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



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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  1. Rightwingosphere is odd to me. I’m for the death penalty as a saver of thousands of largely poor peoples’ lives precisely in poor areas of the world where most murders occur….the two worst world regions by UN numbers being non death penalty northern Latin America and rare death penalty Africa. No death penalty = poor people getting killed. Affluent areas whether Greenwich Connecticut or Sweden or Luxembourg have few murders with or without the death penalty. Safest area on earth…East Asia…poor people plus the death penalty….1 per 100,000 murder rate similar but a shade better than Europe but includes a billion poor people unlike Europe. Second safest…non death penalty Europe…no large sectors of alienated poor though that will change with time perhaps. The black man in the US ghetto areas only …has a murder rate equal to that of Central America…32 per 100,000….32 times that of East Asia. Does the US have a death penalty when appeals average 10 years…20 in California. Not an very effective one. Our murder rate is 4.7 times that of East Asia.

  2. Shea is a drama queen. He needs some stage for his unbearable personality to play out. I choose to ignore him.
    I can’t believe that his one sentence I thought was about abortion really isn’t- the sacred life he is defending is that of the criminal who committed a crime so heinous as to invoke the death sentence. Absolutely unbelievable! The #%&!**% death sentence! This is not Catholic teaching but an issue requiring prudential judgement.
    This pope may turn me into a drama queen yet! I’m beside myself…..Oy Vey.

  3. I’m sure Mark Shea has his good qualities, but I find his view of the Catholic faith flawed and his style obnoxious. I don’t know why he’s all over the Internet, and so many people give him a platform.

  4. I didn’t read the UN address but merely a summary. More or less the same. Save the environment. Materialism destroying the environment. Immigrants. Nothing about the UN seeking to promote abortion and gay “marriage” around the world.

    Apologists may say he sounds like Benedict or even JPII. But really, on this trip he seems to be talking about two or three things. Much like a politician’s stump speech.

  5. Also, climate change and immigration are matters of prudential judgment which Francis is likely wrong on and Catholics in good conscience can disagree. Of course, leftists will deny this. Mostly because they are seeking to change Church teaching.

    The death penalty is among these matters which Divine command and Natural Law defend. The fact the Francis has been opposed to capital punishment from the “beginning of (his) ministry” highlights concerns about his understanding of these Truths.

    This opposed to the all out assault on unborn life and marriage by the administration is not a matter one can disagree on.

    This Pope is a politician arguing prudential matters, not the Vicar of Christ spreading the true Gospel.

  6. As pointed out by Don, Mark did not read Benedict’s address – an address truly befitting a Vicar of Christ. Let’s highlight points, clearly and charitably made, that Francis seems incapable of speaking. Likely because he has no notion of non-negotiable principles in Catholic teaching:

    “As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:

    – protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

    – recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family – as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage – and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

    – the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.”

  7. It is understandable that faithful Catholics would want to defend the Pope. Catholic commentators have new busy from the beginning explaining, reassuring, excusing, this Pope. Some wrote him off some time ago, and their assessment seems correct. The calculated demoralization of pro-lifers during his Congress speech was demonic. He got his longest, sustainted applause when he started off about life at all its stages, then he gave his anti-death penalty spiel. Who this the applause was in anticipation of anti-death penalty sentiment. Boehner invited him, and got a speech Obama could have given. No wonder he bawled during, and resigned the next day.

  8. The rightwingoshpere perceives something Mark Shea refuses to acknowledge. Francis has rendered the teaching of the Papacy perfectly superfluous, the credo of a second rate school administrator. We’ve heard it before, just not from clerics.

  9. Like many former activists of the Democrat Party,
    who have become church activists and who believe
    the Catholic Church is the religious arm of their
    party, Shea attacks pro-life Catholics for their
    obsession with the single issue of abortion, when
    racism, bigotry, sexism, discrimination, poverty,
    environmentalism, etc. have the same moral
    importance as abortion, if not greater.

  10. Shea attacks pro-life Catholics for their obsession with the single issue of abortion, when
    racism, bigotry, sexism, discrimination, poverty, environmentalism, etc. have the same moral importance as abortion, if not greater.

    That’s not a description of Shea, who is a much more idiosyncratic character. (He also has no history of association with the Democratic Party, unless I’m mistaken).

  11. Art,

    I said Shea is similar to or like a former Democrat activist.

