Big Laws and Small Laws

08/10/2012 Comments (18)

Over at the Catholic Vote blog, my friend John Barnes notes this curious development

In case you are wondering, that is a product warning label on a dental floss container, lest you fail to understand how to dispense the dental floss, leading to unforeseen horrors too terrible to describe on a Catholic news site.

I am something of a gourmand of product warning labels and instructions written by giant corporations on the assumption that if any consumer can do the stupidest thing possible with any product, he or she will.  Sadly, some of the best dumb product warning labels turn out to be fakes ("Odor Eaters: Do Not Eat"), but plenty more turn out to be quite real (such as the warning...READ MORE

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A Question About Having Babies

08/05/2012 Comments (63)

A reader writes:

I was wondering if you could help me with a question posed by a friend of mine.  He believes in a sort of utilitarian worldview--now he doesn't practice this, because he finds it rather impractical, but I think it's unhealthy and would like to be able to argue coherently why.  For one thing, he believes that if a person has a genetic condition such as down syndrome or clinical depression, he should not have children so as not to risk inflicting the misery caused by this disease on another human being.  This worldview feels very wrong to me, but I can't quite pin down why, except that life is a blessing and that this view of things seems rather akin to Nazi...READ MORE

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A Question from a Frustrated Reader

08/02/2012 Comments (66)

She writes:

I'm writing to you because I'm a regular reader of your blog at the National Catholic Register, and you often address readers' pertinent questions in it. I'm part of a group of Catholic bloggers, and a few of us have been to Masses recently where the celebrants have made upsetting comments, some of which have even bordered on denying the teaching authority of the church.

I cannot speak to the experiences of the others, but my own experience involved a homily in which the priest said that the Magisterium was not the only legitimate teaching authority in the Church, and that because the Church has changed her positions on matters such as slavery, the lay faithful should...READ MORE

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The HHS Mandate and Unjust War

07/26/2012 Comments (72)

A reader writes:

I have had some debates with a friend regarding the HHS Mandate. He claims that Catholics shouldn't be in such an uproar regarding the mandate given the newest changes by the Obama administration to require the insurance companies to offer contraception at no cost to the Catholic institution or business. His argument is that it is no different than him paying taxes for wars that he doesnt agree with and finds morally objectionable and contrary to his beliefs.

Is the latest form of the mandate the same as tax payer dollars being used for morally objectionable wars or even abortion?  Either way it seems like you are paying indirectly for things that you might not...READ MORE

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Meditations on the Rosary: The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven

07/22/2012 Comments (102)

Finally, we come to the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven. This honorific, like many others, is an expression of common piety that emerges from the heart of the common man. It's also, I was surprised to discover, rooted in Scripture.

For just as there was the office of King in the Old Testament, so there was the office of Queen Mother. As noted biblical scholar Dr. Scott Hahn points out:

David's first successor, Solomon, reigned with his mother, Bathsheba, at his right hand. Israel's queen mother, or gebirah ("great lady"), appears, then, through the history of the monarchy, to the very end. When Jerusalem falls to Babylon, we find the invaders taking away the king, Jehoiachin,...READ MORE

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Meditations on the Rosary: The Assumption of Mary

07/19/2012 Comments (111)

The Assumption has rightly been called "Mary's Easter." It's the great icon of the glory and joy awaiting every person saved by Jesus Christ. The Mystery of the Assumption reminds us that Christ's resurrection was not an end in itself. Jesus wasn't raised just to prove God could raise the dead. He was raised so that we would be raised with him and live, not as disembodied spooks, but as fully human beings in the glory of God forever.  What Mary enjoys now, we shall enjoy when our time comes. She completes the picture of redemption for us; she is the foremost link between the God who gives living grace and the creature who receives it. In her, we see what that grace looks like in a mere...READ MORE

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Meditations on the Rosary: The Descent of the Holy Spirit

07/15/2012 Comments (3)

At Pentecost, the Old Testament spring harvest festival characterized by offerings to God in the direction of the four winds, the Church is overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit coming in wind and fire. The disciples (including Mary, who was right there in the thick of it) receive the power of the Holy Spirit and St. Peter, preaching his first sermon to the astonished crowd in Jerusalem, declares of Jesus, "Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you see and hear" (Acts 2:33).

It's worth noting that the "right hand" is the "good" hand in antiquity. It's the hand that pours out blessing,...READ MORE

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Meditations on the Rosary: The Ascension of Jesus

07/12/2012 Comments (2)

The Ascension plants Man in the heart of Heaven. That's why the Glorious Mystery of the Ascension is traditionally associated with prayer for the virtue of Hope. Hope is oriented, not so much toward the future, as toward the fact that the same God we have known and know now is not going to abandon us. Temporally speaking, we have no hope. The future is ultimately that time when we and everybody we know will be dead. But eternally speaking, we have great hope. For we shall be with Christ in eternity.

This curious mixture of temporal loss and eternal hope is reflected in the curious fact that Jesus' promise not to abandon us comes at the moment when Jesus leaves us.

You shall receive...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.