Rights and Gifts

01/27/2016 Comments (20)

One current notion is the idea that the Church is denying women their "rights" when it tells us, "the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful" (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis). One need not seek far to find rhetoric like this:

"The prohibition against women priests is based on the ancient idea of the inferiority of women. But we are all created in God's image and have the same rights; and the fact that Jesus was male does nothing to negate this. That, along with the fact that all the Apostles were male, is the only thing upon which the Church bases its male-only priesthood. But in the...READ MORE

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A Sanders Fan Asks About Church Teaching on Voting

01/25/2016 Comments (155)

A reader writes:

Could you please write something about voting for non-prolife candidates? I'd like to tattoo Bernie Sanders somewhere on me, but first I need to know catholic teaching on this. What is church teaching here? I feel like abortion aside, someone like Sanders is more pro-catholic teaching than any "pro-life" Republicans. I shouldn't put quotes over pro-life. I'm sure some are. Nevertheless, is it ok to vote for Sanders and if so, how does one justify voting for a pro choice candidate? Just thought it would be a great and much needed article

Fulfilling a long-standing death wish, I agree with you that this is an interesting question and will make an interesting article...READ MORE

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Here's How You Can Be Certain That John Wrote John

01/25/2016 Comments (27)

Last time in this space we began to discuss some of the arguments put forward by those who reject the idea that the gospel of John is, in fact, authored by John the apostle, the companion of Jesus and an eyewitness of his resurrection. Let's look at some more of them.

Another criticism of Johannine authorship turns the very sophistication of the gospel against it. Some declare that John bar-Zebedee, a mere fisherman, could not have been an educated Greek-speaking theological genius and therefore could not have written such a theologically sophisticated work.

Here’s the problem: The assumption that a Jewish fisherman living two thousand years ago couldn't be multi-lingual, or educated, or...READ MORE

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Did John Write John? The Evidence is Clear.

01/22/2016 Comments (11)

El Greco (1541–1614), “Saint John the Evangelist”

A common notion floating around in Pop Culture is that "modern scholarship" has somehow proven the Gospel of John is more or less unhistorical fantasy written by a pseudonymous author.

Here’s the facts: the tradition of the Church, supported by the unbroken line of patristic testimony, as well as internal evidence from the text itself, is that the gospel is rooted in the testimony of the Apostle John, son of Zebedee.

St. Irenaeus tells us (circa 180 A.D.) that the fourth gospel was published by the Apostle John, the teacher of his own mentor Polycarp. Numerous other witnesses in the second and third centuries corroborate this basic witness. In addition, various elements within the gospel...READ MORE

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Love is Not All You Need

01/20/2016 Comments (6)

Here's an amusing snapshot of the American genius for combining Puritan high-mindedness with base self-interest.  A few years back, something called the "Campaign for Love and Forgiveness" by something called the Fetzer Institute teamed up with the Public Programs Office of the American Library Association, six public broadcasting stations, Gather.com and Paper Source to start "a series of community conversations--first about love and later about forgiveness" according to their press release.  The campaign sought to "spark new attitudes and actions in relationships, in society and in the world."  Also included in the initiative was a PBS film "The Mystery of Love," virtual conversations on...READ MORE

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Almost Like Being in Love

01/18/2016 Comments (5)

We're now in that quasi-Christmas season.  The twelve days are past.  Epiphany's over.  The Baptism of the Lord is past, but in some places Christmas still lingers on to the Feast of the Presentation on February 2.  It's like the Church is still sorting out what the heck happened at Christmas.

That's not surprising. Christmas is weird when you think about it. God becomes a human being after giving centuries of mysterious hints that this is what he plans to do, yet when the moment comes, hardly anybody realizes it. He lives for thirty-odd years among his people, repeatedly telling them "I am going to be killed and rise from the dead." Yet when the moment comes, those closest to him are...READ MORE

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What is the Story with Indulgences?

01/15/2016 Comments (8)

Most Catholics live and die blissfully unaware that the Church even offers indulgences anymore. (A Catholic friend to whom I mentioned I was writing this article said, "They went out with Vatican II, didn't they?") Practically no Catholic gives much thought to them. They languish in the Church's attic of doctrinal knick-knacks.

So why bother with them? Two reasons. First, indulgences (while relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things) are nonetheless minor tributaries to the Church's river of grace and are therefore intrinsically interesting. But second (and most important), a proper understanding of indulgences among laypeople is surprisingly helpful toward healing rifts in the...READ MORE

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What is Salvation?

01/13/2016 Comments (8)

We Catholics often toss terminology around with the assumption that we all, of course, understand it and agree on its meaning. It is only when somebody (often it seems to be our children) asks "What do you mean by that?" that we find we don't really know what we mean.

One such commonly used, but little understood term, is "salvation." What do we mean by "salvation"?

Our very stammering at such a point-blank question shows something we don't mean. We do not mean salvation is "simple." Catholics are often embarrassed by this. We have grown submissive to bullies who like to attack us for taking the "simple message of Jesus" and (allegedly) "complicating it with dogmas, doctrines and...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.