Agreeing Where We Agree

01/07/2016 Comments (28)

The gospel has always been a challenge, not only because it humbles the powerful by "casting down the mighty in their arrogance" but also because it welcomes the outsider and affirms whatever can be affirmed in common with him in the hope that grace will be able to build on that and bring those in partial union to full union.

Case in point:

John answered, “Master, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him; for he that is not against you is for you.” (Lk 9:49–50).

John had definite ideas of who was in and out. Jesus blew them to pieces by pointing out that just because somebody was not...READ MORE

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New Year's Day

01/01/2016 Comments (1)

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to...READ MORE

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Some Christmas Fun, Just Because

12/27/2015 Comments (2)

Merry Christmas!

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Ode on the Morning of Christ's Nativity

12/24/2015 Comments (1)

Martin von Feuerstein (1856-1931), "Adoration des Bergers"

THIS is the month, and this the happy morn  
Wherein the Son of Heaven's Eternal King  
Of wedded maid and virgin mother born,  
Our great redemption from above did bring;  
For so the holy sages once did sing          
That He our deadly forfeit should release,  
And with His Father work us a perpetual peace.  
  
That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,  
And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty  
Wherewith He wont at Heaven's high council-table   
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,  
He laid aside; and, here with us to be,  
Forsook the courts of everlasting day,  
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.  
  
Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein   
Afford a present to...READ MORE

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The Only Real Use for Money is to Help You Get to Heaven

12/20/2015 Comments (3)

It is a well-known fact that people start to tense up when the Church begins teaching about that most sacred thing we keep in our pants.  I speak, of course, of our wallets.

And not, by the way, just us laypeople.  Almost every priest I have ever known absolutely dreads having to discuss money.  And that makes their job pretty rough since Jesus speaks more about money than about any other subject.  He not only has plenty to say about the rich and the poor, but he constantly uses money to illustrate his parables.  They are chock full of people being paid, or owing debts, or being forgiven debts, or investing, or blowing, or hiding money.  He himself has no money as a rule (which is why he...READ MORE

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Hurt by the Church?

12/17/2015 Comments (7)

“The good news about the Catholic Church,” said a friend of mine “is that it’s like a big family.”

“The bad news about the Catholic Church,” he continued, “is that it’s like a big family.”

A basic fact of life is that the same Body of Christ that is the sacrament of salvation, the fountain of so many graces, the home of so many amazing and wonderful people, so much healing, so much beauty, and the glorious treasury of saints to whom we owe so much…that same Church is the scene of incredibly devastating hurts dealt out by traitors, perverts, scoundrels, monsters, selfish jerks, liars, grasping careerists, Pharisees, libertines, and fools.

Just about everyone has a story to tell: the...READ MORE

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Why a Celibate Priesthood?

12/10/2015 Comments (48)

Jules-Alexis Muenier (1863-1942), “La Leçon de catéchisme”

The celibacy of the priesthood is one of the great signs of contradiction in our time.  Our culture stares at it in blank incomprehension, and on that blank it projects numerous fantasies to try to explain it.

So we are told that St. Paul both absolutely forbade celibacy as a mark of false religion and that he was the cause of the whole thing.  Many point to married apostles or married clergy today to say that this means the Church cannot legitimately legislate celibacy for clergy.  Most non-Catholics—and even many Catholics—are pretty sure that Jesus opposed a celibate priesthood.  We hear that it comes from “the Dark Ages” and is caused by a peculiar Catholic hatred of sex.  Some are...READ MORE

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Dealing With Disillusionment

12/06/2015 Comments (31)

Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-1890), “The Burial of Christ”

Sooner or later, everybody struggles with disillusionment.  It might because your bishop or priest is a screwup, a disgrace or a pervert.  It might be because you entered the Church, brimming with zeal and love for Jesus and the Faith—only to discover that the nun who seems to run your parish (there’s only a priest there every other week) resents the Church, belittles the Faith, and treats you like an ignorant hick because you take seriously and delight in the Church’s teachings.

Or maybe you have a hero who lost his faith, or sinned gravely.  Maybe you are a student who took the faith for granted and are now at a Catholic university where the prof delights in deconstructing the faith (he...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.