Mark Shea is sad because seminarians are Catholic

UPDATE 19 July:

Another voice chimes in about Mark Shea.  HERE


I was amused by this, which provoked some interesting twitter comments.

Mark Shea strikes me as… bumfuzzled.  Too bad.  He had promise.

The left has had its time. Sure, there’s a way to go yet and they can still perpetrate a lot of nasty. But, they are done. They just don’t get it.

Let me try to put this in terms that they will understand using a scene from Kill Bill, or if you prefer, Clan of the White Lotus (1980) or Executioners of Shaolin (1977). Kill Bill involves elements of old Japanese samurai, old Chinese Wu Xia, and old Spaghetti Westerns. It’s an homage pastiche with his weird post-modern scrambling of time frames. Any way, our anti-hero finally get’s her revenge on her former master using the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique taught her by Pai Mei. After receiving this blow, the recipient’s, Bill’s, heart explodes but only after taking five steps.

So, just stand or sit there, no problem. Take five steps, blammo. It is, “Kill Bill”, after all.  In other words, he sits and chats for a bit after the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique , but… he’s already dead.

How many steps are left now?

UPDATE 16 July:

I guess this is a “No” vote from poor Shea. It must be difficult.

As I read this unfortunate post of his, I am taken back to last Sunday’s Epistle from 1 Peter 3.  We are admonished not to return abuse for abuse but rather to bless.  We are urged:

“So have no fear of their fear and do not be troubled. But hallow the Lord Christ in your hearts.”

Hence, through the intercession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I ask the Holy Spirit to bring calm and peace to Mark’s heart and mind, to restore the Fruits and Gifts if they are absent and to inspire in him good things.  I also ask our Guardian Angels to work on their own level for the same.  May Almighty God bless him and his.

UPDATE 17 July:

It seems that Shea has, again, posted on Fakebook about me.  God bless him.    Comments stirred by his actions remind me of what the combox was like at the Fishwrap.  Remember that?  It was a real fever swamp breeding rash judgment and calumny.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

In any event, I’d ask you readers to say a prayer for Mr. Shea, whom I suspect is a pretty unhappy fellow, as well as for the readers.   Stick with the advice of 1 Peter 3, the Epistle last Sunday:Lesson from the first letter of St. Peter the Apostle

1 Pet 3:8-15.
Beloved: Be all like-minded in prayer, compassionate, lovers of the brethren, merciful, reserved, humble; not rendering evil for evil, or abuse for abuse, but contrariwise, blessing; for unto this were you called that you might inherit a blessing. For, He who would love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good, let him seek after peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and His ears unto their prayers; but the face of the lord is against those who do evil. And who is there to harm you, if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you suffer anything for justice’ sake, blessed are you. So have no fear of their fear and do not be troubled. But hallow the Lord Christ in your hearts.
R. Thanks be to God.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. richiedel says:

    There is very little in left-leaning ideology which would inspire a man to be a priest. To devote himself to others, more so, but specifically to the priesthood, not so much. So, this is not surprising.

  2. dbonneville says:

    Even better, the words of Kenshiro from the Fist of the North Star anime from the 80’s, used over and over to never-diminishing ever-satisfying effect: “You are already dead.” Here is a wonderfully entertaining compilation:

    My fav: “You can babble all you want in hell. You are already dead.” Always delivered dead pan.

  3. JoAnna says:

    Father, the title of this post seems to imply that one cannot be Catholic unless we are “into Fr. Z, Skojec, Taylor Marshall, Cardinal Burke, etc.” — or, conversely, that those who don’t follow the aforementioned men aren’t actually Catholic.

    Perhaps you should clarify your title?

    [Quod scripsi, scripsi.]

  4. iamlucky13 says:

    I’ve met Mark several times and we have some friends and acquaintances in common.

    I think bumfuzzled is as good of a term as any, and I think it would do him good to focus less on blogging and online conversation, and more on apologetics books and public speaking.

    As far as I know, his articles in the Archdiocesan magazine still list him as a member of Blessed Sacrament parish, served by the Western Dominican Province, who tend to be pretty traditional, well educated, and several members of which offer Mass in the Dominican Rite. I wouldn’t call him a leftist.

