Ireland paying the Piper

02/07/2011 Comments (20)

A reader files this in our “What shall it profit man to gain the world and lose his own soul?” department:

You see Michael Lewis’s terrific piece on the Irish economy? He’s so good:

This graf caught my eye:

How did any of this happen? There are many theories: the elimination of trade barriers, the decision to grant free public higher education, the persistent lowering of the corporate tax rate, beginning in the 1980s, which turned Ireland into a tax haven for foreign corporations. Maybe the most intriguing was offered by a pair of demographers at Harvard, David E. Bloom and David Canning, in a 2003 paper called “Contraception and the Celtic Tiger.” Bloom and Canning argued that a major...READ MORE

Filed under salvation through mammon and hedonism

Did Jesus Exist?

02/04/2011 Comments (257)

A reader writes:

Recently I got into an argument with my non-believer college pals regarding whether Jesus even existed as a historical figure (yes, people are still talking about that). They contended that there is no sufficient evidence, pointing out that that usual non-Christian sources (Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Josephus, etc.) were not contemporaries of Jesus and therefore only had the “hearsay” of believers to rely upon, and furthermore that the believers themselves could not be trusted because, obviously, they had a vested interest in ensuring that Jesus was regarded as a real person. They demanded that a reliable, “independent” source that was contemporaneous with Jesus would be...READ MORE

Filed under latest real jesus

Some Suggestions on Subverting the Dominant Paradigm

02/02/2011 Comments (53)

A reader writes:

I am in the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry program at a Catholic University, and this semester I am studying Christology. I am concerned that I am not going to get a solid grounding in the orthodox teaching of the Church about Christ, as the professor spent a good percentage of our first class weekend quoting her favorite theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx. The class syllabus has us reading Karl Rahner, Edward Schillebeeckx, Jon Sobrino, Juan Luis Segundo, Elizabeth Schussler-Fiorenza, Elizabeth Johnson, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Roger Haight, and Jacques Dupuis - a veritable recap of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s hit list over the last 30 years, not...READ MORE

Filed under higher ed, mailbag, subverting the dominant paradigm

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

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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.