29

Mark Shea and Charlie Gard

 

 

Hattip to commenter Nate Winchester.  An example of how far down the dark path Mark Shea has gone:

With supreme cynicism, the anti-abortion-but-not-prolife Congress of Trump takes a step to grant Charlie residency for a sketchy experiment that holds extremely little promise of hope–by attaching it to a bill funding Trump’s idiotic border wall designed to maximize waste for the taxpayer and cruelty to refugees:

The amendment has been added to a controversial bill that includes money for US President Donald Trump’s border wall and enhanced immigration enforcement, which could take a significant amount of time to be voted into law, if it is at all.

In other news, a hard-working taxpayer and father of four who has committed no crime other than being brown is being deported to Mexico to the orgasmic cheers of Christians for Cruelty, aka, Trump Defenders.  His name is actually “Jesus” and still these Pharisees applaud without irony.  Convinced that petty rule-keeping is their real savior, they hide behind paperwork while families are viciously destroyed and admire their righteousness in punishing the least of these.  And they dare to call themselves “prolife”.

 

So, let’s see:  efforts to help Charlie Gard’s parents defy the edicts of courts in Europe that they cannot give their son treatment, and that he must die, are futile and efforts to enforce our immigration laws, laws that every nation on Earth have, are racist.  Right. Continue Reading

25

Mark Shea v. Mark Shea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011:

As you probably know, I’m skeptical of the Global Warming hype, not least because its marketers and packagers keep changing the name. First, it was “Global Warming,” then “Climate Change” (as if climate does anything besides change) and lately it’s “Global Climate Disruption.” I’m also skeptical that it is man made, and I think the dishonesty of some of the scientists in the field, not to mention the packagers and marketers, leaves me cold (clever pun, eh?). So, for instance, when I see evidence of rising sea levels that doesn’t always refer me back to the same remote island nobody knows anything about except that it might be a case of erosion and not rising sea levels, I will begin to take our melting ice caps more seriously.

Go here to read the rest.

 

June 1, 2017:

 

American Right Wing Id Monster joins Nicaragua and Syria in rejecting Climate Accord–just for spite.

And just days after Francis gave him a copy of Laudato Si, begged him to listen, and Trump lied that he would read it. (It’s longer than 140 characters and Trump’s name is not in it anywhere. Boring.)

Me: I boringly think wisdom lies with listening to the Holy Father. But of course, the kneejerk response of the revanchist Trumpified Catholic is “Francis is not speaking infallibly, you know! We’re talking about Prudential Judgment! You can ignore him on climate change! It’s not like he’s a climate expert!”

Go here to read the rest.

18

Teaching Hate

Fifth rate comedienne grabs some cheap publicity by holding up a mock bloody head of Donald Trump.  Ho Hum, the deranged left always acts this way, and that is precisely the problem.

 

Mark Shea is his born again leftist mode had this post on his blog today:

So good white Christian Greg Gianforte assaulted a reporter (a fact confirmed by dangerous Marxist network FOX)…

and the Party of Brownshirt Lovers of Threats and Violence loved it, which is why Mona Charen had the unenviable task of trying to tell this party of neutronium-skulled thugs that they must stop denying, excusing and defending it.  They are not listening, of course, because they are violent thugs and enemies of America.  But worst of all, it is Christian thought leaders who are now orgasmic for this crude thuggery and Steven Greydanus calls them out:

I write today neither to accuse Greg Gianforte nor the voters of Montanta, neither of whom I have much to do with.

I write to accuse those who excuse, dismiss or enable intolerable behavior like Gianforte’s, or who give ear and support to those who do.

I’m talking to you, Dinesh D’Souza. I’m talking to you, Laura Ingraham.

Most of all, I’m talking to you, all my friends who still regard D’Souza and Ingraham as voices worth listening to.

It pains me to say this, because the fact is that I not only liked Ingraham and D’Souza, I *respected* them. I feel betrayed by what the American Christian conservatism I once identified with has become. I feel like a fool for not having seen it sooner.

In this words of this article, “None of this is a gray area. You either uphold certain basic standards of decency or you don’t.”

And the answer is: We don’t. Obviously. Read what Ingraham and D’Souza had to say about a now-elected official body-slamming a journalist, and realize the truth of the world we live in: The Tribe Right or Wrong; The Tribe Über Alles.

With the appropriate incantatory words (depending on your sub-tribe and the situation, they may be “But Hillary,” “The Babies,” “Obamacare,” “Immigration,” etc.), people who pride themselves on decency and traditional values will not only look the other way, but actively *defend* bad behavior and harm as long as the right people are being defended or harmed.

That’s what most horrifies me: not simply that someone might say “Unprovoked assault is obviously terrible and unacceptable but what’s on offer on the other side is even worse,” but that people will say “It was our guy hitting their guy? Eh. He had it coming. He’s a crybaby. He’s a sissy for not hitting back.” (This is paraphrase but scarcely exaggeration. Read the piece.)

I shouldn’t have to say this, but experience shows that I do: If your first reaction to this scolding is to bring up punching Nazis or what happened to Charles Murray at Middlebury, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.

Tu quoque won’t help you here. First of all, because *I’m* making the accusation, and *I* neither punched Richard Spencer, nor joined in the Middlebury mob, nor have I defended those who did.

I’m against punching Nazis and mobbing out-of-favor academics on college campuses, and *I’m* telling you that if you listen to people like Ingraham and D’Souza who defend blatant thuggishness as long as the violence goes the right way, *you’re* the one being harmed. Tu quoque is no defense when both sides are sipping arsenic.

Some might be tempted to modify the tu quoque and ask me why I’m actively calling out defenders of Gianforte when I haven’t gone out of my way to call out defenders left-wing violence. There are many answers to that, but the simplest is that I USED TO LIKE AND RESPECT INGRAHAM AND D’SOUZA.

The people I’m talking to are still, in spite of my alienation from the conservative machine, very much my peeps. We agree on many of the things that matter most.

What it seems to me we haven’t yet managed to agree on is the spiritual danger of embracing The Tribe Über Alles.

To be sure, not all Republicans endorse this filth.  Some of them, known by the goons and thugs who now constitute the bulk of the Party of Trump as “fake conservative” and “wusses” still speak out on behalf of civilization and are shouted down by Real Christians and Real Conservatives: Continue Reading

16

History and Leftist Inconoclasm

He was a foe without hate; a friend without treachery; a soldier without cruelty; a victor without oppression; and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices; a private citizen without wrong; a neighbor without reproach; a Christian without hypocrisy and a man without guile. He was a Caesar without his ambition; Frederick without his tyranny; Napoleon without his selfishness; and Washington without his reward.

Benjamin Hill on Robert E. Lee

 

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts notes that Mark Shea has embraced the leftist crusade of purging the nation of all things Confederate:

 

 

Why should we have a monument in our capital named for a hypocritical racist slave owner?  Or for that matter, why should our capital be named for one?  Mark Shea explains.  Mark isn’t advocating the eradication of Washington’s name from his home state, or the destruction of the Jefferson Memorial, or the closing down of Independence Hall, or moving the presidential residency from a building built on the backs of slaves.

Nothing in his post, however, could be used to condemn such actions.  In fact, the post could be used to defend such actions.   As a Believer, I’m a little bothered by the sudden emergence of the ‘erase the Confederacy and everyone in it’ movement that has gained steam since the Charleston Shooting.  Mark himself decried the sudden removal of Confederate symbols from museums and other historic locations.

Nonetheless, he seems fine with the removal of monuments for even such luminaries as Robert E. Lee, who often was compared to Erwin Rommel, a brave and noble man on the wrong side of the debate.   Sure, you could argue there is a dearth of high schools or statues celebrating Rommel, but that is because for the longest time, people actually believed that the American South, if not America, and Nazi Germany were different animals.  Now, of course, those differences are eroding.  Since there is typically good and bad in most people, places, and things, deciding to weigh all equally on the Nazi Comparison scale seems a dangerous trend.

In fact some could argue, as Mark appears to, that there was little moral difference between the North and South.  Perhaps the rest of the US was every bit as bad.  And if so, then why keep anything honoring it or those who fought for it?  No more God bless America?  Just God damn America?  Perhaps.  Given that in my lifetime I watched a concerted effort to stop seeing such historical luminaries as Attila the Hun, or such civilizations as the Vikings or the Mongols in purely negative ways, I have a hard time seeing the reverse trend when it comes to America.

Continue Reading

31

About That Apology

 

From the thread on the post where Mark Shea announced his apology to Ed Feser:

 

Trump remains, without any possible comparison, the worst and most dangerous crook to ever live in the White House. The issue is not how people voted. The issue is the massive scandal of Christians who still support, deny, and excuse every lie and cruelty this feckless incompetent commits at this hour.

 

######################

 

The Christian right, in huge percentages, voted for a lying sex predator who embodies the antithesis of the gospel in almost every way and has continued to defend him with silence and acclamation to this hour. They have killed my faith in their judgment and their honesty stone dead. Until I see some signs of repentance I will regard them with the same incredulity as I regard Catholics for a Free Choice. Indeed, *more* incredulity since CFFC at least have the honesty to state clearly that they are at war with the Magisterium while the Catholic Right has the gall to claim they represent the Church better than the Pope does.

And yes, I do deeply disagree with Feser about the death penalty. The one thing this world does not need is a Catholic Defense of the Death Penalty.

Continue Reading

12

Congratulations Mark!

 

 

I have to hand it to Mark Shea.  He has managed to get into the verbal equivalent of a fist fight with Ed Feser.  Ed is a philosophy professor, and runs a blog where he breaks philosophical concepts down to bite sized chunks for readers like me.  He is a loyal son of the Church and a true gentleman.  Getting him angry is rather like getting Gandhi to take a slug at you or being hissed at by Mother Teresa, but Mark managed that feat:

 

Not too long ago, Catholic writer Mark Shea and I had an exchange on the subject of capital punishment.  See this post, this one, and this one for my side of the exchange and for links to Shea’s side of it.  A friend emails to alert me that Shea has now made some remarks at Facebook about the forthcoming book on the subject that I have co-authored with Joe Bessette.  “Deranged” might seem an unkind description of Shea and his comments.  Sadly, it’s also a perfectly accurate description.  Here’s a sample:

 

Yes. This needs to be the #1 priority for conservative Christian “prolife” people to focus on: battling the Church for the right of a post-Christian state to join Communist and Bronze Age Islamic states in killing as many people as possible, even if 4% of them are completely innocent. Cuz, you know, stopping euthanasia is, like, a super duper core non-negotiable and stuff.  What a wise thing for “prolife” Christians to commit their time and energy to doing instead of defending the unborn or the teaching of the Magisterium. How prudent. How merciful. This and kicking 24 million people off health care are *clearly* what truly “prolife” Christians should be devoted to, in defiance of the Magisterium.  Good call!
“Prudential judgment” is right wing speak for “Ignore the Church and listen to right wing culture of death rhetoric”.
This book will be the Real Magisterium, henceforth, for all members of the Right Wing Culture of Death on this subject. It’s judgments, not that of the Magisterium, will be final and authoritative for the “prolife” supporter of the Right Wing Culture of Death.

 

It will do nothing but foster right wing dissent. It will be the New Magisterium for the entire right wing and give oxygen to the War on Francis.

 

The Right anoints a Folk Hero antipope who tells it it’s okay to reject the obvious teaching of the Church and do whatever they want and then the cry “Prudential judgment!” goes up.

 

Etc.  End quote.

 

No comment is really necessary.  Still, I can’t help calling attention to a few points:

 

First, the book has not come out yet, so Shea hasn’t even read it.  His attack is thus aimed at a fantasy target rather than at our actual claims and arguments.  In fact, all of the concerns Shea might have about our position are answered at length and in detail in the book, and in a scholarly and non-polemical fashion.  Hence Shea’s remarks are – to say the very least – ill-informed and unjustifiably vituperative. 

 

Second, the few substantive assertions Shea makes here – and note that they are mere assertions, completely unbacked by any argumentation or evidence – have already been answered in my earlier exchange with him.  For example, in the initial response to Shea I posted during that exchange, I noted that Shea’s claim that “4% of [those executed] are completely innocent” misrepresents the authors of the study from which Shea derives this claim.  I also there noted the problems with Shea’s use of the term “prolife,” which is merely a political slogan deriving from contemporary American politics and has no theological significance.

 

As to the bogus charge of “dissent,” in my second post in our earlier exchange, I quoted statements from Cardinal Ratzinger (then head of the CDF and the Church’s chief doctrinal officer) and Archbishop Levada (then writing in a USCCB document, and later to take over from Ratzinger as head of CDF) which explicitly affirm that faithful Catholics are at liberty to take different positions regarding capital punishment and even to disagree with the Holy Father on that particular issue.  Both Ratzinger and Levada in these documents also explicitly assert that abortion and euthanasia – which, unlike capital punishment, are intrinsically evil – have a greater moral significance than capital punishment.  Hence, when Shea mocks Catholics who are strongly opposed to abortion and euthanasia but who do not share his views about capital punishment, he is implicitly mocking Ratzinger and Levada – who, unlike Shea, actually have authority to state what is and is not binding Catholic teaching. 

 

Shea has, in several follow-ups now, given no response whatsoever to these points or others made in my earlier posts.  He simply ignores the arguments and instead reiterates, with greater shrillness, the same false and already refuted claims he made in his initial attack on Joe and me.

 

Third, the charge that Joe and I are motivated by a desire to justify “killing as many people as possible” is not only false and groundless, but a truly outrageous calumny.  Shea made this charge in our original exchange, and (as I noted in my second post in that exchange) when I complained about it he seemed to back away from it.  Now he is back to tossing this smear at us.

 

Fourth, if Shea insists on flinging calumnies like these, he ought to consider just how many people he is implicitly targeting.  On my personal web page I have posted the endorsements given our book by J. Budziszewski, Fr. James Schall, Robert Royal, Fr. Robert Sirico, Edward Peters, Fr. Kevin Flannery, Steven A. Long, Fr. George Rutler, Fr. Gerald Murray, Barry Latzer, Michael Pakaluk, and Fr. Thomas Petri.  This list includes some very prominent faithful Catholics and respected scholars, representing fields such as moral theology, canon law, philosophy, and criminal justice.  And unlike Shea, they have actually seen the book.  It is worth noting that Fr. Sirico, who happens to be opposed to capital punishment, does not even agree with our conclusions.  He graciously endorsed our book anyway simply because he regards it as a worthy and serious defense of the other side, which opponents of capital punishment can profit from engaging with. 

