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

Filed under saints

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

Pseudepigrapha

Monday, April 28, 2014 12:59 AM Comments (55)

...is a really cool word. It has nothing to do with Sudafed or pigs. Also, it's not related to the game Sudoku (or its cousin game Real Ku).

Nope. It's a three dollar word for "writings that claim to be written by some Famous Person but are really not."

One of the marks of a lot of early fake Christian (and Jewish) literature as that they are pseudepigrapha: they almost always claim to be by some important Heavy Hitter in the early Christian community: Mary Magdalene, Philip, James, Peter, Thomas.

The reasons for this are not far to seek, though we moderns (who habitually believe that anybody making religious claims is a fraud and a liar) tend to batten on one reason: namely, when you...READ MORE

Filed under scripture

A Curious Question About an Emergency Baptism

Friday, April 25, 2014 12:59 AM Comments (48)

A reader writes:

Two nights ago on the way home, a guy ran out into the highway in front of our bus, was hit and went under the wheels. We stopped and I and several others rushed back. He was... very... torn up (don't want to be graphic), but somehow he was still trying to breathe, so I know he was alive. While others with more first aid knowledge than I tried to help (but there was honestly no way, short of divine intervention in a spectacular miracle, that he would survive), I suddenly thought about how he may not be Baptized. Several cars had stopped by that time, but in the course of the little time I had all I could find was a McDonalds cup that had some diluted, warm coke in...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

For All the Newly Baptized

Sunday, April 20, 2014 1:01 AM Comments (1)

The Convert

G.K. Chesterton

After one moment when I bowed my head
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white.
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead.

The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.

Happy Easter!  Christ is Risen...READ MORE

Filed under happy easter

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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.