Gennarini, Archer and Shea



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.

Shea has long beaten the drum that unless you agree with him on X, Y and Z, you aren’t really pro-life.  The problem for him used to be that the Pope didn’t agree with him and recognized that the fight against abortion was the burning moral issue of our time:

3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

Now with Pope Francis who knows?  At one time he said the two greatest evils confronting the world were youth unemployment and lonely geezers.  He also is investing a huge amount of the moral capital of the Church in the fight against global warming, something Shea, prior to the current pontificate, used to be skeptical about.  However, the reality of abortion remains the same no matter who is Pope, and a Vatican official attacking pro-lifers who are concerned with the Vatican joining forces with pro-aborts is obscene.


More to explorer


  1. It is difficult to guard the village when our own guards have their matchlocks pointed inward at their own people, even as the enemy transgresses the walls. and dismantles the barricades.
    When truth is the target, much wailing is certain to follow.

  2. Mark Shea is a liberal progressive Democrat through and through. But I suppose that comes with living on the left coast. I should stop now. Anything further I have to say would be truly yet fairly derogatory. I can’t stand him and his kind at all.

  3. Lol….not having a rigorous death penalty gets thousands murdered in the Phillipines per year. 8000 murdered there in a recent year with a murder rate of 8 per 100,000. China’s murder rate of adults is one eighth of that…1 per 100,000…. with a billion poor people. Ergo conceivably, 7000 murders per year in the Phillipnes might be caused by not having Chinese severity…affirmed in the New Testament in the now unquoted Romans 13:4….unquoted in Evangelium Vitae and in the catechism
    death penalty sections. Abortions in China? About the same as New York City which has no death penalty operative for adult murder.

  4. Mark Shea is a liberal progressive Democrat through and through. But I suppose that comes with living on the left coast. I should stop now. Anything further I have to say would be truly yet fairly derogatory. I can’t stand him and his kind at all.

    But, Paul! He says himself that he’s just thoroughly conservative and has a mostly conservative readership! 😉

    Then again in Seattle, I guess anyone to the right of Stalin is “conservative”…

    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

    Death Penalty – You know what, I would gladly compromise on abolishing the DP if it meant outlawing abortion.
    Gun Violence – All time low. I guess pro-lifers won? (of course there’s also the very thorny issue of gun violence correlating to certain races and immigrants – I wonder how much Shea is really ready to travel down that road?)
    Unjust War – So nebulous in its meaning it is not even worth discussing.
    Torture – Catholic church fans might want to be wary of getting too attached to this particular petard.
    Poverty – The poor in the modern western nations have greater wealth than the rich man from Lazarus’s parable. Seems like pro-lifers have won there too.

    We live in an age of miracles and blessings our ancestors didn’t even dare to dream about. Yet people like Shea insist on complaining and constantly focusing on that last, unsolved 5% of several problems, rather than realizing that maybe it’s time we turned our focus to challenges that are 80% unsolved. At some point one wonders if he could ever go to Heaven because he would mad from having nothing to complain about.

  5. Cancelled my subscription to the National Catholic Register because of Shea. In reality he isn’t much different than some of our leaders; e.g. Dolan, Wuerl and on and on!!!!

  6. The problem is one of cooperation. Different types of cooperation with evil though only under one circumstance can one do so and if there are proportionate reasons. Formal cooperation where one agrees with the act (in this case promoting abortion and population control) and immediate material cooperation (one’s actions directly contribute to the act even if one does not agree with the act) are always wrong. Mediate material cooperation can be proximate or remote depending on how direct or causally related to the act. Proximate mediate cooperation is also illicit. Remote cooperation may be licit if there is proportionate reason to do so and other options have been tried. Also, scandal must not be given.

    It would seem that at a minimum, given the conditional state of climate science, that there is little proportionate reason to cooperate with the UN and other agencies that promote abortion etc. Even if there was, there is concern that the Vatican stand with these groups at some level would provide at a minimum proximate mediate cooperation and would be wrong. Better for these groups to be excluded even if one accepted the science.