 

Now, I imagine that Shea knows and respects many of these people.  Of course, they could be wrong, and the fact that they endorse our book doesn’t mean we are right.  But would Shea go so far as to label all of these people “dissenters,” or proponents of a “culture of death” who want to “kill as many people as possible,” etc.?  If not, then perhaps he will reconsider his rhetorical excesses. 

 

Fifth, the out-of-left-field stuff in Shea’s remarks about “kicking 24 million people off health care,” “the War on Francis,” etc. have, of course, absolutely nothing to do with the argument of our book.  Shea made similarly irrelevant remarks in our earlier exchange.  His seeming inability to refrain from dragging in his personal political obsessions shows just how very unhinged he is.  It also manifests his lack of self-awareness.  Shea accuses fellow Catholics who disagree with him about capital punishment of being blinded by their political biases – while in the very same breath bizarrely insinuating that our support for capital punishment somehow has something to do with President Trump’s health care bill (!) 

 

Sixth, Shea’s political obsessions blind him to other and more important aspects of the debate over capital punishment, in ways I have already explained in my earlier posts – where, here again, Shea simply ignores rather than responds to what I wrote.  For example, Shea appears not to realize that there is a very influential strain of thought within otherwise theologically conservative Catholic circles – namely, the so-called “new natural law” school of thought – which takes a far more radically abolitionist position than even he would.  Shea has repeatedly acknowledged in the past that capital punishment is not always and intrinsically immoral and that the Church cannot teach that it is.  But the “new natural lawyers” maintain that capital punishment is always and intrinsically wrong, and they would like the Church to reverse two millennia of teaching on this point – indeed, to reverse the consistent teaching of scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the popes.

 

One of the main motivations for writing our book was to rebut this extreme position, which has very dangerous theological implications that extend well beyond the capital punishment debate.  Indeed, our primary concern in the book is to demonstrate the continuity of Catholic teaching and rebut any suggestion that the Church has contradicted herself, with advocacy of capital punishment in practice being a merely secondary concern.  Among the many novel things the reader will find in our book is a far more detailed and systematic response to the extreme “new natural law” position on capital punishment than has yet appeared. 

 

Since Shea too rejects the extreme “always and intrinsically wrong” position vis-à-vis capital punishment, one would think he would see the importance of rebutting it.  Unfortunately, in his apparent desire to fold every Catholic theological dispute into his obsession with current American electoral politics, Shea seems unable to understand that some of us have much larger and less ephemeral concerns in view.  Continue Reading

16

Mark Shea and the Brownshirt Smear

As Mark Shea continues his sad journey to the looney left, he has developed the habit of calling those who disagree with him Nazis or seeking to associate them with Nazis.  A case in point:

Austrian Nazis to attend inauguration…at the invitation of Catholic congressmand Steve King.

God’s Name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, Mr. King.

This will be today’s thing for Catholic Trump supporters to defend instead of the unborn and the Faith.

And so it will go for four long years.

Or you could just stop defending every filthy thing Trump and his toadies do and say and get back to defending the Faith and the unborn.

Go here to read the comments.  I was imagining brown shirted and lederhosen clad Austrian legions goosestepping through downtown Washington.  I was crest-fallen to learn that Shea was actually referring to the Austrian Freedom Party.  Founded by a Nazi in the 1950s, it is a rather conventional center-right European party.  Except for their opposition to immigration, the Freedom Party would on our political spectrum be moderate Democrats, and about as much Nazis as the members of a Rotary Club in our country.

Austin Ruse in a post at Crisis tells what happens when he pointed this out to Shea:

 

I recently came under a blog-swarm (though not on blogs rather on Facebook), but the swarmers were mostly bloggers who I will not name except to say they fashion themselves as Über-Catholic Defenders of Francis-Destroyers of Nazis-Creators of the One True Church of Pro-Life-and-Wrath of the Old Guard.

I forget exactly how it began except with a Facebook post nitpicking something Donald Trump had done. Never Trumpers still sit in the caves of the Pacific with their field glasses trained on the enemy and whenever Trump does even the littlest thing they judge to be wrong they shout, “See, see, we told you” or “Isn’t it interesting that Trump would (fill in the blank).”

In this situation I usually prefer to ask a question and have the unhappy fellow defend the silly nitpicking. But, in this case, from out of nowhere, The Thing That Used to be Catholic Apologetics lumbered through the underbrush and grunted “So do you defend Trump meeting with Nazis?” or something to that effect.

So, here we have Trump meeting with actual goose-stepping Nazis? I had to admit I had missed that and had to inquire, “Huh? Wuh?”

“So you defend Trump meeting with Nazis?” Continue Reading

44

Mark Shea Celebrates March for Life

 

While hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers are marching in Washington, Mark Shea delivers this:

 

Fascist Scapegoating.

Jefferson bought the entire Louisiana Purchase for two cents an acre. It was an incredible steal. Smartest decision in American history.

Trump is buying the complete cooperation of prolife Christians even more cheaply. For the cost of a few words from Mike Pence and KellyAnne Conway at the Prolife March in Washington, prolifers will henceforth reliably go to bat for every evil he wants to do. Torture? Fantastic! Scapegoating immigrants? We are on board! Destroying access to health care for the poor! Great!

Christian Trump supporters have completely bought a false soteriology that opposition to abortion taketh away the sins of the world.

Prove me wrong. I beg you.

Continue Reading

20

Breitbart on Abortion

simcha-shea11

 

 

Mark Shea, fresh from his losing crusade to make pro-abort Hillary Clinton President of the United States, is now attacking pro-lifers who have no problem with President Elect Trump naming former Breitbart CEO Stephen Bannon as his Chief Advisor.  Go here to read Shea’s attack.  Leaving aside the fact that there is no evidence that Bannon is a racist or an anti-Semite, Breitbart has always been firmly pro-life.  Go here and take a look at the Breitbart articles on abortion.  I can understand of course why Mark ignores this.  As his support for Clinton indicates, the fight against abortion is now low on his priority list.

9

Dave Griffey, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Shea

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Dave Griffey at his blog Daffy Thoughts wrote this about the recent comments by Rush Limbaugh regarding sexual morality:

 

What Rush Limbaugh said is here.  What Rush Limbaugh didn’t appear to say in the least was that rape is defensible.  I’m no fan of Rush, and you’ll notice I seldom reference him.  Not that he isn’t right sometimes.  Sure he is.  My favorite reference is the time he observed that the Baby Boomers are the first generation in history that didn’t have to grow up.  Good observation there.

Nonetheless, he’s problematic enough for me to look to other sources for opinion.  Still, with that said, he doesn’t deserve to be falsely accused of something as horrific as defending rape unless it can be demonstrated that he unequivocally said rape is defensible.  What he appears to be saying is what many have said over the years, and what we are witnessing today.

Assume, just for a minute, that Donald Trump is innocent of the accusations being made against him.  And assume, just for a minute, as opposed to what Major Garrett on CBS said yesterday morning, that he doesn’t have to provide evidence to show he is innocent, but that the accusers have to show evidence that he is guilty.  Assuming this basic ‘innocent until proven guilty’ standard that was so crucial in the late 90s, we can say that what Trump has said about and to women is vulgar, despicable, deplorable, wrong, bad, horrific, and anything else to drive home the point.  If, that is, we say there is such as thing as objective morality.

The problem Rush has is that those who are saying this are some of the same who stood idly by 4 years ago when similar things were said about Michelle Bachmann, 8 years ago when worse was said about Sarah Palin, her daughter, her children, and almost 20 years ago when more than one accuser of Bill Clinton was called a liar, a whore for the Republicans, and trailer park trash.  All while we were told that when it comes to sex, nobody cares, there are no real objective morals, it’s up in the air, it isn’t important, and it doesn’t even matter if we lie or commit perjury. As long as you have consent – and even that seemed to depend on who was saying there wasn’t consent involved – everything was fair game.

It’s a fair statement and a fair observation.  Perhaps he didn’t do the best job conveying that view.  But nothing in the complete statement suggests he was defending rape or in any way suggesting rape is not wrong or that there is a problem with being upset about rape.

Mark Shea showed up in the combox and, as usual, was the quiet voice of reason:

What he did was sneer that critics of non-consensual sex are “rape police”. Normal people just call them “police”. Because non-consensual sex is rape. And you defend it. Because you guys are twisting yourselves into pretzels defending the sex predator you have made your Dear Leader. Good job. Continue Reading

30

Mark Shea and Intellectual Honesty

Mark Shea, in his full throated conversion to the Left, puts on display his current lack of intellectual honesty:

Today’s “Conservatism”: where there’s something weird and silly about having a problem with non-consensual sex. Mr. Limbaugh: the term for that is “rape”. And yes, for rape we do, in fact, call the police, you dolt. I’m sure that your moronic remark has nothing to do with the ongoing struggle of the freak show that is right wing media to defend their Sex Predator candidate.

Trump is gonna lose.  And it will be so satisfying to watch him and his team of professional liars and mob of misogynist racist followers trying to claim that he was robbed and blame everybody but themselves for the catastrophe for which they and they alone are totally and completely responsible.  It’s about damned time the Party of Personal Responsibility was forced to take some responsibility.

Go here to read the comments.

 

Notice that Mark did not link to Limbaugh’s site.  Here is what Limbaugh actually wrote:

 

 

 

 

 

Standards, you stand up for moral standards, you’re gonna be mocked and laughed out of the room.  They’re gonna call you a prude.  They’re gonna call you a Victorian.  They’re gonna call you an old fuddy-duddy, an old fogy, and they’re gonna claim you want to deny people having a good time.  So a culture which rejects moral standards. In other words, anything goes.  You know what the magic word is? The only thing that matters in American sexual mores today is one thing.  You can do anything, the left will promote and understand and tolerate anything as long as there is one element.  Do you know what it is? 

Consent.

If there is consent on both or all three or all four, however many are involved in the sex act, it’s perfectly fine, whatever it is.  But if the left ever senses and smells that there’s no consent in part of the equation then here come the rape police.  But consent is the magic key to the left.  “How ironic, then, that a culture which rejects moral standards has suddenly become so pure and pristine, sitting in judgment of someone they deem too immoral to become president because of something he said in private. As a logical person, I have to ask these paragons of newly found virtue where this standard by which they’ve judged Trump is found.”

If morality is relative to each individual — and believe me, it is today.  You try to define morality, and they’re gonna come for you and mock you and make fun of you, and, worse than that, it’s like you don’t have any right to define morality.  One of the Undeniable Truths of Life that I wrote back in 1987 is that morality has become an individual choice.  And, of course, it isn’t. 

Morality is what it is.  Virtue is what it is.  And you either are or you aren’t.  And the left doesn’t like that so they’ve obscured the lines and the definitions.  And the definition now is moral is whatever you can get somebody to do with you, consent.  You can do anything.  If you could get the dog to consent with you, if you can get the horse to consent, we got no problem with it.  And they don’t!  So morality has been boiled down to consent, is my point, and it’s true. 

So it’s said here, “If morality is relative to each individual — a purely subjective experience — by what standard are they judging Trump? Obviously, in such a secular climate, there can’t even be a ‘standard.’ Why should anyone listen to people who out of one side of their mouths declare the death of objective moral standards yet out of the other condemn someone for violating objective moral standards?”

Because, you see, morality is not subjective.  “Human beings possess the capacity for rationality and objectivity. We’re able to distinguish what’s good and what’s bad,” and we know it.  We know right from wrong.  We know good from bad.  We know what we should do and what we shouldn’t do and the left wants to not feel guilt when they engage in what you shouldn’t do.  And the way to get there is to simply erase the concept of objective morality.  There isn’t any.  You don’t get to define it.  Nobody else does.  You get to define your own.  And therefore you can’t criticize. 

Well, in this atmosphere, how does anybody dare preach to Donald Trump?  When we have spent the last 25 or 30 years obliterating the moral code, when we have blown virtue to smithereens, who are you phony baloney, plastic banana, good-time rock ‘n’ rollers all of a sudden now sitting in judgment of Donald Trump? 

“Trump’s trashy comments do not uphold sex and romance as a beautiful and fulfilling, uplifting activity. But neither do Bill Clinton’s actions over the years, particularly with respect to his many, many dalliances with women. Bill Clinton is not running for president. His wife is. But his wife built her whole career off the springboard of his presidency. Without his presidency, she would not have become a U.S. Senator and later Secretary of State — a bad one,” but she wouldn’t have become either if it weren’t for her husband and her using that as her springboard.

Go here to read the rest.  I guess winning political battles by any means, fair or foul, possible is important in some quarters.  For myself, I like being able to look at my face in the mirror when I shave.

 

34

Godzilla v. Bambi

 

 

Philosopher Doctor Ed Feser takes on Mark Shea on the death penalty in the biggest mismatch since Godzilla tangled with Bambi:

 

As Pope St. John XXIII once wrote:

 

The Catholic Church, of course, leaves many questions open to the discussion of theologians.  She does this to the extent that matters are not absolutely certain…

 

[T]he common saying, expressed in various ways and attributed to various authors, must be recalled with approval: in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity.  (Ad Petri Cathedram 71-72)

 

What Catholic could disagree with that?

 

Well, Mark Shea, apparently.  For no sooner does he acknowledge the truth of what Joe and I wrote than he proceeds bitterly to denounce Catholics who have the effrontery actually to exercise the right the Church herself has recognized to hold differing opinions on the topic of capital punishment.  After acknowledging the truth of our basic claim, he writes: “So what?” – as if Joe and I were addressing some question no one is asking.  This is followed by a string of remarks like these:

 

When it comes to taking human life, the right wing culture of death asks “When do we get to kill?”

 

The Church, in contrast, asks, “When do we have to kill?”

 

The death penalty supporter looks for loopholes and ways to enlarge them so that he gets to kill somebody.  The Magisterium urges us to look for ways to avoid killing unless driven to do so by absolute necessity…

 

The term for that is “prolife”. You know, from conception to natural death. It’s what we are supposed to actually mean when we say “All Lives Matter”. Even criminal ones.

