Reports That Mark Shea Has Been Fired By National Catholic Register.

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Festung Shea


Various sites are reporting that Mark Shea has been fired from National Catholic Register.  Go here to read the first site, Eponymous Flower, that I believe reported it.  I have not yet seen anything from National Catholic Register, although Shea no longer appears among their bloggers.

Last month Stephen Herreid at The Stream demonstrated why no Catholic publication, except for the National Catholic Reporter, should wish to continue to publish the writings of Mark Shea:

Last month, blogger John Paul Shimek published a piece at the National Catholic Register in which he roundly insulted and dismissed conservative Catholics. The piece was removed* and replaced with a note telling readers the blog had bypassed editorial review and “did not reflect the Register’s editorial views.”

I was glad the Register took Shimek’s piece down, but Shimek isn’t the only Register writer who seems to lack impulse control when it comes to insulting pro-lifers and conservative Catholics. This is perplexing precisely because the Register is one of the more reliably orthodox Catholic publications.

Consider the views of Mark Shea and Simcha Fisher, two of the Register’s most prominent writers. Shea and Fisher are very active on Facebook and Twitter, where they share their work and interact publicly with their readers. All of the quotations below are taken either from their blogs on Catholic websites, or from their public social media feeds.


Shea is hostile to conservatives, but especially to pro-lifers. Lately he has found a new way to insult them: lumping them in with the most unscrupulous supporters of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump:

A man who will not answer the question of whether he paid for abortions for his sexual conquests. An adulterer with credible rape charges against him, including one from a thirteen year old girl. That is what the prolife movement now stands for and is committed to defend. [emphasis added]

Of course there are countless godly men and women still working tirelessly within the GOP, and many of them are stern critics of Mr. Trump themselves. But Shea is no mere Trump critic. Consider what he writes about pro-life conservatives in general:

  • What the GOP — and above all conservative “prolife” Christians both Protestant and Catholics — still orgasmically [sic] support. They *love* torture! Love it! And they wonder why the prolife movement is dying in the US.”
  • And once again, we see the continuous message of American Movement Conservatism: Poor people are scum. Nothing is more important here than that poor people be punished. Nothing. *This* is one of the *real* core values of the right. And if the families they long to throw out of their jobs are thereby placed under intense pressure to abort their children by the poverty the “prolife” conservative *longs* to afflict them with, well too bad. Money, not unborn human life, is the *real* treasure.”
  • The popularity of Ted Cruz is Reason #92943792837 I call for the surgical removal of the parasite called American Conservatism that has attached itself like a lamprey to a large percentage of American Catholicism.”
  • Very rarely do I encounter conservative prolife Christians who actually believe that human life is sacred from conception to natural death. The overwhelming majority support unjust war, torture, maintenance of our gun violence regime, the death penalty (and fighting the Church to maintain even though it guarantees that innocents will be executed), xenophobia, apologetics for the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (which the Church calls a “crime against man and God”), grinding the faces of the poor, denial of health care to the poor, and (as the popularity of Donald Trump illustrates) overt racism. The habit of “prolife” people is to battle the Church on some or all of these issues and to appeal to abortion as the rationale for doing so. “We should be focusing on abortion!” they say. But in reality, they spend all their time and energy fighting the Church, not focusing on abortion.” (Emphasis added)


Shea even relishes the prospect of Donald Trump destroying conservatism and discrediting the pro-life movement altogether.

  • It will be exquisite if the prolife movement succeed in electing the first president to have personally paid for an abortion for one of his mistresses. Crowning glory for the Wrong About Everything Party.”
  • My Republican chum here in Washington is already declaring it the end of the GOP.”
  • May [Trump] destroy the whole party and leave it in smoldering ruin.”

On a near-daily basis, Shea campaigns for gun control by sharing stories about black shooting-victims and adding: “Today’s human sacrifice to the gun cult.”

He recently went so far as to express anger that while blacks die at the hands of police, some “crazy gun-toting white ‘patriots’ are still breathing despite posing an obvious menace.” This was in the main body of a blog post addressed to Shea’s colleague Simcha Fisher. As seen below, Shea and Fisher seem to bring out the worst in each other.

