Today is the Feast of St. Catherine of Siena

Patron saint of every one of us Catholics who imagines that when the Church teaches something we don’t like and we gripe and complain about it and refuse to consider changing our lives, we are Catherine of Siena rebuking the Pope. Those on the Left who do this always invoke “primacy of conscience”. Those on the Right who do it always invoke “prudential judgment”. We are all are actually just blowing off the teaching of the Church because it get in the way of our quest for power, our need for security, or our desire for honor or pleasure. Our real attitude is to supposed to be docility, a word that fills an awful lot or us modern Catholics with revulsion and nameless terror. It means, not blind and unreasoning obedience, but the attitude that, unless there is a damn good reason not to do so–a damn good reason–we should try to obey the Church even in her prudential guidance and not whittle discipleship down to only paying attention to the Minimum Daily Adult Requirement for listening to bare bones dogma and nothing more.

But hey, let’s let Kate have the final word here:

Here begins the treatise of obedience, and first of where obedience may be found, and what it is that destroys it, and what is the sign of a man’s possessing it, and what accompanies and nourishes obedience.

By the way, salutations to the St. Catherine of Siena Institute!

The Little General Resurrection in Matthew 27
A very special announcement!
Exalted Felicitations of the Day!
Question to the Hivemind
  • Dbom

    I love her!

    I really do!

    St. Catherine of Siena, Pray for us!

  • cececole

    I think I heard Pope Francis use the word docility in his homily at the canonization about Saint Pope John XXXIII–which I would never have thought of again without your comments. Must be something there I need to reflect on. St Catherine of Siena, Pray for us.

    • Veronica

      Actually, St. John XXIII’s papal motto was “Obedience and Peace”, something that truly defined his life. St. John XXIII, pray for us!

  • Athelstane

    Hello Mark,

    …unless there is a damn good reason not to do so–a damn good reason–we should try to obey the Church even in her prudential guidance and not whittle discipleship down to only paying attention to the Minimum Daily Adult Requirement for listening to bare bones dogma and nothing more.

    No question that poor St. Catherine gets dragooned into the service of too many challenges to Church authority – we’ve all seen it. And yet, I really do wonder, once again, how well you pass this test yourself, given how many times we have seen Catholic and Enjoying It! blast bishop after bishop for sundry items that offend its blogmaster.

    Most recently, it’s been Bishop Cupich of Spokane, who has become a real bete noire of yours. He’s “contemptuous” of his flock, and he’s busy “crushing and suppressing pro-life activity and punishing people for the crime of being orthodox.” I can’t help but ask: Is there a damned good reason to be blasting the prudential guidance of one of your local bishops this hard, this often?

    Obviously, you must think there is. (And for the record, I am inclined to agree with you, because I also find Bishop Cupich’s pattern of behavior inexplicable, not least in its refusal to engage with queries from his flock.) I just can’t help but think that the problem here isn’t so much that you’re guilty of hypocrisy, but that you’re too quick to find mote in your brothers’ eyes, especially when it tickles particular bugbears of yours.

    In the rebellious Age of Demos, we’re all undoubtedly too keen to reject authority, and to claim the Doctor of Siena as our vindication. But perhaps that includes Mark Shea, too, more often than he would like to admit, even if he’s sometimes justified in pointing out some of these injustices.

    • chezami

      What can I say? I think there *is* a damned good reason to question Bp. Cupich’s abusive behavior.

      • Athelstane

        Hi Mark,

        Fair enough. But I am left with the question: What constitutes a “damn good reason,” as a general rule?

        • chezami

          The usual: Gross violations of prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, faith, hope and love.


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