A Reader Grapples with Concupiscence

07/06/2011 Comments (7)

So a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a little piece for Crisis which attempted to explain the Church’s teaching on Concupiscence.

In response, a reader writes the following:

Your refresher on concupiscence this morning has inspired me to pass this along to you (as I have my spiritual director and parish priest).  I have been reading St. Augustine’s Confessions over the past weekend and it has stirred some rather unsettling revelations in my own life.  I have a troubling question that has kept my mind restless for the past two days, and I was wondering if I could steal a little of your (understandably precious) time and energy to help me perhaps distil the problem.  I will strive to be as...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

Good and Evil Humor

07/04/2011 Comments (22)

A few days back I wrote a little piece satirizing the truly crazy obsessions of the media with Sarah Palin.  In the course of the piece, I assumed the “voice” of various media types who hate, not just her, but her children—and especially her disabled son, Trig—with the white hot passion of a thousand suns.  I linked to one particularly despicable attack on Trig (whose author denied was fantastically tasteless and whose editors only removed from their site when the outcry from readers became so intense that sponsors began to pull out).

Most people saw the point of the satire but one good man wrote me in fury and told me, with perfectly understandable anger, that I better never meet him in...READ MORE

Filed under thinking out loud

Patriotism and Family

07/01/2011 Comments (3)

As you read this, I am up in Edmonton, Alberta at a conference dedicated to Familiaris Consortio.  It is a sort of happy coincidence that as we Yankees are busy celebrating our Independence Day and the founding of the United States, our Canadian brethren are celebrating the founding of an even more important Republic: the Family.

Independence Day is, for us Americans, the primordial celebration of our beginning as a people.  It is the original celebration of American patriotism, and patriotism is a good thing.  Patriotism is rooted in the same thing that Familiaris Consortio is rooted in: the conviction that the family is a natural good, instituted by God and reflective of him because we...READ MORE

Filed under second greatest commandment

Prophets and Priests

06/27/2011 Comments (15)

One of the greatest aspects of our Church is that, while it certainly makes room for the office of prophet, it primarily relies on the office of priest on a day to day basis.  The reason that’s good is because we have a culture that is all agog for prophets and almost wholly ignorant of the need for priests.

What I mean is this:  our culture puts great emphasis on the charismatic individual with the story of personal inspiration and revelation.  That’s good as far as it goes.  We need to hear from people who have had an encounter with the living God.  Such people are, says St. Paul, letters from God with the word of God written on their hearts.  A Mother Teresa or a St. Francis or any...READ MORE

Filed under thinking faithfully

God's Gifts Are Found Anywhere

06/24/2011 Comments (8)

Our Lord gives each of us charisms in baptism, which like merely human talents, can take all sorts of forms. The difference is that our charisms are ordered toward bring the grace of God to our neighbor and helping to rightly order the world to his glory.

Dunno if this kid is baptized. Odds are pretty good that he is. Whoever he is, he is a living demonstration of the fact that God loves to drop bombs of grace into the unlikeliest of people and places. Man asks, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” and the answer of grace is “Absolutely!”

We should all ask for some grace in whatever out of the way corner we happen to be in today. God just may surprise us—or surprise somebody through...READ MORE

Filed under charisms

The Opposite of Love ...

06/22/2011 Comments (25)

... is not hate, according to Pope John Paul II. The opposite of love is use. Indeed, one very serviceable definition of sin is “Treating persons like things and things like persons. So idolatry is treating a think like the persons of the Trinity. Murder reduces persons to things called corpses. Theft exalts a thing above the person who owns it. When people stop being persons and become things to use, we are treating them with contempt and are a million miles from the love of Christ.

Conservative Catholics get this when it comes to the Church’s teaching on sexuality. Pornography is wrong because it reduces people to objects. As C.S. Lewis observed, the lustful man does not want a woman. He...READ MORE

Filed under consequentialism

Against Idolatry

06/20/2011 Comments (6)

The apologetics subculture in the Church is a place with both rewards and dangers. The rewards are plain enough: People write you sometimes and tell you that something you said or wrote helped them “get it” about the Faith and even helped them reach the decision to trust Christ, or enter the Church, or not go through with that divorce or whatever. It’s lovely to see somebody flourish and grow. It’s also humbling because (in my case anyway) I often can’t remember what particular bit of blather I wrote or said somewhere that my reader is talking about. It’s like when some guy comes up to you at a party and starts talking about that hilarious thing you and he did back in 10th grade, and you...READ MORE

Filed under the cult of personality is idolatry

Good for Cardinal Burke!

06/17/2011 Comments (98)

So some organization called Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice was going to hold some conference in England on June 18. They invited Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the most ardent champions of orthodox Catholic teaching and worship to speak at the conference. He kindly agreed to do so. Then, somebody apparently pointed out to the cardinal that the group spent a lot of time fomenting reactionary dissent. So he bailed.  Does that make everything the English bishops do peachy? No. But it did send a clear message that the healthy response to problem bishops is not to foment reactionary dissent.

Response: The conference organizers, either in complete and utter ignorance or sheer stupidity, decided to...READ MORE

Filed under bringin' the crazy

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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.