Childish Bullying, Revolting Language

On Facebook, Fisher recently joked about the design of a Trump campaign logo: “It’s like, half swastika, half b*** j**.” (Asterisks added.)

When a reader took issue with Fisher’s language, she replied, “What the h**l are you even doing on my wall….? If you don’t like this kind of joke, fine. Move along.” She later accused her critics of only “pretending” to be upset that she “said b*** j**….” The real reason they were upset was “because they like Trump” or because they were in “a tizzy about Hillary.” (Asterisks added.)

For his part, Mark Shea simply replied with another childish gag. “Oh Simcha, live forever. Thank you for your penetrating analysis.” He then shared a slightly censored version of Fisher’s joke on his blog: “Most Freudian/Nietzschean Campaign Logo Evah! … Half Swastika/Half Love That Dare Not Speak its Name.”


Go here to read the rest.  Mark Shea is an object lesson.  Attempting to turn one’s religion into one’s politics usually works out as well as attempting to turn one’s politics into one’s religion.  The hatred and contempt that Shea routinely expressed in his political rantings is the opposite of what we are called to be as disciples of Christ.



Apparently Shea has made comments on his firing and they are about what one would expect:

Mark’s claim that he was fired due to the Register’s donors being anti-Pope Francis and pro-Trump I don’t find compelling. I’ve been a fan of the Register from long ago, back when the Legion owned it, and I’ve been a fan of EWTN as well. I would bet a lot of money that the majority of their donors are part of that large, solid group of orthodox Catholics in the United States, men and women who support the Pope and strive to be faithful Catholics. No doubt a majority of them are voting for Trump, but many are doing so with reservations I’m sure.


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  1. I only read such nonsense when quoted here.
    Question for so-called pro-lifers who support possibly the most evil human since Mao, Hillary, because(?) she says (all lies, all the time) she opposed torture. How does that “compensate” for 50+ million abortions and her intension to outlaw Christianity in the USA?
    An investigative journalist should expose the numbers of her own progeny Hillary killed with abortions. In the pool, I have two.
    In conclusion, Mark-who? National Catholic-what?

  2. I was wondering too if it was all wishful thinking since every search seemed to lead back to a single blog, but then I watched on Patheos as someone asked Mark about it (seemingly innocently, I don’t think it was in a snarky, “rub it in your face” tone) and the comment subsequently disappeared. If he hadn’t been, it seemed more his style to pop back some smart-ass reply.

    Mark’s claim that he was fired due to the Register’s donors being anti-Pope Francis and pro-Trump I don’t find compelling.

    One of Mark’s biggest issues has always been his honesty with opponents. At times if you can spot a disagreement that was left on the page, you’ll find him making claims and interpretations that in no way were relevant or accurate to the original post. It’s what made posts like this one such an unintentional joke with lines like, “I am aware that many of them don’t realize they are repeating talking points they have been taught to parrot and I struggle, believe you me, to contain the frustration I feel when I hear the umpteenth iteration of “Police shootings don’t matter Because Abortion” or “Abortion is the *real* torture, not whatever happens to some Muslims” or “Unborn babies lives matter but Alton Sterling’s life had no value” (yes, a “prolife” guy said this to me the other day).” He had no shortage of fans for better or worse. I’d bet against it but maybe some day a man who writes so much about honesty will finally learn how to be honest with his opponents.

  3. Shea, IMHO, has to be suffering from some kind of mental disorder. His seven year cyberstalking of Joe D’Hippolito seems to indicate borderline or psychopathic personality disorder. I hope his family forces him to get help before it gets to the point where he’s a danger to himself or others.

  4. EOTT will no doubt have an entertaining angle… nothing yet.

    From Tiberwheel cruises;

    “Mark Shea’s resignation from NCR came upon the heels of rumors that PF is stepping down from the chair of Peter, and that Mark Shea is slated to be his successor.”
    -more at eleven o’clock .

