Divine Hatred, Divine Love

10/05/2015 Comments (4)

Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), “The Crown of Thorns”

Most of us modern Christians congratulate ourselves that we’re tolerant and not judgmental. All that Old Testament brimstone is old hat. We’ve advanced and evolved. We’re more forgiving than our ancestors.

But then a story like this catches our eye:

Shouting, "This is YouTube material!" a 27-year-old British man urinated on a dying woman who had collapsed on the street, the BBC and local Hartepool Mail and Northern Echo tell us. He also doused her with a bucket of water and covered her with shaving cream.

The woman, 50-year-old Christine Lakinski, died at the scene of pancreatic failure.

In a sad sign of the times, it was all recorded on a mobile phone.

Suddenly all those Old...READ MORE

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Building on Nature

10/01/2015 Comment

In his Letters to an American Lady, on November 10, 1952, C. S. Lewis wrote:

I believe that, in the present divided state of Christendom, those who are at the heart of each division are all closer to one another than those who are at the fringes. I would even carry this beyond the borders of Christianity: how much more one has in common with a real Jew or Muslim than with a wretched liberalising, occidentalised specimen of the same categories.

I think Lewis has a point. One of the things our faith teaches us is that grace builds on nature — that God begins with the human “raw material” He creates and, if you will, co-creates us via the risky business of giving us free will. Accordingly,...READ MORE

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The Urge to Prophesy

09/27/2015 Comments (11)

John William Waterhouse (1849-1917), "The Crystal Ball"

Back when I was in high school (Cascade High 1976: Home of the Bruins, School of Pride), one of the trendier ideas being talked about was Futurism — literally, the “study of the future.” I remember watching some film with Orson Welles narrating it at his most pompous “I am from the elite, and this is what we are all talking about at our wine and cheese parties” best. And being a dumb kid from the suburbs, I took him at his word because he had a beard, an important-sounding voice, and his thoughts seemed really smart, almost English smart, which, as every American high schooler knows, is as smart as a person can get. The only thing more potent than getting Welles to intone something about...READ MORE

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The Paraclete

09/24/2015 Comments (1)

It is good to focus our minds on the matter that occupied Jesus in his final hours before his Passion, that we might imitate the mind of Christ.  Therefore, I thought we might take a little time and look at what is called the Last Supper Discourse in the gospel of John (John 13-17).

In the Last Supper Discourse, Jesus warns his disciples that they will suffer as he is about to suffer.  But he does not speak only of suffering.  Nor does he expect them to stoically bear such suffering by sheer will power.  Indeed, as he has already warned Peter, he knows they cannot, humanly speaking, weather the storm they are about to face, nor the storms the Church will face in the future (John 13:38). ...READ MORE

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A Hell of an Argument

09/20/2015 Comments (22)

One nice thing about being Catholic is that when a Dimestore Origenist (who is pretty certain nobody’s going to Hell) goes up against Dimestore Calvins (who are certain they know just exactly who is in Hell), you don't have to feel as though TIME magazine is arbitrating a dispute that never ever ever occurred to Christians before.

Just because some Christian has, by his self-supposed two cent papal authority, taken it upon himself to declare that Gandhi is in Hell, that does not anoint another Christian with the two cent self-supposed papal authority to declare that Hell is, for all intents and purposes, impossible.  Jesus talks this way for a reason:

"Whoever causes one of these little...READ MORE

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Tabloid Biblical Archaeology

09/18/2015 Comments (7)

P.T. Barnum

Quick!  Tell me about the three top stories in the most recent copy of the Journal of Biblical Archaeology?

Actually, from what I can tell, there is no Journal of Biblical Archaeology, though there is an Australian Journal of Biblical Archaeology.  That tells you something about how much most of us pay attention to developments in biblical archaeology. In fact, the flagship journal seems to be the Biblical Archaeology Review.  And for a season back in 2011, when you clicked on that link, you immediately got an ad for a free e book on the James Ossuary.

And thereby hangs a tale.

The reason you and I don’t know anything about biblical archaeology is that it, like most science, is not...READ MORE

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Blatchford or Chesterton?  You Choose

09/14/2015 Comments (11)

It is common knowledge in our secular culture that the Catholic Church is "anti-choice" and that the only hope for a truly liberated future is to trust to the forces of scientism, birth control, and rational materialism to crush the Dark Age superstition of a Church that shackles the minds and souls of free people everywhere.  But an average Millennial American, climbing into Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine and setting the dial for 1903 London, might be in for a few surprises if he peeked in on one of the grand-daddies of this sort of secular utopian thinking, Robert Blatchford.  To do so would provide many people with a startling revelation of how just how far worshippers of Progress have...READ MORE

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According to the Bible, Here's What Scandal Is Really All About

09/11/2015 Comments (36)

A reader writes:

I was recently thinking about prayers for Bin Laden — and felt I had butted up against the scandal of the Gospel. Specifically, I found it difficult to pray for Osama Bin Laden after his death, because I felt that lots of people would, and why should this mass murderer who did evil get all these worldwide prayers when others lived decent lives and didn’t get them because we don’t know about them. You know, because they didn’t commit mass terrorism. The best I could do is pray for everyone who died that week.

I think I understand the general concept — that what Christ really asks from us as far as mercy that it seems scandalous. But I’m confused by how that fits in with...READ MORE

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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.