    At the same time, among many controversial issues he lets himself get sucked into unproductive internet discussions on, he seems deeply concerned that those critical of Pope Francis might not be very distantly separated from sedevacantists. And since some who may indeed be borderline schismatics love to portray Cardinal Burke and others as strictly in opposition to Pope Francis, and also love to troll the internet looking for people like Mark to argue with, the internet gives him abundant confirmation of his concerns. I get the sense the sort of discussion that finds its way onto his blog has trained him to assume extreme interpretations of most topics in the Church today.

    The current confusion in the Church is a source of difficulty and scandal for a lot of people. I have no doubt Mark could use some prayers.

    I think if Mark understood what actually draws most of the seminarians referenced to figures like Cardinal Burke and our illustrious host, and if he hadn’t bought the mainstream media portrayal of Cardinal Burke as a stooge for far right nationalists, he wouldn’t be so concerned.

  5. ChrisP says:

    I never understood the attraction of Mark Shea. He never said anything particularly great and definitely never anything novel. It was always about HIM, could see it from 12000km away here in New Zealand. This FB post confirms a long way gone.

  6. Ms. M-S says:

    Only a “full 40%” to “more like 70 to 80%”? Keep praying, everyone. The trend is good, but until it’s 100% all around there’s still room for improvement.

    Oh, and, Mark Shea, what you conceive of as The American Church is already “in deep, deep trouble.” So are you, as long as you mistake the hopeful signs of recovery for harbingers of decline.

  7. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Mark Shea lives in one of the most far left cities in the whole US, with many of the farthest left Catholics. He used to have some interest in how the rest of us think, but he abandoned that a long time ago. According to his neighbors, he is a moderate with normal generic Catholic views, and he does manage that fairly well for somebody living where he does. But that makes him very nervous of changing, probably because maintaining his current faith practices is hard enough. Actually moving the Overton window back to a set of Catholic practices consistent with all preceding generations is scary.

    And to be fair, it also involves facing a lot of anger. I spent a good ten years angry that I had been given insufficient Catholic teaching, and I grew up in what I came to realize was a Catholic oasis of sorts. The very adults who were trying (mostly successfully, in a very bad situation) to protect us and give us a grounding were the people I spent some serious time resenting. In the end I realized that there were better targets for blame, and better ways to react, than raw anger. But Mark Shea is kind of an angry guy, and maybe is trying to avoid being angry at the Church as well as everything else he is already angry about.
    The whole situation makes me sad. I miss the old St. Blog’s spirit of community.

  8. dbf223 says:

    I’m deeply confused by Mark Shea. Didn’t he start out as an apologist and a professional G.K. Chesterton enthusiast? How can you read G.K. Chesterton and not see the same traditionalism? It seems like he went completely off the reservation when Trump got elected, but I also feel like there has to be more going on than that.

  9. veritas vincit says:

    “Kill Bill”? That violent movie? I think we have found Fr Z’s guilty pleasure!

    As to Mark Shea, when he keeps his temper, he can write things in his blog )”Catholic and Enjoying It!”) that are worth reading. He is both politically liberal and orthodox in his beliefs (not traditional, but orthodox). At his best, he can serve to keep more politically conservative Catholics honest, for example on capital punishment.

    Shea’s big problem is he too often cannot keep his temper. And with the election of Donald Trump, he has gotten worse, with a bad case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. The last few times I have dropped by his blog, I have left in disgust. He has become virtually unreadable.

  10. Les Buissonets says:

    I couldn’t locate the exact post that you’ve screenshotted, but found one comment you might enjoy from one of his followers, a lady called Linda Daily. (

    “The Catholic Church in America became a mostly evangelical Protestant influenced organization over the past few decades as EWTN media and its celebrity converts infiltrated the church on most every level. The public face of American Catholicism is a partisan prosperity gospel driven institution catering to wealthy donors. Of course its power structure finds the Pope confusing – it is no longer a Catholic institution at its foundations.