  5. Shea, IMHO, has to be suffering from some kind of mental disorder. His seven year cyberstalking of Joe D’Hippolito seems to indicate borderline or psychopathic personality disorder.

    My great-grandfather lost his anger as he shuffled into old age. OTOH, his son grew more labile with age. My mother was of the opinion that the modal pattern is that as you grow older, you get to be something of a caricature of yourself. I’d have told you a dozen years ago that Shea was unproblematic as long has he had someone like Brian St. Paul editing him. The trouble with these posts of his is that there isn’t anything an editor could salvage with that blue pencil.

  6. Someone said, readers of this blog will surely know (I’ve forgotten), that the best examination of conscience was a cruxifix.
    I wonder if there would be less need if people asked themselves “Would I say, do, write this the Virgin Mary, Our Mother, we’re standing next to me?”
    I’ve not been too happy with my own behavior in the last couple of years, certainly not my language. I’ve been trying to rectify things, and I sometimes think “Should MRS Hesselius say this? Should my husband’s wife do that?”

  7. Maybe he’s part of a new American form of debate; which some call the “Jon Stewart Method” I.e., to ridicule and make fools of opponents without resorting to background, common decency, context, data, facts, or the truth.
    Mainly I hope his kids don’t starve before he finds meaningful employment. Given his personality and style, I recommend he apply to become a prison guard.

  8. Shea and his kind of left wing lunatics deserve not the strong emotion of hatred not the sympathy that comes from pity, but simple disdain and contempt. He makes himself beneath the dignity of being worthy of notice.

  9. According to several sources, the Register did briefly post an official statement on the Mark Shea firing on their Facebook page, but pulled it down, which is problematic in itself.

    I think a lot of this could have been prevented a decade ago if Mark’s colleagues had intervened when Mark’s behavior started getting really bad. Donald knows exactly what I am talking about. I had written to several of prominent Catholic apostolates and individuals associated with Mark including, but not limited to, Catholic Answers, Patrick Madrid, Our Sunday Visitor, and yes the National Catholic Register urging them to hold Mark accountable. I had even written to Mark’s parish priests. My entreaties were met with silence at best and downright hostility at worst.

    But now the problem has metastasized and grown way beyond that of Mark Shea. The “orthodox” Catholic Media Complex needs to take a hard look at itself and pull out the many boards sticking out of its eyes.

  10. Although I, like most doctors, would never diagnose a person long distance, there are times when outward manifestations speak for themselves. I hope, for his own sake, Mr. Shea seeks anger management treatment. This sort of thing can end up causing serious stress related physical illness.

  11. I used to spend more time on the Internet browsing Catholic websites than I do now. therefore I never spent much time reading Mark Shea, and as such I considered him to be next to meaningless.

    What I know of Shea’s writings I what I read here. I think he began to flip out over the reports of torture at Abu Ghraib. He equates conservatism with George W. Bush, who is not and never was a conservative. He takes a hard left wing approach on the death penalty and the ownership of firearms by the public. Equating pro-lifers with torturers and accusing them of being blood thirsty for supporting the death penalty is mentally and morally bankrupt. Catholic support for the death penalty had historically been reserved for very terrible crimes, such as multiple murders.

    As a convert, Shea did not live through the tumult of Vatican II or fully grasp the impact it has had on the Catholic faithful. Understanding that most Mass goers perfer the Mass in the vernacular, the fact that the Church suppressed the Mass celebrated for over 1500 years for something drafted in a committee and then implemented by ecclesiastical force was not helpful.

    Shea is a grown man responsible for his own words and deeds.

  12. “Catholic support for the death penalty had historically been reserved for very terrible crimes, such as multiple murders.”

    Actually that is not correct. Giovanni Battista Bugatti was the papal executioner from 1796-1865. He presided over 516 executions. The papacy, like secular rulers prior to the last century, freely dispensed the death penalty with a gusto that moderns would find shocking. Of course they would have been appalled at legalized abortion and sodomy. The past, like the future, is truly a different country, and our contemporary mores often are revealed to be a mere blip in time when we look intently at what came before us.

