Ed Feser on Mark Shea

Share on facebook
Facebook 0
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn 0
Share on reddit
Reddit 0
Share on delicious
Delicious
Share on digg
Digg
Share on stumbleupon
StumbleUpon 0
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

Needless to say, religious people can be guilty of the same thing, which brings me to my other example.  As my longtime readers know, Mark Shea is what you get when you marry the letter of Catholicism to the spirit and style of New Atheist polemic.  Take your average rant from one of Coyne’s or P. Z. Myers’ teenage combox dwellers and replace the shrill and superficial secularist content with some shrill and superficial theology, and you essentially have your typical Shea blog post or Facebook entry.  Very different targets, but the same venom.  Though at one time he devoted his efforts to writing helpful works of popular apologetics, Shea has in recent years become utterly obsessed with left-wing politics, and with demonizing any of his fellow Catholics who do not share his politics.  And unlike Coyne, he is no longer even occasionally interesting.  He has a little bag of talking points, epithets, and caricatures he’s mostly borrowed from others (“Right Wing Noise Machine,” “Christianist,” etc., Always All In Caps) and robotically pulls one or two out of the bag and flings them at whichever person is the object of his hatred on any particular day.  Snore.

However, one of Shea’s stock epithets is very curious, and the occasion for my commentary here.  Shea frequently accuses the conservative and traditionalist Catholics he so intensely dislikes of regarding themselves as the “Greatest Catholics of All Time.”  This is a very strange accusation.  I cannot think of a single conservative or traditionalist Catholic who can plausibly be said to take such an attitude toward himself or his fellows.  On the contrary, conservative and traditionalist Catholics tend if anything to have a rather low opinion of contemporary Catholics, including themselves.  They tend to think that even the most orthodox and devout Catholics of today simply don’t come close to measuring up to the heroic figures of Church history.  When they complain about the low state of the Church and the heterodoxy and cowardice of so many churchmen, they often suggest that contemporary Catholics – including, again, conservative and traditionalist Catholics themselves – are simply getting the bishops they deserve, and suffering divine punishment for their sins.

By contrast, Shea and other left-wing Catholics tend to take the view that the contemporary Church has much deeper moral understanding than the Church of the past did.  In particular, they hold that the views expressed by Pope Francis and other contemporary churchmen on topics like capital punishment, torture, religious liberty, interreligious dialogue, divorce and remarriage, feminism, homosexuality, social justice, etc. reflect a deeper understanding of the demands of the Gospel, and of the dignity of the human person, than was possessed by churchmen of the past.  When modern popes and other churchmen apologize for the sins of the historical Church, or suggest (as Pope Francis has) that churchmen of the past had “a mentality more legalistic than Christian” and a “concern for preserving power and material wealth” that “prevented a deeper understanding of the Gospel,” these progressive Catholics applaud, and regard such actions as evidence that today’s Church has matured morally, spiritually, and doctrinally. 

In short, if anyone is plausibly accused of thinking that contemporary Catholics are the “Greatest Catholics of All Time,” it is Shea and Catholics of like mind.  Like Coyne, Shea is criticizing people he dislikes for an attitude that in other contexts he takes himself, and approves of in others.

What explains such incoherence?  The answer is that hatred blinds the intellect.  More precisely, and as I discussed in a blog post on wrath and its daughters, anger that is excessive or otherwise disordered has as one of its byproducts what Aquinas calls “clamor” or “disorderly and confused speech.”  Anger has the function of prodding us to make things right when in some way they are not – when there is some injustice to be redressed, some error to be corrected, or what have you.  When guided by reason, anger can result in coherent speech and action, but in a wrathful person anger comes to dominate reason, and he lashes out incoherently.  If he’s frenzied enough, he may even lash out with a condemnation he would in other contexts regard as a commendation.

 

I agree.  Go here to read the rest.  I have always thought that in saner times in the life of the Church my function within the Church would be to serve as a bad example.

More to explorer

Just When You Think the New York Times Can’t Go Any Lower

Yep, all equal as slaves of the State.

No Comment Needed

Hattip to commenter Nate Winchester.

