St Mark the Evangelist

I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about today’s post. Did I dare to call St Mark an ‘evangelist’? After all, Protestants have Evangelists! Would I be accused of selling out to Billy Graham, Ernest Angely, Jimmy and Tammy and Jimmy Swaggart? If I used the word ‘evangelist’ would I be accused of being a 60’s liberal or a purveyor of low church liturgies and a form of religion that wants people to have ‘a personal relationship with Jesus’? Horror of horrors! Would I be accused of being in favor of huge groups of people gathering to celebrate their faith and hear the gospel being preached, or would that be too close to papal audiences and World Youth Day?

I decided to take the risk. Then I had another problem.

I thought it would be nice to use the image of the winged lion from the ancient Book of the Kells. Would I be able to do that? After all, this is Celtic! More trouble. We all know that Celtic Christianity is synonymous with the New Age Movement. Would I be accused of tree hugging, nature spirituality, channelling, crystal healing, acupuncture, liturgical dance and watching Oprah Winfrey? Would I be associated with Matthew Fox, Shirley Maclaine, the Dalai Lama and Al Gore?

After much deliberation I decided to take the risk, and let the comments fly!

I’m taking this big risk because I love St Mark. I love the energy and passion of his gospel. I love the brevity, the power and the dynamism of the supernatural Jesus he remembers. I love the fact that he was with both Peter and Paul, and that he recorded Peter’s memories for us. I love the fact that he was a young man who gave his life to preach the gospel. He’s a winged lion–he has all the energy and nobility of a lion, but with the wings of inspiration and love.

Praise God for glorious San Marco, and God grant us a portion of his youthful energy, strength and zeal. God grant us his manly good humor, child like wonder and joy!

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  • LOL! You’re just looking for trouble, Father.;-)

  • Fr. Joseph Bittle

    Well, this morning, as part of the dismissal of Third Hour Prayers (Byzantine Rite), I, as our liturgical books direct, referenced the “apostle and evangelist Mark.” Here, of course, the moniker comes from the fact that he wrote a canonical gospel. I hope that was OK with everyone.

  • This is a bit off topic, but I thought you might appreciate it – I was perusing Episcopal seminary websites, and this cracked me up: face of Anglicanism indeed!(sorry if I’m being uncharitable)

  • I heard somewhere that the late, great Pope John Paul II particularly appreciated Fr Richard John Neuhaus’ propensity to speak of his ‘personal relationship’ with Jesus Christ, and the fact that Jesus was his personal saviour. And I am quite sure no one would accuse either of those two men of bordering on the slippery slopes of liberalism/protestantism/televangelism!

  • To top that off, I do recall St. Teresa of Avila’s mysticism being of the very ‘personal’ sort, despite her staunch opposition to Protestantism (I’ve started reading her “Life” as part of my university courses).

  • Juan, of course. All the saints would recommend us having a ‘personal relationship with Jesus.’

  • Palmetto Papist

    Of course, “personal” is not to be confused with “private.” All relationships must be personal in one way or another, because persons are the ones doing the relating.As for “Evangelical Catholic,” the moniker does not raise the spectre of Protestant Evangelicals for me, raised a Methodist, but it does for my wife, who was raised an agnostic/atheist. My first problem is the phrase will always lack universality, as the Lutheran Church in Germany is know as the “Evangelical Church,” which would make an “Evangelical Catholic” a “Lutheran Catholic.” My second problem is the redundancy. I like to refer to myself as a Humanae Vitae Catholic, but I realize I’m really just piling on and drawing attention to myself as “Mr. Catholic.” 😉

  • Jeron

    Ernest Angely used to crack me up on Sunday mornings. Now I watch Slim and Zella Mae Cox and their local Gospel Goodtime show. (Inspiring)

  • Anonymous

    Your sarcasm is more vinegar than honey.

  • Go on anonymous, crack a little smile, it won’t hurt that much!