  13. I seem to recall Christopher Fotos or Victor Morton waving red flags in front of Jimmy Akin and / or Karl Keating about a decade ago.

    Years ago, there was a Catholic blogger down in Dallas (IIRC) who was employed in some capacity on the diocesan staff. His name might have been Quick or Quirk. Up one day he leaves the Church and joins the Seventh-Day Adventist organization. Someone in a forum like this offers, ‘Don’t work for the Church; it’ll cost you your faith”. If that’s too categorical, recall Amy Welborn’s description of what was prevalent among the lay church-o-crats she’d encountered: “bored out of their minds careerism”. (You read Andrew Greeley’s 1987 memoir and what hits you is his immersion in his own busyness). I suspect there are very few people who should ever make their religious profession their livlihood, certainly not all through the course of their life. (Don’t know how Mark Shea earned a living prior to age 39, when his first book appeared).

  14. Vic Morton ran the Coalition for Fog blog back in 2006 where he often pointed out Shea’s calumny. But oddly, he wasn’t interested in Mark being held accountable by his peers in the Catholic Media Complex. Chris Fotos, along with myself and a handful of others on the other hand, thought pressure should be brought to bear on Keating and Akin to intervene with Mark. But they, Akin especially, saw fit to circle the wagons. I had a brief, but terse, e-mail exchange with Akin over that.

  15. FWIW, here is what I said on the above link defending Mark by deflecting blame on others:

    Allow me to post. I was banned by Mark some time ago, just because we went on with endless arguments that went nowhere. Mark had threatened to ban me for more than a year. The first time when I defended myself against Mark’s accusation that I wanted to increase human slaughter. Funny thing, I didn’t. I actually don’t want to increase human slaughter, or see people suffer, or worship guns more than Jesus. Yet Mark said these things about me more than once, and others as well. Assuming that at least some of those Mark accused were as innocent as I believe I am, then that amounts to Calumny. That’s false accusations. Bearing false witness. It turns on its head Jesus’ teaching that while murder is wrong, the pathway to murder through Raca and Fool is no less perilous, if not more.

    I bear Mark no ill will, though at times, I blame those who cheered him on, prodding him, using him as their Mark shaped shield to call down racas, fools, and even false accusations on their ideological opponents. Sometimes they would even chide Mark at those times Mark felt compelled to apologize; asking why should he apologize? They deserve it!

    No, I hope this helps Mark. And maybe those who are his friends, and not those who saw Mark as a convenient lineman taking the hits so they didn’t have to, will see there are issues there having nothing to do with those Catholics over there, those Catholics who aren’t like us, or those Catholics who are the real problem. They’ll realize he has developed a major problem, a deadly one, and the true friends will step up and help him turn away from where he has been going.

  16. Speaking of… Dave G, you notice Dan C posted a comment on the link? It’s such a shining example of your point.

  17. “No, I hope this helps Mark.”

    I hope so too Dave, but judging from this comment from Mark’s Facebook page I am dubious:

    “Don’t misunderstand. The folks at NCR like Pope Francis just fine. Pat [Archbold] was fired because he loudly and vehemently made clear his contempt for the Holy Father. In short, he was heterodox. NCR will very properly can you for that, whatever the donor base thinks because the donor base cannot make a coherent *out loud* case for hating Francis. In my case, my displays of anger made a good excuse for whisper campaigns from the Righteous. But the real issue was, make no mistake, my failure to observe Republican Rite piety. All you need to do is look in on the rejoicing of the orcs over the past day to see how little interest they have in the gospel and how much it is about intensely personal hatred. NCR had to bow to that. These are people who seek the destruction of a culture way enemy, not the repentance of a sinner. They treated prayer like a hex. Really sick stuff.”

  18. Hi Nate, yeah, I saw that. I must confess Dan C figured large in my thinking when I was writing that post. I consider him one of the key players who pushed Mark forward; though I fear Mark’s Facebook account became a gathering place for that level of fanaticism that pushed Mark into the meat grinder on its behalf. It became almost surreal. And sad. Worse is the number of posts I’m reading where the writers are defending Mark, deflecting the problems, or doubling down on blaming those other Catholic types instead of putting responsibility where it belongs.