July 18, 1969: Entering the Gravity of the Moon

Fifty years ago Apollo 11 entered the gravity well of the Moon from the gravity well of the Earth.  Three-quarters of the

26 Comments

  1. A part of a meditation on the Second Sorrowful Mystery of the Most Holy Rosary, The Scourging At The Pillar, includes: “Lord, grant me a spirit of mortification.” However, reading Mark-who’s trash would be going too far: masochism is a sin, right?

    He is one of America’s surplus of agenda-driven dummies that don’t know anything: no background knowledge, no context, no real-life experience, low-information.

    “Being a Christian does not require you to submit to leftist totalitarianism.” Kurt Schlichter

  2. Kind of like in high school when the shy kid would be accused of being “stuck up” and “thinking you’re better than us”?

    (I was both shy and possessed a hint of common sense, so I’d occasionally say something was a bad idea. Did wonders for my social life…. 😉 )

  3. “When modern popes and other churchmen apologize for the sins of the historical Church, or suggest (as Pope Francis has) that churchmen of the past had “a mentality more legalistic than Christian” and a “concern for preserving power and material wealth” that “prevented a deeper understanding of the Gospel,” these progressive Catholics applaud, and regard such actions as evidence that today’s Church has matured morally, spiritually, and doctrinally.”

    St. Patty’s rant coming…..
    and of course..my humble opinion;

    Shea is fueled with anxiety and anger.
    Erroneous opinions from Frankie only stoke his furnace. Best to leave the poor fruit on the ground where it can feed worms and slugs.

    As for orthodoxy?
    The renewal process of the priesthood is lead by Jesus himself, found in hundreds of perpetual eucharistic adoration chapels across the world. Jesus makes the impossible possible. The revisiting of Latin Rite is quenching a thirst that the Good God Jesus Christ beckoned for while he hung in agony. This stepping back to go forward is productive. Many a young man hears the call from Christ with the help of Our Lady who prepares the ears of the heart so the eyes of the heart can see Jesus exposed while Christs tells him; (Douey-Rheims Bible Jn. 15:16)
    “You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”

    The fruit from those who are grafted onto the true vine will indeed remain. The practices of the Franciscan’s of the Immaculate who were attacked by the Holy See for their use of Latin, will provide great graces based upon their patience in adversity.

    The new Springtime St. Pope JP II spoke of is dawning…but first the mud from the first thaw must be driven into the gutters.
    The sludge is exposed and a cleansing is underway. Springtime is coming. New holy Priests are forthcoming, with hearts and minds focused on Christ and him alone. No room for frozen hearted ordained. The meltdown is underway.

    Shea will continue in his own meltdown.
    It is his comfort zone.
    His identity.

  4. They never apply their crap to Muslims.

    They said (heard on TV) they ran the NYC St. Patty’s Day Parade on 3/16 because 3/17 (Sunday) is a “holy day of obligation (sic).” I say they did it b/c NY saloons can’t sell hootch on Sunday until 11AM (was 1PM).

    Anyhow, the parade is the late-winter NYC Irish gay pride waddle.

    It appears the Holy Spirit wields a wry sense of humor.

  5. They never apply their crap to Muslims.

    A theory I’ve seen floating around, which I have a very hard time disproving–
    liberals are white supremacists, as well as holding women to be second-class at best.
    Only “white” (generally European) groups can be expected to be civilized, or even just not be insane monsters.
    Thus, things like the Israelis ending a cease-fire by shooting back make perfect sense in their world-view. Of course Muslims are homicidal, they aren’t as good as the crazy liberals– and conservatives are racist for holding all people to the same standards in the same situations.

  6. Oh, on a lighter note– Shaw, you may enjoy the work-around, my mom’s home town was BIG on Saint Pat’s, usually moved it to the nearest Sunday for the parade, but they likewise couldn’t serve alcohol.

    So the priest would run a booth where he’d give “Irish blessings”…. worked out because Father made sure nobody was stupid, the law was technically upheld because it wasn’t actually BOUGHT, and everybody got to have the whole party spirit even though you couldn’t buy anything to drink when the party was getting started.

  7. “I have always thought that in saner times in the life of the Church my function within the Church would be to serve as a bad example.”

    I’m sorry Don, but that would have been my role.

  8. Foxfier: Absolutely correct. It’s the prejudice/racism/sexism of low expectations. Plus, they exhibit complete absence of self-awareness. I never can decide. Is it their cowardice, their evil, or their stupidity?