    “Hand wringing is not necessary. Slowly the Pope is appointing actual Catholic bishops to run key dioceses and rein in the partisans. I see real changes on the parish level, the reality in which we should live.The online church is lost and best ignored.

    “We will have to develop big hearts to be able to receive the wave of socially awkward incels currently populating our seminaries. They will need a loving and mature laity to form them into pastors and turn them toward Christ and away from Fr. Z. Like the wave of gay men who populated in the priesthood in the 60s and 70s, some will grow into amazing priests, others will do much damage.”

    This big-hearted, loving and mature lady obviously sees you as the epitome of everything she loathes in the Church: the Fr Z Tendency. Mazeltov!

    [Since I never expect much of quality or interest at Patheos, I’m not overly surprised or moved by these comments. Besides, when you decide to tread the sands of the arena, you have to expect people to take shots at you, and I have been on the sands for a long time.]

  11. Johann says:

    Mark Shea is not a Catholic Apologist. He is a professional troll whose sole function seems to be to offend traditional leaning Catholics rather than win souls. No wonder the National Catholic Register fired him.

  12. Benedictus says:

    Unfortunately Fr. Z, I have to disagree with you. As you say, ‘the Left never sleeps or stops.’ The traditionalists rest.

    We thought the worst was behind us, then with the current pontificate, the Left is invigorated. Look at the appointments: Maradiaga, ‘Uncle Ted,’ ‘noble’ Wuerl, Zanchetta, Pena Parra, Inzoli, Mons. Ricca, etc. Unfortunately, the list is endless.

  13. Anneliese says:

    I read the article and comment that Les quoted. I don’t think the seminarians that are considered to be more traditional are incels. That sounds fairly insulting to these men. And as a convert, I’ve never been led to believe that the Catholic Church is driven by the prosperity gospel.

    Linda Daily: “They will need a loving and mature laity to form them into pastors and turn them toward Christ and away from Fr. Z. ” If I had a son in seminary I would not want this woman anywhere near him.

  14. ZestyLemonZach says:

    I guess you’ve become a cult leader you meenie bully.

  15. ZestyLemonZach says:

    I guess you’ve become a cult leader you meenie bully:

  16. RosaryRose says:

    He said ,”The American Church is in deep deep trouble…”

    I belong to the ROMAN CATHOLIC Church. (It ain’t no ‘merican church’) My Church is waking up. Praise God!

    Pray your rosary daily like Our Lady said! This is a spiritual battle. Go to confession. Pray for Fr Z, Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Sarah, Bishop Schnieder, et al and yes, PRAY FOR the left! Because we are about saving souls. We are about bringing the Truth of Christ to all for the salvation of souls.

    Brick by brick!

  17. sekcatholic says:

    We’re seeing an increase in “hard-identity Catholic” men in seminaries because they actually believe in the deposit of the faith. In this increasingly post-Christian nation, being a priest is no longer a pathway to prestige. It’s a hard job with daily attacks from within and without the Church. One would have to have a deep sense of faith to endure the spiritual and temporal attacks that must come daily with the vocation.

    Why would a theologically liberal Catholic man endure that kind of life? They don’t have the certitude of faith, the spiritual tools, or–I suspect–the desire. Thank God we have men who are willing and able to serve. Pray for them.

  18. JustaSinner says:

    Sad, on Mark’s part. But whatever, he had a cool stippling picture on his series of God the Father on Catholic Weekly that is tattoed on my left forearm. So I can remember him and say a prayer of conversion when I look at it.

  19. Suburbanbanshee says:

    We need to pray for everybody, frankly. This is a time of great chaos and societal collapse, even though it’s also a time of prosperity and hope. It is very easy for people to get caught up in a cycle of over-reaction, just like it’s very easy for people to ignore what is truly sinister. Mark Shea is an example of both tendencies; but he is far from the only one.

    That said, being and staying an orthodox Catholic believer (which Shea has done so far) is always halfway to getting everything right in life. If the Church can help a person as weird as me, she can help anyone!

