Sundry Mop Up Remarks

02/25/2011 Comments (79)

I’m just about talked out on the whole “lying for a good cause” thing.  Indeed, I thought I was talked out a week ago.  But since people keep asking what I think about this and that, I thought I’d give answers

To begin, lot of folks ask what I think of the whole undercover cops issue. Here goes:

Briefly: I’m not much use here because

1) I haven’t seen any ecclesial teaching on the matter (recall that my interest was sparked by current events, not by some long work of study of the matter, so there’s lots I don’t know),
2) I don’t know what the rules of engagement for cops are, and
3) I don’t know what is legitimate for the state to do vs. what the private individual can do (ie. agents...READ MORE

Filed under consequentialism is always a faustian bargain

Augustine vs. the Priscillianists

02/23/2011 Comments (321)

My esteemed friend and colleague Steven Greydanus remarks:

The rubric “Lying for Jesus” seems unnecessarily glib and dismissive. Granted the gap between a straightforward self-defense rationale for deceptive falsehood and Live Action’s more complicated deception, I would object to a critic of the Church’s nuanced definition of stealing with respect to the owner’s “reasonable will” using the rubric “Stealing For Jesus.” Ditto self-defense / just-war theory and “Murder (or even Killing) For Jesus.”

I appreciate the concern about this and can only say that I honestly have no intention of being flip, glib, or dismissive here.  Nor, by the way, was my mention of Screwtape the other day intended...READ MORE

Filed under lying for jesus

Faustian Bargains

02/21/2011 Comments (310)

Well, I’d hoped (as you no doubt did) that I could put the Lila Rose controversy behind me.  But I continue to ponder the moral reasoning that has come to the fore with the advent of the campaign LiveAction has conducted against Planned Parenthood.  Let me reiterate, first and foremost, that I think the reward of the Hebrew midwives will (and should) be the reward of Lila Rose and her companions.  The big fact here, which must not get lost in all the hurly burly of argumentation, is that Lila Rose fears God and, like the Hebrew midwives, deserves the reward they received from God.  I fear that in all my talk-the-hind-leg-off-a-donkey verbiage about the specific question of lying for Jesus,...READ MORE

Filed under consequentialism on parade

Last Comments on Lying for Jesus

02/18/2011 Comments (323)

My post the other day has generated a boatload of questions, comments and concerns.  I can’t address absolutely everything, but there are several main questions that come up which I think it is worth playing whack-a-mole on (though, as “whack-a-mole” suggests, they are hardy perennials that lots of people seem to raise again and again, usually because they’ve never thought about it).  In no particular order, here are some random thoughts about some of these moles.

First, isn’t it interesting how things that appear to be “elementary” moral teaching (“Don’t lie”) suddenly get complex when it’s Us and not Them who are pondering the problem.  Case in point, not long ago we were all being told...READ MORE

Filed under ponderings

Dawn Eden is Right, Darn it

02/16/2011 Comments (266)

Long ago, back when I used to have a real job instead of being a blathering pundit, I worked at the University of Washington.  One day, my old boss got a promotion and it became necessary to replace him.  The guy they hired turned out to have some baggage.  It seemed that, a physiologist with a specialization in hypothermia, he had come across the medical research done at Dachau by Nazi physicians who were eager to find some way of keeping their flyers from freezing to death in the waters of the English Channel when they had to ditch their planes.  Their solution: experiment on prisoners by, among other things, freezing them to death and then perform autopsies on the corpses they created...READ MORE

Filed under culture of life

Here's a bit of happy news

02/14/2011 Comments (12)

Ukrainian seminaries are so full they are turning people away.

Full to bursting seminaries is a nice problem for the Church to have.  Having lived through the worst that the 20th century has had to offer—Bolshevik Revolution, engineered famines, Stalin, Hitler, More Stalin, the full brunt of the two greatest forms of totalitarianism conceived by the mind of man, and now the aftermath of a dispirited and ruined civilization—it shouldn’t be too surprising that Ukrainians living in the wake of the dreadful catastrophe of man’s rejection of God should be turning back to him with zeal.

What is surprising, or at least not sane, is that the West, having witnessed all the horrors of the 20th...READ MORE

Filed under sin makes you stupid

A bit more on Subverting the Dominant Paradigm

02/11/2011 Comments (10)

A reader writes:

I cannot believe how well you hit the mark in this article.  As a recent college graduate, I can definitely sympathize with the “dominant paradigm” that has gripped so much of Catholic America, particularly in places of higher learning.  I went to public university (here in sunny San Diego), and in the light of a lack of orthodoxy that seems to be a common trend in Catholic universities, perhaps it is often overlooked that there are countless Catholic students in non-Catholic schools that are similarly starving for the true Gospel and the true Church.  On college campuses we have an obsession for mass appeal, not realizing that the few we scrape up with Hip Hop Mass,...READ MORE

Filed under subverting the dominant paradigm

Can You Lie for a Good Cause?

02/09/2011 Comments (154)

A reader writes:

I know that you regularly run moral issues on your blog, I thought you might be interested in this article from New Theological Movement: “It is a sin to lie, even to Planned Parenthood”.

Perhaps it would be something worth linking to?
In any case, I would be interested to here your take on the issue!

I hate to say it, because my loathing for Murder Inc. is so deep, but I basically tend to agree that it is wrong to take even a butcher down with lies.

That said, I wonder if some moral theologian could make a reasonable (as distinct from sophistical) case for videos like these under the same sort of logic that allows for feints, ruses and similar strategems in Just War...READ MORE

Filed under conundrums, mailbag

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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.