A reader asks about the act of voting

12/07/2011 Comments (117)

A reader asks, very reasonably: “So, Mr. Shea, what is the solution? I want to vote prudently with my conscience as my guide. Yet still make my vote worthwhile, which at this time of the political season, it is. What now?”

I think the answer lies in thinking differently about what the act of voting is and what it does.  Tom Kreitzberg has wisely said that “The act of voting is the stone in the stone soup of political responsibility for Catholic citizens of democratic countries.”  I think this is basically true.  The real action in deciding what happens to the fate of a nation occurs not at the ballot box, but with political involvement (or lack thereof) by the citizenry at much lower...READ MORE

Filed under voting is a moral act

A Translator Ponders the New Mass Translation

12/02/2011 Comments (56)

She writes:

I don’t know if you are expecting, or have been receiving, many comments about this new translation of the Mass that came into use today, but I thought I might add mine to the others…
Of course, having been a professional translator for over 35 years, I do not get too worried about differing translations of the same basic text. It happens all the time, particularly in my country, Canada, which is officially bilingual. Therefore I was not getting very excited. However, what I have noticed is quite positive: The necessity to pay attention to a new text, instead of repeating things that have been familiar for decades, has by itself brought more reverence to the Mass by slowing...READ MORE

Filed under liturgy stuff

A Question About a Saying by Athanasius

11/28/2011 Comments (98)

A reader asks:

How would explain to a critic of the Catholic Church CCC460, which quotes Athanasius about “becoming God”

I understand that it means “participation in the divine nature” but how would explain the strong language used? Poetic vs. technical theology?

I’d go with poetic emphasis. Obviously we are not Mormons and don’t believe we are transformed into a God (a fact Athanasius knew very well). Nor do we believe that God the Father was once human and then graduated to godhood. Nor are we polytheists who believe the persons of the Trinity are three gods. Athanasius’ point was indeed to drive home the reality that, as 2 Peter 1:4 teaches, we become divinized in Christ (“partakers...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

Scripture says…

11/25/2011 Comments (80)

“You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality; and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land which the LORD your God gives you.” - Deuteronomy 16:19-20

We Americans, however, have outgrown all that barbaric Bronze Age stuff about a God who defends the alien, the orphan and the widow, as well as all that stuff about judging impartially and not taking bribes. In our repaganizing civilization with its scorn of the poor and our tender devotion to Mammon we are only too ready to cut slack to the the extremely rich and powerful...READ MORE

Filed under magnificat

Why I Will No More Vote for Gingrich Than Obama

11/24/2011 Comments (235)

Reason 1: I do not trust him and regard his bluster about “representing traditional family values” to be repellent.

I don’t believe the falsehood he’s told (and gotten his daughter to tell for him)—namely, that the story of his demanding his wife talk about divorce while she was in hospital recovering from cancer surgery is false.

The fact is, his first wife documented the story in the WaPo on January 3, 1985:

He walked out in the spring of 1980 and I returned to Georgia. By September, I went into the hospital for my third surgery. The two girls came to see me, and said Daddy is downstairs and could he come up? When he got there, he wanted to discuss the terms of the divorce while I was...READ MORE

Filed under politics

A Little Chat About Psalm 22

11/23/2011 Comments (9)

A reader who I had the pleasure of chatting with out in Columbus at the recent “Deep in History” conference writes:

Talking with you was the highlight of my weekend at the Coming Home Network Conference. I truly enjoyed it. I just finished your new book. I know, what took me so long? But I had to sleep sometime. Anyhow, great book. Loved it. The only thing I was surprised by was one little quibble regarding Ps 22. When Jesus says, “My God, my God ...” it is a reference to the whole Todah psalm. He is telling Mary, this is what is happening around you. I am a Todah sacrifice but the end of the chapter goes on to say that “I will proclaim you among the brothers …”, in other words, I’ll be...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

A Question from a Reader…

11/21/2011 Comments (129)

who writes:

My question is this: What is it specifically about homosexuality and, by extension, homosexual “marriage” that makes it such a widespread cause celebre in contemporary Western society? I ask because I know many, many people, people who are otherwise thoughtful and intelligent, indeed who could even be called “conservative” in the broad, non-political sense of the term, who uncritically accept the notion that the denunciation of homosexual activity is the moral equivalent of race prejudice and that there is no good cause to oppose expanding the legal definition of marriage to include members of the same sex.

I find this baffling. I can only assume that many people have simply...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

Some Questions from a Person Pondering Conversion

11/18/2011 Comments (65)

I’ve been reading your blog semi-regularly for several months now, and I enjoy it very much. It’s been quite helpful to me; I’m a lifelong Protestant seriously thinking about crossing the Tiber. Insofar as I am on the road to Rome, however, I am traveling more cautiously than many others might. My wife does not get the appeal of the Catholic church (for her, arguments about apostolic succession and Roman primacy take a back seat to what she perceives to be rampant and intolerable spiritual apathy among the Catholic laity), and I think I owe it to her to refrain from entering full communion unless and until God makes it clear to me that I must do so.

Anyway, I have two questions (unrelated...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.