A Question about Heroic Virtue

01/18/2013 Comments (34)

A reader writes:

I have noticed a trend in my local pro-life circle that is somewhat bothering me.  I am hearing the term "heroic virtue" being used to describe mothers who choose to not abort their babies.  Do you think it is heroically virtuous that a mother does not kill her child?  I guess I am conflicted.  To me, it seems that allowing a child to have the right to life is the bare minimum a mother should be responsible for.  Heroic virtue implies going above and beyond what is required of us.  On the other hand, if the mother was tempted to abort and everyone around her was telling her too, maybe it would require heroic virtue to choose life.  

I know that I would not label...READ MORE

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A Question About Abortion

01/13/2013 Comments (50)

A reader writes:

Here's an honest question. Yeah, it's a loaded question -- actually it's several related questions -- but I hope I'm asking it in a friendly spirit. Since this is about abortion, I better tell you up front: I think abortion is wrong, but I don't think it's murder. And by the way, I'm a pacifist.

This is the question: If a woman takes a drug that prevents a newly fertilized ovum from being implanted in her uterus, and thus ends her pregnancy, does her act possess exactly the same moral character as that of a woman who holds a gun to her six-year-old child's head and pulls the trigger? Or to ask the same question in a more general way: is an abortion morally...READ MORE

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A bit on random and illiterate heckling

01/11/2013 Comments (37)

Kevin O'Brien writes:

My buddy Richard Aleman, tireless warrior for the Church, comes up with not only a great meme, but a great idea for episode one of Stanford Nutting's new internet series, SHARING WITH STANFORD.

This reminds me.  A reader of the "We will bury you!" school of Future Worship was remarking in my comboxes recently concerning the fact that the Church is, whatever the National Catholic Reporter demands, simply never going to ordain women priests:

These same naysayers also predicted that the mass would remain forever in Latin, or that Communion on the tongue was eternal and unchanging. No doubt that when the Church eventually allows women priests the...READ MORE

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Are Canonized Saints the Only People in Heaven?

01/07/2013 Comments (42)

A reader writes:

I have a query for you which i have been pondering for a while.

"Are all those who are in Heaven.. Saints? Then what is the difference between Saints canonized by Catholic Church and all "other Saints"


Yep.  All in heaven are saints.  In fact, Paul calls all believers saints (holy ones).  That's why we have the Feast of All Saints, to celebrate all the uncounted and uncanonized saints who make up the bulk of the heavenly host. 

Curiously, to be "holy" (set apart) is not necessarily to be saved in the ultimate sense of "going to heaven".  Hitler, for instance, was made holy (set apart) when he was baptised.  It does not therefore follow that...READ MORE

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John Paul II, Heaven, and Hell

01/04/2013 Comments (41)

A reader writes:

I'd like your take on something, if you please.  I've heard many Christians (John Paul II among them, if memory serves) state that heaven and hell are states of being rather than actual geographic locations up in the sky and under the earth, and that everyone is in God's presence after death, but that the unsaved experience His presence as torment, while the saved experience it as joy. This seems to make sense since spiritual realities exist outside of space and time. Talk of "places" seems, well, misplaced. ;-)

On the other hand, we are taught that Jesus "ascended into heaven," indicating a place somewhere up in the sky, and that He "descended into hell," which...READ MORE

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A Reader Puzzles Over Our Relationship With the Eastern Churches

12/28/2012 Comments (41)

He writes:

I read your article on Unam Sanctam. Being an evangelical considering whether to become a Catholic, I found it helpful, though I am still struggling to wrap my mind around it. I had a further question. unam Sanctam also says: "Therefore, if the Greeks or others should say that they are not confided to Peter and to his successors, they must confess not being the sheep of Christ, since Our Lord says in John 'there is one sheepfold and one shepherd." What does this mean, then and now, for non-catholic christians?

I think it means, basically, that insofar as you reject Peter and his successors, you are rejecting Christ.  However, the Greeks don’t—and can’t—wholly reject...READ MORE

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Gloria in Profundis

12/24/2012 Comments (3)

There has fallen on earth for a token
A god too great for the sky.
He has burst out of all things and broken
The bounds of eternity:
Into time and the terminal land
He has strayed like a thief or a lover,
For the wine of the world brims over,
Its splendour is spilt on the sand.

Who is proud when the heavens are humble,
Who mounts if the mountains fall,
If the fixed stars topple and tumble
And a deluge of love drowns all-
Who rears up his head for a crown,
Who holds up his will for a warrant,
Who strives with the starry torrent,
When all that is good goes down?

For in dread of such falling and failing
The fallen angels fell
Inverted in insolence, scaling
The hanging...READ MORE

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The Perennial Santa Question

12/21/2012 Comments (74)

A reader writes:

As we approach ever closer to Christmas, something I've always pondered (which I was surprised to find, interestingly enough, is a topic not addressed on the popular Catholic Answers website) is if it is actually a sin (venial, of course) for parents to teach their children to believe in Santa Claus. And by that, I am not talking about belief in St. Nicholas - obviously, as Catholics we recognize that St Nicholas is a revered saint in the Church and he's clearly the original inspiration for the fable of Santa Claus. But I'm talking about parents teaching their children to believe in the pop culture notion of Santa Claus: you know, the big fat jolly old man, white...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.