  • Anonymous

    (Rev. Robert) Schuller said (Evel) Knievel had called him a couple of weeks earlier, telling him, “Dr. Schuller, I’ve accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.”WOW…looks like the famous daredevil is a CATHOLIC!C’mon Father, crack a little smile, it won’t hurt that much!

  • Anon–What is your problem? Do you simply enjoy being rude? If you have a point to make, just make it and leave it at that.

  • Anonymous

    What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander, no?Father suggests his sarcasm is just in fun. I agree it is amusing (and I did, in fact, smile). However, it is also dismisses some legitimate points by making a caricature of them.If you can’t see on your own how my last post played on Father’s sarcasm and caricature, I can’t help you.

  • Anonymous, your comment on Evel Kneivel didn’t just make me smile, it had me laughing.Is it possible that you think that Evangelical Catholics equate the Protestant ‘born again’ experience with full membership of Christ’s one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church?If this is so, then you are more ignorant about what Evangelical Catholicism is than I thought.Saying that the ‘born again’ experience or ‘getting saved’ or ‘accepting Jesus into my heart’ (on its own) is the same as being a Catholic is like saying a skateboard and a Rolls Royce are the same thing because they both have four wheels.This is not what the people at Evangelical Catholicism or ID teach. Therefore, if you repudiate such things you and they agree.Praise God and welcome aboard!

  • Anonymous

    Father,My intent was, indeed, to make you either laugh or smile. Please forgive the long post to follow, but I’d like to clear up my position. There have been several “anonymous” posters. I’m the one who has identified himself (lazy Doug) and I think my posts have avoided the excesses of some other posters. I’ll write the following and then I’m done with these threads. We’re spinning our wheels, plus baby #4 is due in less than two weeks and I’m way behind on “everything”.Unlike Susan, I have no problem with the term evangelical (and its derivatives). I agree that it is both biblically and historically accurate. I do, however, think it is unwise to use it as a formal title of an apostolate or movement due to the confusion and misunderstanding it could (has?) caused. That is simply my opinion. I think reasonable people can disagree. Frankly, I don’t think it is a big deal.I also affirm the need for an internal conversion to Christ. Formal membership in the Catholic Church without repentance and (ongoing) conversion is useless. So, as I’ve written over the last week, I am supportive of anyone proclaiming the message of an authentic, interior conversion to Christ(for Catholics and non-Catholics alike). In fact, I’m on a team at my parish that is planning some adult education to convict parishioners of that necessity.My previous posts have mostly reflected two primary concerns regarding EC. First, it doesn’t appear to me that they vetted Fr. Bacik well enough. Several posters, especially Fr. Newman, insist that we give others the benefit of the doubt. With that I have no quarrel. I do, however, insist that a simple Google search and 30 minutes of reading will reveal that Fr. Bacik dissents from Church teaching. That is the plain truth, which I don’t believe is uncharitable to acknowledge. Fr. Newman also makes the point that mistakes will unavoidably be made in vetting speakers. Of this I have no doubt and is a reality to which I am sympathetic. What was troubling, however, was the failure of EC (or anyone else) to simply admit that a mistake was made with Fr. Bacik. Such an admission would have made that a dead issue. Instead, I thought the aggressive defense of EC on that score was quite odd and was actually more concerning than having him speak in the first place. Obviously others disagree. C’est La Vie.I was also troubled that EC doesn’t affirmatively, explicitly, and strongly link the necessary personal conversion to the teaching authority of the Church. Now, I never wrote, nor do I believe, that EC is anything less than orthodox. It seems that they are faithful to Holy Mother Church. However, I simply disagree with EC’s stated emphasis of ministry. Mr. Simon wrote, “I don’t believe that anyone should apologize for emphasizing the personal encounter with Jesus OVER the doctrines about Jesus.” (My emphasis) Another poster attended EC’s conference and wrote that it was expressed on multiple occasions, in multiple ways, that EC doesn’t “do doctrine.” They do personal relationship with Christ. With all due respect, splitting the “encounter” from the “doctrine” is, in my humble opinion, a recipe for disaster. They must be inextricably linked.Let me give one example that connects my two concerns. Fr. Bacik rejects the Church’s teaching on artificial contraception. It is commonly accepted that 90-95% of Catholics do, in fact, use artificial contraception. If that is true, an overwhelming percentage of Catholics are objectively living in a state of mortal sin. Now, I’m sure not all are morally responsible for that objective sin for any number of reasons. They are invincibly ignorant. With that acknowledged, it still seems self-evident that millions of Catholics are in grave danger of losing their souls over the scourge of artificial contraception. Many of whom undoubtedly justify their use by citing Fr. Bacik or other Catholic theologians & priests. Pretty heavy stuff. A personal relationship with Christ, as necessary as that is, does not result in a free pass from culpability for mortal sin. So, yes, please preach conversion and personal relationship, but not OVER doctrine. They cannot be separated.I am particularly sensitive to this issue for personal reasons. My wife is an OB-GYN with many Catholic patients. Her experience is that the 95% figure cited above regarding artificial contraception is actually low. This failure to live in accordance with Church teaching on an area concerning mortal sin is an enormous barrier to my wife’s conversion from Evangelical Protestantism to Catholicism. Is my wife, whom I love so dearly, invincibly ignorant regarding the truths of the Church? I obviously don’t know, but I grieve over the possibilities. The pandemic rejection of Church teaching endangers souls, including non-Catholics, like my wife, who are scandalized my the dissent. Relationship WITH doctrine, not relationship OVER doctrine.Finally, a word on my sarcastic post. I think we’re both sarcastic by nature, which is just our senses of humor. However, I thought your first post on this thread made a caricature of “my” position. It suggested that “I” equate a personal relationship with Christ as something Protestant, which I obviously do not. I simply turned that caricature on its head by suggesting that you equate a personal relationship with Christ as sufficient to be Catholic, which you obviously do not. Whew. God bless.Doug

