New Moral Theory Gains Ground

01/31/2011 Comments (54)

Over the past several years, the exciting new moral theory of the “Simon Peter Says Strategem for Exoneration of All Evil” was pioneered by the staunch defenders of the doctrine that drowning somebody is not torture.  The way the theory works is this: No act is immoral unless the Pope defines infallibly that it is.  In particular, this moral theory holds that since the Pope has never defined waterboarding to be a species of torture, therefore it’s just fine. Zippy Catholic discusses this theory as the Appeal to Finer Detail:

Another fallacious mode of argument is Magisterial positivism, or more colloquially an appeal to finer detail.  Waterboarding prisoners for information is not torture...READ MORE

Filed under simon peter says

Michael Kinsley, Baby Boomer Par Excellance

01/28/2011 Comments (14)

Here he is, delivering himself of a typical specimen of Generation Narcissus thinking, the purpose of which is to incoherently yell at the Catholic Church and demand the sacrifice of as many babies as it takes so that he can go on living in Pepsi Generation bliss forever.

Here’s how Kinsley’s logic works:

A) Ridicule the miraculous healing of Sr. Marie Simon-Pierre from Parkinson’s Disease due to the intercession of Pope John Paul II. 

According to CNN:

The 46-year-old, speaking in a clear, poised voice, said she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2001. Her symptoms worsened with time: Driving became practically impossible, she had difficulty walking, and her left arm hung limply at her...READ MORE

Filed under culture of death, generation narcissus

For the average abortion advocate…

01/26/2011 Comments (22)

...advocacy of abortion is dealt with as an aesthetic, not a moral, problem.  That is why, for instance, the person writing this thinks that abortion is the solution to infanticide.  Abortion is private and we are strongly encouraged not to look at what is done.  Infanticide is more public and there is a danger that there might blood or screaming or a tiny corpse visible.

This aesthetic approach to killing people also, by the way, completely dominates our discourse about the death penalty.  That is why we blab about “deterrence” while making sure that there are as few witnesses as possible.  We desire death and lots of it.  But we want it very very tidy, quiet and *clean*.

That’s one of...READ MORE

Filed under culture of death

Robin of Berkeley is a self-described "recovering liberal"

01/24/2011 Comments (2)

And like recovering people in general, she is hyper-sensitive and alert to the faults of the false religion she once embraced.  Here she is, remarking on the secularized Left’s (seeming) congenital inability to take the supernatural and the concept of sin seriously.

I’m with her part of the way.  There is something extraordinarily weird about a culture that can emerge from the 20th Century confident that the one lesson we can take away from that massive bloodbath is that the devil does not exist.  I can buy her eye rolling about the shallow Berkeleyesque theorizing that there is no such thing as sin.

But she loses me when she speaks as though the Left is completely amoral and as though...READ MORE

Filed under tribe vs. gospel

Materialist Dogma

01/21/2011 Comments (47)

A reader writes:

I may not be the first to have observed this, but it seems to me that many materialists are working with at least one fundamental dogma in tow: anything is more probable than God. Two observations support this: (a) the tendency of materialists to tell Darwinian stories to explain how things came about (“Science indicates that it COULD have happened like this…”), and (b) the support that things like “M-theory” have garnered (see Stephen Hawking’s recent book).

To elaborate on the first, imagine trying to explain the basic behavior of a caterpillar using Darwinian evolution. I can’t, and I wouldn’t begin to try to. And truthfully, all we could ever look at were fossils to...READ MORE

Filed under atheism

Remember the old tropes

01/19/2011 Comments (16)

...about how contraception would make abortion go away?  Turns out a Spanish study finds, much to its chagrin, that as contraceptive use rates increased, abortion rates skyrocketed, thus thwarting their assumption that they would plummet. Eric Scheidler offers his analysis.

Turns out that when you decouple sex from having children, you teach people that children are an interfering imposition on one’s right to pleasure at all costs.  If “costs” include “the cost of the interfering nuisance’s life” then lots and lots of people say, “Works for me” and kill their child (after first swallowing euphemistic rubbish to dull the sense of guilt for their crime).

The euphemistic rubbish doesn’t work...READ MORE

Filed under culture of life vs culture of death

Apologetics Question

01/17/2011 Comments (18)

A reader asks:

Before I re-read volume 1 of “Mary, Mother of the Son” I wanted to ask if you think it is worthwhile or advisable to try to address my friend’s claim that Catholics worship Mary.  For brief background, he is a former Catholic who was poorly catechized and now belongs to a large non-denominational church.

I believe you’ve said that even after your conversion, you aren’t drawn to a strong devotion of Mary, even though you accept all the teachings of the Church (perhaps I am mixing you up with someone else; my apologies if I am).  Since Marian devotion is such a contentious issue for so many Protestants, is my effort better directed at other areas of apologetics, like the Real...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

A reader wants to know…

01/14/2011 Comments (21)

Quick question, from a fellow Catholic (only needing a short, short answer, I think… like even just “yes” or “no”, if sufficient):
Do you push the view that, in order to follow Protestantism, you have to accept that its core differentiating beliefs were nowhere to be practiced in the entire history of the Earth, until the 15th century? (when a MAN brought them about, for the first time) other words, pushing the question: “Why would God allow all Christianity to be misled for 1,500 years, then finally introduce the “truth” in some “new beliefs package”?” As I understand it, even the Jews never thought you needed to believe in God to get to Heaven, and they certainly allowed non-written...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.