    Whatever the case, neither Archer nor Sorondo argue from this traditional Catholic understanding. Rather, they fall back on tired, leftist arguments. This leads one to believe they either think their cooperation is not licit remote mediate cooperation or they don’t know the arguments about cooperation. Neither bodes well.

    The problem for Mark is, how close is he willing to tiptoe up to evil in order to achieve a very questionable good.

  7. Shea is a high profile troll. I wish people would just stop reading him, like I did years ago. The only reason I know anything about his writing is from articles like this one and the blurbs that appear on New Advent. It seems that he has actually gotten worse since Francis came in, which is not surprising. They both appear to dislike the same people.

  8. Well said, Brian English.
    Two reasons to never click on a link to a Mark Shea post:
    1) He gets money based on traffic to his site.
    2) He just bans anyone who disagrees with him from his comment box. I can’t believe the obvious sycophants following the gospel according to Shea.
    Really, I’m just fed up with the whole “I converted, therefore I am more zealous than thou, and am the only one who can understand the real truth that you ignorant cradle Catholics are missing. You are all so filled with self-righteousness and hung up on liturgical abuses. And a pox on all your houses for not agreeing with me.”

  9. I met Shea a few years ago and was not impressed. An now, because of views, vitriol, and argumentative writings, I simply avoid anything by him. It seems he is always attacking someone. I do not like him.

    Anyway, as an active pro-life advocate, I can tell you that many who witness for the dignity of the unborn ARE involved in other things. Many also volunteer at pregnancy centers, some help at maternity homes, some with Gabriel project—all of which are concerned with mothers and children after birth too. Many are concerned about sex trafficking and do what is available to do. Some work in soup kitchens as I have done. Some visit the elderly as I do also. But it is true that a person cannot embrace every aspect of pro-life work. And nothing takes more lives and SOULS than abortion,

  10. Good comment, Magdalene.
    What does Mark Shea do about the immigrants?
    What does Mark Shea do about the homeless, and the drug addicts and alcoholics in inner cities?
    What does Mark Shea do about the imprisoned – does he visit them?
    What does Mark Shea do about the hungry, poverty-stricken people in Appalachia?
    What does Mark Shea do about the family whose bread winner has lost his job and can neither pay the mortgage nor feed the children?
    What exactly does Mark Shea do except mouth off about what he accuses us of not doing but he himself refuses to get his hands dirty by doing?
    Drink that Star Bucks coffee and eat that fancy pastry while criticizing people for not doing what you refuse to do!
    Liberal progressive social justice Democrat. Arrggghhh!

  11. Drink that Star Bucks coffee and eat that fancy pastry while criticizing people for not doing what you refuse to do!

    Yeah, I’ve often wondered that if everyone complaining about a living wage, actually went out and hired someone to work for them at what they think a living wage should be, we wouldn’t have anybody making minimum wage any more.

    Certainly Shea and many of his commentators reinforce the stereotype about Catholics and economics.

  12. There once was a blogger named Shea,
    Who thought pro-life Catholics weren’t great.
    So he made it his cause
    to point out their flaws.
    Now he thinks, “I’m better than they!”

  13. The newly begotten human being is endowed with sovereign personhood from the very first moment of existence. Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights. Suarez. If Pope Francis follows Aquinas in that the human being comes into existence at ensoulment, what of Aquinas saying that the soul is the form of the bod? How does the human body get to ensoulment without his soul? God creates and ensouls the sovereign person simultaneously when man procreates the human body.
    Who can determine how the new human being, our posterity, worships and loves God in his relationship with his Creator? As a member of homo sapiens, he has a rational, immortal soul and is a member of the Church militant on earth. We know that the sovereign personhood of the new human being constitutes the human race, his nation and his government. We know that his civil rights are held in trust for him by God, by his parents and by the state, and therefore he must be given due process of law and may not be put to death for the crimes of his parents, or of overpopulation. He may be given up for adoption to parents who can afford to help him. Many childrens’ funds allow people to support children in other countries via mail and even support the aging.
    Any law can be broken to save a human life is the unwritten rule of thumb. The death penalty is not only a deterrent, the death penalty save lives.
    “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal…” in moral and legal innocence, the standard of Justice for the human race. Our vocation comes with our soul. Mary Immaculate said “YES” to her vocation. Test tube babies, frozen Snowflake babies, the product of rape all start life, with free will and intellect, with innocence.
    The effort to silence innocence makes one wonder where in hell Bergoglio is taking us.

