Are Saints New Revelation?

Thursday, August 21, 2014 11:59 PM Comments (10)

It seems, said my friend, that the Church contradicts itself. On the one hand, Catholic teaching declares revelation complete with the close of the apostolic era. Yet consider the canonization of, say, Joan of Arc. It appears a Catholic must believe one of the following:

1. Revelation continues. It was revealed to the Pope in 1920 that Joan of Arc was in heaven.

2. Revelation ended with the apostles, but before the Ascension, Christ gave Peter a long list of those who would eventually be canonized and Joan's name was on the list.

3. There is no revelation concerning Joan of Arc and we have no way of knowing where she is now.

To get to the bottom of this apparently insoluble mystery we...READ MORE

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Catholic Officialdom and Theological Ambiguity

Sunday, August 17, 2014 11:59 PM Comments (27)

As I mentioned recently, I once guested on a talk radio show and got a call from a man who wanted to know what the "official Catholic teaching" was on (I kid you not) "how much body mass you can lose before you lose your soul." The man was apparently under the impression that if a certain amount of tissue gets lopped off in an amputation, your soul would leak away and he was urgently interested in whether the Church had issued an official measurement (in grams?) of just how much tissue this would have to be.

The question, odd as it was, nonetheless is not the only one of its sort out there. On the Internet, in magazines and on other media I frequently run across the notion that the...READ MORE

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The Assumption of Mary

Thursday, August 14, 2014 11:59 PM Comments (29)

The most recent Marian dogma—the Assumption—was promulgated in 1950. But like all doctrinal developments throughout the history of the Church, it is rooted in apostolic teaching and reflected in Scripture. Pope Pius XII defined the dogma this way:

“The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

What evidence is there for the Assumption?

To begin with, we have the witness of the New Testament, which already takes for granted the image of Mary as a Cosmic Heavenly Figure by the time of the book of Revelation (roughly 90 AD).

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with...READ MORE

Filed under mary

More on Infallibility

Sunday, August 10, 2014 11:59 PM Comments (51)

There is no greater scandal among moderns than the Catholic Church's claim to infallibility. And who can blame them? For as this century drags to a close, it does look as though only a cretin could seriously believe any institution possesses modest integrity, much less infallibility. We've been so schooled in cynicism since Watergate and Vietnam; we've seen so much goop on Kennedy affairs and libidinous preachers and people injected with plutonium that we aren't even shockable anymore. So when we read of Borgia Popes, pedophile priests, and radical nuns praying to Diana, we just fold the paper and look for the "Far Side" cartoons.

And yet... here is this strange divine sea of a Church,...READ MORE

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What "Infallibility" Means

Thursday, August 07, 2014 11:59 PM Comments (33)

Here is the text of a whimsical email conversation I had with a friend once:

Q: "Mark, is a dog's mouth cleaner than a human's? What the official infallible Catholic position on this question?"

A: In his 16th Century encyclical Bene Canus (Good Doggie), Pope St. Gregory XXIV declared, pronounced and defined that "oggie'sday avehay eanerclay outhmays". This, being translated from the original Latin, means that the Church does definitively hold as (ahem) Dogma that dogs have cleaner mouths, but the good Pope chose to leave undefined precisely what dogs' mouths are cleaner than. The dogma caused considerable consternation upon its promulgation. A delegation of Orthodox bishops attempted to...READ MORE

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Against Punishing the Poor

Sunday, August 03, 2014 11:58 PM Comments (56)
Under a proposed stricter Norton Shores solicitation ordinance, people asking for money would receive a civil infraction citation, and motorists who hold up traffic because of their engagement with panhandlers could also be penalized.
It is *so* important make sure the poor are well and truly punished and humiliated for being poor. So, so important. Also any filthy do-gooder who tries to help them.  Particularly remarkable is the terror (supported by urban legends of rich panhandlers pulling down $500 a day that nobody repeating such legends seems eager to try) that if one is generous to the poor, one might be (gasp!) cheated on occasion, which is apparently a fate so horrible that it is...READ MORE

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People who live in DeGrasse Houses…

Friday, August 01, 2014 12:01 AM Comments (67)

...should not throw stones:

...says the guy who seriously claims that Giordano Bruno was a scientist and who says that all that "deep question" junk (aka, philosophy, theology, metaphysics, and ethics) "can really mess you up."

Yes, he really did say that. Go ahead, listen for yourself, beginning at 20:19 — and behold the spectacle of an otherwise intelligent man and gifted teacher sounding every bit as anti-intellectual as a corporate middle manager or used-car salesman. He proudly proclaims his irritation with "asking deep questions" that lead to a "pointless delay in your progress" in tackling "this whole big world of unknowns out there." When a scientist encounters someone inclined...READ MORE

Filed under agitprop

A reader has a question about friends using IVF

Sunday, July 27, 2014 11:59 PM Comments (53)

She writes:

I have a question for you. I have a couple of non-Catholic neighbors, friends trying to conceive. They've already frozen eggs. Is it improper if me, a Catholic, to pray for success with the implantation of the embryos? Thanks for your time...

Hmmm.This is one of those things the apostles and fathers of the Church never had to think about.   I think the first thing to do, if possible, is try to broach with them the question of the morality of IVF. Have you spoken with them about the moral implications of what they are doing? IVF involves fertilizing multiple eggs, picking one for implantation, and then killing the rest.  In short, selective abortion. Perhaps your relationship...READ MORE

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About Mark Shea

Mark Shea
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Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.