  • Thank you for taking the time to make your position clear Doug. A big part of the problem on this thread (as you’ve pointed out) is the fact that so many people have posted comments anonymously.

  • Those who are interested in how we at St. Mary’s, Greenville attempt to draw together Catholic doctrine, the authority of the Magisterium, the centrality of the sacraments as instruments of grace in Christian life, the irreplacable importance of Holy Scripture, and the necessity of a personal relationship with Christ into a coherent whole should visit the parish website at and read the 8 principles of Evangelical Catholicism.

  • Anonymous

    I said I wouldn’t comment again, but I couldn’t help myself. Thank you Father Newman, this is precisely what I’ve been trying to suggest! “Catholic doctrine, the authority of the Magisterium, the centrality of the sacraments as instruments of grace in Christian life, the irreplaceable importance of Holy Scripture, and the necessity of a personal relationship with Christ” must be offered, as you wrote, as a “coherent whole.” Yes, yes, yes!May God bless you and St. Mary’s as you go about this most urgent work.Doug

  • Doug, thank you for taking time to read Fr Newman’s thoughts on the matter, and for affirming what we are trying to do at St Mary’s. For my part, I concede that ‘Evangelical Catholic’ is sometimes an ambiguous term, and agree that we must both check our associates carefully, but also give people the benefit of the doubt.

  • Celtic Christianity is in no way synonymous with the New Age movement, they have hijacked & misinterpreted it to suit their New Age mumbo-jumbo.Celtic Christians were Catholic & we still are today,anyone who thinks otherwise is just kidding themselves.Whether Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Manx, Cornish, etc: true Celtic Christians are true faithful Catholics.

  • Danny…indeed, and I was poking fun at those who are suspicious of Celtic Christianity because of those who have hi-jacked it.

  • Just a little addition to the last two comments regarding the legitimacy of the Celtic tradition in Christianity:Thomas O’Loughlin, a patristics scholar for whom the New Age abuse of the Hiberno-Latin (read Celtic) tradition would not even be on the radar screen, has written a well-reviewed compendium on Celtic Theology. Check it out.;=books&qid;=1177613552&sr;=1-2P.S. Sorry about that ugly URL!