A Reader with Jitters About Pope Francis writes…

Sunday, May 25, 2014 11:59 PM Comments (89)
I'm really trying hard not to get concerned with this stuff. You were kind enough before to ensure me, someone new back to the Catholic Church, that I had no need to be concerned that the Church would change any doctrine. Please forgive me that I need reassurance.

First, I've noticed a pattern in Pope Francis' last few homilies. Today's homily sums them up pretty well. The Pope is teaching from Acts. He, as he seems to do often, speaks of two groups of people. One group is docile to the Holy Spirit, open to everyone. The other group is the doctors of the Law, that built a system of commandments that chase people away.

What exactly is the point that he keeps trying to make? Who does he see...READ MORE

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For your Holiday Amusement…

Friday, May 23, 2014 12:01 AM Comments (15)

I give a little game of Spot the Fallacy:

First, people start using the slippery slope fallacy. Next thing you know, everybody is being herded into concentration camps and gassed.

You know who makes ad hominem arguments? Ugly people, that's who!

I'm not saying people who poison the well in arguments are exactly like Hitler, but let's just say there's a resemblance, if you catch my drift.

Of course he never uses the genetic fallacy. He was raised by Italians who superstitiously believe you should never do that.

Some people say I use the tu quoque argument, but that's because they use the tu quoque argument.

Have you always asked loaded questions like a Communist child abuser or did you...READ MORE

Filed under fun stuff

The Pentagon has a Plan for World War Z

Monday, May 19, 2014 12:00 AM Comments (25)

No. Seriously.

When I look at something like this, all I can think of is the passage from Leviticus on how the faithless nation will wind up jumping at its own shadow.

And as for those of you that are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; the sound of a driven leaf shall put them to flight, and they shall flee as one flees from the sword, and they shall fall when none pursues. They shall stumble over one another, as if to escape a sword, though none pursues; and you shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And you shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. (Le 26:36–38)

The lie of our culture is that sin...READ MORE

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What Do We Do When Our Elites Aren't Interested in the Gospel?

Friday, May 16, 2014 12:01 AM Comments (23)

First Things on the intellectual listlessness of contemporary fashionable unbelief:

Simply said, we have reached a moment in Western history when, despite all appearances, no meaningful public debate over belief and unbelief is possible. Not only do convinced secularists no longer understand what the issue is; they are incapable of even suspecting that they do not understand, or of caring whether they do. The logical and imaginative grammars of belief, which still informed the thinking of earlier generations of atheists and skeptics, are no longer there. In their place, there is now—where questions of the divine, the supernatural, or the religious are concerned—only a kind of habitual...READ MORE

Filed under evangelism

Question about Private Revelation

Sunday, May 11, 2014 11:59 PM Comments (17)

A reader writes:

Perhaps you help clarify something for me. We know that some "private revelations" are indeed false and we are to test the spirits to see if they are in line with the Gospel. Sometimes, we have for example, apparitions like Our Lady of Roses which the Church flat out rejects (and with good reason). However, lets's assume this was a demonic trick and not just a woman seeking attention. This false apparition, in the context of its message did admit the Lordship of Jesus, something it shouldn't be able to do. "No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.". Instead it encouraged disobedience to the Church of Our Lord. Obviously, it seems demons can use truth to aid...READ MORE

Filed under private revelation

Are Saints Just Catholic Celebrity Worship?

Thursday, May 08, 2014 11:59 PM Comments (2)

Somebody at The Federalist thinks so.

Personally, I think such a charge is ludicrous. Celebrity worship is the adoration of mere fame for its own sake: adulation of somebody who is famous for being famous. So the cult of Paris Hilton, say, or some other hairdo of modest to no accomplishment is properly called "celebrity worship". The elevation of such figures is one of the most pernicious aspects of our culture, precisely because it says to our young: "Imitate this parasite, this wastrel, this scoundrel. Make it your goal to get your name and face on TV for the achievements of doing nothing but your nails or slapping your girlfriend around."

But the saints are venerated precisely because...READ MORE

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A reader Has a Question About God "Hardening" Pharaoh's Heart

Monday, May 05, 2014 12:01 AM Comments (54)

asking:

I have a question about Exodus and the Red Sea crossing. Why does God make a point of saying He will "harden the hearts" of both Pharaoh and the Egyptians so that they will chase them? It says multiple times that he will harden their hearts or "make them obstinate". Why is this? Is it a poetic way of saying their hearts are hardened because that's just how they are and God knows that, or is it actually something God did to them in an active way? I'm troubled by this because it makes it sound like the Egyptians might not have chased them, and might not have died, without God's changing their hearts in some way. Like God condemns the Egyptians to die when they don't deserve it. What...READ MORE

Filed under scripture

Sarah Palin, Sacrilege, and Catholic Support for Torture

Friday, May 02, 2014 12:00 AM Comments (122)

So last week, we had a little discussion prompted by a reader who wanted to know if an emergency baptism using Coke was valid or not.

In the course of it, somebody noted that if the person being baptized was an adult, then their consent is require or the baptism was invalid. The point was that it was an insult to the sacrament and the dignity of the human person to baptize somebody against their will.  Truth to tell, I just sort of assumed the reader who was asking had known that and so my attention was focused on the question of valid matter, not consent. But the point was true enough.  Forced baptism is an insult to the sacrament and to the person subjected to it. People were very...READ MORE

Filed under become what we are

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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.