Thursday, November 05, 2015

Mark Shea consoles a reader struggling with his faith.

Mark Shea at his best.

A reader struggling with his faith - and Mark's response to him - is a jewel. I think it may be encouraging to many people these days. Yesterday I was saddened to read on Fr. Blake's blog about a woman who said she has lost the faith - today - Mark seems to reach out to rescue a man in similar circumstances.  Sowing hope, rather than despair.
Part of the problem is that people have no idea what this Synod is about. It is, like all conciliar actions, a time when the Church “holds herself in suspense” as Bp. Robert Barron puts it, and makes up her mind about things. It is supposed to hear from all sides so that it can sift wheat from chaff. The pope did something similar when drafting Humanae Vitae, consulting theologians who urged him to ditch the Church’s ancient tradition about artificial contraception. He declined to do so.
What this come down to is a test of your trust, not in Francis, but in Jesus Christ’s promise that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church into all truth. It is He, not Francis, who is the soul of the Church. - Shea

Pope Francis would approve.


  1. Thanks Terry, sometimes I don't agree with Shea...(who would we agree with on each and every subject??) but he really hits the nail on the head here. The guy who wrote in and the woman who wrote to Fr. Blake (you lost your faith because the Three Wise Men story is not historically accurate...Come On!!) seem to exemplify a lot of Catholics who getting freaked out as we are being made to actually think about our faith and be challenged by it..( I also think that some of these people who think that Benedict and John Paul II were so far above Francis, have never really read any of their works..which are also challenging and almost revolutionary..more so with believe it or not Benedict...) It seems some may want a grade school version of Catholicism where everything is rather cartoony so kids can understand it. They remind me of the kids who would want to know from the teacher exactly how to do an assignment...i.e. how many words, what exact theme, where should I look for references...) I always thought a teacher who gave you the assignment and where you need to get to, but how you got there was up to you...were better teachers and I learned more from them. That is what I see Francis as.

    I don't relish anyone loosing their faith, (we all question it at times if we are honest) but I do find it interesting that for years we "homosexualist," and people who used contraception were told to " get out, go away become a Lutheran this little club is only for people who think like I do and the biggie your DISORDERED" but we are still here. Now a semi open discussion of our faith (and a little historical reality)with no change in Doctrine is sending some people into fits of hysterics and despair?

  2. If you say you aren't changing the doctrine, but you change the practice such that it is inconsistent with the doctrine, you have changed the doctrine for all practical purposes. You can PRETEND that you haven't changed the doctrine, but actions speak louder than words.

    Did the synod on the family discuss the widespread rejection of Church teaching on contraception? Contraception is a serious assault on the family, but it was pretty much invisible at the Synod. Why? Because, although the doctrine is still upheld in word, the widespread PRACTICE of contraception is ignored. How many people who practice contraception approach for Communion every Sunday? How many never confess it because they don't believe it's a sin despite the DOCTRINE.

    Many people in the Catholic Church no longer practice the faith. They are essentially Protestants without the honesty of leaving. It isn't a case of throwing out people who "don't think like I do." It's a case of whether you think with the Church. Does one have a Catholic heart or a heart of rebellion against unpalatable doctrines?

    As for historical reality, are doctrines taught since Peter now up for a vote? Is Jesus statement, "If you love me you will keep my commandments," too old fashioned to be taken seriously?

    I think people are correct to be concerned about the direction so many of the hierarchy are taking. If the divorced and remarried are admitted to Communion it attacks the indissolubility of marriage, a core doctrine. And it treats the innocent spouses who respect the indissolubility of the marriage like they are stupid to make the sacrifice to remain single.


    1. With all due respect you need to go back and reread what I wrote in reference to historical reality...I was talking about the story of the Three Wise Men which shook her faith so profoundly, not doctrine.

      We can talk until we are both blue in our face about contraception...(and you should take a trip to Africa to see what a serious assault of the family is and how contraception could really help...not to mention protect spouses from the rampant AIDs epidemic there... not to mention a bunch of celibate old men, much of them gay, talking about contraception...) and divorce..there has been NO change on either...there has been a "discussion" on one... and discussions have been a part of the Church since, well Christ rose from the dead, and certainly since A.D. 100.(you think this Synod was heated...early Church fathers would look at everyone having a hissy and say, "Amateurs!" ) How do you think Doctrine was created? Discussion is good, and Truth will win out if you have faith in it and as Terry posted, the Holy Spirit guiding it to the right place (eventually.)

    2. Nothing you said here really changed what I said -- doctrine in word, rejection of doctrine in practice.

    3. Actually, I rather agree with a way. That would be the smart thing to the Church can't come out and say, "Look, the Truth is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit in God's own time ,which means we evolve past practice," as they put themselves in the "Ultimate Truth," position, and look at the mention that maybe we should discuss how families have valued gay members in it and what can we do about divorced people to bring them into the fold, brings certain people into hysterical hissy fits..look at that poor woman who finally found out the Three Kinds story isn't "real," and screams that she looses her faith, .so you approach it this way.

      However, I don't think that is happening. Francis wants us to focus more on the meaning of the faith then the "rules," as we can see with some, what I would call fanatical factions of the Church, the RULES have been more important then the meaning of God's mercy.

  3. That was absolutely fantastic. Thanks for sharing it, Terry. I saved it in my Evernote app.

  4. I have always liked Mark Shea even when he's at his most grouchy. ;p He is one whom I relate to as well as Bishop Robert Barron whom he mentions. I read the post on his blog. It was very encouraging for me. Your input is always a faith lifter too, Terry!

  5. Sitting in a restaurant eating lunch and reading Shea's response and trying to control my wobbly expression in public. Beautiful!


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