God Cares about Modesty, Not Fashion

02/10/2012 Comments (33)

A reader writes:

I have a question concerning the cut of a woman’s hair. Does the Church discourage or forbid short hair, especially pixie cuts similar in length to men’s hair, on women? I have heard all sides on the argument, and I was wondering your opinion. Much thanks.

No.  The Church does not concern itself with matters of fashion except to say that we should aim for modesty.  How that looks in different cultures varies with the place and time.  A perfectly modest person in period of history might be seen as a wild profligate in another.  It depends on the “grammar” with which our clothes and hair speak.  So, for instance, a perfectly modest and chaste member of a Kalihari tribal...READ MORE

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A Reader Asks about Biblical Typology

02/08/2012 Comments (6)

A reader writes:

I am a catechist at our parish (almost done a Master’s from the Augustine Institute) but am having trouble describing the relationship between typology and the Allegorical sense of Scripture.  Is the typological reading of Scripture synonymous with the allegorical?  Does the allegorical USE the typological?  It does seem that typology is a bridge between the literal sense and the spiritual senses of Scripture, but how is that to be understood? 

I know that the CCC 128 says that typology illuminates the unity of the Old and New Testaments by discerning the prefigurations in the OT that are fulfilled in the New.  It also states that, in the allegorical sense, “we can...READ MORE

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A Reader Writes

02/06/2012 Comments (8)

I am a Gonzaga Grad and currently am in the OPs. I attended your “How to be a campus radical” talk last year, and was at the diocesan seminary at GU. I just wanted to send you a link to give you a glimpse at how things are going at GU, and was wondering how you think students can appropriately react to what is going on.

The best way to respond is with the witness of your life. Live chastely. Talk truly, meaning talk as though chastity is the healthy normal thing it is and not as though the sad culture of hooking up and casual sex is natural. For though that culture may be (in our depraved age) normal, but it is not natural. Be joyful about life, not angry (the besetting sin of us...READ MORE

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A Question About Abraham

02/03/2012 Comments (20)

A reader writes:

I’m trying to find out about Abraham—did he really exist? Was he a monotheist (maybe in a practical as opposed to strict sense)? Does it matter? What weight does the OT carry for Catholics as a historical document?

I’ve read a bit over the last few days about this stuff— some Church documents—Humani Generis, Dei Verbum. Also, the ancient Christian commentary on Genesis.

My read is that Abraham matters and is real, especially to Salvation history. But I can’t find it anywhere that it is a tenet of faith or anything like you can with Adam. 

What would it mean for the messianic prophesies if he wasn’t real? Wouldn’t that be undermining our belief that Christ descended...READ MORE

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A Reader Asks About Fighting Sin With Sin

02/01/2012 Comments (17)

He writes:

Thanks for your tireless and faithful work; your writing’s had a tremendous influence on my thinking as a Christian - -especially your explanations of the problems of consequentialism.

Here’s a question for you, though:

I’m slowly working through some of the Fathers, and I’m on John Cassian’s Conferences. At one point, he suggests using sin against sin; that is, to use one’s pride (at being oh-so-holy in the eyes of others) as a way to keep from giving in to temptations of the flesh: I won’t engage in gluttony or fornication or what-have-you simply because I want to preserve my reputation with the folks around me.
(Here’s a relevant passage, right at the beginning of the link)


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Thought Experiment

01/27/2012 Comments (36)

A reader writes:

A spaceship is leaking air rapidly, and soon everyone on board will die. The local chaplain does the mass absolution thing (the name of which I cannot remember at the moment), so that all may die in a state of grace. A nearby space station, hearing the distress calls, sends a small freighter to the rescue. The pilot, however, realizes that if he rescues the ship, it is statistically likely that someone aboard (it’s a big ship) will go apostate or otherwise sin mortally, and would not achieve heaven. If he does not rescue the ship, everyone aboard will die, but hopefully they will all go to Heaven. What gives?

The reverse situation is also troublesome. A spaceship (of the...READ MORE

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01/25/2012 Comments (14)

Lots of people think that “giving scandal” mean “saying or doing something that upsets somebody”.  That’s not true.  “Giving scandal” means “saying or doing something that tempts people to commit sin”.

One immediate result of this fact is that it is very hard for an enemy to give scandal, because we are highly unlikely to do something an enemy tells us to do.  For example, the other day Obama made some disgusting remarks about how child murder helps women fulfil their dreams.  Such remarks, while deeply offensive to pro-life Catholics, are not scandalous to them because no prolife Catholic will be tempted by the thought, “Gee!  He’s got a point!  I think I will quite the prolife movement...READ MORE

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I'm not normally a man of few words…

01/23/2012 Comments (35)

But when I see this:

...and read this, I have only one thing to say to my fellow Catholics about the Obama Administration:


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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.