The Romance of Travel, Part 1

Monday, February 01, 2010 4:08 AM Comments (1)

Greetings from Down Under!  I’m writing you from Sydney, Australia, where I will be for the next fortnightish number of days (till February 10, when I fly home to Seattle).  The flight was actually quite good, thankyouveddymuch, which is pretty astonishing given that it was 2 hours from Seattle to San Francisco and another 14 hours from San Francisco to Sydney.  Normally such experiences make me think of Manchurian Candidate brainwashing experiments: the endless roar of the engines, the inane movies, the strange experience of crossing the dateline and losing a day, the weird periodic wake up calls (if you sleep) when they feed you strange airline food in the dead of night for no...READ MORE

Filed under on the road

Does God Have Anything to Do With Us?

Thursday, January 28, 2010 7:15 AM Comments (9)

A reader writes:

I’ve been a Christian since 1997 and Catholic convert for 2 years, I have never been plagued quite this way.

Some time ago an acquaintance told me that she believed in God and Jesus but did NOT believe that He has anything to do with us. She made her case based on the many unanswered prayers of believers vs. so-called “answered” prayers. “How do you explain that one child is raped and murdered and God does nothing even though the parents are praying…. and meanwhile, another child is spared because her parents were praying? Is one child more deserving and loved than another? Are the prayers of one set of parents more powerful than those of the other? She went on to say that...READ MORE

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How Do I Make a Good Confession

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 5:04 AM Comments (7)

A reader writes:

Mark: I have been dithering about writing to you for weeks now. I thought you might have some insights to offer that my cradle Catholic friends don’t seem to. It doesn’t help that I can’t quite tell them plainly what the problem is. In any case, my problem might inspire a useful column someday, if you ever run out of more important topics—and maybe some encouragement now.

In a nutshell, though I was received into the Church nearly 2 years ago, confession stumps me. The issue is that I don’t know how to articulate my sins. I don’t usually *do* many things that I can confess but my interior life is a mess. I am filled with anger about a number of things; I harbor some really...READ MORE

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A vote of thanks to Scott Hahn and Jimmy Akin

Monday, January 25, 2010 12:09 PM Comments (10)

The paradox of guys like Scott Hahn and Jimmy Akin, for me: is this:

There are few people more detested by the TRVLY REFORMED conservators of 16th Century Calvinist zealotry inside the anti-Catholic Apologetics Bubble than these guys and similar graduates from the Reformed tradition into the fullness of the Catholic faith.  Vast oceans of electrons are spent trying to argue them down in the Calvinist apologetics subculture since they are traitors to Calvinism who swam the Tiber, etc. ad nauseam.

Yet, speaking only for myself, the fact is that if it weren’t for those two in particular, I would have an ungovernable contempt, loathing, and hatred of Calvinism and all its works and ways. ...READ MORE

Filed under thanksgiving

Eternal Security

Thursday, January 21, 2010 10:23 AM Comments (21)

A reader writes:

I wrote you a question a few months ago regarding baptism and your answer was very helpful. I am an Evangelical Protestant raised in the Baptist church. I attended Bob Jones University and Liberty University for college. (did this refresh your memory at all?) Anyway, I am searching the Catholic faith and am becoming more and more convinced of its’ being the true faith. I seem to have worked through many of the church’s teachings, however, I am now struggling with the fact that Catholics don’t seem to have an assurance of salvation. It seems that they are hoping to get to heaven based on how godly they live their lives. Of course, I believe that we as Christians must live...READ MORE

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Fasting

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 3:53 PM Comments (3)

A reader writes:

I write to you not for advice, but for insight.  After much consideration and some (perhaps not enough) prayer, I’ve decided to resign my current job and take up a new one I’ve been offered.  While I believe it is the right thing to do now, (quote from wife: “This family needs a happy Daddy.”) I found myself having some concern and compassion for my current co-workers who will have some (perhaps not a lot) of trouble and extra work while they look to replace me.  In praying for them I had the idea that I should do a short fast for their benefit.  Somehow it seemed just that if my action was causing them some upset, I should also experience some deprivation.

I believe my...READ MORE

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Nicholas Kristof

Monday, January 18, 2010 5:50 PM Comments (2)

...wants women to be treated with equal dignity.  He performs the standard rhetorical trick of lumping Christ’s Church in with all human religions, blaming them all equally, denying he is blaming them all equally, and then blankly asserting the standard Enlightenment dogma that it is self-evident that all are created equal. 

But, of course, that’s not self-evident at all.  It is, in fact, a purely mystical dogma inherited from the Christian teaching that “in Christ Jesus there is neiher Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female” which was handed down to us by the old misogynist Paul.  It’s also inherent in Genesis’ insistence that “In the image of God created he Man; male and female...READ MORE

Filed under every knee shall bow

Defining Deviancy Down

Thursday, January 14, 2010 12:30 PM Comments (18)

One of the things sin does is numb us as it kills us.  Things which we once felt as a shock become commonplace.  So, for instance, G.K. Chesterton writes in The Everlasting Man:

Let any lad who has had the look to grow up sane and simple in his day-dreams of love hear for the first time of the cult of Ganymede; he will not be merely shocked but sickened. And that first impression, as has been said here so often about first impressions, will be right. Our cynical indifference is an illusion; it is the greatest of all illusions; the illusion of familiarity.

Our Manufacturers of Consent, working in the commanding heights of culture, know that.  So the goal is always to define deviancy down and...READ MORE

Filed under salvation through leviathan by any means necessary

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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.