  19. Yeah Don, I saw that on a few sites. I don’t have access to Mark’s Facebook page, but I’ve seen several defending him, and I fear that will just encourage Mark to double down as well. It’s like some fraternal order of Internet Catholics who are more worried about maintaining the club credentials than helping a brother overcome his struggles.

  20. But the real issue was, make no mistake, my failure to observe Republican .Rite piety.

    He made puerile attacks on people week after week, attacks which were often non sequitur. Yes, that’s a ‘failure to observe’ something or other.

  21. hought pressure should be brought to bear on Keating and Akin to intervene with Mark. But they, Akin especially, saw fit to circle the wagons.
    When priests do this they call it ‘clericalism’.

  22. Nate, I read Shea’s response. It’s nothing but one of his typical crocodile pseudo-apologies. If you want to know how Shea *really* feels about his former client, just read Donald McClarey’s comment above this one.

    If Shea had serious concerns about his temper, the least he could have done was to “avoid the near occasion of sin,” as the Act of Contrition puts it, by staying away from social media.

    But Shea didn’t have such concerns about his temper. He reveled in it. He allowed it to become his modus operandi, even to the point of being a vile, obsessive bully. He stalked me for seven years on the Internet. He called somebody else’s employer to complain about that person’s comments. He LOVED doing that. He LOVED his behavior. Otherwise, why would he engage in it so often and with such gusto?

    Shea lies the way the rest of us breathe. He is evil. Not just deluded. Not just a candidate for spiritual direction, psychological counseling, an exorcism or a swift kick in the ass. EVIL. The fact that it took an EWTN outlet this long to find that out doesn’t speak well for EWTN.

  23. Right on Shawn! (though I would say it was 15 years too late, but why quibble among friends?)

  24. Mr. McClarey, I stand corrected. Thank you.

    I made a mediocre attempt at showing the fallacy of tying together the death penalty with abortion, as they have next to nothing in common.

  25. You are absolutely correct on that PF as the Church has been universal in its condemnation of abortion from the start of Catholicism. In regard to the death penalty the current powers that be in the Church are doing their best to thrust the past history of the Church and the death penalty firmly down the memory hole, so I like to bring up the actual history whenever I am able.

  26. Huh ? re: Shea’s comments above on pro-lifers. Obviously he has no personal knowledge of pro-lifers or the movement. They are the ones who help the “poor” who have crisis pregnancies and that includes health care, ex. referral for services, maternity homes, the Gabriel Project, etc. If they spend time fighting the church, it’s only the anti-Church elements we fight, i.e. those who try to marginalize us because we don’t fit their agenda…

  27. long-time pro-lifer, you nailed it. Shea gives himself away by continuously attacking straw men.

    The problem is that just as you say, Shea appears to have no idea what the pro-life movement is or does. This is exceedingly problematic when the person taking such a stand affirms voting for Hillary Clinton in this election cycle. Thus I think it is entirely legitimate to question his integrity as a Catholic. For if he truly held pro-life beliefs, doesn’t it seem logical that he would have some clue WHO the pro-life movement is made of and WHAT the pro-life movement does?

    Indeed, I see no manifestation of that in his writing. Rather, it appears he always appeals to “conservatives” and the “orthodox” as if he is one of them and thus they should listen to him and agree with him…all the while leveling a withering attack against the teachings of the Church, a method by which he demonstrates clearly that he has fallen far outside Her governance and teaching.

    It is precisely this type of insidious double-speak that I believe has caused so much chaos in the Catholic Church for decades. And it is not just limited to small-potatoes bloggers that few in the world even know like Shea. How many Bishops are “orthodox” yet by wink, nod and silence and at times even by word do the work of the Enemies of the Church for them?

    Is it not obvious that Shea brought with him from Protestantism the concept that personal feelings and {however poorly formed} conscience trumps the perennial Magesterium of the Church?

    Indeed, as a convert myself, I find his writing to embody much that is a direct bring-along from outside the Church. But we shouldn’t be too hard on him. In the Church today there are MANY who are embarrassed and ashamed at the ancient teachings of the Church and want so badly to “fit in”. Shea is only one of many. So we should cut him some slack. And pray for him.

  28. Nate, Shea and Fisher are joined at the hip. They are, as the old saying goes, master and man (or, perhaps, master and woman). The fact is that they’re both too immature and narcissistic to admit that they had any role in their own demise at the Register. For Shea to call Fisher an “ornament of the church” would be laughable if it weren’t so nauseating. The fact that she’s a mother of 10 does not excuse her from accountability, as Shea implies. In fact, it increases the demand for accountability because her professional behavior directly affects her ability to help provide for her family.

    I also work as a free-lance writer, covering sports. One of the things I know as a contractor (which Shea and Fisher are) is that whenever you’re on the job, you represent your client. Shea and Fisher forgot about that when they took to social media — especially since social media have become paramount in promoting a writer’s work.

    The most positive thing that could happen is if Shea and Fisher never get any more work from major Catholic clients and publishers. Anybody who behaves in such an undisciplined manner would be a liability to any client — and automatically diminishes that client’s Catholic credibility and identity.

  29. “But we shouldn’t be too hard on him…. So we should cut him some slack. ”

    Sorry, but I’m not going to cut any slack for somebody who makes a habit of trying to destroy other people’s reputations, obsessively stalking them on the Internet, deliberately distorting opposing arguments and emotionally manipulating people with false apologies. Shea is a con man, pure and simple. He conned a lot of sincere but gullible Catholics with his nonsense. So did Fisher. Well, the jig is up — and, frankly, none too soon.

    Don’t be one of those Catholics who values apparent rhetorical “orthodoxy” over moral behavior and moral clarity. Remember Matthew 7:18-20. You shall know them by their fruits. Also, remember Numbers 32:23 and Galatians 6:7. Your sin will find you out. God is not mocked. Shea has made a livelihood out of mocking God, and that sin finally has been found out.

  30. Joseph, it is a rare thing that somebody chastises me for being too charitable. I think I will save your post just to show it to some friends. They won’t believe me otherwise. LOL.

    And in the big picture, I agree with you by the way. I was a little schmaltzy….

  31. Mark Shea is rude and nasty towards anyone who has a different opinion. I have to laugh at people on other Catholic sties who say Mark deals with people who oppose him on a regular basis. Where are these people.? Just check his facebook page there are never any opposing views just a bunch of cackling hyenas that agree with everything he says. Frankly I am tired of Mark Shea and his I am a lifelong conservative nonsense. No Mark you are not. You are a liberal. You are a Democrat. You can’t stand the Republican party that is fine I get it. If all you post all day ever day is that you are hate Republicans you eventually become nothing more than a Gong going off and people get tired of the sound.

  32. Shea’s ego ballooned from being a big fish in a small pond. His audience is much smaller than people realize, but he seems to think his opinion matters more because he writes a column.

    But I think more than anything, Shea has become a classic leftist who is nominally Catholic. That’s the only explanation I can think of for his vitriol toward entire swaths of the Catholic community, and against pro-lifers in particular.

    Take out the Catholic bits, the references to the pope and such, and Shea’s quotes could have come from the Daily Kos, Salon, or any other hard-left site on the internet. To me, it sounds like he’s got one foot in Catholicism and the other in the ideological religion of progressivism, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he began adopting the other staple elements of that ideology.

    It’s not a worldview that is particularly friendly toward religion, that’s for sure. It’s not a worldview that is tolerant of other opinions. And when you go from espousing an ideology to mocking people who hold different opinions, you start to cross a line.

  33. Outstanding comments above.
    I have seen this on Instapundit. I think it is judgmental and uncharitable. However, it’s worthy of analysis and “brevity is the soul of wit.” “Your religion is progressivism, not [fill-in-the-blank].”

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