 

So it comes back to this: If you stop wasting your time and energy fighting the guidance of the Church, searching for loopholes allowing you to kill some of those All Lives that supposedly Matter to you, you find that you have lots more time and energy for defending the unborn that you say are your core non-negotiable. Why not do that instead of battling three popes and all the bishops in the world in a struggle to keep the US on a list with every Islamic despotism from Saudi Arabia to Iran, as well as Communist China and North Korea? Why the “prolife” zeal to kill?

 

Be more prolife, not less…

 

“I want to kill the maximum number of people I can get away with killing” is, on the face of it, a hard sell as comporting with the clear and obvious teaching of the Church and perhaps there are other issues in our culture of death that might use our time and energy more fruitfully, particularly when the immediate result of such an argument is to spawn a fresh batch of comments from priests scandalously declaring the pope a heretic, wacked out conspiracy theorists calling the pope “evil beyond comprehension“, and false prophets forecasting that “Antipope Francis” will approve abortion.  This is the atmosphere of the warriors of the right wing culture of death.  It does not need more oxygen.

 

End quote. 

 

Well.  What on earth is all that about?  And what does it have to do with what Joe and I wrote? 

 

Let’s consider the various charges Shea makes.  As to the “So what?”,  Joe and I are by no means merely reiterating something everyone already agrees with.  On the contrary, there is an entire school of thought with tremendous influence in orthodox Catholic circles – the “new natural law theory” of Germain Grisez, John Finnis, Robert P. George, and many others – that takes the position that capital punishment is always and intrinsically immoral and that the Church can and ought to reverse her ancient teaching to the contrary.  Many other Catholics, including some bishops, routinely denounce capital punishment in terms that are so extreme that they give the false impression that the death penalty is by its very nature no less a violation of the fifth commandment than abortion or other forms of murder are.

 

In our article we cited cases in which even Pope Francis himself has made such extreme statements.  We also suggested that the pope’s remarks should be interpreted as rhetorical flourishes, but the fact remains that they certainly appear on a natural reading to be claiming that capital punishment is intrinsically wrong – a claim which would reverse the teaching of scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and every previous pope who has addressed the topic.

 

Since Shea agrees that the Church cannot make such a change, to be consistent he would also have to admit that the more extreme rhetoric from the pope and some bishops and other Catholics is misleading and regrettable.  He should also agree that “new natural lawyers” and others who hold that the Church should completely reverse past teaching on capital punishment are taking a position that cannot be reconciled with orthodoxy. 

 

The late Cardinal Dulles, among the most eminent of contemporary Catholic theologians, has (in remarks quoted in our article) gone so far as to say that a reversal of traditional teaching on capital punishment would threaten to undermine the very credibility of the Magisterium in general.  Our primary motivation in writing our book was to show that the Church has not in fact reversed past teaching on this subject, and thereby to defend the credibility of the Magisterium.  Accordingly, Shea’s charge that Joe and I are in the business of “fighting the guidance of the Church” is unjust and offensive.  So too is Shea’s casually lumping us in with those who characterize Pope Francis as a “heretic” and “antipope.”  In fact we explicitly said that we do not believe that the pope wishes to reverse past teaching, and we proposed reading his statements in a way consistent with the tradition.

 

As to Shea’s other remarks, it is simply outrageous – to be frank, it seems as clear an instance as there could be of what moral theologians would classify as an instance of calumny – to suggest that Joe and I are really just “look[ing] for loopholes and ways to enlarge them so that [we get] to kill somebody,” that we “want to kill the maximum number of people [we] can get away with killing,” that we have a “zeal to kill,” etc.  There is absolutely nothing in what we wrote that justifies such bizarre and inflammatory accusations. Continue Reading

21

Jews For Hitler = Pro-lifers for Clinton

 

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1933:  “Well, sure, Hitler really hates Jews, but he has a great policy of getting everybody back to work!”  2016:  “Yeah, Hillary is an abortion extremist, but she really loves the welfare state!”

 

 

Hmmm. the willingness of Mark Shea and other Catholic “pro-lifers” to endorse Hillary abortion-uber-alles Clinton has attracted the attention of a writer outside of Saint Blogs.  Tom Riley at The American Thinker dissects this movement of the absurd:

 

Now that the practical choice is between coughing Clinton and terrifying Trump, the Seamless Garment crowd is making new attempts to co-opt pro-life sentiment in favor of the vociferously pro-abortion candidate – that is, Clinton.  This New Pro-Life Movement is supposedly bolder, more sincere, more consistent, and especially more “prudent” than the old (and conservative) one.

It’s wise to wave aside some of this with a sneer – especially the tried-and-false dilution of the pro-life message with the goofy pretense that opposing capital punishment makes innocent lives safer.  But it’s also wise to take seriously a more profound falsehood:  that the way to advance pro-life goals is to throw our full support behind the welfare state. 

Oddly enough, one of the most prominent proponents of this viewpoint is Mark P. Shea, whose self-written Wikipedia listing describes him as “an American author, blogger, and speaker working in the field of Roman Catholic apologetics” and whose forays on behalf of broad pro-lifery display all the telling logic and rhetorical effectiveness of a banana slug in the noonday sun.  Shea is fond of telling us such things as that the invasion of Europe must be encouraged by pro-life Christians, maybe because Jesus was a refugee, too.  It’s pointless to ask him whether little German girls ought to be raped by Jesus stand-ins.  Indeed, it’s pointless to offer counter-argument to anything Shea says, since he never offers argument.  He makes assertions and accuses anyone who disagrees with him of defying the Magisterium.

But Shea refers us to Matthew Tyson, whose presentation of the New Pro-Life Gospel is more explicitly reasoned and cogent.  Tyson reasons thus: pro-lifers have put all their authentic plastic fetal models into the wrong basket.  They’ve been working to elect Republicans for years.  They’ve concentrated on changing the composition of the Supreme Court.  Yet time and again, the Court has handed them defeats, and legalized abortion has continued unabated.  Therefore, pro-lifers must address the “root causes” of abortion – by expanding various welfare programs so women will not feel forced to seek the destruction of their children.

Like all the most effective lies, this one has a limited truth behind it.  Efforts to establish a pro-life – or even a strict constitutionalist – Supreme Court have proved less than encouraging.  Tyson is right that both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were decided by courts on which Republican presidents had appointed a majority of the justices.  (He’s certainly wrong, however, to characterize these courts as featuring a majority of conservatives.)  Why has this strategy proved a disappointment? 

One reason is that pro-life conservatives haven’t managed to place all their most favored nominees on the Court.  Please recall that Robert Bork was President Reagan’s first choice for the vacancy left in 1987 by the retirement of Justice Powell, and that Douglas Ginsburg was Reagan’s second choice.  (Ginsburg withdrew his nomination over marijuana use, arguably a necessary qualification for Democrat presidential candidates.)  Instead of Bork or Ginsburg, we got Anthony Kennedy – the “conservative justice” liberals love to flatter, and the deciding vote in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.  Why is it that we got Kennedy instead of Bork?  Because Bork was borked by just such Democrats as the “pro-life” Tyson proposes to vote for.  Let’s hear it for a progressive pro-life attitude!

Whole Woman’s Health is certainly the most extreme pro-abortion decision ever rendered by the Court – and it’s important to look at who, aside from Kennedy, rendered it.  We have Stephen Breyer (a Clinton appointee), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (a Clinton appointee), Sonia Sotomayor (an Obama appointee), and Elena Kagan (an Obama appointee).  One of the reasons the grand pro-life strategy for the Supreme Court hasn’t delivered is that voters like Shea and Tyson have labored to thwart it.  Tyson mocks conservatives for electing Republicans in an effort to influence the composition of the Court: supposedly, in conformity with the commonplace definition of insanity often attributed to Albert Einstein, conservatives do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.  Is Tyson saner because he intends to the same thing over again (that is, vote Democrat) and get the same unacceptable result?

Tyson boils the whole pro-life emphasis on the U.S. Supreme Court down to a single question:  can pro-lifers overturn Roe v. Wade?  He concludes – reasonably, though not unassailably – that they cannot.  Yet is this the only question of importance to the movement that is likely to come before the Court?  Whole Woman’s Health shows that it is not.  Texas’s perfectly sensible restrictions on abortion mills could have stood without overturning Roe.  They didn’t stand because a Democrat-influenced Court is inevitably devoted to expanding Roe.  This is a process that will continue if the insouciant Mr. Tyson gets his way.  Will the Court overturn state requirements that only a physician can perform surgical abortions?  Following the example of California’s legislature, a Democrat Court almost certainly will.  Will the Court restrict even further the First Amendment rights of abortion opponents?  A Democrat Court will.  Will the Court lift restrictions on fetal tissue procurement and sale?  Yup – if the Democrats prevail.  Mandatory abortions for mothers deemed unfit?  Don’t count it out.  After all, Hillary is a big admirer of Margaret Sanger.

It’s all coming down that great big pro-abortion highway, folks, and “pro-lifers” Shea and Tyson are, in effect, cheering it on.  None of this stuff really matters, after all.  What really matters is “focusing on why.”  What really matters is “thinking deeper.”  What really matters is expanding the welfare state in every way imaginable.

An entertaining deficiency in Tyson’s argued thesis (and Shea’s unargued one) is the assumption that pro-lifers should practice something that can only be called vital utilitarianism.  Just as Jeremy Bentham thought ethics should focus on the greatest good for the greatest number, the new “pro-lifers” think our only concern should be the most lives for the greatest number.  In this assessment, questions of principle are mere distractions.  American law is establishing an expanding right to kill?  Who cares?  We can’t change that anyhow and shouldn’t even try.  The only question is, how can our heroes Shea and Tyson save the most lives?  Photos on their websites should let the critical reader know just what unlikely action heroes Shea and Tyson would be.  More important, utilitarianism of this sort, even if it’s not explicitly hedonistic, isn’t an ethical theory consistent with the Catholic faith.

Despite their ethical confusion, our new “pro-lifers” insist that the smart and prudent thing for pro-lifers to do is to support every state program for making lives easier, work less necessary, and businesses more likely to collapse.  Only that way – and not by maintaining pro-life principles – can we truly call ourselves pro-life.

This is the most offensive part of the argument because it is so hypocritical.  Expanding the welfare state too is the same old thing expected to produce new results.  Tyson indicates that aborting mothers are women in poverty who feel they don’t have options.  But why are there so many single mothers in poverty?  Shea and Tyson probably don’t remember Daniel Patrick Moynihan – although, as a liberal Democrat, he would certainly have won their vote.  Way back in 1965, Moynihan first began to assert that the expanded welfare state wasn’t good for poor people, and especially for poor blacks.  Experience since then has only tended to strengthen his distrust of such expansion.  Shea and Tyson like simplifications, so I’ll give it to them simplified.  Welfare programs contribute to the breakdown of the family, and the breakdown of the family contributes to the abortion culture. Continue Reading

20

Hilary White and Maureen Mullarkey Send Their Profound Condolences

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A little trip down memory lane.  Go here to see Mark Shea gloating over the axing of Maureen Mullarkey by First Things.  Then we have Simcha Fisher’s reaction, go here to see Paul Zummo’s report on that tempest, to Hilary White reporting accurately on Pope Francis at Lifesite News.  The wheel doesn’t always come round, but when it does it is hilarious.

67

Mark Shea Demonstrates Once Again That He Does Not Read What He Writes

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Socrates opined that the unexamined life is a tragedy.  The same goes for blog writing.  Let’s take a look at the lament by Mark Shea over the canning of Simcha Fisher:

 

 

Msgr. Charles Pope, has a piece warning us to prepare for persecution.

Prophetic considering that a very good Catholic woman named Simcha Fisher, faithful to the Catholic Church, a mother of *ten* children who has worked tirelessly as a witness to the greatness and goodness of our Holy Catholic Faith, a fine writer who could be making a million bucks somewhere but who is spending her prodigious gifts in the service of the gospel, has been kicked out of her job to the salacious screams of a mob, all for using the English equivalent of “skubala” (Philippians 3:8) now and then and for making a couple of bawdy dick jokes on her private FB page (you know, like when St. Paul remarks to the Galatians that he wishes the circumcision enthusiasts would castrate themselves).

Look, I *get* that I’m abrasive and I get the rejoicing over my losing a job.  Fair enough.  But don’t hand me a load of bushwah about how Simcha Fisher had this coming.  Somehow or other, the anti-abortion-but-not-prolife movement has mutated into a thing that eats its young and imagines that the unborn are being served by punishing a mother of 10 children with loss of her livelihood.

This. Was. Wrong.

Simcha Fisher is an ornament of the Church.  She has been such a gift to so many and I will be grateful to God for her till the day I die.  Punishing a mother of 10 with loss of income over something this utterly trivial is a judgment, not on her, but on the mob of bullies across St. Blog’s rejoicing over her humiliation.  She does none harm. She says none harm. She thinks none harm. Nevertheless, it is not for the bawdy jokes that this mob have sought her blood, but because she would not bend to the marriage of the Faith with a fraudulent disgrace like Donald Trump.

If you value her witness, check out her book and think about hiring this funny, earthy, humble, godly and orthodox woman to come and speak at your parish.

Let’s parse this out shall we?

1. Shea starts out by comparing the persecution of the Church with a writer losing a writing gig.

2.  He goes on to say that Fisher could be making a million bucks somewhere unnamed.  (I guess then that losing a minor writing job is not an immense tragedy for her?)

3.  Shea is unable to see why a Catholic publication would find it problematic to have a writer who makes “dick jokes” on her Facebook page.

4.   Shea utilizes the old pro-abort technique of condemning people who oppose abortion as not being pro-life.

5.  With no evidence other than his assertion he proclaims Fisher an “ornament of the Church”.

6.  Once again he laments the loss of what I assume was a fairly modest income to someone who could earn a million bucks elsewhere.

7.  Shea concludes by comparing Fisher to Saint Thomas More and Donald Trump to Henry VIII. Continue Reading

8

Of Mark Shea and Elderly Poodles

 

 

I have described being banned from a site on the internet as being akin to being gummed by an elderly poodle:  it does you no real harm, but it does tell you that it is time to move on.  Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts has been banned by Mark Shea:

 

 

 

UPDATE: Apparently Mark has banned me from his Facebook page for good. We’ll see if there is more to say about that later.  For now, the link might not work.  Which is fine.  It wasn’t pleasant reading.  Anyway Happy July 4th.

