A reader struggles with despair over quarrelsome Catholics

Sunday, June 22, 2014 11:59 PM Comments (146)
Long time reader. Maybe you've addressed the issue, but I was wondering if you had any insight on a potential source of despair - infighting between groups of Catholics on forums and blogs.

I see lots of references to folks thinking Satan worked his way into the church and that only a small remnant will end up being saved. That seems counter to the gospel message to me, and it seems difficult for me to believe that God would want to make it difficult and obscure (e.g, knowing that you had to somehow be more like a FSSP/SSPX type of Catholic to truly be saved.

I came back to the faith when I was 17 (I'm now 34) and I feel like in the good old days, when I was really only aware of blogs like...READ MORE

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A reader has a question about conscience vs. bishops

Thursday, June 19, 2014 11:59 PM Comments (29)
I greatly enjoy your work and own several of your books. I have a question that I hope you can answer. Is there a duty or virtue of obedience to our priests, bishops, and the pope? I understand that we sin if we deny dogma or have a certain level of doubt as to dogma, but what should our attitude be towards matters that are not dogmatic? To what degree should we give our bishops the benefit of the doubt?

Here's an example. In my state, the bishops of each diocese strongly opposed a legislature measure to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. While I understand their position, I think they are wrong. In short, I think that if we are asking homosexuals to adopt the heavy...READ MORE

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Bravely Facing the Applause

Monday, June 16, 2014 12:01 AM Comments (18)

So there's this new romantic comedy out, promoted by Planned Parenthood, called Obvious Child in which the heroine "bravely" kills her child so as to counter the pernicious message of life and joy in children that marred such films as Juno and Knocked Up. The tragic decision of these two films to welcome a baby instead of tear it limb from limb or jam scissors in its brain is atoned for by this story in which, as a friend of mine put it, "everyone is so brave in the movie, according to the reviews. The woman doesn't tell the father. Which is very brave. She "never wavers" in her choice to abort. Brave again. She apparently has no remorse, which is yet more evidence of her bravery. It's a...READ MORE

Filed under at the movies

A Reader Wonders about Generational Healing

Thursday, June 12, 2014 11:58 PM Comments (29)
Wondering if you know anything and have some insight into the 'generational healing' movement?
This phrase is making its way around a circle of friends and it is new to me. What I am reading on-line gives me pause for concern not to mention one friend talking about 'family curses'. The words of Jesus from John 9 come to mind for me. But I'm the first one to admit that I don't know everything.

I suspect there is something to it, within reason. The interconnectedness of persons is an integral part of our faith, or both original sin and the redemption are nonsense, since both our fallenness and our salvation depend on the choices, merits, and sin of others redounding to us in many complex...READ MORE

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James on Dividing and Conquering

Sunday, June 08, 2014 11:59 PM Comments (89)

One often sees memes floating around on the web: graphic illustrations of this and that. Some of them are short and pithy.

Some are funny (at least to some of us):

Some claim to represent information that you need to know. Lots of these should be taken with caution. Why? Because lots of them are often conceived, not to inform, but to manipulate.

Case in point:

What is the message of this meme?

While you ponder that, here's another with the same message stated more clearly:

What do we notice about the structure of each meme?

In both memes we are invited to notice heroes and villains. In both, figures like soldiers, cops, firefighters, and EMTs are the heroes, valiantly saving...READ MORE

Filed under rich and poor

A More Accurate Title Would Be…

Friday, June 06, 2014 12:01 AM Comments (32)

"What *Some* Social Justice Catholics Get Wrong About Social Justice". Catholics such as this:

It's not complicated. If you support the murder of innocent human beings, you are not a Social Justice Catholic.

Then again, if you make opposition to abortion the basis for heaping contempt on almost the entirety of the rest of the Church's social teaching as "Kumbayah Catholicism", you are also not a social justice Catholic--nor an orthodox one. Here's reality: the Church's teaching on abortion and the rest of the Church's social doctrine are not opposites but complementary.

My suggestion: Just embrace the whole of the Church's teaching and not the bits you like. It can be done, as the good...READ MORE

Filed under catholic social teaching

The Hierarchy of Truth vs. the Horse You Rode in On

Monday, June 02, 2014 12:01 AM Comments (15)

So the other day, comedienne Sarah Silverman made a fool of herself by declaring unborn babies to be "just goo" to fellow medical expert, Bill Maher who says nobody should get vaccinated.  It was a particularly epic display of the sort of science denialism that you don't much hear about in the media. I would like to see a freshman in high school biology try to escape an F by answering a quiz on fetal development with "It's just goo". This is what happens when a culture supposedly devoted to reason gets its science and philosophy from a comedian.

The expected uproar and denunciation of this kind of anti-intellectual idiocy from the pro-life brigade was swift and entirely just--for a while. ...READ MORE

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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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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.