  14. The cases of Archer and Shea are stretching what it means to be a Catholic beyond recognition and that includes those who support them like Bishop Sorondo. This is just another example of the Vaatican goings-on which are a travesty, an embarrassment, and a scandal.

  15. A person that places gun confiscation, illegal immigration and the death penalty (leftist/secular humanist-fabricated crises) on a level with 50,000,000 abortions is a moral bankrupt and not worthy of an iota of your attention.

    PS: Social Justice! Recent NBER study revealed that democrat, progressive policies destroyed, duh, fundamentally transformed the American middle class.

  16. Is anyone REALLY shocked that He Who Should Be Ignored has embraced the leftist meme that pro-lifers only care about people until they get born, at which time said pro-lifers suddenly lose interest in caring for others? We ALL know that meme is a LIE. Yet Mark has embraced it.
    I ask you: Is there a dime’s bit of difference between what Shea writes today and what he once criticized at Vox Nova as being the “debate club at Auschwitz”?
    He now has more in common with the hard-left commenters who now haunt his comboxes and Facebook page as his biggest fans.

  17. I’ve been in the pro life movement all my life . Since 19. These pro lifers have gone the extra mile in all areas of ministry . Adoption, foster care, pregnancy help centers, provide shelter for the homeless, prayer ministry, homes for unwed mother’s all area of care. Most of the time we have had very little help from the church, especially at the beginning. Legislation, education., hands on non stop help for all races, creeds and color. That’s along with our families and many activities family centered around our pro life activities. Social justice my patootski If the thousands upon thousands of pro lifers had not been doing what we have for the last 43+ years I dare say this country would have been casting shell already

  18. “If the thousands upon thousands of pro lifers had not been doing what we have for the last 43+ years I dare say this country would have been casting shell already.”
    Again I ask, “What exactly has Mark Shea done that remotely resembles this.”
    Has he gone to a State Penetentiary, regularly meeting and talking with prisoners to help them get to a normal life without drugs and alcohol? What an experience! So don’t talk to this right wing pro-lifer about caring for the imprisoned.
    Has he taken two Filipina immigrants into his apartment free of charge until they could get on their feet? So don’t talk to this right wing pro-lifer about caring for the immigrant.
    Has he worked with drug addicts and alcoholics? Has he ever paid for a month’s worth of housing for a drunken dope fiend, or counselled a manic depressive alcoholic, or gone to the beach to pick his sorry freaking behind up off the sand at 11 pm at night to get him some help? So don’t talk to this right wing pro-lifer about caring for the drug addict or alcoholic.
    And I will wager that the overwhelming majority of readers here have done far more than what is mentoned about. But what has that bombastic Mark Shea done? What besides pontificate on how evil right wing people are? I despise, loathe, abhor, detest and hold in utter contempt and disdain liberal progressive humanism.

  19. Catholics should know where the word “pro-life” came from, and what it means. “Pro-life” was a word coined to counter the pro-aborts calling themselves “pro-choice” soon after Roe v. Wade. It was a spiritual word, not political. What was political was the second part of what pro-life meant. It meant support for a Right-to-Life Constitutional Amendment. To get that required having at least 70% of men and women elected to Congress who were pro-life and would support a RTL Constitutional Amendment. It also required having at least 3/4 of the state legislatures to have men and women who were pro-life and would vote for a RTL Constitutional Amendment. So “pro-life” meant being against abortion and for a RTL Constitutional Amendment.

    There was a second means of providing protection for the unborn and that was to have justices on the U.S. Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v Wade. That required having Presidents elected who would nominate such persons who would overturn R v W, as well as required men and women elected to the U.S. Senate who would vote for such presidential nominees. .

