the ability of journalist to grab an audience’s attention, Read More
How does one properly interpret the records of the Catholic heritage? In this episode we discuss the aspect of considering the author’s objectives. By taking a closer look at the actual text, it central aims, context and purpose, readers can obtain a more accurate sense of the author’s meaning. Read More
Certain Catholics express much hostility toward the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). One such objection posits that the Second Vatican Council was entirely focused on pastoral matters and not Catholic doctrine. For this reason, those who use this argument often maintain that the statements of the Second Vatican Council as well as its actions can be… Read More
Does Quotation Equal Canonicity? Pt 1 Does quotation equal canonicity? Certain Protestant scholars and apologists have frequently appealed to the principle that quotation equals canonicity. In other words, when such Christian authors as Polycarp, Ignatius and Clement of Rome appealed to the statements of Scripture, they were recognizing, at least implicitly, the canonical status of… Read More
What Have I Learned from My 2018 Work on the Catholic Heritage Show? What have I learned from my 2018 work on the Catholic Heritage Show? In this episode we will talk about the three major lessons I have learned is a direct result of my work in the Catholic Heritage Show. Read More
Some Reflections on the Current Crisis in the Catholic Church What does one make of the recent scandals in the Catholic Church? In this episode, we talk about Dr. Estrada's thoughts concerning the recent criticisms that have been leveled against Pope Francis. Read More