  20. Mr. Shea has written some good things on the Faith. He has definite gifts. Alsa, he has become increasingly angry the past few years. I used to read his blog regularly and post comments. At one point, he posted something attacking Trump, I think, before election, and I thought the attack was founded on a very shaky basis. So I pointed that out. “Why are you defending these people?” he replied, totally ignoring the issue I and other were raising, namely, that his charge was UNFAIR. In other words, even “these people” deserve fairness. His rage has only grown since then. I have given up trying to urge him to a different path.

  21. Mr. Graves says:

    Shea tweets in response to this story:

    Looks like he’s got a new avatar. Pity: the one in which he pointed a gun at the camera was more apropos.

  22. rollingrj says:

    Does anyone remember the conversations Mr. Shea was having about the definition of torture back when waterboarding was the hot topic? IMVHO, because he was seemingly unable to convince people that his viewpoint was the correct one, that is when he “went off the rails” . (I also have another theory of why he’s acting the way he does now, but I will keep that thought to myself.)

  23. Semper Gumby says:

    It’s heartening to hear from that seminarian that more seminarians are Catholic- Men of the Eucharist.

    Fr. Z: “One of my classmates was expelled for an “exaggerated Marian devotion”. He had a statue of O.L. of Fatima in his room.”

    “We have lowered the stakes. If everyone is saved – though our Lord clearly warns us against that sluggish sureness – then why sweat? Where’s the adventure? No real boy says, “I want to grow up to be a fat bishop sitting in the chancery while the real world goes on its merry way,” or, “I want to grow up to be a man without a wife and children, who spends his days being nice.” Is that it? [Priests are not ordained to be nice. Priests are ordained to offer sacrifice and to forgive sins, to keep you out of hell.]

    Men thrive in brotherhoods. Not peoplehoods, but specifically brotherhoods.”

    “The Madison diocese has a “remarkable” number of seminarians for its size, Anne Hendershott said.

    [Quaeritur…] Why the local success? Morlino has made priestly vocations — the spiritual call to serve — a priority. He increased the position of director of vocations to full time, and he routinely promotes the priesthood at functions.

    But there could be more to it. [Here we go!] The very traits that have made Morlino controversial may be the reason he’s successful at recruiting new priests, Hendershott’s research suggests.

    [Keep going…] Bishops who are unambiguous about church doctrine and don’t tolerate dissent tend to inspire the greatest number of vocations, said Hendershott, who references Morlino positively in her book.”

    [SG here: Please note the Part 2 Update]

    Rosary Rose: Exactly. One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

    (Allow me to add: Long may the flag of these imperfect United States wave. God bless Fr. Vincent Capodanno and Navy SEAL Edward Byers. Please see the following post and comments on values and virtues):

    Fr. Fox and Johann: Well said.

    Les Buissonets: Mazeltov indeed to our host.

    Someone at Patheos really doesn’t like Mother Angelica:

    “The Catholic Church in America became a mostly evangelical Protestant influenced organization over the past few decades as EWTN media and its celebrity converts infiltrated the church on most every level.”

    Catholicity- a favorite Mother Angelica word I think- really seems to drive ‘c’atholics bonkers.

  24. Bryan Baldwin says:

    I started having suspicions about Shea several years ago when he refused to acknowledge the importance of liturgical praxis. If I recall correctly, he went so far as to say he didn’t understand ‘liturgy wars’ and that there was no need to worry about how priests say Mass.

  25. Anneliese says:

    How are you a grifter? Grifting implies swindling people out of money. I wasn’t aware you were in that sort of business.

    Meanwhile, I think he reads the comments on your blog posts. I had left a comment for the post on why Mark Shea doesn’t understand why people don’t like Pope Francis. He promptly deleted it. Which is funny, because I said I did agree with Pope Francis’ views on social issues. My real problem is with the German bishops wanting to turn the Catholic Church into the Protestant Church — which is what they’re trying to do.

  26. Semper Gumby says:

    “Grifter”? Ok, we can take “the sting” out of that remark.