    That all changed when Cardinal Bernardin got the U.S. Conference of Bishops to redirect the “pro-life” movement to include so called “social justice” issues which were prudential judgment issues, not intrinsic evils. Nor did any of them require passing a Constitutional Amendment to rectify them.

    In essence, Bernardin and the U.S. bishops quietly abandoned the fight to pass a RTL amendment for the unborn in favor of providing Catholic Democrats a “religious” means to remain in their beloved Democratic Party from which they get their self-identity. All the issues the bishops added to the name “pro-life” just happened to be issues the Democratic Party supported.

    I believe those Catholic Democrats and their supporting clergy are going to be in for a surprise when Jesus returns and directs them to stand on his left side – just as they have chose to do in this life.

  20. Hey now, living in/around Seattle doesn’t make you a liberal…. although my husband and I lost a friend who’d also been a shipmate because we’re too “extreme.” You see, he considered himself right-wing because he regarded Obama as a centrist, rather than being on the Right, as all his friends do. So we were clearly far-right extremists, and thus hateful Nazis.

    That said, the Church over here is pretty good. Compared to what I had growing up on the other side of the state, it’s awesomely good– even the retired hippy priest preached against abortion, with no wiggle words! I had NEVER HEARD THAT before moving over to the damp side.
    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
    That’s because they are not.
    The death penalty is a licit way to protect the lives and rights of the innocent– you happen to believe there are other routes for it, and lash out viciously when people don’t instantly agree.
    Gun violence is no different than any other violence– I like the idea of gun violence that prevents my kids from being tortured to death, as has happened in our area. Gun violence is just a type of violence that’s much more accessible to those who are not large, strong, healthy men.
    Unjust war– problem, you use that for any war with which you do not agree.
    Torture– same thing.
    Poverty– define it, and then try to prove it, rather than making assertions.
    What have they got in common? They all are prudential judgement issues where you want them to be binding ones.
    Contrast with actual killing people.

  21. The Tony Campolo story is a cautionary tale about the whole idea of leading with mercy.We should not be separating mercy and justice- now that they have kissed (at the Cross).
    As I may have mentioned before, I wonder why Vatican 2 even gave us two separate Constitutions! (Pastoral and Dogmatic)
    There is a danger to the evangelist who may want to, as a measure of mercy, in some way validate the lifestyle. We begin to say, it’s not so bad- nothing like the raunch parades of 10 years ago…and, really, these two- they are such nice guys!
    We Christians are losing people by attrition– people are “evolving” convinced within their own families and circles of friends. And priests have a hard time calling their brother priests to conversion to Christ
    It is harder and harder to speak the truth when sin is so disarming. The evangelizer begins to feel a certain guilt for “judging”… Surely Jesus would be more loving than…..He was …
    He would surely couch HIs words softly with a certain aquiesence- being able to thoroughly understand people’s deepest needs and all.
    Michael Coren too.

  22. Thank You @FMShyanguya – I did read that.
    Deut 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one “- doesn’t just refer to the fact that there is only one God, but also to the inner unity and wholeness- the Integrity, if you will, of God. Mercy is not in oppositon to justice but they are two attributes of the Holy God….in Whom there is no contradiction, no shadow of change.
    God became man- Body Blood and Soul, and with perfect Mercy atoned or offered satisfaction for our sins. Justification is a mercy He won for us. By Grace perfectly fulfilling the Law. Yay!

  23. Psalm 85:11-12 has caused us to ask how can this be? Just and Merciful at the same time? but remember it is a coming home psalm 🙂 a hopeful song and a prophetic one.
    11 Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss.
    12 Truth will spring from the earth; justice will look down from heaven.

