September 26, 2017

Author Archive | Mark Shea


Mark Shea: Jesus founded a Church, not a club

So last week, Lady Gaga posted a picture of herself praying the Rosary and accompanied it with an explanation of why her health troubles had forced her to cancel her tour. Unlike, say, Madonna’s use of sacred imagery to shock and subvert the point of sacred imagery, this was simply an image of her at […]

Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Baku, Azerbaijan, to Rome on 2 October. Photo: CNS/Paul Haring

Mark Shea: The pope’s eyes glow red in the dark – honest!

I have a congenital allergy. I am allergic to conspiracy theories. Oh, to be sure, they are great fun as premises for yarns, tales, and stories. I’m working on a novel right now that is a wildly crazy tale which, in real life, would be dismissed as a conspiracy theory in a heartbeat. Give me […]

Most people believe that there are consequences that follow from their own actions. Why not hell? PHOTO: Justin Luebke

Mark Shea: What in Hell are Christians Talking About?

As we saw previously in this space, I was having a conversation with some genial Lefty skeptics about Hell that was sparked by John Shelby Spong’s claim that the Church invented Hell to control people with fear. Since they were laboring under the assumption that it was just crowd control for people dumb enough to […]

From a 15th-century Doom painted above the chancel screen at North Leigh's parish church. A bishop and a queen rank among the damned. PHOTO: Fr Lawrence Lew OP

Mark Shea: The Hell you say, part II

Last time in this space I told the tale of my conversation with an amiable Lefty who took for granted the claim that Hell was invented by the Church to control people with fear. As that conversation wound down, we could agree that morally serious people believed that actions had consequences. I concluded by pointing […]


Mark Shea: A Hell of an argument

So recently retired Episcopalian cleric John Shelby Spong was in the news offering the absolutely predictable opinion that Hell was “invented by the Church to control people with fear“. This is, after all, the guy who says that Paul was a repressed homosexual, that Mary was a victim of rape, and that the Resurrection is […]

A young man contemplates the devastation in front of the ruins of Urakami Cathedral, Nagasaki. The bomb was dropped on an area that was a stronghold of Catholics who had kept the faith in Japan, often under conditions of extreme persecution, since the 17th century.

Mark Shea: Haggling About the Price

There is an old story about the guy who walks into the bar and sits down next to the beautiful woman. He turns to her and says, “How much would I have to pay you to sleep with me?” She turns away in disgust. So he produces a briefcase and opens it. Inside is a […]

The Australian Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. One likes to imagine that the rod she is holding is for the beating of an unrepentant Mark Shea for excessive use of the letter 'z' and for failing to use two 'l's in 'travelling.'

Mark Shea: Gospell

Some comedian once remarked that when he was a child, television led him to believe that quicksand was going to be a much bigger issue than adulthood revealed it to be. Spelling is a bit like that. It is one of the first great obstacles we meet as children when we hit elementary education. First, […]


Mark Shea: Upside Down

Got a picture from a friend claiming to be in Oz the other day.  There was the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.  But I knew it was a fake.  Because everything was right side up. Har de har har. It is a wonderful thing to live in a world where half the population is […]


Mark Shea: Something astonishing happened to me this weekend

I found myself on the surface of a planet inhabited by creatures who looked just like me! One of them, a stunningly beautiful creature with silver hair, creamy white skin like that of a young girl, yet of my age and able to speak the same complex language I do, looked at me with green […]

Could use some bacon grease!

Mark Shea: Liver and Onions and the Glory of God

I love liver and onions. I do declare it to all the world. You take some bacon grease—bacon grease, blast it, not wimpy corn oil—and heat it on a frying pan. Then you take your onion (sliced or chopped. We are not savages and permit a certain democratic variety here). Be generous. Stinting on onions […]


Mark Shea: There’s more to the Church than priestly and religious life

So the other day, a friend sends along this little manifesto from some guy here in the US who runs some kind of Catholic homeschool thingie. Sez he: The goal of Catholic parenting – especially among homeschooling parents – is to supply the Church with priests, monks and nuns. If, at the end of our […]