A priest writes:

01/02/2012 Comments (5)

A blessed Christmas to you.

I’m in the process of producing a mediation on the Nativity and have a point I want to make that needs some kind of verification.  I have long been convinced that the reason why we usually eat an abundance of sweets at Christmas time is because it signifies that the grace of Christ sweetens our life.  That the grace of Christ sweetens our life is obvious.  But that being the reason why we eat sweets at Christmas is not so evident to me.

Have you ever heard of this and do you know if this is true?

I’ve never heard this, but I don’t see why you can’t connect the two.  With customs such as sweets at Christmas, what you almost invariably find is that the custom...READ MORE

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Hey! It's Still Christmas!

12/28/2011 Comments (13)

Some of our Eskimo brothers and sisters have an appropriate greeting!

It’s really quite wonderful that something which started on the other side of the planet with a couple of refugee parents and no earthly prospect of success should now be celebrated in remote villages in the Arctic Circle (as well as in China, Timbuktoo, obscure Andean villages, and over 2.2 billion other spots on the globe.  God loves defying the odds.

On the other hand, 2.2 billion is still only 2/7ths of the world’s population, which means we still have a lot of work to do and shouldn’t be counting overmuch on a premature Second Coming to get us off the hook from the job of pressing forward with the New...READ MORE

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A little Christmas treat for the Feast of Stephen…

12/26/2011 Comments (14)

recorded in the basilica that bears his name:

While the world is leaving Xmas in the dust and getting back to mere winter, may you continue to keep the Feast of Christmas for the next 12 days!  Half the fun of being Catholic is belonging to a weird subculture that is out of step with our joyless commercial culture!  Enjoy!

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For the Sake of Sheer Delight…

12/23/2011 Comments (5)

I give you the Piano Guys:

Because God did not make or redeem the world out of some solemn necessity, but because it was his good pleasure to do so.  The universe is, says Robert Farrar Capon, the wishbone in God’s closet, the orange peel dangling from his chandelier.  He likes it.  Therefore it stays.  If God wanted to get rid of the universe he would not have to do anything.  He would have to stop doing something.  Artists reflect the joy with which God holds the world in being.

Merry Christmas!

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A reader puzzles over a nephew's philosophy

12/21/2011 Comments (51)

A reader writes:

I have a nephew that has been caught up in the secular/relativistic worldview and has apparently lost his faith in Christ.  Here are his comments about his belief structure:

Religion is created as a means to give our lives a greater purpose, for those who can’t come to terms with the finality of death.  Upon death, our consciousness simply ceases to exist and our material bodies are cast back into the environment from which they came from in order to make way for newer life.  You will refuse to believe this because in your eyes, it is a very grim picture.  You would interpret my picture as life becoming meaningless and simply thrown away.  This is why you find comfort in...READ MORE

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This Year I Will be a Conscientious Objector in the War on Christmas

12/19/2011 Comments (41)

The reason why is deftly satirized by this Toby Keith video courtesy of Stephen Colbert:

I decline to make Christmas a grenade in the politicized culture wars our nation is coming to specialize in.  I refuse to let the thought or mention of Christmas fill me with anger and resentment.  I resolve to let the thought of Christmas be an occasion of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.  (Galatians 5:22-23)

Does that mean I believe there’s no hostility to Christmas in our culture?  Of course there is.  There has always been hostility to Christmas...READ MORE

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A Final (I think) Few Remarks on Voting as a Moral Act

12/16/2011 Comments (34)

Just a couple of things, prompted by some interesting and reasonable remarks by various readers.  First, one reader objects to my proposition that how voting changes the voter is vastly more significant than how the voter’s vote changes the outcome of an election:

If everyone thought about voting the way you do, then the worst candidates would always win elections.  The pure of heart would never vote.  Would the sacrifice of the widow in any possible scenario end with that result?

I don’t see how my reader’s logic makes any sense.  First, of course, it relies on the perpetual straw man being advanced throughout this argument: that the refusal to support grave intrinsic evils worthy of the...READ MORE

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Interesting Follow-up to My Post on the Moral Act of Voting

12/14/2011 Comments (48)

Last week, I tried to give an answer to a reader who is (understandably) puzzled about how to approach the act of voting, particularly when confronted with candidates who are not merely “less than ideal” (that’s always the case) but committed to supporting policies which are gravely and intrinsically immoral. If you haven’t read that yet, please click here to get my reply.

Anyway, in the comboxes, my good friend Sherry Weddell reprinted something she wrote several years ago about a conversation she had with a couple of moral theologians—both solidly orthodox, big fans of Pope Benedict, and one of them even a bishop (not to mention a solid Dominican). I reproduce her note below, mostly to...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.