    It is prophetic in that Justice and Mercy met at the Cross, Jesus in His Mercy SATISFIED Justice, offering Himself, Body Blood Soul and Divinity. ‘by His stripes we were healed’
    Perfect Offering, perfectly fulfilling the Will of the Father. Making all things new, setting things right,
    Our poor efforts to be mericful /just must be better than to simply ignore or be apathetic about sin. We can’t just wave people off, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” not caring abut the consequences they will suffer Mercy requires telling hard truths. For us to be merciful requires sacrifice, getting involved…even proselytizing 🙂

  24. “God’s justice is his mercy “[cf. Ps 51:11-16]. Makes no sense to me whatsoever. I am scratching my head. I have tried to reconcile this with what is on Catholic Encyclopedia [New Advent], St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope St. John Paul II’s Dives in misericordia, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, etc., and I can’t. Please may someone explain this to me? For starters, if God’s justice is his mercy, if they are the same, what then is justice?


    Reading over it, starting with the opening paragraph of #20, I’m guessing he’s pointing to how Jesus dying for our sins (that is, mercifully paying the price Himself that must be paid for justice to be served) was where Mercy and Justice combine as aspects of love.
    I don’t think it takes much to recognize that a lot of people want to be dispensing mercy, without bothering to deal with the price that justice requires. Or even the consequences of that “mercy.”

  26. Thank you @Foxfier. To be honest, I do not get the whole paragraph …
    PS In my earlier comment I forget to add I can’t even reconcile the statement with the reference given of Ps 51:11-16.

  27. I’m guessing, here, honestly; if my reading is right, then the last phrase is needlessly obscure– should say something like they’re two sides of the coin of God’s sacrificial love.
    Something to reiterate the early line about two dimensions of a single reality that unfolds progressively until it culminates in the fullness of love.
    It doesn’t do a very good job of looking at the really hard part of mercy– the price. Well, it’s hard if you’re the one paying it, anyways; cheap mercy where the person imposing the mercy doesn’t pay the price, and the one receiving it isn’t open to the idea that they did anything wrong, feels entitled to the mercy…that’s not good for anybody.

  28. Zowie, check out this article by the boss of the guy who had the Social Sciences head attack him with pro-abort rhetoric:
    He refers repeatedly to Archer’s mocking tone, though approvingly, and says more Catholics and all people of good will should do the same and in the process “reclaim Catholic Social Teaching from those who have spent decades hijacking it.”

    I call them Bullies for Francis.

    You see them large and small. You see them among the major and minor bloggers. You see them in the comment boxes. You see them among the academics and among the ordained. You even see them among the non-believers for even they have waited for a Pope they could use as a stick against their enemies.

  29. Shea recently was trying to resurrect the “Seamless Garment” argument, promulgated by that heretic, Card. Bernardin. If I could think of one person and philosophy that was more destructive to the Catholic Church in America than anything else, it would be this. Why do you think Obama was elected twice by a majority of Catholics? And as many people here have pointed out, Shea is a bomb-thrower who loves to stir up his critics. He enjoys hunting down the most extreme examples of conservative / traditional Catholics on the Internet and then generalizes it to all, which is nothing more than lying. What is sad in that this neoCatholic cabal of Evangelical converts like him, have managed to seize considerable control of EWTN / NCRegister. Just wait until they move into the offices of that atrocious Christ Cathedral in Orange County, CA. Also look for their “Forming Intentional Disciples” movement to come to a parish near you. Here we will be instructed that catechizing Catholics will not work until we first have a “personal relationship with Jesus”. Can you give me an alleluia?

  30. About justice and mercy:
    A clip fro a meditation on the Sacred Heart by Cardinal R. Burke who quoted Cardinal Ratzinger
    “In a wonderful reflection on the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, expresses the profound significance of the references to the Heart of God and the Heart of Jesus in the Holy Scriptures. He writes: “The pierced Heart of the Crucified is the literal fulfillment of the prophecy concerning the Heart of God, which overturns His justice with compassion and precisely in this way remains just. Only in this concordance between the Old and New Testament can we behold the full extent of the biblical message concerning the Heart of God, the Heart of the divine Redeemer (‘The Paschal Mystery as Core and Foundation of Devotion to the Sacred Heart’ in Towards a Civilization of Love [San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1985], p.159).

  31. I read this blog AND Shea’s nearly every day and usually find something good or interesting in both. So there must be something wrong with me, right? 🙂 Or is there something wrong with the incessant Shea-bashing that takes place on this site?