UPDATE 2: Mark has now banned me from everything at this point.  My wife too.  Towards the end of the Facebook debate, Mark called upon his readers to join him.  No, he didn’t say he wanted them to join and gang up on me.  But I was pretty sure that was where he was going.  During the course of the development, his readers made it clear that they supported Mark’s approach to discourse over mine.  They were also aghast that I would post a link to his page and beg my readers to go over there.  Personally I wouldn’t have minded if a few readers came over and helped me out against the onslaught.

Now Mark has done that very thing more times than I can count.  I was shocked to find out it was a big deal.  Heck, back in the day I would follow links Mark posted about debates he was in on other sites and rush to defend him when he was being attacked.  I imagined that it was fine to do.  But Mark clearly had issues with it, and Mark is an honourable man.

Likewise, Mark made it clear he was outraged at the posts where I have criticized him, his styles, or that part of the Catholic blogosphere with which he associates.  Usually, those posts came after heated debates with Mark in which Mark either said something about others I felt crossed the line, or said something about me which I thought crossed the line, and either threatened to ban me or ordered me off of his page.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being accused of wanting to increase human slaughter or not really caring about Jesus.  Especially when, in the course of debating, I’m forbidden from defending myself under threat of being banned.

Nonetheless, despite the fact that Mark has made his living by posting the writings and statements of others and criticizing them and calling on his readers to do the same, he was upset at the fact that I had done the same to him.  I didn’t see it as some hate thing, I’m sincerely worried about Mark’s spiritual pilgrimage.  Yet Mark was offended.  And Mark is an honourable man.

So from now on, if Mark stops taking the words of others and using them to attack those individuals or encouraging others to do the same, then I will refrain from further posts or criticisms of Mark or his tactics.  Quite frankly, if Mark stops doing that, I’ll have little to complain about.  When Mark actually writes about Church teaching or unpacking the Bible or day to day Christian living, there are few better.  What could I complain about?  So that is my pledge.  I will no longer criticize Mark or post references to him, unless it is to give a thumbs up regarding something he has written, if Mark also ceases the same approach that he criticized me of using.  After all, if he does that, then I could honestly say that Mark is an honourable man. Continue Reading

14

Comments?

Shea gun

 

Hattip to Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts.

 

 

The latest droppings from the mind of Mark Shea:

 

This mockery of gooey fake piety…

is currently circulating on the web.

When Christians offer “thoughts and prayers” not as prelude to obeying, but as prophylactic *against* obeying the fifth commandment, God’s Name is blasphemed among the Gentiles.

Not, of course, that I agree that thoughts and prayers are useless. On the contrary, I think them vital since I believe that the Gun Cult is a demonic spiritual stronghold just as abortion is. I think that conscious, deliberate prayer *against* that stronghold, undertaken by spiritual warriors at every Mass, will be an invaluable part of defeating and destroying this enemy of human life and this disgraceful and warping stain on the prolife movement and the witness of the Church. I believe Catholics must implore our Lord to send his mighty angels to break the grip of principalities and powers and spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places who hold people in thrall to fear and selfishness and blind them to the need to place the fifth commandment above their cultic devotion to the gun. But of course, such prayer will indeed be prelude to action, not studied inaction shrouded in pious goo.

 

Continue Reading

29

Mark Shea and Donald Trump: Two of a Kind

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Festung Shea

 

Oh, not in regard to having orange hair or in possessing several billion dollars, but rather in their mode of operation in matters of controversy.  Dave Griffey at his blog Daffey Thoughts nailed this back in March, and now that Shea has given his blessing to votes for the pro-abort Cruella de Ville Hillary Clinton in pursuit of his crusade against the Trumpster, I thought the readers of TAC would be interested in Griffey’s sharp observations on the subject:

 

Donald Trump, Mark Shea and the Facebook Generation

 

By that, I don’t mean Mark supports or likes Donald Trump. Quite the contrary.  Mark routinely takes on Trump and Trump’s supporters the way Mark does most things: in the same manner as Donald Trump.  In fact, that’s my point.  If you want to be brutally honest, you’ll admit that Mark Shea is simply a Catholic Internet version of Donald Trump.  If you visit Facebook or similar Social Media sites, you’ll see that Mark is far from the glaring exception.  Go onto most Internet sites, including major media outlets, read the comments and you’ll see Donald Trump all over.  And in some cases, such as Daily Kos or Salon.com or even such esteemed sites as the Huffington Post, you might find published editorials that aren’t much different.

I hate to say it, but my boys are correct.  Donald Trump is the candidate that the Facebook generation deserves.  And it isn’t because of a few radical exceptions to the rule.  It is the rule.  We are the generation that liberal society has been striving for over the decades.  From the 50s through the 60s and 70s and beyond, Trump is what we’ve been aiming at.

Just look at Mark Shea as an obvious example. Mark is familiar to most Catholics on the Internet and is highly regarded by many. And yet, not only does he resemble Trump in his approach to topics and interaction on his various sites, he does so as a representative of the Catholic Church.  At least Trump just represents politics.  And yet Mark is quite the hero for many Catholics.  For many non-Catholics, too.  Including those who are quick to attack and bemoan the Trump phenomenon.

How can I be so heartless and judgmental to compare Mark to Trump?  Or compare others on Social Media to Trump?  Easy.  I read.  I listen to Trump and what people criticize him for, and then visit various Facebook pages, including Mark’s, and I see no difference.   Trump, beyond the policies he advocates – when we can figure them out – is brash, crude, rude, vulgar, sinful, mean spirited, ill-informed and simply a lousy person because of how he interacts with others and treats others who dare disagree with him.

So how is that different than Mark, or even Mark’s own followers?  Or the followers on any one of a million sites?  For instance, Mark’s own lack of substance and knowledge of topics he comments on outside of Catholicism is legendary.  Even those who support him and agree with him have hung their heads over his approach to such topics as the Death Penalty or Gun Control.  The same is a common complaint about Trump.  Mark thinks nothing of using the same language Trump is condemned for using.  Mark attacks through name calling and condescension and scorn any who dare disagree, unless Mark happens to be friends with the violators.  Mark isn’t even above making false and slanderous accusations against people, even to the point of libel.

But Trump says horrible things!  He mocks people for things they can’t help.  He made fun of Carly Fiorina’s looks.  He talks about killing people.  He talks about destroying other countries.  So does Mark.  One of his Facebook followers recently said that things would be better off if America was burned to ashes.  Mark only disagreed because he said Americans, being the murderous barbarians that we are, would take millions of innocent lives with us.  Mark justified his view of America by reminding us of the millions of Indians and Slaves who fell to our murderous, barbaric ancestors.  Imagine if Trump or a Trump supporter produced the same dialogue about another country, like Mexico or China.  Imagine the outrage and anger.

And Mark not only uses death and suffering to advance his opinions, he even has begun to mock people murdered by guns – if those same people were hard right wing activists.  That might seem understandable to some.  But remember, Mark and many others were shocked at how many celebrated the death of Osama bin Ladin or Hugo Chavez, saying that the only appropriate Christian response was to pray for their souls.  Yet many of those same Catholics are rightly shocked when Trump appears so callous and cruel to other people in the world.  Notice a trend?   What about making fun of others like Trump does?  Last election cycle Mark was forced by his own readers to remove a post he had submitted that made fun of Michelle Bachmann’s eyes and facial features.  Sound familiar? Continue Reading

23

Mark Shea Hearts Hillary Clinton

 

Well, Mark Shea has restarted his old blog and is giving a big thumbs up to Catholics who want to vote for the complete pro-abort Hillary Clinton in order to stop Donald Trump:

 

you do not have to say a word in praise of Hillary’s evil policies.  You can bash them all you like (and I do).  Her support for abortion is evil (just like Trump’s).  Her cynical ease with lying is repellent (just like Trump’s).  Her bellicose ease with violence and war is wicked (just like Trump’s).  Her shady  associations are creepy (just like Trump’s).

But if you support Trump, you also are supporting evil she does not advocate such as torture, racism, misogyny, mockery of the disabled, mockery of POWs, and fiscal fantasism.  You have to, like Mike Huckabee, say stuff like “We’re electing a President, not a pope” and chuck overboard your claims to be thinking with the mind of Christ in order to pretend that Trump has “grown in virtue” and “evolved” on abortion when the reality is that he has not changed a bit.  You need to back him on *his* “non-negotiables” while abandoning your own.

I will be voting third party since Hillary won’t need my help to win Washington and the goal is to stop Trump, not help Hillary.  But I will not fault any Catholic who takes Benedict XVI’s permission and votes to lessen the clearly greater evil posed by Trump.

The greatest of those evils is the fact that every single “prolife” Christian who supports him will invariably find that they must immediately abandon the fight against abortion and devote all their *real* energies to *his* non-negotiables of racism, misogyny, Mammon-worship, violence, and grinding the faces of the poor.

 

Go here to read the comments.  Now as faithful readers of this blog know I am not going to be voting for Trump because I view him as a liberal Democrat in Republican disguise.  However, I can understand people who decide to support Trump in order to stop an unprincipled crook like Clinton from running the nation, especially due to the fact that while I am dubious about Trump’s conversion to the pro-life cause, I have no doubt that Clinton is an ardent pro-abort.  However, it is truly laughable for an ostensible pro-lifer like Shea to champion Clinton.  His arguments in her behalf are delusional.  She revels in anti-white racism in order to whip up the black vote;   she supports partial birth abortion which is torture as well as murder;   in regard to misogyny, anything Trump has done on that score pales in comparison to her rapist hubbie Bill, who she has assiduously shielded from such charges;   she supports abortion for unwanted disabled kids;   she was partially responsible for our men in Benghazi being left to die and then lied to their parents about it;   and as for fiscal fantasism, I guess Shea has been asleep for the last eight years in regard to the administration that Clinton was a proud part of.  Shea’s arguments are rubbish and he is intelligent enough I trust to realize they are rubbish.  The simple truth is that Shea has gone hard left, and on that score, and only on that score, Clinton would be preferable to Trump.

 

Back in 2009 Shea referred to the Catholic leftists of Vox Nova as the debate club at Auschwitz, because of their downplaying of the fight against abortion in order to support Obama.  Go here to read that post.  Well boys and girls, welcome the newest member of the Catholics Who Don’t Really Give a Damn About Abortion Club.  Give a big hand for Mark Shea!

12

Catholics Who Support Bernie: You Are Idiots

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Either that or you don’t give a damn about fighting abortion:

Sanders stated, “I think we should expand funding for Planned Parenthood. And it is no secret, that in states all over this country, in a dozen different ways, there are governors and legislatures who are trying to make it impossible for a woman to control her own body. I will use the Department of Justice to go after those states, in every way that I legally can.” Continue Reading

42

Only Four Billion and a Bad Toupee Separate Them

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David Griffey at his blog Daffey Thoughts, notes the similarity between Mark Shea and Donald Trump:

 

By that, I don’t mean Mark supports or likes Donald Trump. Quite the contrary.  Mark routinely takes on Trump and Trump’s supporters the way Mark does most things: in the same manner as Donald Trump.  In fact, that’s my point.  If you want to be brutally honest, you’ll admit that Mark Shea is simply a Catholic Internet version of Donald Trump.  If you visit Facebook or similar Social Media sites, you’ll see that Mark is far from the glaring exception.  Go onto most Internet sites, including major media outlets, read the comments and you’ll see Donald Trump all over.  And in some cases, such as Daily Kos or Salon.com or even such esteemed sites as the Huffington Post, you might find published editorials that aren’t much different.

I hate to say it, but my boys are correct.  Donald Trump is the candidate that the Facebook generation deserves.  And it isn’t because of a few radical exceptions to the rule.  It is the rule.  We are the generation that liberal society has been striving for over the decades.  From the 50s through the 60s and 70s and beyond, Trump is what we’ve been aiming at.

Just look at Mark Shea as an obvious example. Mark is familiar to most Catholics on the Internet and is highly regarded by many. And yet, not only does he resemble Trump in his approach to topics and interaction on his various sites, he does so as a representative of the Catholic Church.  At least Trump just represents politics.  And yet Mark is quite the hero for many Catholics.  For many non-Catholics, too.  Including those who are quick to attack and bemoan the Trump phenomenon.

How can I be so heartless and judgmental to compare Mark to Trump?  Or compare others on Social Media to Trump?  Easy.  I read.  I listen to Trump and what people criticize him for, and then visit various Facebook pages, including Mark’s, and I see no difference.   Trump, beyond the policies he advocates – when we can figure them out – is brash, crude, rude, vulgar, sinful, mean spirited, ill-informed and simply a lousy person because of how he interacts with others and treats others who dare disagree with him.

So how is that different than Mark, or even Mark’s own followers?  Or the followers on any one of a million sites?  For instance, Mark’s own lack of substance and knowledge of topics he comments on outside of Catholicism is legendary.  Even those who support him and agree with him have hung their heads over his approach to such topics as the Death Penalty or Gun Control.  The same is a common complaint about Trump.  Mark thinks nothing of using the same language Trump is condemned for using.  Mark attacks through name calling and condescension and scorn any who dare disagree, unless Mark happens to be friends with the violators.  Mark isn’t even above making false and slanderous accusations against people, even to the point of libel.

But Trump says horrible things!  He mocks people for things they can’t help.  He made fun of Carly Fiorina’s looks.  He talks about killing people.  He talks about destroying other countries.  So does Mark.  One of his Facebook followers recently said that things would be better off if America was burned to ashes.  Mark only disagreed because he said Americans, being the murderous barbarians that we are, would take millions of innocent lives with us.  Mark justified his view of America by reminding us of the millions of Indians and Slaves who fell to our murderous, barbaric ancestors.  Imagine if Trump or a Trump supporter produced the same dialogue about another country, like Mexico or China.  Imagine the outrage and anger.

And Mark not only uses death and suffering to advance his opinions, he even has begun to mock people murdered by guns – if those same people were hard right wing activists.  That might seem understandable to some.  But remember, Mark and many others were shocked at how many celebrated the death of Osama bin Ladin or Hugo Chavez, saying that the only appropriate Christian response was to pray for their souls.  Yet many of those same Catholics are rightly shocked when Trump appears so callous and cruel to other people in the world.  Notice a trend?   What about making fun of others like Trump does?  Last election cycle Mark was forced by his own readers to remove a post he had submitted that made fun of Michelle Bachmann’s eyes and facial features.  Sound familiar?

