Science Fiction as Theology

03/28/2011 Comments (12)

Here’s an interesting bit of philosophical inquiry from philosopher Ed Feser on David Cronenberg’s version of “The Fly”, one of the most disgusting sci fi movies ever made.  I am familiar with the original, but (knowing Cronenberg’s reputation for yuck) I’ve opted to avoid the remake.  Feser is not dealing with the yuck factor.  Rather, he’s dealing with the metaphysical question of what it means to be a human being and how far changes in our bodily structure can go before you stop being human and start being Something Else.  It’s a question science fiction raises for us a lot—and a question the sciences will soon be confronting us with as we continue to screw around with life at its most...READ MORE

Filed under skiffy

Why Do Cops Lie?

03/25/2011 Comments (24)

Why, for the same reason you and I do: for the greater good, of course. That’s how all human beings justify lying or any other sin they commit. Normally, for *ordinary* people in *ordinary* situations, such behavior is “wrong”, we say. But for me, in my oh-so-special situation, it’s okay. Or if not okay, then, courageous because I’m bravely willing to defy even God in order that some essential and good thing be preserved despite his inexplicable and pharisaic rules that stand in the way of the Greater Good. In fact, I’m actually a *hero* for being willing to go to hell for the Greater Good. The graver the sin, the more likely the sinner is to spout the language of courage to justify the...READ MORE

Filed under examination of conscience

Does God Lead People Out of the Church?

03/23/2011 Comments (15)

I wanted to run a question past you. I have a very good friend, married with 3 kids. They recently left the Catholic church for a non-denominational pentacostal-type church. She said she wasn’t being fed in the Catholic Church. And she is now truly on fire for the Gospel, and sharing it with everyone she meets. And it almost does seem that God is leading her there: so many coincidences, people put her in path, miracles taking place in her life. Do you think God could be leading her out of the Church? Should I be trying to actively engage her on this, or just keep praying for her to come back to the Church? Or could it be that God does want her in this non-denominational church? What are...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

Why You Guys Make Me Love Being Catholic

03/21/2011 Comments (7)

A week or two ago, the Register ran a piece on the death of Dr. Bernard Nathanson. In the comboxes, somebody asked if he could really be forgiven the horrible things he had done as an abortionist. What followed was a huge outpouring of emphatic mercy for Dr. Nathanson, coupled with a lot of good solid catechesis for the troubled reader on just how huge the vast range of God’s mercy is, what the effects of baptism are, and the immensity of hope this gives us as we struggle with our own sins.

It was a long, gentle and hopeful conversation, and I came away from it thinking how rare and beautiful it is to see a real conversation about mercy—genuine mercy—in today’s culture. It’s a cold,...READ MORE

Filed under the power of love

The Devil Always Steps on His Own Tail

03/18/2011 Comments (19)

One of the basic lessons of the Gospel is that you cannot defeat the devil in your human strength. Rather, God seems to love to allow the devil to defeat himself. So Old Scratch puts it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus—only to have the crucifixion and resurrection deal the decisive blow to the powers of hell. In the same way, Old Goat Legs (who is incorrigibly unteachable due to his stupid pride) repeats the same monotonous pattern in the lives of the martyrs. Like the ham-fisted bully whose only thought is, “If force fails, use more force!” Satan and his fellow demons just keep doing the same thing over and over: trying to smash goodness and shout down truth, only serving to make...READ MORE

Filed under the devil is an ass

Despise Not Prophesying

03/16/2011 Comments (136)

I spend a fair amount of time registering my disinterest in sundry conspiracy theories and scare-mongering and private revelation-chasing. I think Medjugorje has all the earmarks of a load of bushwah, I don’t care about the bogus revelations in Conyers or Bayside, and I’m skeptical of the majority of nine-day wonders involving Our Lady on grilled cheese sandwiches or freeway underpasses. I think the alleged “apparation” of Mary in an Anglican parish in Yankalilla, Australia (which I have seen with my own eyes) is a water stain that some extremely imaginative Aussies got too excited about.

So it’s easy, I suppose, to get the impression that I’m basically a hard-boiled skeptic about all...READ MORE

Filed under private revelation

A Great Opportunity for Lenten Almsgiving to a Good Cause

03/14/2011 Comment

Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society, has a wonderful new opportunity for us to give Lenten alms in support of some terrific kids who are getting a first rate education at the Chesterton Academy.  He scribbleth:

For your penance (and to get you started on your Lenten almsgiving), please make a donation to Chesterton Academy. There is a challenge grant going right now, so your gift will be doubled. It is a great opportunity for this marvelous new high school.  You can donate here:

Let me just add that I have had a chance to visit the Academy and they are doing first-rate work in forming young hearts and minds in the Catholic spiritual, moral and intellectual tradition....READ MORE

Filed under chestertoniana, works of mercy

Lent. Day 3

03/11/2011 Comments (4)

Still no chocolate.  The struggle continues. ...  No. End. In. Sight.

Seriously.  I like Lent.  I always have.  I don’t know what that says about me since I also enjoy the feastly times like Christmas and Easter a great deal too.  But this season has always had an odd connection for me: There was a time back in the early 80s when I was out of work and out of school and had nothing—and I felt absolutely free and alive as though the whole world was before me and I was on the threshold of an adventure.  It’s the closest I think I’ve ever been to getting a glimmer of what St. Francis felt about the joys of Lady Poverty.  For some reason, Lent always feels like that to me.  I love the...READ MORE

Filed under lent

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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.