Chesterton Famously Said…

11/14/2011 Comments (29)

“Break the Conventions. Keep the Commandments.” I am reminded of that as a reader writes:

The Boston Pilot, the diocesan paper, pulled the following article from its web pages. From various reports about this, it seems that the editors of the Boston Pilot believe Daniel Avila made a theological error in supposing that the devil had a hand in same-sex attraction. I fail to see how this is an error.

It seems to have direct bearing on the problem of evil. Does God cause tidal waves, and earthquakes? Does God create blind people, deaf people, or people with same-sex attraction? Does God cause cancer? I do understand that human nature was corrupted by the Fall, so by this it’s not necessary for...READ MORE

Filed under break the conventions. keep the commandments.

Transubstantiation: Change We Can Believe In

11/11/2011 Comments (211)

A reader wrote:

My son has a facebook page.  Recently, he put up a little quip about transubstantiation: “Change we can believe in”.  His uncle commented that it could be proven to still be bread and wine at the molecular level, after consecration.

Is there a short answer for this?

I fielded the question to the able Mike Flynn, who eats a Summa for breakfast each morning and then spits out great novels like Eifelheim each evening.  He replies in his inimitable fashion:

Sure.  Accidents and substantial form. 

The Church has always taught that it remains bread and wine “at the molecular level.”  The error lies in supposing this to be the only level. 

Consider Darwinian evolution.  Once...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

Readers helpfully illustrate my point

11/09/2011 Comments (182)

...in two ways.

First, one reader responds to Monday’s column with a standard piece of boilerplate:

I am surprised that ncregister has a Pharisee writing for them.There is no comparison between waterboarding the mastermind of the 911 terrorist attack in order to try to prevent another terrorist attack and the mass murder of babies by abortion on demand.  If Mark Shea cannot distinguish between the two he needs to be committed.

Is there a comparison between beating an innocent man to death as we did to Dilawar and tearing an innocent baby apart in the womb?  How about handing an innocent man over for ten months of torture in Syria as we did to Maher Arar and torturing a baby with a failed...READ MORE

Filed under consequentialism on parade

Wanting to Attain Heaven and Avoid Hell is Normal Catholic Faith

11/07/2011 Comments (137)

I have periodically made clear that, for myself, I will not support any candidate who asks me to support grave and intrinsic evil.  That, naturally, thins out the field pretty fast, since virtually all our candidates on both sides of the aisle support grave and intrinsic evil, whether it be abortion, torture, or embryonic stem cell research.  Many Catholics, animated by the heretical new theory that opposition to abortion taketh away the sins of the world, get upset with me when I voice this view.  Some ask whether it is a greater mortal sin to vote Democrat or Republican.  Others, amazingly, tell me I am a prima donna with impossibly high standards and beg me to go along with them, for...READ MORE

Filed under politics and other evils

Heresy and Orthodoxy, Sterility and Fruitfulness

11/04/2011 Comments (14)

Jeff Mirus has an interesting piece up on how dissenting (that is, heretical) religious are wheezing into geezerdom with not a lot of fruit to show for their efforts.  The Church has lived 45 years since the Council, while the dissenters have lived the same year 45 times.  Result: not much.  They aren’t making disciples.  Send a Richard McBrien out with his message of decrepit dissent and you won’t even get enough people to fill up a wine and cheese soiree where Matthew Fox can do selected readings of his Mystical Magical Bear Spirituality.  Meanwhile, 2 gazillion youth show up to hear the allegedly irrelevant old guy in Rome call them to fidelity to the ever ancient ever new gospel of the...READ MORE

Filed under chestertoniana

Somewhere in Hell…

11/02/2011 Comments (34)

I fancy there is a bar with a bunch of (pardon the pun) dispirited old demons sitting around, grousing about how much better it was in the old days.

I think of that as somebody sends me the latest bulletins of apocalyptic fear from the outskirts of Catholic religious paranoia, in which they are perpetually on the watch for fresh terrors and the imminent doom of the Church.  On one popular site, you got yer Persecution watch, yer Occult watch, yer Upheaval watch, yer Apparition watch and (recently) yer Halloween watch (of which more in a moment).  Every time a leaf rustles, there is a shiver of panic and (we are told) Christians should be afraid, be very afraid!

But I can’t help thinking...READ MORE

Filed under satan is a loser

A Beautiful Story From a Reader

10/28/2011 Comments (33)

I just thought I’d run this letter I got from a reader without comment:

Hey guys. I’m sending you this message with a story and a thank you. I want to say thanks for whatever it is that you have done, are doing, and will do to further the abolition of abortion in the world. Unlike most men who participate in the pro-life movement, I have a very direct tie to it, and because of this reason, I will fight for the life of the unborn [among other things] until I take my last dying breath. Some know and have spoken with my wife on occasion, and some barely know who I am. Be that as it may, please accept my sincerest gratitude towards you and what work it is that we do to not only save the lives of...READ MORE

Filed under culture of life

Is There Such a Thing as Moral Progress?

10/26/2011 Comments (187)

One of the questions that comes up from time to time in the blogosphere is the problem of moral progress. It happens in a number of ways. For instance, a favorite trope of the atheist fundamentalist is the “Ha! You call Thomas More a saint? He burnt heretics at the stake!” shout of triumph. (Of course, atheist fundamentalists don’t like to think too hard about the achievements of Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot, and seem uncommonly hurried in their attempts to identify their atheist regimes as specimens of “religion” in the single most implausible piece of prestidigitation in their rhetorical arsenal.)  Meanwhile, some Catholics, having a deep suspicion of modernity, and eager to defend the Home...READ MORE

Filed under thank god for the magisterium

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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.