If you want to be objective, there is little difference between how Mark Shea approaches the modern debate and the way Trump does.  Unless you blindly follow and agree with Mark, you see some glaring problems in his approach and his stances that are not unlike Trump’s.  Ah, but that’s the rub.  How can people honestly follow Trump despite his views and behavior?  I give you Mark Shea.  More than one Catholic on the Internet has railed against Donald Trump for multiple reasons, while at the same time endorsing and loving Mark Shea and similar individuals who approach. Continue Reading

19

How to Vote Nazi With a Clear Conscience

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Commenter Guy McClung takes the Shea voting advice in regard to pro-abort Bernie Sanders to its logical conclusion:

Germany 1943:

Dear Friends in Christ, We encourage all faithful believers to vote in the upcoming elections which are so important to the future of our cities and of our beloved country which was once a shining star in Christendom.

 

 
You can in good conscience vote for Adolf Hitler, but you cannot vote for him for the wrong reasons, which would be a mortal sin. You, as we all do, know that his government has killed millions of people, and millions of Jews, including thousands of Jewish babies, and that this will continue for the foreseeable future since he has told us this will be so and this is his Party’s publicly stated policy. If you vote for him and his government because you want them to kill Jews, that would be a mortal sin. You cannot vote for Hitler so that more Jewish babies will be killed, that would be a mortal sin.

 
If you vote for him and his Jew-Killing government, it must be for good reasons. If you like the fact that they have made the trains run on time, and do not vote for him so Jews will be killed, that will be not only morally permissible, it will be an act of virtue. If you vote for him, not because more Jewish babies will die horrible deaths if he is elected (which, of course, is absolutely certain), knowing your own tax dollars are paying for the killing, but because he has increased employment here in the Fatherland and will continue to do so, that will be a civil good in accord with your moral duty as a good citizen. If you vote for Hitler because he has all but eradicated poverty and hunger (by his focus on preparing for the war that is now inevitable), in accord with the Savior’s Sermon on the Mount and the Gospel’s clarion call to social justice – you can proceed in good faith to vote for him and any Nazi Party candidate for any office, knowing you have followed your conscience and you will have no sin to confess. We all know that our tax money funds the Nazis killing programs, provides the money to run the Death Camps, pays for the ovens that cook away most of the evidence of the dead bodies, and pays for the fuel for the trains that bring the people to the camps. You cannot pay your taxes with the intent that these things be done. If however you pay your taxes, as all good citizens should, so that children (the children of good Germans) will be properly educated or, for example so that foreign workers here are properly housed and fed, then you can in good conscience pay your taxes and win merit in heaven for doing so. Continue Reading

32

You Know, Hitler Was Pretty Good on the Environment

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Over at National Catholic Register Mark Shea carries water for socialist pro-abort Bernie Sanders:

 

Sanders?  The pro-abort?  But, but! Cardinal Ratzinger said in 2004:

Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

Yes. He certainly did. And he’s absolutely right. And if my reader were in any way indicating he supported Sanders because he supports abortion, he’d be in exactly the pickle Cardinal Ratzinger describes. But my reader is obviously not trying to support abortion. What he’s trying to do is support the other things Sanders advocates, many of which are obviously and immeasurably better than what Trump advocates. And in a contest with a GOP candidate such as Trump whose views on abortion are indistinguishable from Sanders, there is therefore a case to be made that my reader can do so without incurring any sin at all.

Sez who? Sez Cardinal Ratzinger in the same letter:

A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.

In other words, if you vote for somebody who advocates grave evil (abortion, euthanasia, torture, etc.) because of the grave evil they advocate, you are guilty of advocating the grave evil yourself and therefore are unworthy to present yourself for communion.

But! If you vote for somebody, not because you support their advocacy of grave evil, but because you are trying to prevent an even graver evil, or because you think there is some proportional good supporting them will achieve, you are not committing a sin and are only offering remote material cooperation with evil. Bottom line, the Church says that you can, under certain circumstances, vote for a pro-abort candidate. Meaning it is on the cards that, under certain circumstances, my reader might be able to vote for Bernie Sanders. That’s not me talking, remember. That’s the future Benedict XVI talking. Continue Reading

22

Mark Shea, Do I Have a Candidate For You!

 

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At the risk of restarting the Catholic torture wars, (No Don, for the love of God, no!)  I would note that there is one Republican candidate running for President who is against torture:

 

One year after a bracing Senate report on post-9/11 CIA interrogation practices led Congress to ban waterboarding and other forms of torture, the leading Republican presidential candidates are talking like it’s 2002 all over again.

With one exception: Going against the GOP’s rhetorical grain is Trump’s main rival for the party’s nomination, Ted Cruz. “Torture is wrong, unambiguously. Period. The end,” the Texas senator said in December 2014. Cruz, whose own father was tortured in Cuba, reaffirmed that position last month, saying that “America does not need torture to protect ourselves.”

 

I assume that Mark Shea, and the denizens of the Catholic Left, will now be falling over themselves to endorse the pro-life Ted Cruz who is also anti-torture.  “Crickets chirp.”

24

Stalin, Mark Shea and Imprisonment

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“Gene Wilder and I went to do a film at Arizona State Penitentiary. I was up there six weeks. It was strange, because it was 80% black people, and what’s strange about that is there are no black people in Arizona. I’m not lying, they bus “motherlovers” in. I was up there and looking at all the brothers and it made my heart ache, all these beautiful black men in the joint, g-d d-mn warriors should be out there helping the masses. I felt that way, I was real naive. Six weeks I was up there, and I talk to the brothers, and I talk to ‘em. And thank god we got penitentiaries.

I asked this one, I said, ‘Why did you kill everybody in the house?’ He goes, ‘They was home.’ I mean, murderers. Real live murderers. I thought black people killed people by accident. No, these “motherlovers” was murderers.”

Late Comedian Richard Pryor

Hattip to commenter Nate Winchester who alerted me to this.

As is his wont of the past few years, Mark Shea eagerly has climbed aboard yet another Leftist meme of the moment:

When I contemplate the fact that the Land of the Free has a bigger prison population than Stalin, and I read about such Big Brotherism as this:

“The NIH inventors have developed a mobile health technology to monitor and predict a user’s psychological status and to deliver an automated intervention when needed. The technology uses smartphones to monitor the user’s location and ask questions about psychological status throughout the day. Continuously collected ambulatory psychological data are fused with data on location and responses to questions. The mobile data are combined with geospatial risk maps to quantify exposure to risk and predict a future psychological state. The future predictions are used to warn the user when he or she is at especially high risk of experiencing a negative event that might lead to an unwanted outcome (e.g., lapse to drug use in a recovering addict).”

I’m beginning to think that the American Experiment is winding up as a particularly spectacular display of Truth Cancer, whereby heresy winds up mutating into its diametrical opposite.

 

America started out as an anti-Catholic Puritan culture advertising itself as free of the legalism of papism. It is bidding fair to end as an apostate Puritan culture obsessed with an all controlling state attempt to legislate everything and jail everybody.

But at least it’s still anti-Catholic.

Go here to read the comments.   Shea as usual did not bother to research the statement by Adam Gopnik, that we are jailing more people than were jailed in Stalin’s gulags, in the New Yorker article that he linked to.  If he had, he would have quickly realized that although it is a Leftist buzz phrase, it has no foundation in reality.  As commenter Nate Winchester noted, before he was banned by Shea,  the actual figure is 2.2 million incarcerated rather than six million.  At its height Stalin’s gulags had about five million people incarcerated at one time, although this is only a rough estimate and the figure is almost surely higher.  Considering the mass murder that was part of the gulags, the exact prison population during a year in Stalin’s workers’ paradise  is often reduced to guess work.

The weasel phrase “correctional supervision” probably was included by Gopnik to encompass supervision, conditional discharge and probation in the US.  Most people who encounter the criminal justice system in this country never serve a day in jail.  Supervision is a sentence where a conviction is stricken if the defendant does not run afoul of the criminal justice system within a certain time period, usually six months to a year.  It is used routinely in traffic cases.  Conditional discharge is a form of non-reporting probation.  Probation often involves people who serve very brief sentences in county jails.  About half the people incarcerated in the US are in county jails serving brief terms, usually a few days or weeks and most first offenders, even on low level felonies, never see the inside of a jail.

Continue Reading

50

Tom McKenna Schools Mark Shea on the Death Penalty

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No Catholic blogger writes better on the traditional teaching of the Church regarding the death penalty than Tom McKenna, my worthy adversary on this blog on many a joust over the Confederacy.  In a post on October 22, 2015 he masterfully addresses Mark Shea who has become hysterical, (what a surprise !), in his anti-death penalty rantings:

On Shea’s blog, another attack on Sacred Tradition and a confusing conflation of arguments.  The first thing bothering Shea this time is that death penalty proponents supposedly place too much weight on the words of Dismas, the Good Thief, related in this passage from Luke 23:

And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed him, saying: If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil. And he said to Jesus: Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.  And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise. 

Now, I don’t know anyone who hangs their hat on this passage alone, or even as a mainstay of the obvious and overwhelming approval of the death penalty in Scripture.  It is, however, one more place in Sacred Scripture where the death penalty is either merely assumed to be moral or expressly stated to be so.

It’s significant, if not decisive, that St. Luke added this detail, and did not record any rebuke of Our Lord to the Thief’s claim that the two criminals were being justly executed.  In fact, the Lord right after the Thief’s statement assures him of Paradise.

And after all, when God Himself says in Genesis,

Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man in his own image 

it’s pretty clear that He approves of the death penalty precisely because of the inherent dignity of man (almost the direct opposite conclusion drawn by our contemporary clerical class, which argues, against Scripture, that the dignity of man means that the death penalty is immoral).

 And while Shea smears those who cite this passage of Scripture in Genesis as “quot[ing] Scripture like a fundamentalist,” he may not realize that he is smearing folks like Cardinal Avery Dulles, not a noted fundamentalist as far as I know, and a man whose education, erudition, and judgment I certainly find more convincing than Shea’s. Continue Reading

5

Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom!

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Hattip to commenter Murray who advises us of this mercy filled rant from Saint Blog’s answer to Robespierre:

“Likewise, sane conservative Catholics need to stop coddling those twisting themselves in pretzels of hatred and defiance for a pope who has done and said nothing heterodox, all in defiance of the Church’s social doctrine need to repent or they need to be repudiated by Catholics of good will. It would be a nice bonus if sane conservatives beyond FT also pressured the nuts to repent smearing a good man as an accomplice to murder (which is what “Che Guevara’s Pope” means) in their zeal to declare their non serviam to the gospel. But the person of Francis is less crucial than the office of Peter and it doesn’t do to ask too much of hard hearts all at once. But the bottom line is, the enemies of Peter need to take responsibility for their actions, repent, and believe the good news–and those who have hitherto enabled them should take responsibility for the fact that they did not spring up like topsies overnight but have been cultivated for a good long time. That cultivation must end.”

For Mark Shea it is always let a thousand flowers bloom so long as they all smell like him.

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Well What Do You Know, I Guess Shea Does Read The American Catholic

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It has long been a pretense of Mark Shea that he does not read The American Catholic.  That pretense slipped today:

 

So the Pope spoke to Congress yesterday and the righties of St. Blogs are going mad because, just like Benedict XVI addressing European Parliamentarians, he never mentioned the word abortion.  But, of course, since he’s Francis and not Benedict, we are to conclude that this makes him (I am not making this up) the worst Pope since Alexander VI as well as Che Guevara’s Pope according to the not-at-all-unhinged assessment of the Rightwingosphere.  Moral:  If you say, ““The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development” nobody will understand that the Church still opposes abortion.

And so the Rightwingsophere is awash with outrage today because the Pope, in the ear of the Right “failed to mention abortion”.

Yet strangely, the ears on the Left had no difficulty hearing his mention of abortion and are under no illusion that he has somehow changed the Church’s teaching on the matter.  Indeed, some on the Left are still furious at him for saying that there is any sin to forgive at all.

So why is it that Francis, doing the same thing Benedict did, is The Worst Pope Since Alexander VI?

Go here to read the rest.  Well, I’ll tell you why Mark.  Because Pope Benedict made this statement:

“protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;” while Pope Francis, in the middle of giving a big air kiss to every piece of the leftist  agenda before Congress, immediately segued into a rant against the death penalty:

The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.”

He could not expend even some hot air in defense of the unborn for fear it would offend his Democrat allies on issues obviously much more important to him than the defense of the weakest among us.  Imagine if he had called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood!  Pope Francis is the perfect leftist Catholic:  a man who cares deeply for leftist initiatives and will not even pay lip service when it counted, and when he had a national audience, on behalf of the unborn.  He is either a coward or he simply doesn’t give a damn about the unborn, at least in comparison to such monumental Catholic moral issues like global warming.   That is where his heart is and he will prostitute his papacy to advance the leftist agenda he so fiercely embraces. Bend yourself into a pretzel Mark in defense of Pope Francis all you wish, and I suspect that you will have far more contortions to do  before this pontificate is concluded.

 

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Himmler, Mark Shea and False Equivalence

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False Equivalence-A common way for this fallacy to be perpetuated is one shared trait between two subjects is assumed to show equivalence, especially in order of magnitude, when equivalence is not necessarily the logical result. False equivalence is a common result when an anecdotal similarity is pointed out as equal, but the claim of equivalence doesn’t bear because the similarity is based on oversimplification or ignorance of additional factors. The pattern of the fallacy is often as such: If A is the set of c and d, and B is the set of d and e, then since they both contain d, A and B are equal. d is not required to exist in both sets; only a passing similarity is required to cause this fallacy to be able to be used.

 

Oh good.  I was afraid that we would miss on the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima Mark Shea’s usual histrionics:

 

Or the rhetoric of those who champion the incineration of thousands of civilians for the Greater Good:

If nuking these cities was a major U.S. war crime, illicit under international law and Church teaching, then we are put in the position of demanding a higher price in blood to salve our consciences. There are times in real life when one must commit a wrong in order to avoid an even greater wrong. These instances arise frequently in wartime. Another example: the terrorist who must be “tortured” in order to find out where the bombs are.

Jimmy, you’re right when you say that we were participating formally in evil when we dropped the bomb. Unfortunately, our participation in evil began almost four years earlier when we entered the war. This is the nature of war. There is much, much evil in it, and we do ourselves a disservice when through our well-meaning but futile efforts to mitigate its evil we prolong it and make it even worse.