  9. “What explains such incoherence? The answer is that hatred blinds the intellect. More precisely, and as I discussed in a blog post on wrath and its daughters, anger that is excessive or otherwise disordered has as one of its byproducts what Aquinas calls “clamor” or “disorderly and confused speech.” Anger has the function of prodding us to make things right when in some way they are not – when there is some injustice to be redressed, some error to be corrected, or what have you. When guided by reason, anger can result in coherent speech and action, but in a wrathful person anger comes to dominate reason, and he lashes out incoherently. If he’s frenzied enough, he may even lash out with a condemnation he would in other contexts regard as a commendation.”

    I could write a book on how I have been illogical with anger & said things I shouldn’t have due to wrath & clamor. God works with me all of the time on this. And by the power of the Holy Spirit I have improved but am not perfect. I can be especially dangerous in this area when defending those who are weak or being taken advantage of.

    The Leftists we are dealing with currently (Socialist/Communists/Anarchists/Atheists/general ignoramuses/LGBT-ites & their sychopants, etc.) are continual examples of uncontrolled anger & resultant violence & clamour.

  10. Being the “greatest Catholics of all time” must be the modernist’s standard for exhibiting the virtue of simple humility.
    It remains self-explanatory that the “Aren’t We Special” church bears little resemblance to the one Created by Christ, and like Western Civilization itself, is no longer exhibiting minimal spiritual fecundity in the church it has attempted to replace.

  11. At first glance at the picture, without his beard, I thought it was Elton John.

    Not that. It’s just that the haircut and glasses are from the era when Elton John was top-of-the-charts.

  12. Great arguments for ignoring Shea. So why is he being discussed?

    His “new pro-life” shtick is infecting our local 40 days for life.
    It’s already quite vulnerable– marching in solidarity with “migrants” (illegals) already gets more in-church attention, but supporting illegal immigration is getting mixed up with OPPOSING MURDER OF BABIES.
    For bonus outrage, they are actively maligning the Border Patrol by blaming them for that poor little girl who died of sepsis, hours after being dragged across the border from Guatemala, and neglecting to mention they took her straight to a doctor even though her father insisted she was fine.

  13. By the low standards of the “new” “pro” “life” movement, the National Socialist “life unworthy of life” propaganda campaign was “pro-life.” (square quotes deliberate because it’s not particularly new, nor does it favor, “life”—by which they really mean “death.”

  14. Well, babies are a reminder that genital contact sports aren’t the fun-n-games the world tries to make them out to be. You need something to hide the evidence if you’re plan is to let the good times keep on rolling.

  15. “I have always thought that in saner times in the life of the Church my function within the Church would be to serve as a bad example.”

    I laughed at this witty comment, until I realized just how much it applied to me as well. I warn you, I intend to use your line in conversations with friends ….entirely without attribution. It is too good not to steal. My friends will suppose me to be both humble and witty ….. entirely without justification, of course.

  16. Foxfier: it is simply and only “supremacists” -they are elitists no matter what color.

    I have never seen or heard a Barry Soetoro/B Obama speech and I have never read anything written for him. Whenever on a screen or from a radio I realize he will appear or speak, I turn it off or change the channel. I have done the same for Hanoi Jane and HRH Hillary for decades. Do this for Mark S and you will feel so right, so good. Do not give him even one small, fleeting thought.

    This is how one kills a weed- no nutrients. For Mark , your hate is his nutrient- Remember what God said: “What angers you, controls you”.

    Don’t give him a thought.

    Guy McClung, Texas

    Signor Ugarte-Peter Lorre to Rick:
    You despise me, don’t you? .

    Rick Blaine-Humphrey Bogart
    If I gave you any thought I probably would

  17. Mark Shea really is not worth the time, space or Internet bandwidth spent on him. He lost his mind over the waterboarding in the Iraq War and turned violently against anyone calling himself a conservative or traditional Catholic, equating them with supporting Bush and his “torture” programs

  18. He started losing it before that, I’m not sure what the trigger was.

    I just know that I started getting a feeling like some of the other bloggers who’d gone bonkers, so I left– and much later, countered a false claim of historical waterboarding that I then was informed I should accept anyways, because he’d said it and I’m Catholic.
    Insert “It doesn’t work that way….none of it works that way” meme here.

Comments are closed.