    On the mean streets of 1936 Chicago, where the booze is cheap and the teleology cheaper, Paddy “Sadman” O’Shea runs a publishing house of ill repute. Miraculously, a kindly soul gave him an RCA radio which crackles to life hourly with Gregorian chant and Fulton Sheen’s The Catholic Hour. Paddy “Gladman” O’Shea now spends his days printing prayer cards and the encyclicals of Pius X and Pius XI. God bless Mr. O’Shea.

  27. Unwilling says:

    “grifter, liar, bully”?
    I know Fr Z only from his blog. From that, Mark’s name calling is so far off the mark one might suspect a misidentification of person. Sometimes Fr Z is dismissive or harsh in rejecting criticism, but not a shred of aggressive bullying. Intentional misrepresentation of truth I have never seen him make. “Grifter” is a rather complex word; but if Mark means “fraud” it has no application to Fr Z who wears his convictions openly on his maniple; and if he means “(money) swindler”, it is laughable to so accuse a man who lives on scraps of percentages from Amazon orders!

  28. ZestyLemonZach says:

    It’s really tiring to see these days people on the road to Calvary trying to wrestle each other off, or outright accusing the other of never being on the road to begin with. It’s possible to disagree with someone’s methods without accusing them of being conspiracy theorists or leaders of a “cult of personality,” especially in response to benign, playful banter of Fr. Z original comments in this article. We’re all Catholic here, but for all the talk of “dialogue” there seems to be very little effective dialogue going on; the sheep are just incessantly fighting each other, and the ideological chasm and hostility on each side has only deepened during this pontificate. I hope one day we can get a true unifying leader in our church, pope or otherwise.

  29. JustaSinner says:

    Wow! Just read his facebook page and twitter feed. There are some serious issues at play in him. I know he’s reading these posts…So, Mark, seriously, get some professional help. Pray to the Blessed Mother for Peace. Seriously. Right now, today, this minute!

  30. Kenneth Wolfe says:

    When did Mark Shea ever have promise?

    [Mr. Wolfe. We all have promise and there is hope for every one of us while we draw breath. Some of the greatest saints whom we venerate and desire to imitate had convoluted pasts and ever one of them had a great future.]

  31. TonyO says:

    Poor Mark. He certainly needs prayers.

    So do I, so while you offer some for him, can you add me too, please? Thanks.

    ”The American Church is in deep deep trouble…”

    A great Catholic I know, commenting about some 30+ years ago, said “Cardinal Bernardin is the head of the American Catholic Church. But Cardinal O’Connor is the head of the Roman Catholic Church in America”. The “American Catholic Church” is a sorry, sad, low-down excuse of a church, unable to connect its doctrine on poverty to the whole entire Gospel of the Church. And unable to even formulate a doctrine of sexuality, at least not one that bears up for 3 microseconds of scrutiny. The Roman Catholic Church, on the other hand, is the one Church founded by Christ and is found in America as well as all over the world.

    I don’t know if it is actually true, but by appearances at least Mark behaves as if the constant pressure of controversy and “fireworks” is necessary for his continued well-being. He also seems to have a hard time thinking through any criticism as if it might have some validity, though I admit that if I had as many critics as he does I might find it hard to take them ALL seriously too. I have no clue why he imagines it is any less Catholic to form an opinion the pope could be making mistakes, even grave mistakes: many saints thought the same thing at various times.

  32. Antiquorum says:

    Fr. Z’s blog was a great guide and help to me becoming Catholic, and then finding tradition! What a terrible priest he is, what with bringing people home to the Lord! For shame!

  33. Gregg the Obscure says:

    rollingrj – not only do i remember that, but it’s what caused me to quit paying attention to him several years ago – a decision i found eminently justified by his later denunciations of the pro-life cause and cozying up to GBLTQP. The following is an email I sent him in May 2007. He replied saying he was sorry to have lost his temper, but he was right back to the same tricks in short order

    Hi Mark,
    I’ve been a reader of yours for eight years and have consistently had a high regard for you and the valuable work you do. I’m eagerly looking forward to the new books on the Blessed Virgin. At the same time, I’m worried about you lately.

