A reader has a question about extrabiblical testimony to Christ

01/13/2012 Comments (50)

He writes:

I’ve been discussing a number of topics with my brother who is an atheist. In particular he has asked me about a number of events that should be in the historical record such as the census that required Mary, Joseph, and Jesus go to Bethlehem to be accounted, the earthquake and three-hour darkness at the Passion. Do you know of any place where I can get some information about theses events?

Also, I was making a Lewis-esque argument concerning the truth of the Gospel. I argued that the Apostles had nothing to gain from inventing the Gospel, since all they received from it was stonings, beatings, and crucifixion. However, he pointed out that early Mormons and Joseph Smith were...READ MORE

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A reader writes about Prophetic Tizzies

01/11/2012 Comments (157)

Given that we have just entered 2012: Year of Mayan Doom I thought I’d tackle a note I got from a reader about analogous prophetic tizzies one finds in Christian (and some Catholic) circles.  He writes:

I am forwarding an email today from my relative, who upon returning to the Catholic Church last year developed a bit of a tendency to read a lot of modern-day “apocalyptic”-type “prophecy.”  I can’t tell my relative this, but I think that a lot of it is bunk (at least, I can’t tell him in so many words without risking hurting his feelings).....  If it is in accord with Church teaching—like Fatima—then it is merely reinforcing what the Church teaches and is good.  But I think that there are...READ MORE

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A Reader Argues Against the New Mass Translation

01/09/2012 Comments (157)

Fr. Robert Barron notes (and I agree) that the new Mass translation deliberately uses a more courtly language:

A reader argues that this is not a good thing.  He writes:

When the Magi went in search for the new born king of the Jews they ended up in a court—but he was not there. They found him in humility and poverty and simplicity. He is a King but his throne and crown were not gold. His crown was thorns, his throne the wood of the cross. In the mystery of the incarnation God not only becomes man he becomes man among the poor, the common, the least. He spoke the language of the common people. What was important to him was his relationship with people, with people rejected by the...READ MORE

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Between Two Fundamentalisms

01/06/2012 Comments (32)

So on Christmas Day I thought it would be fun to put up the old text of the Proclamation of the Nativity from the Roman Martyrology on my Patheos blog.  Exalted felicitations of the day and all.  Festive, you know?  It reads like so:

The twenty-fifth day of December.
In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world
from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;
the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;
the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;
the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses
and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
the one thousand...READ MORE

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Question About the Apparition at La Salette

01/04/2012 Comments (28)

A reader writes:

So, I’m having a bit of a discussion with a friend about the veracity of the La Salette apparitions. I’m willing to submit to the Church’s authority and acknowledge that Mary did in fact appear to the visionaries in question, but I simply cannot believe that they understood Mary correctly, because it seems completely contrary to Scripture and Tradition for Mary to describe her Son thus:

“If my people do not wish to submit themselves, I am forced to let go off the hand of my Son. It is so heavy and weighs me down so much I can no longer keep hold of it.
I have suffered all of the time for the rest of you! If I do not wish my Son to abandon you, I must take it upon myself to...READ MORE

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A priest writes:

01/02/2012 Comments (5)

A blessed Christmas to you.

I’m in the process of producing a mediation on the Nativity and have a point I want to make that needs some kind of verification.  I have long been convinced that the reason why we usually eat an abundance of sweets at Christmas time is because it signifies that the grace of Christ sweetens our life.  That the grace of Christ sweetens our life is obvious.  But that being the reason why we eat sweets at Christmas is not so evident to me.

Have you ever heard of this and do you know if this is true?

I’ve never heard this, but I don’t see why you can’t connect the two.  With customs such as sweets at Christmas, what you almost invariably find is that the custom...READ MORE

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Hey! It's Still Christmas!

12/28/2011 Comments (13)

Some of our Eskimo brothers and sisters have an appropriate greeting!

It’s really quite wonderful that something which started on the other side of the planet with a couple of refugee parents and no earthly prospect of success should now be celebrated in remote villages in the Arctic Circle (as well as in China, Timbuktoo, obscure Andean villages, and over 2.2 billion other spots on the globe.  God loves defying the odds.

On the other hand, 2.2 billion is still only 2/7ths of the world’s population, which means we still have a lot of work to do and shouldn’t be counting overmuch on a premature Second Coming to get us off the hook from the job of pressing forward with the New...READ MORE

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A little Christmas treat for the Feast of Stephen…

12/26/2011 Comments (14)

recorded in the basilica that bears his name:

While the world is leaving Xmas in the dust and getting back to mere winter, may you continue to keep the Feast of Christmas for the next 12 days!  Half the fun of being Catholic is belonging to a weird subculture that is out of step with our joyless commercial culture!  Enjoy!

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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.