    Yes, I realize that Shea is harsh to the point of obsession on what he calls “The Thing That Used To Be Conservatism,” and he seems to think that any attempt to rein in or reduce the growth of expensive entitlement/welfare programs is “punishing the poor.” His regular commenters, however, generally contribute some helpful insights on these issues. Some of them, including me, frequently disagree with him but do NOT get banned. Also, he posts interesting and humorous stuff on non-religious and non-political issues (e.g. science fiction writers, tributes to actors such as Christopher Lee). Finally, he often posts prayer requests from readers, which I incorporate into my prayer intentions regularly.

    There are some blogs, and some Catholic blogs, that I have pretty much stopped reading because I don’t get enough useful or edifying information out of them to be worth it. “Catholic and Enjoying It” is NOT one of them. Your mileage may vary, however, and if you don’t get anything out of it just don’t read it. If you feel he has said something egregiously wrong that merits correction, by all means feel free to post something about it. But don’t assume that he and everyone who reads his blog are, ipso facto, bad Catholics or actual/potential heretics.

  32. Mark Shea is as leftist as the folks over at the NC Reporter. I’ve watched him slowly advance stuff like the anti-death penalty movement, his crazy obsession about what he calls torture, pro-gay sympathies, and defending welfare moochers. Why any sound Catholic would want to take this man seriously is amazing to me. But sadly, EWTN, Catholic Answers, and several other organization do take him seriously. Hopefully, his growing extremism will push him into well deserved isolation so he won’t be heard from anymore.

  33. Elaine,

    I understand that there may be some useful kernels of information reported by Shea, but at some point a man can only get away with spreading malicious information and impugning the character of those he disagrees with for so long before he should be shunned. Take Andrew Sullivan, for example. Sure, he could still write lucidly and even convincingly on certain subjectsl, but he had so poisoned his reputation that he could no longer be taken seriously on anything of substance. I’m not suggesting Shea is as bad, but he is longer a reliable source.

    Also, I think the “just don’t read him” suggestion, while a good one, misses that he has a little more pull in the Catholic media world than others. This is a man who can still be heard on ETWN radio, after all, and thus has a wider audience than most.

    Finally, here’s what really bugs me about Shea, and I realize this is a bit personal, but so be it. This is someone whose vocation is ostensibly to be a writer who spreads the faith, makes converts, etc. It’s a noble vocation, if not outright admirable. But that means he’s drawing a paycheck to spread the faith, and in a sense be a representative of our faith. The rest of us are doing this as a hobby. Would you say he’s really justified that position? Don’t you think that someone who has a vocation as a professional writer has a greater responsibility to be more reasoned and refrain from invective? How does blogging every single uncensored thought that comes into his head fulfilling his vocation?

    Shea has outright slandered people. That’s not the mark of a Catholic apologetic. He should be shunned, if not ignored.

  34. Good point Elaine. While outrage is the fuel of most blogs it does one well to take a break from criticism to make an effort to see the other side’s point of view. But this, of course, is most difficult as trying to understand the ‘other side’ requires a level of forbearance few of us possess. But we should try nonetheless. And I do very much like Shea’s including prayer requests in his column.

  35. Or is there something wrong with the incessant Shea-bashing that takes place on this site?
    Yes, I realize that Shea is harsh to the point of obsession on what he calls “The Thing That Used To Be Conservatism,” and he seems to think that any attempt to rein in or reduce the growth of expensive entitlement/welfare programs is “punishing the poor.”

    Hardly incessant when people occasionally object, with substance, to what even you describe a a near-obsession with attacking them. I run into Shea’s stuff more on facebook than I do here.
    He is paid for where where he represents the Catholic Church, and has a nasty habit of conflating his prudential judgement with binding teaching, combined with a tendency to be vicious when challenged on it. This is especially noticeable because when he’s actually on firm theological ground, he doesn’t (mis)behave the same.

    Especially when he says stuff that falls right in line with the attacks from those opposed to binding Church teaching, he needs to be countered.

