Loving Lent

02/15/2013 Comments (33)

I don't know what this means about me, but I always like Lent.

I know.  What a jerk, right?  Bucking for them uber-Catholic points.  People who say they like Lent are just lying, like tough guys who say they  prefer dentistry without the novocaine, Just to prove how tough they are.

Permit me to explain.  There are certainly things about the Faith I dislike.  The whole "having to admit I'm wrong about something" business is an aspect of Catholic teaching I could really do without.  I don't much care for the Hell stuff.  I could really stand to take a pass on having to forgive people I can't stand.

But Lent, I've always somehow liked.  It goes back to a time about 30 years ago when I...READ MORE

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An Honest Atheist Grapples with the Problem of Evil

02/11/2013 Comments (75)

He writes:

I read the article on your website titled "Padding the Case for New Atheism" and i was just wondering if you would be kind enough to answer a question i have in regards to the existence of god or gods. However before I begin I would just like to say that although at this moment i would probably define my self as agnostic, I completely share your contempt towards the "new age atheist movement" and find many of the main proponents of the movement equally as obnoxious and irrational as the fundamentalists they criticize. With that said, I will now move on to my question. I suppose before I go any further, it would be wise to define my conception of god as to not make things...READ MORE

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A Question About Terrifying Fears from Private Revelations

02/08/2013 Comments (52)

A reader writes:.

I've read your article "A Reader Writes About Prophetic Tizzies", and it has been a source of fresh air for me lately. You see, for years (starting in high school and going on and off throughout college) I've had this tendency to obsessively research apparitions. I went to Catholic School for 13 years, and even if i heard things about prophecies I'd shake it off because we were never taught that kind of stuff. But peers started talking about the Malachy Prophecy when JPII passed away and I eventually found myself It started with the very very scary Divine Mercy messages, which eventually led me to Medjugorje/Garabandal (I know that those two aren't approved, so I...READ MORE

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Are the Children of Newtown Martyrs?

02/04/2013 Comments (62)

A reader writes:

Greetings, at what point does the church consider someone a martyr . The holy innocent the were executed in the hunt for the baby Messiah are referred to as martyrs. Are those children in new town Connecticut martyrs as well? If not technically, why not? If so, how is it?

"Martyr" means "witness", not "somebody who has died" in Greek.  It came to have the connotation of "death" in the early years of Christianity because it was the supreme instance of somebody bearing witness to their faith in Jesus to be willing to suffer and die for it while staunchly maintaining their fidelity to him.  Of course, not everybody who suffered for their faith died from their...READ MORE

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The Senses of Scripture

01/31/2013 Comments (20)

Periodically, folks ask about whether we are supposed to read the Bible literally.

The Church does require a literal interpretation of biblical texts.  But that does not mean what most Americans imagine it means.  It does not mean we have to believe, for instance, that the universe was made in six 24 hour days, or profess faith in talking snakes.  Rather, by the "literal sense", the Church means we must read the text looking for what the author intended to say, the *way* he intended to say it, and distinguish from that what is incidental to what he was saying.  That’s the literal interpretation.  And getting at it is trickier than we might suppose, since the inspired authors were not,...READ MORE

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A reader wants to know what to do…

01/28/2013 Comments (68)

...about casual anti-Catholicism. He writes:

Like many Catholics, I have found myself in a situation where many of the people in my circles of friendly acquaintance are *not* Catholic or practicing Christians; they are decent people and will certainly go to the wall to help people they like, sympathize with or share principles with, but they are inevitably products of a secular or lapsed-Christian worldview and see nothing wrong with the Culture of Sex and Death that I have to refuse to support or agree with.  As a result, what I often find myself enduring in their company is nothing so grand as active persecution (I will not use that word for this in the face of what the Copts are...READ MORE

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Conspiracy Theories

01/25/2013 Comments (16)

A reader writes:

I just had a discussion with a friend of mine who is a very good Catholic and a very spiritual person. I know she loves to read and she loves to surf the internet too. She started talking to me about some conspiracy-type theories that sound so far-fetched to me, and I didn’t know how to respond. One is that breast cancer is cured, but that the pharmaceutical companies don’t let us know that so that they can keep making money: lots and lots of money. Also, that the CIA gives guns to some of our notorious killers (like those who walk into a theater, business, etc… and shoot innocent people). There’s something else about an “evil eye” perpetuated by Lady Gaga…....READ MORE

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Question Regarding Tobit

01/21/2013 Comments (71)

A reader writes:

For the last ten years or so,I have really been wrestling with the Book of Tobit. I consider myself a conservative Catholic and attended a Catholic school-elementry and high school (and graduated from it). I remember reading about Tobias in my freshman year. I didn't really think too much of it, but as the years passed I found myself wondering why it is in our Bible. You say we shouldn't take it literally and I have to agree, I have even seen a footnote in a  recent Catholic Bible- with the "Imprimatur" saying that he book should be considered as allegorical.  My question is, why do they allow this Arabian Night fairy tale to even be in our Bible? The Greek Orthodox...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.