    Shea in his hit piece against The American Catholic
    used the term “Rightwingosphere” to smear this blog.
    Apparently, Shea has great disdain for rightwing or traditional
    Catholics and their unwavering loyalty to the teachings of the
    Church. Also, Shea, like a former activist of the Democrat
    Party, criticized The American Catholic’s obsession
    with abortion by comparing the statements of the traditional
    Pope Benedict XVI with Francis’ lack of statements on the
    issue of abortion to suggest that this blog is possessed by an
    anti-abortion fanaticism.

    Shea wrote his hit piece as an activist from the left.

  12. “I am not a liberal…” PF.

    Maybe Mark Shea ( isn’t ) a liberal either?

    This fits with a bumper sticker I spied a week ago; “Jesus Christ was a Liberal.”


  13. For centuries the catechisms , church doctors, Thomas Aquinas ,St Augustine, other Popes, have all said the state has the right and in fact said the DUTY to inflict capital punishment in situations where the proportional response should be the death penalty.Not until the mid 1980s did the emphasis (NOT church teaching) change to ” well, the bad guy can’t get out f the modern secure slammer, so no need for CP.” So….if the Allies had captured Hitler and tried him, we couldn’t have put him to death??? Tell that to 6 million Jews. No I can and will disagree with Pope Francis, and do so vocally!!!

  14. I noticed that a lot of those “Catholics” who “convert” from whatever cult they come from or no cult at all, have liberal, leftists views. And they try to change the Church or manipulate the Bible to fit their views. Kinda like the Muslims who invade the West and want to change it to suit their Islamic way of life.

  15. Nothing so brings a condemned murderer to repentance and conversion as the gallows. A truly repentant murderer will expire with grief over his crime. Since he has need of some assistance to repent, to deny him the death penalty is unmerciful. The Innocent victims, too, must be spared the death penalty. Equal Justice requires that if the innocent victim must endure the death penalty so must the murderer.
    The principle of separation of church and state requires that the Pope and Bishops of the church while being released from capital punishment by their vocation to serve God in the church, allow, without interference, the state to exact equal Justice for the innocent victim.
    It is this state of innocence that separates abortion from the death penalty. The unborn person, in innocence, must be given due process of law in any civilization,… and benefit of a doubt about his sovereign personhood, the absence of which is held by atheists.
    Technically, Pope Francis, in calling for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide, has made priesthood of the laity of all persons alive on earth, but without their informed consent or choice. Some professed atheists may not want to be incorporated into the priesthood of the laity in the Catholic Church, even while being sponsored by the Pope.

  16. The newly begotten, legally and morally innocent sovereign person is the standard of Justice, Perfect Justice, and the compelling interest of the state in protecting innocent, newly begotten human life procreated in the womb and in the test tube. Test tube babies, of whom there are 44,000 in Great Britain alone, and SNOWFLAKE BABIES, fertilized eggs who are frozen and then gestated have immortal souls and are persons. Test tube babies and SNOWFLAKE BABIES are proof beyond any doubt that the newly procreated life has sovereign personhood and free will. The will to live and survive is an act of the free will and is the human being’s civil right to Life. This act of the free will to live is an act of the soul in the one-celled human being. Test tube babies and SNOWFLAKE BABIES are now adults and teenagers and I highly recommend that they sue for the risk and damage that is caused them through this horrendous means of procreation.

  17. Atheism denies God and man’s immortal human soul and makes beasts of burden of all people. Totalitarianism and enslavement of the peoples of the world. The crime of the United Nations. Finite freedom is all the state and the UN can give. Unalienable human rights are endowed by “their Creator”. And until the UN can prove that it is God, they have no legitimate leg to stand on.

  18. Of course Shea reads TAC! He’s hypersensitive about anybody or anything that dares to criticize him or his pet ideas, causes, or persons. So he has to read TAC, Creative Minority Report, or any other traditional, conservative site, blog, or magazine to check out on what devious thing we’re up to.
    Some folks think Mark is an opportunist who changes his direction depending on which way the wind blows in his support of various causes (like the death penalty), but I believe, based on looking at his writings over the past few years, he’s a hardened leftist. Everything he says or writes seems to reflect left-wing rhetoric or causes. He acts like a leftist in the way he deals with people who dare to differ with him. I get the impression that he’s a stalking horse to see how far he can push things like gay rights, the abolishment of the death penalty, and other hot button issues among traditional and conservative Catholics.

  19. but I believe, based on looking at his writings over the past few years, he’s a hardened leftist. Everything he says or writes seems to reflect left-wing rhetoric or causes.
    To me, it seems like a collage of the left and the alt-right, something uniquely his own and reflecting less an understanding of public life than the issue of his emotional self.