  36. Foxfire: “He is paid for where where he represents the Catholic Church, and has a nasty habit of conflating his prudential judgement with binding teaching, combined with a tendency to be vicious when challenged on it…”

    Yes, exactly. For instance: if you claim to be a pro-life Catholic yet dare to own a handgun, don’t support raising the min. wage, or worst of all you accept the Church’s centuries old teaching on the death penalty, why you are really nothing but a pro-death Protestant hiding behind your precious feet-pins. He’s using the same methods to attack faithful conservative Catholics as Bernardin did decades ago. This destructive seamless garment ideology wreaked havoc on the Church….and still does to this day.

  37. @FMShyanguya
    Re: Justice=Mercy.
    Seems difficult to reconcile doesn’t it? How the ‘Our Father’ where we will be forgiven as we forgive. In others words God’s justice towards us will equal our mercy towards others.
    Does this help?

  38. @Michael Dowd: Thank you [and all trying to assist here]. Seems difficult to reconcile doesn’t it? Yes it does and to me, this is the first time in the Church that this equation has been made.
    Mercy presupposes justice; God treats us better than we deserve, etc. but never God’s justice is his mercy … If it was, to me, no consequences after the fall, no need for repentance, no hell, no need for Christ to come for us men and our salvation …

  39. @FMShyanguya

    Understanding divine perfections, which are identical with other, requires mystical knowledge according to St. Albert the Great. This is possible thru divine contemplation that shows us how infinite justice harmonizes with infinite mercy, without ceasing to be justice and the same with mercy. To understand this on earth requires infused contemplation, a gift from God, and most difficult to obtain. Please see the book ‘Christian Perfection and Contemplation’ By Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. pages 322-23.

  40. @Michael Dowd Thank you!

    Thus, as applied to creatures, goodness and justice, for example, are distinct from each other and from the nature or substance of the beings in whom they are found, and if finite limitations compel us to speak of such perfections in God as if they were similarly distinct, we know, nevertheless, and are ready, when needful, to explain, that this is not really so, but that all Divine attributes are really identical with one another and with the Divine essence. – The Nature and Attributes of God | New Advent.

    Still I am not getting Misericordiae Vultus, and I can’t shake the feeling that the formulation God’s justice is his mercy is there to serve some purpose …
    Please note from the heavy reading of New Advent, to us, is helps us make the distinction precisely because in us, the perfections are varied and distinct.

  41. “Or is there something wrong with the incessant Shea-bashing that takes place on this site?”
    If I thought for one moment that there was something wrong with my criticism of Mark as voiced in the comments on this site, I would abjectly apologize to him and vow never to say another negative word about him.
    There’s not. So I don’t.

  42. “God’s justice is his mercy “[cf. Ps 51:11-16]. Makes no sense to me whatsoever. I am scratching my head. I have tried to reconcile this with what is on Catholic Encyclopedia [New Advent], St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope St. John Paul II’s Dives in misericordia, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, etc., and I can’t. Please may someone explain this to me? For starters, if God’s justice is his mercy, if they are the same, what then is justice?

    Let me take a shot at that. I’m fond of westerns. In fact, I’d like to write a Everything I Needed to Know, I Learned from Westerns type book. But that will never happen because I’d die before I secured all the permissions. Anyway, for those of you who’ve seen Kevin Costner’s Open Range, (and if you haven’t, you should) there’s this, in my opinion inspired scene in which Costner’s character kicks the innocent youth character (played by Diego Luna) out of his saddle, dropping him into the middle of a river. “What did you do that for?” Luna asks. “Cheatin’ at cards,” Costner replies.
    When I saw that. I thought something like what a service that was that Costner’s character did for Luna’s. Because other men will literally kill you for cheating at cards. Dying is a hard lesson, particularly because you don’t get to benefit from what you’ve learned. And that, to my mind, is what’s meant by “God’s justice is his mercy.” We don’t escape punishment (kicked into freezing cold water) for our transgressions, but, we don’t necessarily have to die (in the sense of suffering eternal damnation) for those transgressions either.
    Granted, we can choose to refuse His grace, and continue to cheat at cards….

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: