Tuesday, March 8, 2011

When Mark Shea shines

Is when he explains, in his quick witted and yet deeply moving way, just what the Catholic Church is and isn't.  Now, like anyone, he is not the official mouthpiece of God, co-equal with the Magisterium.  The nice thing is, he doesn't deny it.  Oh, sometimes I can get frustrated with him, like anyone.  But I consider him an apologist on the same line as C.S. Lewis or Chesterton. 

Why?  I'm sure he would fuss at that comparison.  But I do so because, despite not being trained in theology, or having any experience in pastoral care, he has the amazing ability of keeping his writings in the heart and soul of the Faith.  His is usually not reduced to angels on heads of pin or salvation through the cognitively superior adherence to philosophical algorithms.  He, somehow, through some grace, is able to proclaim the Truth of Catholic teaching as he understands it, and yet remembers that it's about the blood and sinews, the muscles and nerves of a faith filled life, not the bare, skeletal structure of cold laws written on stone.   Here, and I've copied it because it's just so good, he gives some quick answers to several misunderstandings and common stereotypes.  The question was asked in good faith and with respect.  

Of course, Mark is not the final say in anything.  As with anything, we are encouraged to go straight to our Church to find out the answers. That's what makes Catholicism so nice.  Unlike Protestants, we have a real, living authority against which to know what our Faith teaches; one willing to admit its Sacred Tradition includes the Scriptures, but are not only the Scriptures.  So here is the questions and answers from his blog Catholic and Enjoying It.  Read and enjoy and maybe even learn something:. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A reader writes...

I am doing a contemporary issues project about the modern day Catholic Church and some problems it faces for my English III AP class. As an insightful and entertaining Catholic writer, I hope that you can answer some questions that I will state below. Thank you for your time. Sincerely,

1. Do you believe women should be ordained into the Catholic priesthood?
The question is not whether they should be, but whether they can be. And the Church has already given its answer: She lacks the authority to do that in the sacrament of Holy Orders, just as she lacks the authority to consecrate chocolate eclairs and milk (which I would much prefer) in the sacrament of the Eucharist. The faith is not the private property of the Pope which he is free to alter on a whim. Jesus and the apostles never ordained women, just as they never baptised in olive oil or wine (though they do use these elements in other sacraments). We can't improve on what they handed down. For more on this from me, go here.
2. Would making priests non-celibate reduce the amount of sex crimes among priests?
Has making public school teachers non-celibate (and female) done that? The sex crime percentages there are much higher.
3.Are Protestants correct when they say that mortal and venial sins are anti-Biblical?
No. Here's why.
4. How is Catholicism unique among other Christian sects?
By not being a sect but the Church Christ founded circa 33 AD.
5. Does science disprove religion? What are your views on scientism?
Science cannot possibly disprove religion. You may as well say that science can use a telescope to scan the face of God for warts or burn a sample of Hitler's hair and release the green fumes of mortal sin for chemical analysis. Science measures time, space, matter and energy. That's it. That's all. Science sucks at dealing with any reality beyond this, such as as "How much do you love your daughter?" or "What is the meaning of the Mona Lisa?" or "How do you know your wife is faithful to you?" or "What is justice and beauty?" There are vast realms of this world that are a closed book to science, let alone the next world.That, by the way, summarizes my answer to your second question: namely, that scientism is one of the many reductionist ideologies of our time that attempt to take all of human experience and cram it into some tiny All Explaining Theory of Everything like "Everything is Class Struggle" (Marxism), "Everything is Profit and Loss" (Capitalism), "Everything is Natural Selection" (Evolutionism), "Everything is Race or Gender or Language as Power, etc." For some narrow minded people "Everything is Science". Such people imprison themselves in the clean well-lit cell of a single idea and are, as Chesterton says in Orthodoxy, mad men.
6. What are your views on the abundance of abortion in the modern world? Can the pro-life movement make a difference?
My views on the abundance of abortion in this world are much like views of most people about the abundance of murder in this world. In answer to your second question, not only *can* the prolife movement do something, it has been and is doing something. Every baby that has ever been born in a crisis pregnancy since Roe v. Wade owes his life to the prolife movement (and, of course, to the grace of Almighty God who inspires that movement).
7. Is Catholicism a repressive religion?
No. Catholicism is the most joyfully liberating thing I have ever encountered. The repression lies in a culture that constantly tells you what you may and may not think, say, and do. My culture tries to squeeze me into a box everyday. Standing alone against all the parties, shibboleths, tribes and code words is one thing: the Catholic faith which, as Chesterton says, alone can save you from the degrading slavery of being a child of your age and which, by the way, is the only thing that can get rid of my sins. If anything, what really terrifies most postmoderns about the Catholic Church is that her intellectual subtlety and freedom of thought is too terrifying for those who are only comfortable with slogans, catch phrases and simplistic labels.
8. Do you believe that the Church eventually accept homosexuality due to society's acceptance of the act?
If by "the act" you mean homogenital sex, then no: the Church will never accept it because it is unnatural, contrary to nature, and cannot be reconciled with Scripture or tradition. If by "homosexual" you mean the homosexual person who feels desires that are intrinsically disordered, then the answer is that the Church always has and always will accept such persons, just as she accepts persons like me, who likewise feel disordered desires in the area of another bodily appetite: eating.

The problem is not that homosexuals feel disordered desires. The problem is when the person with disordered desires demands that the Church and the world pretend those desires are not disordered.

1 comment:

  1. I once told John C Wright that I considered him the CS Lewis of our age.

    He replied that I was flattering him.

    I said, "No, that's just a sign of how low the bar has been set for our age." ;)


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