Christ vs. the Power of Now

01/22/2015 Comments (12)

I have a lot of sympathy for New Age folks. Not sympathy with their ideas (if one can use such a strong word as “idea” for the quicksilver emotionalism and muddy mixture of suburban folk religion that is the New Age), but sympathy with the elemental movements of the heart that seem to animate much of the New Age. I myself was a pagan at one time. That is not to say I was a Wiccan, nor that I painted myself with woad and sat naked, pounding drums in some Men’s Circle. Rather, I was raised in the suburban garage band culture of Wayne’s World, darkening the door of a church perhaps five times in my life, unbaptized, clueless about the gospel, filled with superstitious fears...READ MORE

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Chesterton: A Spirit of Vatican II Bibliography

01/18/2015 Comments (10)

Many people know that G.K. Chesterton, a famous defender of the Catholic faith as well as a prolific writer in fields as diverse as murder mysteries, literary criticism, biography, and political, theological and economic thought, fell strangely silent in the mid-1930s and ceased to publish for nearly 50 years. As a result, some speculated he might have died. However, the last few years have seen a fresh outpouring of new and markedly different material from that now-reclusive knight of Christendom. These new writings have been communicated to the outside world through the mediation of an elite team of American theologians from several major Catholic universities. These men and women assure...READ MORE

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Devil Talk

01/15/2015 Comments (8)

One of the most volatile passages in the New Testament is the moment at which Jesus looks at some of his Jewish audience and declares point blank, "You are of your father, the devil" (John 8:44). Not unnaturally, this sounds pretty ugly to modern ears and, particularly in the shadow of the Shoah, strikes many moderns as prima facie evidence for the alleged "intrinsic anti-semitism" of Christianity, stretching all the way back to the New Testament and even to the very words of Jesus himself.  So, for instance, Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz writes, "Hatred and violence are consequences of Christian Anti-Semitism, not the source. The source is the demonizing of the Jewish people. This comes as no...READ MORE

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The Discovery of the Trinity

01/11/2015 Comments (22)

Two basic tenets of Catholic teaching are that 1) God revealed himself in a progressive revelation that was completed with the death of the last apostle and 2) since then the Church's understanding of that complete revelation has deepened and developed.

Perhaps the classic model for understanding this process is seen in the revelation given by God concerning His own Triune nature. Certain critics of the Catholic Faith speak of the doctrine of the Trinity as an "invention" of the Church. However, it is closer to the mark to say that this truth was discovered rather than invented. For the Church, so far from creating anything, simply followed the clues left by God in His complete revelation...READ MORE

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Corkscrew and the Art of Sloth

01/08/2015 Comments (6)

My dear Slimemold:

I note with pleasure the High Command is proceeding apace in its inducement of profound spiritual torpor in the American humans. The humans themselves, though made for union with the Enemy and therefore always in search of Him, are still half ready to embrace such torpor, especially under the justification that they are "hard workers" and therefore deserve to be let off from "thinking too much" about issues of life, death, truth, falsehood and such. They can be headed off from Him by pleasures and gifts which, precisely because they are gifts of His goodness, can be palmed off by us as "good enough" and sufficient to satisfy the craving of their hearts. In teaching them...READ MORE

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On Holiday

01/04/2015 Comments (8)

My pal, Dave, once spent a year in Poland. While he was there, he discovered that, at least in the diocese of Poznan, the celebration of Christmas extends from December 25 to February 2, the Presentation of the Lord. For weeks after we earnest Americans had resumed our position of nose to grindstone, the Poles were still singing Christmas carols, frolicking and feasting. Dave found himself wandering about Poznan murmuring, "On the fortieth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me..."

I think the Poles have it right. If you asked American secular culture what the Twelve Days of Christmas are, it would venture the guess (as I would have before I became Catholic) that these are the twelve...READ MORE

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Pork Roasts, Shadow Traditions, and the New Year

01/01/2015 Comments (13)

Once upon a time there was a newly married couple. Every few weeks, the new missus would buy a pork roast, cut off an inch or so from both ends, and pop it in the oven. This went on for several months till one day the new hubby asked, "Why do you cut off the ends of the pork roast?"

She replied, "It's what my mother always did."

So he asked her mother, "Why do you cut off the ends of the pork roast?"

She said, "It's what my mother always did."

So he went the Shady Grove Retirement home and visited his wife's Grandmother. "Why do you cut off the ends of the pork roast?" he asked.

"Well, I had to. Our oven was so small."

As a Catholic, I'm a big believer in Sacred Tradition. I take St....READ MORE

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Pious Fantasy and the Liberty of the Believer

12/26/2014 Comments (16)

Once upon a time, on the Internet, someone from an Eastern Orthodox background posted a little note concerning the Feast of the Holy Innocents. According to this post there is apparently an old Orthodox tradition that the number of those slain by Herod was 14,000--a rather steep number for a tiny village like Bethlehem.

Someone else then wrote in and asked where the figure of 14,000 came from. In reply, the Orthodox poster said the figure derives from an apocryphal book called the Protoevangelium of James.

At this point, a somewhat less sympathetic poster chimed into the discussion and commented (concerning the 14,000 figure) that "This is just another pious fantasy propagated by the...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.