God's Laughter Day

04/09/2012 Comments (21)

In many places, the Monday of Easter week is the day for celebrating God’s laughter.  Easter, after all, is not just our deliverance from death, but the ultimate instance of God, in a sort of zen humility, quietly putting one over on the devil.  On Calvary, God gave the mighty Lucifer—that great jackass—all the rope he needed to hang himself.  On Easter Monday, the Church shouts (in proper ecclesial Latin), “What a maroon!  What a sucker!  Good job genius!  You had it all figured out, you great bullying murderer and tyrant.  You finally got the plum prize in your claws and figured you’d won once and for all.  You nailed him to the cross, and now you and your kingdom of death are hurled to...READ MORE

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Behold the Wood of the Cross, on Which is Hung our Salvation

04/06/2012 Comments (9)

No words today.  Just look, be silent, and adore.

Filed under good friday

A Question about Pious Legends and Devotions

04/04/2012 Comments (176)

A reader writes:

As a new convert to the Catholic Church, I of course really love learning everything I can about the Faith.  As I read, however, I find myself stumbling over things that at first look seem like pious legends whose truth is debatable at best.  I’m thinking in particular of Mary’s mother, St. Anne (her name, being brought to France by St. Lazarus, her relics, etc.) , the history of the “True Cross”, the Sabbatine Privilege, the various promises attached to certain devotions, etc. 

I realize, of course, that none of these are articles of faith at all, but absent the need to accept or reject them at a glance, I’m struggling with how exactly to approach them at all. ...READ MORE

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New Atheist Magical Thinking

04/02/2012 Comments (285)

A reader writes:

One of my atheist/anti-Church friends posted a sign by American Atheists quoting Colossians 3:22 (Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord.”)  (Funny how they always jump on the controversial stuff but never quote “Love your enemy as yourself”).  This prompted a Google search on my part to try and find a suitable explanation of this and other references to slavery in the New Testament that would not make the Church look awful, but I couldn’t find anything really very helpful.  What are your thoughts?

I think that atheists like your friend really need to break...READ MORE

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A reader puzzles about Genesis 1-11

03/28/2012 Comments (70)

He writes:

I’ve got sort of a followup question to the one somebody asked you about Abraham in a recent NCR article of yours. It’s about how to read Genesis 1-11. I’ve heard that Catholics tend to read those chapters as containing figurative language, and I noticed that one commenter in the article said that Catholics take them as allegorical. I’ve been increasingly struggling with how to read those chapters myself recently, and I was wondering if you could help me.

I’ll give it a whack, though I’m not a bible scholar.  Just so you are forewarned.

In the case of Creation and of Adam and Eve, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what it means to read them as containing figurative language.


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Why is the Pope Commemorating a Statue in Cuba?

03/26/2012 Comments (13)

A reader writes:

I have been enjoying reading your blog very much and appreciate your testimony. Quick question regarding the upcoming Papal visit to Cuba. I know that this is just a news article below, and believe that the Pope’s ultimate goal for Cuba would be a return to Catholicism, but I am disturbed that anyone would be celebrating the 400th anniversary of a statue. In addition, it’s gone on a tour. Can you explain how this works?

This is from an article from Reuters:
“One purpose of the papal visit is to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Cuba’s most famous religious icon, the statue of the Virgin of Charity. Last month a replica of the statue completed a 16-month...READ MORE

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Contraception vs. Blood Transfusions

03/23/2012 Comments (96)

A reader writes:

I’ve been approaching the HHS issue from a conscience standpoint, because arguing via morality v. immorality of contraception doesn’t yield many results from people who don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.

But I got sidelined by a pretty good argument that I don’t know how to respond to:

What about JW’s and blood transfusions? Would I want a JW employer to be able to deny me blood transfusion coverage due to his moral issues with the procedure? Does preventing that violate his conscience rights?

Apropos our discussion here on March 14 about the Christian abrogation of ritual impurity laws vs. Christian upholding (and transcendence of) the moral law, this is a...READ MORE

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A Question About Private Revelation

03/21/2012 Comments (61)

A reader writes:

I was finally received into the Church a month ago after several years of investigating and fence-sitting.  I read a ton, I love the sacraments, and it has been tremendous.  But every now and then something happens that resurrects all my doubts and makes things seem off again.

The problem is this: I have two Catholic friends who are absolutely overjoyed to have me and think I am the ultimate weapon against their Protestant friends (I have a more “Louis Bouyer” attitude towards my prior spiritual homes).  They’ve latched onto me and feel they need to initiate me into all the “Catholic things.”  One in particular has been passionately assailing me with a nonstop barrage of...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

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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.