Episcopal Sin Disproves Humanae Vitae?

04/01/2010 Comments (58)

The other day a reader wrote:

It seems crazy to me to believe that God supernaturally protects the church against errors in faith and morals in very narrowly defined cases, but allows an almost unimaginable culture of abuse and corruption. That makes for a very very weird, legalistic conception of God, IMO. 

And the idea that we should defer our opinions on sexual morality to a church whose abuses and corruptions are in precisely that area .... That seems even more crazy. 

The depth and extent of the sex abuse crisis is simply astounding. Not in the percentage of priests who were wicked, but in the way the institution covered it up, attacked the accusers, and enabled the abusers to...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

Taking a Brief Break from Sacraments for Holy Week

03/30/2010 Comments (7)

Speaking of which, here’s some resources on how they celebrate Easter—or more precisely “Pascha” in the Eastern Church.

This, by the way, is one of the many demonstrations of the way in which obsession with Rome makes anti-Catholics blind to certain elementary truths about the Christian faith.  People who imagine they’ve really made a shocking discovery when they breathlessly announce that “Easter is pagan!!!!!” need to bear in mind that in large portions of the world, the feast is not called “Easter” at all.  It winds up with that name in parts of the world that happen to derive their Mother Tongue from certain Germanic peoples because it happens to be celebrated around the time of a...READ MORE

Filed under the truth of the faith

Reconciliation: Confession, Contrition, Satisfaction

03/19/2010 Comment

In John 20:22-23 we find the record of the origins of the sacrament of Reconciliation:

And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

When Jesus empowered his apostles to forgive sins in His Name, he did so with the deep awareness of, and compassion for, our predicament as fallen human beings.  Quite simply, we are the only creatures on planet earth that feel the compulsion to confess (and have need to do so).  Your cat feels no compunction about the mouse corpse he left on your doorstep as a present.  The alligator does not reflect on the...READ MORE

Filed under sacraments

Reconciliation: Interior Repentance, Forgiveness, and Conversion

03/16/2010 Comment

In Hamlet, the gloomy Dane lives out a thoroughly pagan vendetta against his uncle Claudius, who has murdered his father.  At one point, he discovers Claudius at his prayers and thinks to go and stab him to death.  But in a move not exactly in keeping with Christian morality he opts not to since, if he rubs Claudius out now…

… he goes to heaven;
And so am I revenged. That would be scann’d:
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven.
O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.

So Hamlet, who is nothing if not a dutiful son to his dad, decides to put off the execution until the time is ripe and he can make sure that Claudius gets it in the...READ MORE

Filed under sacraments

The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance

03/15/2010 Comments (1)

You could hardly find a better description of what is going on in the sacrament of Reconciliation than this passage from 1 Corinthians 5:17-21:

Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so...READ MORE

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The Sacraments of Healing

03/11/2010 Comments (7)

One of the many Old Testament foreshadows of the New Testament is found in Exodus 15:26:

If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in His eyes, and give heed to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I put upon the Egyptians; for I am the LORD, your healer.

God’s self-revelation as “healer” comes to fruition in the many ways that Jesus acts as healer during his ministry.  His works of healing are not mere cures, still less are they magic tricks done merely to impress.  Rather, they are signs.  They signify and point to the central truth about who Jesus is and what he has come to do. ...READ MORE

Filed under sacraments

Eucharist: Wedding Banquet and Pledge of Glory

03/09/2010 Comments (5)

There’s a reason Jesus gave his first sign at the Marriage Feast at Cana.  His teaching is, in fact, suffused with nuptial imagery.  He calls himself the Bridegroom.  He tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like a wedding banquet.  And where did he get this sort of thinking from?  Well, given that he was homeschooled and taught to read the Scriptures by St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin, we shouldn’t be too surprised that he and his Mother are pretty much on the same wavelength at the Wedding at Cana.  She is asking himself to reveal himself as the Messiah and he knows it (otherwise, his “my hour has not yet come” reply makes absolutely no sense).  She is exactly the importunate...READ MORE

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Memorial and Presence in the Eucharistic Body of Christ

03/08/2010 Comments (11)

Before I became Catholic, I was taught in my old Evangelical group that, of course, the Catholic understanding of the Eucharist was so much hocus pocus and that the whole notion of the Host and the Cup actually being the Body and Blood of Christ was a lot of superstitious hooey. So when Paul warned the Corinthians, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11:27), I was taught this referred, not to the Eucharist, but to the Church, the Body of Christ.  Whatever you did to the least of the brethren, you did to Christ, etc.

Now, to be sure, Paul is not happy with the...READ MORE

Filed under sacraments

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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.