Mark P. Shea

Mark P. Shea is the author of Mary, Mother of the Son and other works. He was a senior editor at Catholic Exchange and is a former columnist for Crisis Magazine.

recent articles

Two Hearts in One

Whole books with titles like A Treasury of Christian Prayer attest to the fact that the Church can dip into vast pools of prayer and come up with any number of prayers that it might set before us for our contemplation. Some of them, such as the “Prayer of St. Francis,” are very popular and … Read more

Our Wobbly World

In antiquity, everything depended on tradition because people recognized that their ancestors were the oneswho had survived in a hostile world that wanted to kill them. So smart people listened to what their ancestors said and, Darwin being right about some things, tended to be the survivors, while stupid people ignored seasoned wisdom and wound … Read more

What’s In a Name?

So it appears that Osama bin Laden, in the weeks before his death, was noodling the possibility of rebranding al-Qaeda, since the old name seems to have attracted a bit of bad publicity. I held a brief contest on my blog inviting readers to help these guys out by coming up with a new name … Read more

Charisms Don’t Make You a Saint

One of the big puzzles that many Catholics have grappled with in recent years is the baffling phenomenon of some charismatic figure (one thinks of a Rev. Marcial Maciel, for instance) who can, for years, inspire or otherwise offer blessing and solace to good and decent Christians who are full of faith and obedient to … Read more

Love Is Not Feelings

Last week, we talked a bit about the meaning of concupiscence in the Church’s moral tradition. The good news about concupiscence is that it is not sin but merely the “tinder for sin,” and therefore temptation is not a revelation of what a disgusting disappointment we are to God, but is in fact the field … Read more

Concupiscence Is Not a Sin

A reader wrote in to ask what I think about this story, where a young boy underwent monstrous “reparative therapy” because he exhibited feminine behavior, only to end up killing himself at 38. As you may have gathered, I think it monstrous. This will no doubt confuse people who have noted that I think homosexual … Read more

The Theology of Waiting Around

“Time,” the man said, “is God’s way of keeping everything from happening at once.” Another way of looking at the same thing is Arnold Toynbee’s remark that some people think “history is just one damned thing after another.” As Christians, we believe that time, history, and the sequence and interplay of events in human affairs … Read more

On Giving Scandal

A reader writes: I was recently thinking about the 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 … Read more

Building on Nature

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 … Read more

There Ain’t No Pure Church

Some people become Catholic because the Church is a communion of sinners and slobs who are losers, oddballs, factory rejects, and broken dunderheads who can’t tell their butt from a hole in the ground and who have messed up their lives so badly that they know only God can save them. They don’t know from … Read more

Australia: The Happy Land of Upside Down

  The National Catholic Reporter has their undies in a bunch, as is their custom, over the fact that Pope Benedict XVI (perpetually referred to as “Ratzinger” at NCR) is still Catholic. This week, the pope has dissented from the NCR Magisterium by giving Bishop William M. Morris of Toowoomba, Queensland, his walking papers without … Read more

Our Ruling Classes and Reality Management

Well, it’s been an exciting week and a half. On Mercy Sunday, we dispatched Osama bin Laden without mercy, and most people weren’t too broken up about that — including me. I’m a Just War kinda guy, and all the initial reports made it sound like we killed a knave in clean combat as he … Read more

A Hell of an Argument

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 Calvinists (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 … Read more

Easter in a Time of Scandal

C. S. Lewis remarks somewhere that he heard a woman on a bus once complain that the Christians couldn’t leave well enough alone. Now they were even trying to drag their beliefs into Christmas. I think of that as I watch postmoderns (a people radically innocent of historical knowledge or perspective, for whom the Age … Read more

The Paraclete

As we enter Holy Week, 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 … Read more

Awaken the Army of Davids

Pat Archbold gets it. And, despite the remarks of a few remaining suckers in his comboxes, most of his readers get it, too. As many people were sickeningly sure would happen, the pro-life cause was betrayed yet again by the Stupid Evil Party, and pro-lifers were, once again, instructed by the Party to talk about the … Read more

Tabloid Biblical Archaeology

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 … Read more

The Urge to Prophesy

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 … Read more

Means and Ends

…the piggy bank and steal the money to get Mom a birthday present, and she, being none the wiser, likes the present while never noticing the money is gone. Mission…

In Which We Deal with a Delicate Subject

A reader writes: I’m wondering if you could help me with a question about mortal sin. I recently learned that the Catechism teaches that masturbation, if done with full knowledge and consent, would count as a mortal sin. (I realize there are a few additional caveats.) Does this mean that masturbation is, in the eyes … Read more

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