What ties each of these stories together is perverted courage. For instance, note the sick logic at work in Himmler’s remarks: the willingness to commit murder is transmuted, in Himmler’s diabolical imagination, into a brave act of self-sacrifice. He consoles the SS soldiers by telling them they are tough men willing to do the dirty work of war. They don’t moralistically refuse to do acts that risk hell but bravely undertake the work of sinning gravely for a higher cause. They have the guts softer men lack to butcher thousands of innocent Jews and are willing to endure this hardship—the psychological trauma that goes with doing monstrous evil—for the sake of the love of country without looking for any loopholes.

Myers uses the same curious rhetoric of bravery to undergird his stirring defense of his Kermit Gosnell view of life – which also turns out to be a stirring defense of the Dr. Josef Mengele view of life. These men, like Myers, were “unafraid” to reduce millions of other, slightly older, human beings to “pieces of meat”. Once again, the language of “courage” and “bravery” is deployed to describe the embrace of grave evil.

And it doesn’t stop there. The Croatian butcher likewise speaks of his monstrous evils in tones indistinguishable from Milton’s Satan. As though the filthy charnelhouse he helped to staff was an act of noble rebellion against an unjust God whom he had no choice but to defy, what with His simplistic ideas of “just war” that get in the way of what Needs to Be Done to Win. He speaks of his participation in slaughter as a beautiful act of patriotism that none but the bravest could undertake. Sure, he’ll go to hell for it. God is unjust! But our brave soul will spend his eternity in Hell secure in the notion that He Did the Right Thing.

This is much of a muchness with our last quotation from an American who argues (like ever so many Americans) that God asks far too much when he imposes Just War criteria on us and seriously expects us to believe that not even we can directly intend the mass slaughter of innocent human life. This reader doesn’t mess around with pretenses that Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren’t violations of Just War teaching. Instead he simply declares that God is wrong, we are right, and we have to have the courage to just go ahead and do monstrous evil because it’s the Right Thing to Do and God is a fool to say otherwise. You must “commit a wrong in order to avoid an even greater wrong.” Continue Reading

Pewsitter v. Eye of the Tiber!

 

(Some down time before the family heads off for Indianapolis and GenCon tomorrow morning.  Had a great time in Kenosha visiting the mother-in-law.  Fascinating visit to the Civil War museum in Kenosha.  Details on Sunday.)

Well, Pewsitter and Eye of the Tiber square off!  From Eye of the Tiber:

 

After close to an hour of staring at the headline he had just written about Pope Francis, an employee at the news aggregation website Pewsitter has reportedly begun questioning whether or not to add an additional exclamation point or three, sources have revealed.

The unnamed Pewsitter writer reportedly told a fellow staff member this morning that after having written his most recent headline about the Pontiff, that he wasn’t sure whether or not the headline warranted a few additional exclamation points to help convey the possible lunacy of the Pope’s most recent actions.

“He told me that he was also considering whether or not to add one or a few more question marks sprinkled in between the exclamation points to help express the fact that Pope Francis was doing something that at best could be considered odd and something out of character for a pope to do, or at worst, something completely heretical,” the source told EOTT. “You can see the stress that this news aggregation Mozart has to deal with on a daily basis to put out the works of art that that he does.”

The source also went on to explain the importance of adding exclamation marks to headlines, saying that without them, “no one would ever know when to be outraged.”

At press time, the writer has decided go with the headline, “Francis Brushes With Same Brand Of Toothpaste That Planned Parenthood CEO Uses!!!?!!???!”

 

Pewsitter links to the article, as it always does for any post critical of it:

 

PewSitter gets Eye-of-the-Tibered?! – COMMENTS!

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The comboxes are a riot!

 

 

And then Mark Shea showed up:

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Only the anonymous hysterics at Pewsitter can save the Church from the Pope!!!!!!11111!!!!!!!!!!!

 
 
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    BTW your Sheaness – as I recall, in the past you most ardently rejected the left-wing nuttery of man-made global warming.

    So tell us your Sheaness, now that Comrade Pope Bergoglio has declared man-made global warming an immutable scientific truth and an official doctrine of faith – have you formally declared your new found discovery of this developed doctrine of thruthiness?

    After all your Sheaness – unless you’ve had a recent conversion to the scientific consensus of this new Katholic-Communism – you’re actually just another NeoCon Capitalist pig!!!!!!11111!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh my!!!!!!11111!!!!!!!!!!!

    BTW have you gotten rid of all of that intrinsically evil air conditioning in your house?

     
     
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    Ahhh, there he is; the Yosemite Sam of the Patheos Posse (otherwise knows as CAI (Character Assassination Incorporated).

     
     
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    Says his Sheaness: the histrionic rhetorical-pyromaniac of the endless acreage of self-constructed strawmen!!!!!!11111!!!!!!!!!!!

    Who BTW is posting under an anonymous name!!!!!!11111!!!!!!!!!!!

    Yes – his hypocrisy does consume itself.

     

Continue Reading

8

Mark Shea on Climate Change

 

After the issuance of the Green Encyclical today I assume that Catholics will be debating global warming.  I thought we would kick off the debate here on TAC with Mark Shea representing both sides:

2011:

As you probably know, I’m skeptical of the Global Warming hype, not least because its marketers and packagers keep changing the name. First, it was “Global Warming,” then “Climate Change” (as if climate does anything besides change) and lately it’s “Global Climate Disruption.” I’m also skeptical that it is man made, and I think the dishonesty of some of the scientists in the field, not to mention the packagers and marketers, leaves me cold (clever pun, eh?). So, for instance, when I see evidence of rising sea levels that doesn’t always refer me back to the same remote island nobody knows anything about except that it might be a case of erosion and not rising sea levels, I will begin to take our melting ice caps more seriously.

Go here to read the rest.

2015:

I have always expressed ignorance of the science for the very good reason that I am not a scientist. I have always granted the premise that there is climate change for the very good reason that change is what climate does. Beyond that, I have always left the matter in the hands of experts to hash out because what do I know?

Go here to read the rest.

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Daffey Thoughts

 

A blog I have been reading lately is Daffey Thoughts, run by David Griffey, a Baptist minister who converted to Catholicism.  The video above is from 2006.  He is a graceful writer as demonstrated by this recent post:

This year has been a struggle, as I work things out relative to the shifts that have happened in Catholicism since I’ve been Catholic.  The last vestiges of pre-progressive culture have been swept behind us, except for those sexual issues that would likely not impact celibate men.  Everything else is increasingly along the lines of modern, Western, progressive and even secular social and political theory.

That is enough right there.  Add to it the slammed doors on any hope that I will be able to act in the capacity of a minister of the Gospel, and it’s been tough.  What to give up?  What to sacrifice?  What to commit to?

Well, I decided, a few weeks into Lent I admit, that my penance will be a daily visit to Catholic and Enjoying It.  That may sound strange.  But here is why.

In my early days of looking at non-Protestant Christianity, I stumbled on CAEI largely by accident.  I was searching for some free downloadable articles by Scott Hahn, without success.  Then I found an article by someone named Mark Shea.  It dealt with the strange aversion many Protestants have regarding Mary.  It was direct, but nice.  Even respectful.  There were some clever zingers, making the point without offending.  But the point was solid, fair, and truthful.

I went back, found his website, and gobbled up the articles.  They were almost all wonderful.  Here was a conservative American Catholic, not afraid to point out when Conservatism wasn’t following the path of Christ.  He was also fair when liberalism was correct.  His blog was a little more raucous.  But those were usually the readers.  Mark himself was often the goalie, stepping in and stopping things before they went too far.  Even telling his friends to back off.  No personal attacks or accusations were allowed.  Those would get you the door.

There you had it.  You could be conservative and Catholic.  The stereotype of Catholicism and Liberal Socialism voting Democrats as the sacramental calling of modern Catholicism was not universal.  You could love America, admit it sins, but not emphasize them (which Mark pointed out was often a very un-Christian thing to do).  You could respect the heritage of Western Civilization. You could evenly boldly declare “Why We Must Fight” following 9/11.  He even liked Tolkien, and the books I liked.  And his humor and mine were not too far off each other.

Perhaps it was my own fault that I saw in Mark’s rather balanced approach as what Catholicism was, rather than looking further.  But that was well over ten years ago.

Today, the Church has changed in just the time since we came into it.  The generation that had welcomed Protestant Clergy Converts into the fold have passed to retirement.  With some exceptions in the priesthood, most now in charge (Boomer age) seem to want little to do with us, unless we can design webpages or raise money.  And it isn’t hard to see that Oprah style liberalism and the growing pronouncements about reality from Church leaders sound increasingly the same.  The Bishops’ willingness to almost in one voice support the Democrats in all things, as long as they don’t screw the Church, and the shift toward accepting the Secular narrative are hard to miss.

True, Pope Francis is a horse of a different color.  But those who have studied liberation theology and the Marxist influences in South American Christianity will recognize at least some influences there, even if what he is willing to take a stand against other forms of radical leftist morality (again, usually where sex is concerned).

On CAEI, the change is even more pronounced.  It’s almost an entirely different world.  An entirely different blogger.  Most regulars of old have long since moved on.  The readers are either post-modern non-conformists cheering on their own superiority over all those loser “tribal Catholics”, or clearly hard to the Left progressives, with varying degrees of anti-abortion and non-gay marriage support.  In fact, opposing gay “marriage” is about the only thing that separates much modern talk about homosexuality in the Church from your average LGBT rally. And CAEI echoes this.

CAEI is a strange mixture now of Jack Chick, Glenn Beck, Huffington Post progressive thought, and a reminder that Catholics are, whether we want to admit it or not, heirs of the Inquisition.  For a couple years, many regulars tried to warn that there was little to do with enjoying anything on CAEI, and a growing discrepancy between a man who claims to be conservative, and a man who increasingly seems to love liberalism but hate conservatism.  One by one, those readers have apparently given up and moved on.  Only a handful remain.  God love them.

For me, who has been accused of horrible things by the stock readers and by Mark himself – including not caring about murdered children at Sandy Hook and desiring to increase human slaughter – there is little joy or happiness now.  The anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Traditional and anti-Conservative narrative fully embraced has made me more of an outcast there than I was at the Huffington Post.  And to be honest, I’ve been called far worse on CAEI than I was at the Huffington Post.  And it was leaving HP (as well as being banned for not being liberal) that was one of the reasons I started my blog!  Which is always a possibility at CAEI, since the thing that gets you banned now is pretty much defending traditional and conservative viewpoints, with rare exception. Continue Reading

54

Gennarini, Archer and Shea

population%20control,%20copenhagen,%20china,%20abortion,%20save%20the%20earth%20abort%20a%20child-thumb-250x236-8013

 

Faithful readers of this blog will recall the interview that Stefano Gennarini conducted with Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, go here to read all about it.  The interview has developed into a larger controversy following a First Things article by Gennarini.  Go here to read it.  Mahound’s Paradise sets the stage for us:

 

 

The President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS), appointed by Pope Francis in 2014, just publicly dropped the “H” word on a pro-life writer at First Things.

The full saga involves the First Things writer, Stefano Gennarini, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS), Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo and Margaret Archer, the president of PASS. It was in the context of initial criticism by Gennarini of the Vatican working closely with “population control” advocates Ban Ki-moon and Jeffrey Sachs.

Lifesite News sums the whole thing up well here. But I wanted to excerpt (with a few annotations) some of the worst parts of the letter written by Ms. Archer. The letter is extremely nasty–completely out of proportion to Mr. Gennarini’s initial calm criticisms–and often bizarrely off-subject, as when she accuses Mr. Gennarini of ignoring mass graves in Malaysia.
 
Keep in mind that this is a Vatican official appointed by the Pope, not some non-Catholic or squishy Catholic academic. And it was posted on an official Vatican website, not Salon or the Huffington Post:

Is your sole concern with human dignity confined to the period between conception and live-birth?…If so, this is a travesty of Catholic Social Teaching. [Gennarini of course never says anything of the kind, but this is a standard move.] 

Why are you so totally uninterested in vicious practices, such as human trafficking that are an offence to the human dignity and right to life that you purport to defend? [Ditto.] 

In the last two weeks of April in question, mass graves were found in Malaysia and Thailand of those killed by their intended traffickers; tens of thousands were set adrift at sea without food or water by those intending to traffic them before they feared for their own lives through the ‘civilized’ solution of a ‘blockade’. Is this of no concern to you? [Ditto again.] 

Of course, your comments imply that you are a climate change denier… [Burn him!] 

Why do you direct a hate message to Bishop Sánchez Sorondo alone? [There’s that H-bomb.] Various Cardinals were present at different meetings. Instead, blame me, blame PAS. [Well, yeah, but Sorondo is the Chancellor.] We are respected academics who take full responsibility for our actions and have, according to our Statutes, the duty and privilege of advising the Church on matters of Social Doctrine and its application. I am appointed by the Pope and responsible directly to him. I’m afraid that leaves you and your cohort out in the cold. Moreover, we work pro bono and are therefore are (sic) self-supporting, which makes me wonder which lobbyists meet your salary bill? [You dare to disagree with us? Who’s paying you?]  

Why are we not allowed to speak to Jeffrey Sachs or the Secretary General of the UN? [It’s a bit more than that.]…Well, that was not the attitude of Pope Francis who invited him to a private Audience, immediately prior to our joint PAS/PASS meeting on 28 April – to discuss climate change and human trafficking. Do you really have a higher moral standard than the Pope? Or is your own minimalistic version of the Creed, consisting of the single item: ‘’We believe in the ethical depravity of abortion’ considered to be an improvement? [Ditto for the third time.] 

It seems as if abject poverty, malnutrition, no schooling, and the prospect of no employment are of little concern to you after (children) have been born. [Well, personally, I also deeply care about employment opportunities for the unborn. But that’s just me.]

Who is Margaret Archer? As well as being the President of PASS, she is the Director of the “Centre for Social Ontology” at the University of Warwick.
Go here to read the rest. I find it rather odd that the President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences would engage in pro-abort rhetoric rather than address the moral problem with the Vatican getting into bed with pro-aborts.  (Yes, Hitler has a terrible policy regarding the Jews, but we can work with him on ecological issues.)  Mark Shea has chimed in, and his opinion is that the controversy is all the fault of the nasty pro-lifers:

There have been a number of pre-emptive strikes against Francis and his imminent encyclical.  So…

This time, they messed with the wrong woman – Margaret Archer, world-renowned social theorist and president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. In the context of an all-too-typical hit piece from First Things, she issued a defiant response. She asks a sequence of questions, starting with this one:

“Is your sole concern with human dignity confined to the period between conception and live-birth? If so, this is a travesty of Catholic Social Teaching, whose concern is not confined to the newborn but extends to the development of all those potentialities and powers that exist only in potentia at birth (such as walking and talking) that develop or can be irreparably damaged throughout life.”