  20. I know something about the alt-right, and based on what Shea has said in the past, I don’t think he likes them very much. However Art, I believe your comment about the
    “the issue of his emotional self” is the key to understanding Mark Shea. While we know the public Mark Shea, we know very little about his background, which would explain who he actually is. IMO, his public persona is a mask that hides the real Mark Shea from his fans, and probably all but his closet associates. And sooner or later, the mask will fall off, showing us the sad, pathetic man behind it.

  21. I don’t think Shea is any more of a sad, pathetic person than the rest of us– he’s just got a different challenge, in that he’s got a LOT of people who are telling him he’s right when he lashes out at disagreement.
    (insert clip from Fiddler on the Roof about how it’s a challenge I’d be willing to face. 😉 )

  22. Birds gotta fly
    Fish gotta swim
    Shea gotta shoot from the lip

    Mark Shea is the Yosemite Sam of The Patheos Posse and he is forever leading his followers into box canyons where they are trapped, forever missing their targets and shooting each other.

    If you haven’t been banned form his blog, you cannot identify as a Traditionalist.

  23. in that he’s got a LOT of people who are telling him he’s right when he lashes out at disagreement.

    He helps with the atmospherics by deleting the comments of critics.

    Mark Shea is the Yosemite Sam of The Patheos Posse

    Not a bad metaphor.

  24. Art- I know, and definitely don’t say he’s blameless. I just remember watching him start to…well…flip over, and part of why he GOT there is because he listened to folks who said he was doing the right thing, when he wasn’t.
    Some other reasons, and I’ve seen a few other folks flip over in similar ways; it’s sad, but I don’t think they’re inherently worse folks, just…didn’t rise to the challenge the way I hope I would.

  25. It’s so nice and simple to use the shorthand of “they disagree with me, so they’re CLEARLY totally wrong.” And it’s something reasonable folks fight all the time, which is why jerks use it so often as a false accusation.
    Which leads, when it’s piled on top of “we honestly just disagree” things, to folks eventually ignoring it out of hand, on the boy who cried wolf theory.

  26. and part of why he GOT there is because he listened to folks who said he was doing the right thing,

    I was never a regular reader of his, so there may be something I missed. He’d previously been aggressive online but grew intolerable around about 2005 or 2006. I do not recall him receiving much positive feedback for this and he had a great deal of criticism for it. He intervenes in his comment fora a great deal more than most moderators and his critics found themselves deleted en bloc so founded a counterblog. One was a fellow named Fotos and one a fellow named Victor Morton.
    It struck me a long time ago that he benefited from editors, as I could not reconcile the workmanlike articles he wrote for Crisis (a publication he now savages) with his much more bilious short commentaries online. I do not think he has a coherent politics (which would not bother me if he did not bother with political topics; I have nothing coherent to say about imaginative literature or Lincoln biographies). It’s more like he has a clutch of animosities. All of which is too bad.

  27. Mark Shea isn’t worth the time or the bandwidth to read or to comment about.

    At the least, I expect Catholic priests, bishops, brothers and Sisters to uphold Catholic teaching and doctrine, and not to substitute their preferences in place of Catholic teaching and doctrine. Shea, in his verbose attacks, indicates that he is cool with said substitution. Shea’s blather is just that. Blather.

  28. If I’ve got my timeline right, I was long gone by ’06– could’ve sworn he got BDS about the time I got in the area to be able to notice his view of Iraq didn’t line up with what I saw, which was ’05, and I know I stopped reading years before he started in on waterboarding being torture which was (from what I found trying to pin down a timeline) ‘08.

  29. After 9/11 Shea wrote a very powerful and lengthy blog post. It was a great blessing to me and I’m sure many others. I wish we could resurrect that persona without the mean-spiritedness.

  30. I spent the past three weeks in America: Tennessee and Louisiana, slumming and assisting our airborne ranger to PCS from the 101st to an airborne task force at Fort Polk, LA; and then we brought home his hound because his new duties don’t allow for him to care for dog.

    So, Mark who? Pope who?

    I think I’d faint dead-away if Pope who were to mention something remotely related to the Spiritual, as in repentance, confession, penance, amendment of life and good works for the greater glory of God; as in the four end things: death, Judgment, Heaven or Hell; as in Christ’s gaining for us by His life, death and resurrection the rewards of eternal life; as in Jesus forgiving our sins, saving us from the fire of Hell; taking souls to Heaven, and helping those of us most in need of his mercy; etc.

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