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.