I’ve had people get mad at me when I’ve pointed out that things like the death penalty gun violence, unjust war, torture, or poverty are prolife issues too.  One reader furiously demanded to know why prolife activists were expected to drop everything and go protest some shooting in Detroit that killed a couple of people while a million and a half were dying from abortion, etc.  I was, I was told, placing an impossible demand on people with limited resources to do everything and be everywhere.

But that’s not what I’m saying.  I get that people have their focuses and can’t be everywhere doing everything.  Well and good.  If you are devoted to working against abortion full time and can’t fit anything else into your schedule then thank you for your hard work and may God bless and prosper it.  You are one of my heroes.

Yet here’s the  thing.  An awful lot of the “prolife” subculture, protesting that it has no time to expand its energies beyond protesting abortion, *does* have a huge amount of time and energy to work *against* the clear and obvious guidance of the Church on the issues I mention above.  Indeed, they often give every indication of having more time and energy for working against the Church on such issues than for actually doing prolife work.

Go here to read the rest.

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22

Shea Plays Race Card on Death Penalty

 

Mark Shea has been trending left for quite a while and now he is using the favorite tactic of the contemporary left in this country:  race baiting.

 

but it’s totally not about race or anything and if you notice that it is you are “playing the race card”. The Death Penalty: Because the Magisterium is incompetent to teach about faith and morals when American white conservative sacred cows are involved.

 

Have you no sense of decency left Mark?  Of course, it has long been known around Saint Blogs that in the heat of controversy Mark Shea will use any stick to wield against those on the other side, no matter how dirty and unfair the stick is.  Back in 2013 Shea offered a public apology for his bad behavior and I congratulated him on it.  Go here to read my post.  One aspect of apologies is amendment of behavior and, regrettably, since that apology Shea has gotten worse in his public behavior, and the above putrid insult by him of Catholics who hold to the teaching of the Church for almost 2000 years as racists, is beneath contempt and is about as low as one can go in American contemporary discourse.

For 33 years I have engaged in adversarial relationships every day of my professional life as an attorney.  I have always tried to never use unfair arguments and I have always attempted to treat my adversaries with respect.  Sometimes I have felt that this has put me at a slight disadvantage occasionally with attorneys who have a win at all costs mentality.  However, my success record in litigation has been rather good, and I have the added bonus of being able to look at myself in the mirror when I shave.  I think that what I have done as an attorney is a good rule to follow in blogging, whether other bloggers do so or not.

24

Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been, A Libertarian?

 

Libertarians

 

As faithful readers of this blog know, I have absolutely no use for the late Ayn Rand, a  puerile novelist who got rich on the formula of writing didactic libertarian novels like Atlas Shrugged, and filling them with smut at a time when smutty mainstream novels were still a rarity.  I also have little use for libertarians, the perfect political philosophy for fifteen year old nerds.  However, , at The Stream, is quite correct about a new form of “red baiting” going on in Saint Blog’s today:

 

Today Catholic circles are seeing the exact same tactic, except that now the use of guilt-by-association and false implication is serving the cause of big-government statists. The targets are conservative Catholics who distrust the modern secular state, and the smear-word is not “Communist” but “libertarian,” which is then connected with the thought of Ayn Rand. Welcome to the age of the Rand-baiters.

An entire conference held last summer at Catholic University of America was devoted to such Rand-baiting, to speeches that said, implicitly or explicitly, that Catholics who oppose the expansion of government and the large-scale redistribution of wealth are “dissenters” from Catholic Social Teaching. Listening to them speak one would imagine that opposing the leviathan state was a heterodoxy on par with supporting partial-birth abortion and euthanasia. Austin Ruse wrote a fine response to this conference, which provoked a sneering answer from Matthew Boudway at Commonweal.

Go here to read the rest.  Can we supply an example of this Rand Baiting?  Can we?  (Mark, you are missing your cue!)

I am similarly dubious. When I hear Ryan a) ceasing to pretend that he was never an acolyte of Rand and b) doing more than paying lip service to Thomas and citing more than the word “subsidiarity” to give his rhetoric a veneer of Catholic respectability, I will take his Sister Souljah Moment with regard to Rand seriously. Till then, I’m not buyin’ Ryan. He seems to me to be a particularly odious epigone of the Randian Class Warrior against the weak, dressing his class warfare with a few rags from Catholic social teaching to make it look nice. When the Randian jargon goes and is replaced with actual Catholic social teaching beyond the bare repetition of the sacred word “subsidiarity” (interpreted to mean “individualism and hostility to the state”) I’ll start to trust that he is serious. Continue Reading

16

If Only All Catholics Thought As Highly of the Church

 

In response to President Obama’s ignorant exercise in moral equivalency in invoking the Crusades and the Inquisition, ( as T.Shaw noted fewer people were turned over for execution by the Inquisition, actually Inquisitions, in all of history than die in American abortion clinics on any week day), go here to read about it, Jonah Goldberg quotes from his book Tyranny of Cliches which explains why such Catholic bashing is ahistoric and unfair:

 

As a fairly secular Jew I cannot and will not speak to the theological questions, in part because I do not want to. But mostly because I do not have to. The core problem with those who glibly invoke one cliché after another about the evils of organized religion and Catholicism is that they betray the progressive tendency to look back on the last two thousand years and see the Catholic Church — and Christianity generally — as holding back humanity from progress, reason, and enlightenment. They fault the Church for not knowing what could not have been known yet and for being too slow to accept new discoveries that only seem obvious to us with the benefit of hindsight. It’s an odd attack from people who boast of their skepticism and yet condemn the Church for being rationally skeptical about scientific breakthroughs.

In short, they look at the tide of secularism and modernity as proof that the Church was an anchor. I put it to you that it was more of sail. Nearly everything we revere about modernity and progress — education, the rule of law, charity, decency, the notion of the universal rights of man, and reason were advanced by the Church for most of the last two thousand years.

Yes, compared to the ideal imagined by atheists and secularists this sounds like madness.

But isn’t the greater madness to make a real force for good the enemy because the forces of self-anointed perfection claim to have some glorious blueprint for a flawless world sitting on a desk somewhere? It is a Whiggish and childish luxury to compare the past — or even the present — to a utopian standard. Of course there was corruption, cruelty, and hypocrisy within the Church — because the Church is a human institution. Its dark hypocrisies are the backdrop that allow us to see the luminance of the standard they have, on occasion, fallen short of. The Catholic Church was a spiritual beacon lighting the way forward compared to the world lit only by fire outside the Church doors.

You know that you live in loony tunes times when a secular Jew like Goldberg has a better appreciation for the role of the Church in History than some Catholic bloggers:  (Ahem, that is your cue Mark:)

Not feeling the hysteria…

…over Obama’s Prayer Breakfast remarks. It’s just today’s Panic du Jour from the Noise Machine. Here’s what he actually said:

“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ…

“So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try. And in this mission, I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe.

“And, first, we should start with some basic humility. I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt — not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.” (source)

This seems, not merely reasonable, but rather pedestrian.

 

 

20

Ferrara v. Shea

 

 

Break out the popcorn!  The latest in the longstanding Ferrara v. Shea feud:

 

 

The “Francis effect” appears to be driving Mark Shea over the edge as he doggedly stays the neo-Catholic course of defending the indefensible no matter how indefensible it becomes. Given a Pope who has just cooperated with the Abortion President to sell out the oppressed Catholics of Cuba, with thanks from both Obama and Cuba’s communist dictator, and who approved a synodal document calling for appreciation of the “positive elements” in concubinage and “valuing” the “orientation” and the “gifts and qualities” of “homosexual persons,” Shea is now faced with a growing army of messengers that have to be shot, including a few cardinals and bishops.

Shea is beside himself over a searing critique of this pontificate by Maureen Mullarkey that appeared in—oh the horror!—First Things. He cannot believe it: “This was not written on a bathroom wall where it belongs.  It was not published on some blog published from Ignatius Reilly’s basement.  This was published by First Freakin’ Things.” Yes, First Freakin’ Things, the preeminent journal of “moderate” Catholic opinion that could never be accused of “rad trad” leanings.A bewildered Shea wants to know: “First Things: What happened to you guys?” Francis happened, that’s what. Now, if Shea were a reasonable man he would recognize that there just might be a serious problem with this pontificate when even First Things begins voicing objections to such elements of the Bergoglian program as “his clumsy intrusion into the Middle East and covert collusion with Obama over Cuba” and his “sacralizing politics and bending theology to premature, intemperate policy endorsements”—a reference to Francis posing between two environmental activists while holding an anti-fracking T-shirt.

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50

Torture Debate Golden Oldies

9-11 jumpers

With the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture, which does its mendacious best to blame the CIA for enhanced interrogation methods (torture) while giving Senate Democrats the Sergeant Schultz defense, I know nothing, nothing!, Mark Shea has decided to climb Mount Sinai again and damn every one who disagreed with him as to the inherent evil of torture:

Now that the Torture Report is out and we are discovering that the lies we listened to for so long (We only waterboarded three high value targets! We had to do it to save lives!  Valuable intel!  Are you telling me that some filthy terrorist is more important than an unborn baby in your sick twisted liberal mind?) are all exposed as appalling lies, it’s important to do an examination of conscience.  Why?  Because we Catholics consistently supported torture in larger percentages then the average American population.  And the more we self-described as “faithful conservative” and “prolife” the more likely we were to do so.  God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of us. (Romans 2:24)

The ugly fact is that in our fear and rage, we became the thing we hate.

Go here to read the rest.  The comments are a hoot: Continue Reading

30

Mark Shea, Pro-life and Religion as Politics

 

Mark Shea has taken his agree-with-me-on-these-issues-or-you-are-not-really-pro-life routine to the pages of the Jesuit rag America:

But weirdly, when the topic is not the unborn, many allegedly pro-life people often forget their wisdom. Result: on many issues ranging from war to torture to refugees to the death penalty, it is extremely common to run into people who are anti-abortion, but not pro-life.

And so self-identified pro-life people, in a solid majority, favored the launch of the Iraq War, despite the fact that it failed to meet a single criterion of Just War teaching, was sternly denounced by Pope John Paul II, warned of by the world’s bishops, and dismissed as folly by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, who famously remarked that the “concept of a ‘preventive war’ does not appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church” and who warned that it would result in catastrophe—as the destruction of the Chaldean Church, the deaths of at least 100,000 people and the transformation of Iraq into chaos eloquently attests.

..
Relatedly, self-identified pro-life Christians supported, in greater percentages than the general U.S. population, the use of torture against prisoners. Indeed, along with Evangelicals, self-identified pro-life Catholics may constitute the single most enthusiastic supporters of torture in American public life. This is despite the fact that the church describes torture as gravely and intrinsically immoral—exactly the same terms in which she describes abortion.

Similarly, the death penalty is sometimes treated as an issue in which the church’s guidance to inflict the punishment only if absolutely necessary is rejected on the theory that God “commands” rather than reluctantly permits the death penalty. Some even go so far as to declare the church, not merely entitled to an opinion from which they dissent, but actually “wrong” and work to execute as many victims as possible.

Finally, there is the strange spectacle of some Catholics opposing pre-natal help for low income women (thus increasing the likelihood of abortion for poor families who fear they cannot afford another child) and the even stranger spectacle of self-identified pro-life people brandishing guns and screaming for desperately poor refugee children from Central America to be sent back to the extreme dangers of rape, sex slavery and murder.
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19

All is Well!

 

 

If a Pope decreed that all Catholics must paint their bottoms yellow,  I suspect Mark’s only response would be to inquire what shade.

Donald R. McClarey

For those of you disturbed by the Relatio of the Synod, go here to read about it, Mark Shea explains at length why you are simply a misguided “Reactionary”:

The latest in months of Reactionary panic (ongoing since March 2013 with the election of Francis) was on display last week in the fears about “gradualism” being discussed at the Synod. What’s gradualism? Gradualism is the common sense fact that conversion usually takes a long time and sinners typically require baby steps to change.  Calah Alexander, who is, like Yr. Obdt. Svt, a wretched sinner, has some rather appreciative words for gradualism. To which I say, “Hear! Hear!” I’ve never met a confessor who was not a gradualist and I doubt you have either. Indeed, most confessors I know tend to discourage gigantic vows of massive instantaneous conversion, particularly with entrenched sins. Why? Because when we fail to keep them, as we almost surely will, we can fly to the opposite end of the spectrum and despair. So the counsels tend to be “slow and steady wins the race”.

Unfortunately, Reactionaries (who tend to lack people skills) tend also to understand “gradualism” to mean “Let’s gradually change basic Church teaching until it conforms to the world, the flesh, and the devil.”  When they hear “gradualism” they don’t hear “How can the Church welcome sinners and help them to become saints by baby step?”  They hear “How can we slowly pervert the teaching of the Church until  abortion and gay marriage are the eighth and ninth sacraments?” Continue Reading

12

Mash Note

 

America, the Jesuit rag not the country, interviews Mark Shea.  The money quote:

 

I love the man. It’s almost inarticulate, but I have nothing but love for the guy. I think he’s the absolute real deal and I feel tremendous hope for the church. As I said before, I’ve loved every pope we’ve had, but I particularly have a soft spot for this man just as a human being apart from whatever he does as pope. I think the world of him. There are some people you just recognize as genuine people and I always respond really strongly to them. There’s no artifice about him and I really like that. Continue Reading

24

Agree With Me, Or You Are Not Really Pro-life

abortion and welfare

 

Mark Shea is back to his old trick of saying that unless you agree with me on policy issue x which is not directly related to abortion, you are not really pro-life.  It is an attempt to stop debate on policy issue x, at least among pro-lifers.  Mike Gannon at Pocketful of Liberty takes the argument apart:

 

This past Tuesday over at Patheos, Mark Shea, noted gadfly of Catholics and other Christians who come down on the small government side of the aisle, authored a post that started out with the provocative assertion “If we oppose abortion and social safety nets, we don’t really oppose abortion.”

Balderdash, I say!

