My Big Profound Spiritual Revelation

09/01/2014 Comments (20)

What a day! Bus late, no breakfast, missed deadline, headaches, depression and post-nasal drip. And when I got home my kids were whiney, my wife mentally quick-fried to a crackly crunch and I was as prickly as a porcupine.

Summoning fatherly concern to its height, I brushed past my weepy child and made for a darkened bedroom (stopping briefly to peck my wife Janet on the cheek). She asked for some kind of help--something about setting the table--but "Urk," was all I mumbled in reply. I just wanted to go blotto with a pillow over my head till dinner. Maybe with luck an asteroid would strike the earth, annihilate civilization and I could rest.

Jan relented with a sigh and returned to...READ MORE

Filed under humor

Behold the Spam of God!

08/24/2014 Comments (35)

Almost every other day it seems, I will (like thousands of other Catholics) open my email and get something like this specimen (culled from my "delete" file):

Dear Mark, just came from your Website and have some questions. It sounds like you were a "Protestant" before becoming a Catholic? I don't know which church you were in but I have to question whether you were ever taught the Word of God there? If you had been in a church which taught the truth concerning Baptism according to the Word of GOD and not the "traditions of men" you would have learned that not only does baptism NOT save nor "grant justification" but it is ONLY for those who ARE BORN-AGAIN by the SPIRIT of GOD by placing...READ MORE

Filed under cyber-follies

Are Saints New Revelation?

08/21/2014 Comments (10)

It seems, said my friend, that the Church contradicts itself. On the one hand, Catholic teaching declares revelation complete with the close of the apostolic era. Yet consider the canonization of, say, Joan of Arc. It appears a Catholic must believe one of the following:

1. Revelation continues. It was revealed to the Pope in 1920 that Joan of Arc was in heaven.

2. Revelation ended with the apostles, but before the Ascension, Christ gave Peter a long list of those who would eventually be canonized and Joan's name was on the list.

3. There is no revelation concerning Joan of Arc and we have no way of knowing where she is now.

To get to the bottom of this apparently insoluble mystery we...READ MORE

Filed under saints

Catholic Officialdom and Theological Ambiguity

08/17/2014 Comments (27)

As I mentioned recently, I once guested on a talk radio show and got a call from a man who wanted to know what the "official Catholic teaching" was on (I kid you not) "how much body mass you can lose before you lose your soul." The man was apparently under the impression that if a certain amount of tissue gets lopped off in an amputation, your soul would leak away and he was urgently interested in whether the Church had issued an official measurement (in grams?) of just how much tissue this would have to be.

The question, odd as it was, nonetheless is not the only one of its sort out there. On the Internet, in magazines and on other media I frequently run across the notion that the...READ MORE

Filed under catechesis

The Assumption of Mary

08/14/2014 Comments (29)

The most recent Marian dogma—the Assumption—was promulgated in 1950. But like all doctrinal developments throughout the history of the Church, it is rooted in apostolic teaching and reflected in Scripture. Pope Pius XII defined the dogma this way:

“The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

What evidence is there for the Assumption?

To begin with, we have the witness of the New Testament, which already takes for granted the image of Mary as a Cosmic Heavenly Figure by the time of the book of Revelation (roughly 90 AD).

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with...READ MORE

Filed under mary

More on Infallibility

08/10/2014 Comments (51)

There is no greater scandal among moderns than the Catholic Church's claim to infallibility. And who can blame them? For as this century drags to a close, it does look as though only a cretin could seriously believe any institution possesses modest integrity, much less infallibility. We've been so schooled in cynicism since Watergate and Vietnam; we've seen so much goop on Kennedy affairs and libidinous preachers and people injected with plutonium that we aren't even shockable anymore. So when we read of Borgia Popes, pedophile priests, and radical nuns praying to Diana, we just fold the paper and look for the "Far Side" cartoons.

And yet... here is this strange divine sea of a Church,...READ MORE

Filed under infallibility

What "Infallibility" Means

08/07/2014 Comments (33)

Here is the text of a whimsical email conversation I had with a friend once:

Q: "Mark, is a dog's mouth cleaner than a human's? What the official infallible Catholic position on this question?"

A: In his 16th Century encyclical Bene Canus (Good Doggie), Pope St. Gregory XXIV declared, pronounced and defined that "oggie'sday avehay eanerclay outhmays". This, being translated from the original Latin, means that the Church does definitively hold as (ahem) Dogma that dogs have cleaner mouths, but the good Pope chose to leave undefined precisely what dogs' mouths are cleaner than. The dogma caused considerable consternation upon its promulgation. A delegation of Orthodox bishops attempted to...READ MORE

Filed under infallibility

Against Punishing the Poor

08/03/2014 Comments (56)
Under a proposed stricter Norton Shores solicitation ordinance, people asking for money would receive a civil infraction citation, and motorists who hold up traffic because of their engagement with panhandlers could also be penalized.
It is *so* important make sure the poor are well and truly punished and humiliated for being poor. So, so important. Also any filthy do-gooder who tries to help them.  Particularly remarkable is the terror (supported by urban legends of rich panhandlers pulling down $500 a day that nobody repeating such legends seems eager to try) that if one is generous to the poor, one might be (gasp!) cheated on occasion, which is apparently a fate so horrible that it is...READ MORE

Filed under blessed are the poor

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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.