"Simple" is Right

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 3:00 AM Comments (52)

A reader replies to my remarks about Anne Rice’s defection with the Usual Boilerplate from the AmChurch side of the aisle:

The church is the body of Christ and all of us are united to Christ as the head. The institutional church is an organization of ordained celibate males who have little or no regard for the opinions and wisdom of the rest of the body of Christ. The more the institutional church expands its power and authority away from the rest of the body of Christ, they sucuumb to that which corrupts all centralized institutions of humans. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. A simple reading of the history of the church shows the many ways and times where the...READ MORE

Filed under generation narcissus

Thoughts Occasioned by Anne Rice

Monday, August 16, 2010 3:00 AM Comments (26)

Several people have asked what I think of Anne Rice unfriending the Church on Facebook.

I can’t say I’m too surprised.  She’s always made it clear that she didn’t really grok Jesus’ own teaching about his intimate union with the body of Christ.  The entire understanding of Paul, the New Testament, and the Church following these about the relationship of Christ the head and his body is summed up in Jesus’ words to Saul of Tarsus.  They are not “Why are you persecuting my disciples?”  They are “Why you persecuting me?”  All of Paul’s subsequent writing about the nature of the Church consists of a life long labor of unpacking that statement (of which Ephesians is the highest expression).

...READ MORE

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A new convert feels frustrated

Friday, August 13, 2010 3:00 AM Comments (13)

and writes:

As Catholics, we should be ashamed and aware of this poll.

As a recent convert from the Southern Baptist tradition (Easter Vigil, 2009), I’m hard pressed to square this with my Protestant family and friends. How are we to lead the world to Christ and be His light in said world if He is not our first priority?

You are right of course, that God must be first.  “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…”  However, there’s a reason that from our very earliest days, it has been necessary for Catholics to be taught “bear with one another” (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13).  Christians didn’t start being a disappointment just recently.  We have always been a disappointment.  The Church is not...READ MORE

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Big Laws and Small Laws

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 3:00 AM Comments (36)

G.K. Chesterton observed that when you reject the Big Laws, you don’t get freedom and you don’t even get anarchy.  You get the small laws.

This phenomenon is on display in the growing conflict between the Left’s zeal for crushing free speech and the Right Wing Noise Machine’s tendency toward Bringin’ the Crazy.  So, for instance, the problem with stories like this is that you always have to keep in mind that one of the permanent itches of the Left’s Nanny State ideology is the constant desire to crush free speech and control public discourse.  Just look at the Tyranny of Nice in Soviet Canuckistan, which lacks our Bill of Rights.  The Left, of which Media Matters is a flagship...READ MORE

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In Search of the Multiverse

Monday, August 09, 2010 3:00 AM Comments (35)

Some guy speculates, based on nothing, that each black hole contains a universe and that our universe is likewise in a black hole.

Part of what drives fascination with this is the need some materialists feel to get past the immense fine-tuning that lies behind the universe—a fine-tuning that tends to awaken the inner artist in the human person and get him thinking unwholesome thoughts about the possibility of You Know Who.  One way to avoid that is to come up with some reason for supposing that our universe is not just a one-shot event with a beginning, middle and end (like the Judeo-Christian conception. So the eternal Big Bang/Big Crunch cycle has appeal in appearing to held out promise....READ MORE

Filed under chattering class follies

Doctrines, Disciplines, and Different Legal Traditions in the Church

Friday, August 06, 2010 3:00 AM Comments (27)

A newly confirmed Catholic who is trying to navigate the sometimes baffling world of small T tradition writes me from England:

I’m still a bit bothered by the idea of eating meat on Friday once being a mortal sin and now not (how does that work? What was the actual sin involved back in the day, and why isn’t it sinful now?


That’s one of those things “everybody knows” and so it prompts me to question if it was ever really true.  The sin, whatever its gravity, attaches not so much to meat as to the duty of respect owed the passion of Christ.  So there is still a discipline of self-denial attaching to Fridays, but the Church gives us different ways of living that out.  Some sort of...READ MORE

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Still more of My Interesting Conversation

Wednesday, August 04, 2010 3:00 AM Comments (2)

My correspondent continues:

- whatever the first man was, can we be confident that he had sufficient reason to comprehend god’s commands fully and thus be held responsible for a fully-informed decision about not doing X (X = figurative for eating of the tree of knowledge)?

It would appear, from Genesis 3, that the answer is “Yes.”

- where did the initial communication link we possessed (walking with god in the cool of the day) go as history progressed? For example, even though cast out, we still had 1:1 speaking sessions with Cain, the patriarchs, and prophets. We have no such thing today.

I think you are reading the Bible in a fundamentalist way here.  I also think you are generalizing...READ MORE

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Continuing my Interesting Conversation

Monday, August 02, 2010 3:00 AM Comments (5)

My correspondent continues:

1) My emotional component of belief is gone. I am fully open to considering that all of my previous experiences were not god, but in fact post-occurrence causal inferences based on what I already believed to be true.

Does it have to be either/or?  In a sacramental universe, God comes to us through human things.

- what is the Church’s best guess as to the time period in which the fall took place?

As far as I know, the Church attempts no answer to that question.  It regard the fall as a fact of revelation, but is agnostic about when it happened and even about the specific historical circumstances.  The catechism describes Genesis 3 as using “figurative language” 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.