Doing Penance for Others

04/19/2010 Comments (22)

A reader asks:

My question is, and I am asking you in email because I just am not sure how to word it to pick-up the right stuff through site searches, how are we as Catholics (or Christians in general if that is a more correct way to put it) supposed to feel about sins that we have not committed? One of the priests at our parish spoke about the pedophile scandals and how we should confess our sins (and he said it like that - sounding like it implied we should as a group ask for forgiveness as Catholics for these terrible crimes) and seek forgiveness for allowing this to happen. Even though I think that these are horrible, awful, abominable events, and pray for both those who have been...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

The Rumors of the Church's Death are Greatly Exaggerated

04/16/2010 Comments (19)

My friend Gaurav Shroff is in the news, talking about how Gregorian Chant brought him to Christ.  We had a great time wandering around Green Lake with our mutual pal Alex Edezhath and then going to an uber-high Dominican Rite Latin Mass at Blessed Sacrament (my home parish) here in Seattle a couple of summers ago.  The guy is absolutely terrific!

As I read about Gaurav’s story, I realize again that one of the many reasons that the whole “the Catholic Church cannot survive the Scandal” thing is so utterly out of touch with reality is the fact that journalists, being primarily attuned to politics, tend to think of the Church in political terms.  So the notion seems to be that people become...READ MORE

Filed under faith

Beautiful Story, Mistaken Question

04/14/2010 Comments (8)

A reader writes an email with title “Is this normal?”:

I converted to Catholicism about four years ago. Recently, I broke up with my girlfriend. Having lost my job and having dropped so many friends during the relationship, I really didn’t have a lot going on and was in a lot of pain. So I began to pray five decades of a Rosary each day. During that time, not only have I been healed emotionally, but certain ... um, graces have happened. Once, while contemplating the Ascension, I had ... not a vision, but a grace that I can’t describe. It wasn’t a vision, but it was clearly God moving in me in a direct way that showed that Christ is in fact on His throne next to God ... Christ is.

I felt a...READ MORE

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Hope for Miscarried Babies?

04/13/2010 Comments (10)

Does the Church have a well-defined position on this in the wake of its recent pronouncements on Limbo?  I am just wondering if we know that 1) all these children are in heaven, 2) none of these children are in heaven, 3) something else or 4) nothing at all since the Church hasn’t really defined it.  I am presuming that they can’t be baptized because they’ve already passed away by the time anything can be done about the situation… which may or may not be correct.

Since my sister has had several miscarriages, this question is more than just academic for me.

Basically, what the Church teaches is 4, with the strong counsel to hope in the love and mercy of Christ who, after all, desires our...READ MORE

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Making Excuses

04/08/2010 Comments (11)

In 1838, Abraham Lincoln said:

At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?—Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!—All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must...READ MORE

Filed under strange bedfellows

Dorothy Day and Ayn Rand

04/06/2010 Comments (31)

Over at Catholic and Enjoying It I expressed some exasperation last week about Glenn Beck’s ignorant smear of Dorothy Day, about whom Beck freely confessed knowing absolutely nothing before likening her to Stalin.  Round about the same time, I remarked that I have always regarded Objectivist philosopher and screechy novelist Ayn Rand as a sort of photo negative of Stalin.

A reader writes:

Love the blog.

Your post pointing out Glenn Beck’s comparison of Dorothy Day to Stalin was the most damning thing I have seen about him (or perhaps I should say, Beck’s own worst self-indictment).

But scrolling down I saw your own not totally dissimilar comment on Ayn Rand:

“I’ve always thought of Ayn...READ MORE

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Anti-Benedict Media Sharks: Best Friends *and* Enemies?

04/05/2010 Comments (5)

My friend Rod Dreher offers two completely irreconciliable propositions over at his blog:

Proposition 1: MSM Journalists are the Church’s best friend.

Proposition 2: In Scripture, God often uses the enemies of His people to chastise them, and to bring them to repentance.

So… what?  The Assyrians who wrought slaughter on the northern kingdom and doomed them to their fate as the Ten Lost Tribes were Israel’s best friend?  Journalists are like Assyrians? Friends are enemies?  Enemies are friends? One of these Propopsitions is not like the other.

Look.  I can grant that *God*, who orders all things for the good of those in Christ Jesus, can use bitter enemies of the Church to bring about...READ MORE

Filed under burying the hatchet in the pope's skull

I've Never Read a Better Meditation on Good Friday Than This

04/02/2010 Comments (7)

So I will defer to GKC today:

In this story of Good Friday it is the best things in the world that are at their worst. That is what really shows us the world at its worst. It was, for instance, the priests of a true monotheism and the soldiers of an international civilisation. Rome, the legend, founded upon fallen Troy and triumphant over fallen Carthage, had stood for a heroism which was the nearest that any pagan ever came to chivalry. Rome had defended the household gods and the human decencies against the ogres of Africa and the hermaphrodite monstrosities of Greece. But in the lightning flash of this incident, we see great Rome, the imperial republic, going downward under her Lucretian...READ MORE

Filed under triduum

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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.