When Do Demons First Show Up in Scripture?

02/20/2012 Comments (28)

A reader writes:

My husband and I were discussing the Gospel reading and he asked why demons aren’t mentioned in the OT when they’re all over the New.  Me:  huh?  They aren’t mentioned?  While frantically trying to remember my studies of Genesis and Exodus and not finding any demon references in them.  He said he’d tried to dig out references and there were hardly any from the OT.  Me:  maybe it grew it up in the inter-testamental period.  Him (dubious).  So… assuming he’s right, where does the concept of ‘demon’ come from that by NT times, everyone knows what they are?  Do you know as a former Bible only Christian, or can you or your readers points to some reference material on this?

The...READ MORE

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Fr. Robert Barron on Obama's Secular Totalitarianism

02/17/2012 Comments (89)

One of the great things about America is that you have the option to dissent from the mainstream on issues of great moral moment—using your wallet as a kind of vote.  So, for instance, if you don’t like the fact that your telecom company supports Murder, Inc. (aka “Planned Parenthood”), you can sign up with the Sienna Group, a prolife Catholic company and they can provide your long distance tech instead.  If you don’t want your dime going to the evil Nestle corporation (and, yes, they are evil), you can get your chocolate from some Fair Trade group that helps, rather than murders and enslaves, innocent people in Third World countries.

For exactly the same reason, in a free society,...READ MORE

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The Real Story of History

02/15/2012 Comments (13)

There’s this famous story of Abraham dickering with God in Genesis 18:

Then the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know.” So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before the LORD. Then Abraham drew near, and said, “Wilt thou indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt thou then destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with...READ MORE

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Did Matthew Invent the Idea that Jesus Founded a Church?

02/13/2012 Comments (34)

A reader writes:

I am debating with a semi-atheist acquaintance.  Among his many arguments, one was that Jesus did not establish a church, his followers did.  I came back with Matthew 16, to which he responds, “Jesus didn’t say that.  Matthew did.”  Any ideas on how to respond to such certain uncertainty?

I think “Prove it” is a good argument.  If Matthew is the only apostle who thinks Jesus commanded the founding of a Church, it is rather hard to explain why all Jesus’ apostles, everywhere they went, founded churches.  “Church” = “ecclesia”, which is simply the Greek translation of the Hebrew word meaning “assembly of the people”.  It’s a thoroughly Jewish concept because no ancient...READ MORE

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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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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.