A Reader Struggles with the Church's Teaching on Gay Marriage

04/15/2016 Comments (28)

A reader writes:

I am a cradle Catholic. Hetero. I have always felt strongly that the Church's doctrine has not caught up with the bio-science associated with homosexuality. I disagree with the Church's position, yet I am not going to become a homosexual (if that is even possible) to spite it. My own opinions are not relevant. I get that. But me having them does not make me a sinner, bad Catholic, or -- heaven forbid -- a Protestant.

For what it's worth, the Church has no doctrine about the biological or psychological origins of homosexuality.  It leaves such matters to the sciences and other disciplines to sort out just as it leave it to the relevant disciplines to sort out the origins...READ MORE

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In Defense of Theology

04/11/2016 Comments (6)

"Wow!," said my friend, looking up from his science magazine, "Did you know DNA is folded into each cell nucleus in your body in a very precise and compact way? It says here it's like 30 miles of spider web thread carefully folded into a cherry pit!"

I think this sort of thing is amazing too. But what strikes me funny is that the same friends of mine who just love to read this sort of thing in science magazines think nothing of dismissing theology as just so much "angels on pinheads trivia". Religion, they say, should be simple, not complex. They say this because moderns imagine religious truth as an airy speculation, unconnected to "real life", which somebody got a bunch of people to buy...READ MORE

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Don't be Afraid to Tell the Truth, God Can Take It

04/08/2016 Comments (3)

A man I know has grappled his entire life with self-hatred. And like salt in the wound, he has absorbed a notion which has only served to exacerbate all the suffering. Once, he told me, "I don't feel like I'm allowed to express any pain over how bad I hurt inside, because I'm a sinner and so anything I'm suffering is my fault anyway. That makes me angry, but then I think 'I can't be mad at God because being mad at Him suggests that He did something wrong, and since He's never wrong, it's wrong for me to be angry at Him.'"


Many of us, like my friend, are walking bottles of pain and frustration sometimes, terrified that if any of it gets seen by God, He will nail us.

Scripture,...READ MORE

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What in the World?

04/04/2016 Comments (1)

A reader writes:

I'm wondering if you can either help me understand this or else point me in the right direction?

I have zero experience with Thomas Merton. But last August I picked up one of his books and it spoke to my heart. So you know I have to go and buy a Year with TM because much of what he says goes way over my head but the parts that don't are useful.

From this morning's meditation:

On March 3, 1951, he writes in his journal, I have come to the monastery to find my place in the world, and if I fail to find this place, I will ... There is a world which Christ would not pray for. But the world also was made by God and is good, and, unless that world is our mother, we cannot be...READ MORE

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04/01/2016 Comments (1)

MOST glorious Lord of Lyfe! that on this day
Didst make Thy triumph over death and sin;
And having harrowd hell didst bring away
Captivity thence captive us to win:
This joyous day deare Lord with joy begin;
And grant that we for whom thou diddest dye
Being with Thy deare blood clene washt from sin
May live for ever in felicity!

And that Thy love we weighing worthily
May likewise love Thee for the same againe;
And for Thy sake that all lyke deare didst buy
With love may one another entertayne!
So let us love deare Love lyke as we ought
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.

- Edmund Spenser

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Mother Angelica: An Appreciation

03/28/2016 Comments (2)

Better writers than me have been penning encomiums and praises for Mother Angelica (beautifully blessed by our Lord to be called home to heaven on Easter Sunday, no less).  For example, here is a nice appreciation of Mother Angelica by Bp. Robert Barron, himself the second most important evangelist in the world today (in my estimation) calling her the second most important evangelist of the late 20th century (also pretty accurate, I reckon):

I was honored with the chance to do her show once and she made an immediate conquest of me. She could whipsaw from being a sweet old lady (she took my hands in her soft grandma hands and graciously welcomed me, "Oh hello dear! It's so nice to meet you....READ MORE

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Christmas, Good Friday, Lady Day and How the Early Church Thought

03/25/2016 Comments (2)

A common saw each Christmas is that Christianity is a warmed-over paganism.  The theory goes that Jesus was, variously, a dead rabbi with a girlfriend, or never existed, but that Christians, for some reason, thought it would be a good a idea to stop calling Osiris or some other dying and rising god of fertility myth by his proper name, start calling him by the name of Jesus of Nazareth instead, and begin worshipping him instead of just sticking with the old god.  All of this is proven, we are told, by the fact that December  25 was the Feast of the Unconquered Sun.  So there you are.

Here's the thing though.  The Feast of the Unconquered Sun was not made a feast until 274.  Meanwhile, we...READ MORE

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In Their Own Words: The Tuskegee Airmen

03/21/2016 Comments (14)

In 1925, the US Army undertook a study of the use of black Americans in the military that infamously concluded that "Negroes are a sub-species of the human family" and categorically rejected the idea that they could serve as pilots in the Army Air Corps.

In Their Own Words: The Tuskegee Airmen is a film that tells the moving and heroic story of America's first black fighter group from the its inception to the present. I had a chance to see it this past weekend.  I have a weakness for documentaries and find oral histories especially powerful.  This film consists of interviews with the surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen, the "Redtails" who flew fighter missions over Africa, 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.