The HHS Mandate and Unjust War

07/27/2012 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

07/23/2012 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

07/20/2012 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

07/16/2012 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

07/13/2012 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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Meditations on the Rosary: The Resurrection of Jesus

07/09/2012 Comments (9)

I'm a big believer in unforeseen catastrophes that crush the best-laid plans of mice and men. The Titanic sinks and people say, "How could this happen?" I say, "It figures." I'm the guy who listens for the other shoe to drop, who looks for the downside of Paradise, who keeps his guard up lest I be disappointed. That posture can have its advantages (say, when you are a Seattle Mariners fan or you get a fever 12 hours before you are supposed go on a dream vacation), but it's also got its problems.

Now I recognize life is not a bed of roses and that many of our hopes never come to anything. But I also know St. Thomas the Apostle was a sensible stoic man like me. He knew the score. He was...READ MORE

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Meditations on the Rosary: Jesus Dies on the Cross

07/06/2012 Comments (4)

The suffering of Jesus on the cross is, like all human suffering, a shared suffering. That's why Mary is honored under the title "Our Lady of Sorrows." Some people imagine this detracts from Jesus' suffering. However, it should be noticed that people only tend to talk this way about Mary. Certainly the prophet Simeon (and the Evangelist Luke) understand the depths of agony Mary endured. So does anybody who reads a headline about the parents of a kidnapped or murdered child. Nobody says, "Only the child truly suffered and we should not allow the sufferings of his merely human parents to detract from the meaning of this event." Yet, advocates of the "Mary is just a vessel" school of thought...READ MORE

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Meditations on the Rosary: Jesus Carries His Cross

07/02/2012 Comments (20)

Miryam of Nazareth would not, by most standards, seem to be a memorable person. She lived an obscure life. She is mentioned barely a handful of times in the documents of the Church her Son founded. She turns up briefly in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts and then vanishes (with the exception of a cameo in Revelation). During her earthly life she was a peasant woman, living on the eastern fringes of the Roman Empire, in a town of no importance, widowed, and with a single Son who would die brutally under the double condemnation of both her countrymen and their foreign oppressors. She never wrote a book, gave a speech, made a scientific discovery, won a battle, made a fortune, or demanded...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.