Now, that’s a qualified balderdash, as I explain below. Mark Shea is a complicated thinker who is usually worth giving a second look (halfway through the piece he denounces the idolatry of the individual and the state in the same breath, demonstrating the difficulty one has at putting him neatly into this or that political box). Nonetheless, in this piece Shea falls victim to the temptation to cast aspersions on fellow pro-lifers who at the same time harbor serious concerns about the scope of our modern welfare state.

It’s a cheap trick that is all too common in political discourse to attempt to strong-arm a fellow traveler into lockstep with one’s own preferred platform by questioning their commitment to the cause if they disagree over tactics or emphases. Continue Reading

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Rebecca Frech Schools Mark Shea on Guns

Mark Shea has a habit of saying that unless people do x, x always being a policy he endorses, they really are not pro-life.  This of course is simply an attempt, at least among pro-lifers, to stop debate on x and says nothing about the merits of x as a policy.  His latest attempt to do so is on the issue of smart guns, technology that purports to prevent a firearm from being fired, unless the owner is the one pulling the trigger.  Go here to read one of his posts on the subject.  Blogger Rebecca Frech, at her blog Shoved to Them, relates an incident to describe why Shea is wrong as a practical matter:

The argument seems to center around smart gun technology. Shea reasons that if gun owners were truly pro-life then we would support all efforts to create guns which would only fire for their owners, and then the world would be a better place. People who don’t support such legislation and research, even if they support the protection of life from conception to natural death, are not truly pro-life because they participate in a culture which accepts the possibility of death by gun shot (Mark and his readers haven’t mentioned how they aim to prevent people from being bludgeoned with a rifle butt or pistol whipped with a handgun).

*********************

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21

Touching Up The Ol’ Hermeneutic: A Reply To Gabriel Sanchez

Gabriel Sanchez, a Catholic author I know and respect, has written a critique of my – as he calls it – selective “hermeneutic” of libertarian Catholicism at Ethika Politica. Specifically he is critiquing my critique of Mark Shea’s indictment of libertarianism as heresy at Crisis magazine. It seems he at least agrees with my point that libertarianism is not heresy, but that may be where the agreement ends There are some broad points of his critique I want to address.

First there is Sanchez’s claim that my argument regarding the limits Leo places on the state with respect to taxation and charity is “strange.” The part of paragraph 22 that Sanchez says I “overlook” is irrelevant; in context, it is clear that Leo does not believe that the state has a duty to expropriate and confiscate wealth in the name of charity. I could have quoted more of that paragraph to support my point, such as “[n]o one is commanded to distribute to others that which is required for his own needs and those of his household; nor even to give away what is reasonably required to keep up becomingly his condition in life, “for no one ought to live other than becomingly.”” After this, the part I did quote:

“But, when what necessity demands has been supplied, and one’s standing fairly taken thought for, it becomes a duty to give to the indigent out of what remains over. “Of that which remaineth, give alms.”(14) It is a duty, not of justice (save in extreme cases), but of Christian charity – a duty not enforced by human law.”

Maybe we live in two different semantic universes, but in mine, when someone says “no one is commanded”, “not of justice”, “not enforced by human law”, the meaning is clear: the state has no obligation to confiscate the private property of citizens and distribute it to whomever it deems worthy. Whether to give and how much to give is a matter for each individual to decide. I suppose it is arguable that the state could do these things with the consent of the people, but it is not required to do so and the libertarian argument against them would remain quite valid.

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24

Shea & I: A Follow-Up

The-Pope-and-the-Inquisitor

I have a new piece up at Crisis regarding libertarianism and heresy inspired by a post on Mark Shea’s blog. Since I post there under my actual name, and since the reasons I had for writing under a pen name have largely vanished, I suppose my pen name is no longer needed here, though I will keep it because the Marquis de Bonchamps is still my hero. Anyway, I wanted to post some additional thoughts here for those interested, and since there are (as of 5/3, 11 am Pacific Time) 320 comments between my article and Shea’s reply, there might be a few. So here they are:

1) I didn’t choose the name of the piece – or the picture (above). Shea and I am sure others know that writers don’t often get this privilege when they submit something for publication. It’s not that I wholly object to the title and I like the painting, but I might have chosen something else. It wasn’t my intention to provoke the man.

2) Speaking of which, I haven’t followed Shea’s writings enough to know whether or not he deserves the almost unprecedented levels of animosity directed at him through the com-boxes. I’ve found some of his writing to be agreeable in the past and I have nothing personal against him. It was his claim, not his character, I was seeking to critique. I don’t approve of or condone the savaging of the man on a personal level.

3) Shea, through the com-boxes in his reply (though oddly not in the actual reply), thinks my argument is “silly” because if libertarianism is heretical, it can’t possibly be worth anything (thus rendering my probing questions in the opening of the piece superfluous). And yet in his original post (the second link above), he makes a practical argument against libertarianism and I am still not sure if it is the reason why he thinks it is heretical or if it is just some unrelated tangent. If libertarianism is heresy – end of story, end of debate – why proceed to make a rather half-hearted point against it, in this case, that it is somehow “utopian”? Or is that the reason he thinks it is heretical? He didn’t make that clear, hence the questions I pose in the piece. I also make clear that since I believe that a) libertarian arguments against confiscatory taxation are rooted in true and morally good principles and b) the Church does not reject what is true or good that c) it is very likely that at least what I call libertarianism is not “heretical.” I thought that was rather obvious.

One last thing: another publication will be posting a reply to my piece on Tuesday. I won’t give anymore details for now, but I expect a lively exchange to result.

35

Of Sarah Palin, Waterboarding and Baptism

Sarah Palin and the torture debate?  Red Meat for bloggers for sure!  Sarah Palin at the NRA convention said about captured terrorists and interrogation:

“Oh, but you can’t offend them, can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen. Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”

The remark has received predictable criticism from the Left.  Mark Shea, who is not a Leftist whatever else he is,  chimes in with the usual quiet reason that has ever reflected his comments during the torture debate:

Well done also to Joe Carter for giving this vile filth no quarter.  There is nothing left to discuss or negotiate.  “Prolife” Christians who cheer for torture and, worse, cheer for sacrilegiously likening it to baptize have only one option: repent and seek forgiveness.  Those who make excuses for it or refuse to repent ought to be as radioactive as Catholics for a Free Choice.

Here is a link to the Joe Carter post mentioned by Mark.

Father Z believes that the remark requires an apology.

Ed Peters who Father Z quotes is very condemnatory:

Open contempt for faith and things of religion is broadly associated with the left in America. I well recall pro-aborts smirking under a placard that claimed “If men could become pregnant abortion would be a sacrament.” Now Palin has given sociology professors an incontestable example of contempt for religion on the American right.

May my readers join me in offering a short Pater in reparation for both.

In the face of all this, Sarah Palin is unrepentant:

Actions to stop terrorists who’d utterly annihilate America and delight in massacring our innocent children? Darn right I’d do whatever it takes to foil their murderous jihadist plots – including waterboarding. Whatever one thinks of my one…-liner at the NRA rally about treating evil terrorists the way they deserve to be treated to prevent the death of innocent people, it’s utterly absurd for MSNBC to suggest that I could put our beloved troops in harm’s way, but we’ve come to expect the absurd from that failing network. If you want to talk about what really harms our troops, let’s talk about politicians who gut our military’s budgets, or a president whose skewed budgetary priorities slash military benefits, or an administration that puts our vets on endless waiting lists for care that comes too late to help those who’ve paid the price for our freedom, or those who break bread with those who think it makes no difference how our military heroes died in Benghazi or anywhere else trying to protect America. Those actions are a heck of a lot more harmful than declaring an appropriate message our enemies should receive. If some overly sensitive wusses took offense, remember the First Amendment doesn’t give you a right not to be offended. Perhaps hypocritical folks who only want Freedom of Speech to apply to those who agree with their liberal agenda might want to consider that the evil terrorists who were the brunt of my one-liner would be the first to strip away ALL our rights if given the chance. That’s why we do whatever we can to prevent them from killing innocent people. And for that, we should NEVER apologize. Good Lord, critics… buck up or stay in the truck. And if you love freedom, thank our troops! Thank our vets! And thank those who have the brains to support them and the guts to defend what they have earned!
– Sarah Palin
My own thoughts? Continue Reading
7

The Great Shea-Voris Grudge Match

Mark Shea and Michael Voris recently met for some verbal sparring:

 

Before I start to describe all that I recall regarding the event, in the interest of transparency I have to say that I would place my own views in closer proximity to the Voris camp than to the Shea camp, although I do greatly respect and enjoy reading/watching both gentlemen’s work.

Since Mr. Shea was arguing in the affirmative on the topic, he gave his opening arguments. The mic was then passed to Mr. Voris, and this is where things quickly became a bit heated. In his first turn or two at the microphone, Michael Voris focused less on the substance of the debate, but instead started referencing quotes that Mark Shea had written on his blog regarding ChurchMilitant.tv, Michael Voris, Michael Voris’s followers, etc. Michael Voris clearly came to the debate with an ax to grind.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that what Shea has written on his blog regarding Voris was both juvenile and irresponsible (you can search Mark’s blog for yourself), but I have to say that this tactic by Voris didn’t reflect well on him. Where I was sitting, there was a chorus of groans erupting when it became clear that Michael Voris was starting in with the personal attacks rather than addressing the question posed. Thankfully, this was the most contentious portion of the debate, which only lasted around 45 minutes. Everything following that moment was a bit more civil, with the two even finding some common ground. Continue Reading

10

Pharisees, Reactionaries and Mark Shea

I cannot possibly improve on what Pat Archbold wrote at Creative Minority Report:

 

God, I thank you that I am not like other people”

 

From the eminently huggable Mark Shea’s “Bed-wetting Reactionary Wusses…”

What ties everything in Reactionary culture together better than any other theory I’ve been able to come up with is that it’s not that Reactionaries think the Church is evangelizing wrong and want to do it better.  It’s that they hate the whole idea of bringing new people into the Church at all (except for a vanishingly small sample of like-minded Reactionaries) and seem to be bent on making sure as few are allowed in and as many are driven away as possible.

I agree with Mark.  Wouldn’t it be much better if all the Reactionary Wuss –holes in the Church who are not as open, loving, and tolerant as us would just get the the F out.
File this in the “irony is lost on them” department.

38

Mark Shea’s Public Apology

Sorry

 

 

Interesting public apology by Mark Shea:

The past week has not been a pleasant one, but it has been a fruitful one.  I won’t bore you with a lot of autobiography, but I will say that the Holy Spirit has been very busy, turning over some rocks in the heart that have nasty things living under them.  And since some of them concern youse guys (who have been way more patient with me than I would be if I were reading me over the past several years) I think I owe some apologies.

You know how something can be right in front of your face and you can’t see it?  That’s what it’s been for me this week and really for a good number of years.  I’ve sensed that something is wrong, but not been able to really get it or know what to do about it.  Partly I spent a lot of time thinking about the reaction to this piece, in which it was very plain that the issue for readers was simply that I had offended and angered a lot of people for a long time. But in many ways, the reactions to that piece just seemed to recapitulate a lot of reactions over the years. It seemed obvious to me that the problem was me, not my readers (since I don’t believe in conspiracy theories).  My assumption is that when a random sample of people all report a very similar experience, that’s because they are reacting to something that is there, not conspiring to create an illusion of something that is not.

So there was that.  There is also the fact that, over the past several years, I have engaged in a number of arguments on a number of questions that have brought to the surface some pretty deep rooted habits of soul.  I have remarked on them in the past and tried to repent of them (sincerely, I might add, but of course the problem with besetting sins is that they are besetting: think about that sin you’ve confessed a hundred times and seem to make no progress with.  Frustrating, ain’t it?)

Anyway, it all kind of came to a head this weekend on Sunday, starting at Mass.  The hymn was, appropriately enough for Corpus Christi, “Taste and See”.  As I was praying it just got more and more apparent to me that the message I’m getting back from so many quarters is, if you will, “You taste bitter”.

And I couldn’t argue with that.  I do taste bitter. And for that I am deeply, profoundly sorry, because it is through my fault, through my fault, through my own most grievous fault that I do.  I’ve become bitter in much of my interaction with people.  And bitterness is a root that “defiles many” according to Hebrews.  In my case, I think I have defiled quite a number of hearts who came here looking for the gospel and instead just got Mark Shea getting increasingly cynical and angry about all sorts of stuff.  You can’t eat food, including food for the soul, that is bitter.  My apologies to all to whom I have done this. Continue Reading

81

Has Ryan “Softened” His Pro-Life Views?

Brace yourself for the latest meme to hit the politosphere: the word is now that Paul Ryan has “softened” his views on abortion. Ryan has long opposed abortion in all cases save in a few cases where he believes it may be necessary to save the life of the mother. This means that he has opposed abortion in the case of rape. But in this post-Akin political environment, so the narrative goes, Ryan, in the interests of being a team player, is renouncing his opposition to rape exceptions.

What set this off? First there was the statement made by various Romney campaign spokespeople in the aftermath of Akin’s blunder:

“Gov. Romney and Congressman Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape”

Then there were Ryan’s responses to some reporters who were pressing him on the abortion/rape issue, and focusing particularly on some legislation he previously supported which made distinctions between different types of rape. Ryan said to the reporters:

“I’m proud of my record. Mitt Romney is going to be president and the president sets policy. His policy is exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. I’m comfortable with it because it’s a good step in the right direction.”

One the basis of one or both of these statements, major news outlets and some in the Catholic blogosphere are claiming that Ryan has “softened” his views on abortion. Or, to put it in Mark Shea’s words, Ryan has “partly renounce[d]” his position. In response to a comment I made on Mark’s blog, he elaborated further:

 I just don’t see how anybody can regard movement from “It is always gravely evil to deliberately kill innocent human life” to “I am opposed to the murder of innocent, unborn children except in cases my boss tells me not to be opposed,” or, “unless I feel it jeopardizes my chances of becoming VP” and maintain that Ryan is not compromising.

It is quite obvious to me that Paul Ryan has not said or done a thing to warrant the attribution of such cynical and selfish motives to him – though I do believe he, like most pro-life politicians and even people such as myself, is willing to compromise on a few points to make significant gains, a point I will elaborate on below. In any case, Mr. Shea goes too far. Because I often find his commentary to be fair-minded (even when I disagree), I am surprised at this rather unjustifiable attack on Ryan’s character but also willing to grant the benefit of the doubt. So I will offer my take on these comments and Mark can reply if he feels it’s worth his time.

Continue Reading