    From eight years ago until about four years ago, I read quite a bit of Bob Sungenis. I saw the focus of his work narrowing into a few rather idiosyncratic fields (probably due to his exceptionally high interest in the indefectibility of the Church). Eventually he ran off the rails completely once he became convinced that anti-semitism and geocentrism were infallible Magisterial statements. Now his early works are tainted by his current madness and we have suffered some real loss as a result. Yet again this sin doesn’t just affect the sinner himself, but the whole community.

    On a much smaller scale, in the last iteration of my blog, I got caught up in disgust and anger at other attributes of contemporary American culture and the lackadaisical attitude toward them displayed by so many in the Church – so much so that I very nearly left the Church. Thanks be to God, I was persuaded to drop the blog and direct my attention away from infuriating things over which I have no influence in hopes of becoming a faithful follower of Jesus.

    Just like each of us has certain sins to which we’re more prone, each of us is offended by different sins (seems to me they’re often sins that we find more appalling than appealing). There’s no shortage of sin in the conduct of the Iraq war and there’s likely no shortage of sin in the rationale for it too. (Some of my more sinful thoughts regarding it – since repented -are cached in Google and tied to my name in perpetuity.) It’s easy, though, to overreact to those sins just like Bob Sungenis overreacted to the arrogance of modernism and I overreacted to society’s hostility to the family. As you’ve often noted, the anger of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Even more, that anger can divert us from real righteousness to destructive self-righteousness. Having been down that path, and having seen a writer with whom you share more than a few traits go down that path, I earnestly pray that you don’t go down that path.

    From what I’ve read by people a lot smarter and holier than me, it’s natural that each of us pursue that which interests us the most, but sometimes the cross we have to bear is setting aside that interest for other work to which we are called. I don’t presume to know with certainty what your call is. You probably do.

    A few years back someone (Michael Dubruiel comes to mind, but it might have been Gerald Bugge) suggested that bloggers should let posts on heated topics sit a bit after writing them lest blogging get overheated. Meaning no disrespect, perhaps you may want to take that advice when it comes to posts on war and torture. You’ve done a great deal of great work and have quite a bit more in front of you, but if you end up alienating the audience, that work will be diminished. That would be tragic.

  34. iamlucky13 says:

    @ rollingrj
    “Does anyone remember the conversations Mr. Shea was having about the definition of torture back when waterboarding was the hot topic? IMVHO, because he was seemingly unable to convince people that his viewpoint was the correct one, that is when he ‘went off the rails’. “

    I remember those conversations, although not in detail. I think that was part of a long progression of conversations on many different topics, not a singular trigger. I seem to recall those conversations well predated Trump publicly advocating torture.

    It seemed there was no act so egregious he could raise as an example to demonstrate that the ends don’t justify the means that somebody would not vociferously argue against him.

    I think his “anti-abortion but not pro-life” posts have probably been more painful to hold discussion on. Frankly, on those in particular I would say, “the flak is heavy because he is over the target” with respect to a lot of the people arguing with him.

  35. arga says:

    Who the hell is Mark Shea?

  36. I met Mark Shea back in 2002 when I went to Seattle. He was a great guy, living modestly in a ranch home north of downtown. His family was most hospitable, and he took me all over the city. He also gives great talks on scripture and early Church history, and tells hilarious jokes with not one bit of naughty parts.

    Somewhere along the way, about five or six years ago, Mark became disgusted with the role of Catholic leadership in the public square. He has a right to be. Most so-called “Catholic vote” groups are little more than shills for the Republican party. If they supported ethnic cleansing, these putzes would find a way to justify it. The problem began when Mark’s stand on the issues generated more heat than light. From there it sort of went downhill.

    He was fired from a Catholic periodical that survives by playing it safe, because he wouldn’t play it safe. Yes they had a right to do that, but no, they made no attempt to negotiate with him. Let no one be fooled into thinking that the National Catholic Register is the no-holds-barred publication it used to be, with contributors like Dr Peter Kreeft and Fr Peter Stravinskas. Not even a little bit.

    Most of his vitriol comes from his followers, who only make him look more like … how he now looks.

