An interesting feature of the Francis pontificate is the attempt by some Catholics to play games of good guys and bad guys, with the good guys on the left and the bad guys on the right. Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts gives us an archetypal example:
About the growing and expanding Culture of Death. Mark writes a post that more or less says the American Right is hellborn Satanic racist Nazi to the core – but we’re still called to love their miserable, evil, racist, deplorable souls.
Fair enough. The Right, like anything involving people, has its bad elements and, being a human invention, its errors. There is a radical Right, a racist Right, an alt-Right, and all manner of evil to be found on the Right. Smart people with more than two brain cells know it. Likewise there is also a radical Left, an alt-Left, a movement filled with all the same loathing, hate, demonic, slaughter, racism and hellborn evil as the radical Right.
That’s where Mark swings and misses by a mile.
Part of Mark’s justification for his move toward the Left is that liberals are, in the end, just fine and swell people. They’re nice, kind, caring, witty, compassionate, loving. Oh sure, they have their rough edges. Sometimes, for reasons not quite clear, they embrace bad things like abortion rights. But on the whole, they’re good to the core. Not like non-repentant conservatives who aren’t really Christians and who are rotten and evil to the core.
This is a major rationale for Mark’s current ministry. This is how he explains assuming the best interpretations of what American liberalism has to offer while assuming the worst of conservatives. This is how he assumes that liberals would never do anything like use the poor or the immigrant as human shields for their agendas, while he knows full well conservatives do nothing else but use the unborn as human shields.
This is a major confession of faith for Mark. But it’s obviously wrong. It’s so wrong that it boggles the mind. You just can’t get more wrong than that. It’s so wrong that Mark himself once mocked the notion. When the Tuscon shooting happened, Mark openly mocked the liberal media narrative that somehow conservatives, being conservatives, were simply a bunch of brainless murdering zombies waiting for someone to drop the Queen of Diamonds so they could go on killing sprees. Mark rightly saw that this notion, that righteousness and sin are based on what color state people live in, is not just heretical from a Christian viewpoint, but idiotic.
So this very thing Mark once called out as stupid at best, is now his justification for running to the left of center. The problem is, it requires either a deliberate misrepresentation of the truth, or a dangerously ignorant level of denial. Take, for instance, this statement from his post:
I have never encountered a single abortion apologist–not one–who speaks with glee over the death of an aborted child.
Sorry, but I posted on this growing trend in 2012. It has only grown since. The idea to bring abortion out of the shadows and into the light, with pride and glee and encouragement, has been one of the most frightful developments in the long, sad history of abortion in America. And it is spilling over into the proud and open push for assisted suicide, euthanasia, and even questioning the justification of violence in the name of shutting down free speech for those who don’t conform. There are connections there not difficult to miss.
As for the fact that they don’t say the word ‘baby’, or believe it is a baby? Who the hell cares? Slave owners were convinced that Africans weren’t real people, worthy of the same rights as actual (Read: White) people. The Nazis were absolutely convinced that Jews and other minorities didn’t warrant being called truly human. That people bent on slaughter will use euphemism rather than the truth to justify evil (something Mark used to point out, BTW), is irrelevant. The fact that the growing ‘proud to have abortions’ movement might avoid the term Baby because they’ve convinced themselves there is no human in the womb is not a damn bit different than the fact that Nazis, in their minds, weren’t sending real human beings to their deaths.
If Mark lived in Nazi Germany in the 40s, would he excuse the Nazis just because they had convinced themselves Jews weren’t really people? I have a feeling not. When a Catholic apologist, speaking in the name of Catholic teaching, must embrace such flawed justifications for his political positions, red flags must be waved.
As I already said, I’ve long ceased to listen to Mark. All his credibility left the building long ago. I comment on him because friends still like pestering me by sending links to his blog by email or Facebook. I would no more care to read his blog than I would visit some radical atheist or anti-Catholic blog. But this is dangerous. The post looks like a contrite ‘I need to love these wretched sinners’ confession. But it is wrong. Demonstrably wrong. Dangerously wrong. So wrong that it risks being complicit in the move to broaden the very Culture of Death that the New Prolife Christian movement claims to oppose. And it rests its downplaying of the manifold sins of liberalism on stupidity and falsehood. Stupidity and falsehoods that Mark, ironically, taught me to notice in suspect arguments all those years ago.
Go here to comment. That Shea has allowed his boiling hatred of conservatives to cause him to take leave of his senses is an old story. However, in this pontificate he has plenty of company. A prime example of this appeared in the headlines this week:
Back in the 1920s and 1930s, it was fashionable for Progressive and left-wing intellectuals to travel to the Soviet Union to find out what was “really” going on in the world’s first great experiment in communism. “The entire British intelligentsia,” the editor of the left-leaning New Statesman Kingsley Martin breathlessly exclaimed in 1932, “has been to Russia.”
The vast majority came back wide-eyed and deeply impressed by what they had seen. Following his visit to Russia in 1919, for example, the American progressive journalist Lincoln Steffens famously wrote, “I have seen the future, and it works.”
There were, however, realities about Soviet communism which few such individuals ever got around to mentioning. They rarely referred to, for instance, the Bolsheviks’ destruction of freedom; the cults of personality surrounding Lenin and then Stalin; the regime’s use of systematic terrorism against real but mostly imaginary opponents; the dynamiting of churches; the herding of peasants into collective farms; the murder of thousands of Orthodox and other Christian clergy; the Great Famine that killed millions in the Ukraine; the show-trials, purges and executions; the labor camps; and the relentless propaganda which assured everyone that everything was fine and that any problems were the work of saboteurs, kulaks, class-traitors, Czarist reactionaries, evil Western capitalists, and British Intelligence.
I was reminded of all this recently when reading a strange interview of Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo. He is the Argentine-born and Vatican-based longtime Chancellor of what are called the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. Having recently visited China, the bishop described the one-party communist state as “extraordinary.”
Why extraordinary, you might ask? Well, according to Bishop Sanchez, China has “no shantytowns” and “young people don’t take drugs.” Moreover, he said, China takes climate change so much more seriously than most other nations. That’s hard to square with China’s relentless emphasis on economic growth. But, above all, the bishop exclaimed, “those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese.”
At this point, I started to wonder how the Argentine bishop reconciled some well-known facts about the Chinese communist regime—its policy of forced-abortions in the name of population-control; its use of mass labor camps; its ongoing problems with rampant corruption; the growing cult of personality surrounding President Xi Jinping; its absence of democracy; its bellicose and militaristic stance in the South China Sea; the surveillance and censoring of anyone deemed a threat to the Communist Party’s monopoly of power by the Ministry of State Security; its appalling treatment of the Nobel Peace Prize activist, the late Liu Xiaobo; its oppression of the people of Tibet and other ethnic minorities; its demolition of Evangelical and Catholic churches; and its relentless harassment of Catholic clergy and laypeople who won’t support regime-puppets like the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association—with Catholic social teaching.
Incidentally, there are plenty of shanty-towns in mainland China, including in Beijing. And if Bishop Sanchez seriously believes that no young people use drugs in China, I can only (very charitably) conclude that he was given a very sheltered tour of China—perhaps something akin to Catherine the Great’s expeditions to the provinces in Russia during which her advisors made sure that she saw only what came to be called “Potemkin villages”: temporary edifices designed to shelter the sovereign’s eyes from unpleasant truths.
A disconnectedness from reality, however, seems to have become the norm throughout parts of the Holy See lately—or at least a tendency to view the world through a distinctly leftist lens.
Go here to read the rest. In his desire to bash conservatives and to French kiss the Left, Mark Shea has powerful think-a-likes in the current Vatican.