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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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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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.