    To understand Mark is more than reporting what he says. It helps to understand why. It doesn’t excuse him. It explains him, and not only him. For all the attacks on him, he is right about one thing; there is no authentic Catholic voice in the American political arena, and those who try to find it in one party or the other are only kidding themselves.

    It’s enough to make just a few people angry, if only too much for their own good.

  37. veritas vincit says:

    Reading Father Z’s update with Mark Shea’s intemperate response, as well as reading other comments here, I fear Mark Shea has gone downhill from what I posted esrlier. It’s worse than simply a temper. He is flat-out angry, at Donald Trump, at anyone who criticizes Pope Francis, and it seems, at Father Z.

    I’ll say a prayer for him.

  38. iamlucky13 says:

    One more quick post: for a different side of Mr. Shea that we perceive from the Facebook post and followup under discussion, he has a very simple, worth reading post on his Patheos blog today about attempts to force priests to violate the seal of Confession.

  39. Gab says:

    Mark Shea? Never heard of him.

  40. Gab says:

    @JoAnna, you read all that in Father’s simple 8-word title? Amazing!

  41. BrionyB says:

    I hadn’t heard of Mark Shea before reading this post, so can’t comment on his trajectory, but it occurs to me that what you might call conservative or “moderate” Catholics (for want of a better word) must feel particularly worried and insecure right now, if they’re paying attention to what is going on in the Church. There’s an increasing sense that we have “two different religions” under the name of one Church and that we’re heading for some kind of major schism sooner rather than later – which, if it happens, will mean no one will be able to remain moderate or neutral, but will have to pick a side. I hope it does not come to that (because I don’t want to have to make that choice myself), yet it’s a looming threat, and the ongoing liturgy wars, as well as the increasingly tribal and polarized nature of the discourse on social media (“trads” vs. “libs”), illustrate it only too clearly.

    And if factions within the Church in the US are starting to become aligned with secular party politics, that isn’t going to help matters. I don’t really follow American politics, but there seems to be a very entrenched “us vs. them” dynamic, more so than in other countries. I’m not sure it’s helpful for Catholics to get caught up in that. We’re supposed to be in the world but not of it. If that is something that worries Mr Shea, I can see his point.

  42. Hidden One says:

    I don’t think it was helpful for those four people to be lumped together. I’ve spoken with seminarians whose have a pretty positive view of one or more of the four while having a rather negative view of at least one of the others. I imagine the same is true with regard to whoever is meant by “etc.”

  43. Semper Gumby says:

    David L Alexander wrote:

    “Most so-called “Catholic vote” groups are little more than shills for the Republican party. If they supported ethnic cleansing, these putzes would find a way to justify it.”

    Your hostility and vitriol is proving the point about the problematic Shea.

    “The problem began when Mark’s stand on the issues generated more heat than light.”

    You have not made a case that Shea generated light. The problem may also be Shea’s “stand on the issues.”

    “He was fired from a Catholic periodical that survives by playing it safe, because he wouldn’t play it safe.”

    That is false. Also, here is Mark Shea on Facebook attacking the Register:

    “The Register’s donor base is those folks, people who hate Francis and think Trump is awesome…The Register has to please these people and when they demand me as a human sacrifice, they have to do it or the money goes away. The excuse was my lack of charity. But the *reason* was because that mob hates Francis and love[s] Trump and I could not be tolerated.”

    That reveals alot about Shea but let’s move on.

    “Most of his vitriol comes from his followers, who only make him look more like … how he now looks.”

    Thus, you excuse Shea from accepting personal responsibility for his own actions.

    You may want to reconsider shilling for Mark Shea, the Party of Death, and Leftist ‘c’atholicism. Prayer and Contrition are in order here. Cheers.

  44. veritas vincit says:


    “Does anyone remember the conversations Mr. Shea was having about the definition of torture back when waterboarding was the hot topic? IMVHO, because he was seemingly unable to convince people that his viewpoint was the correct one, that is when he ‘went off the rails’. “


    “I remember those conversations, although not in detail. I think that was part of a long progression of conversations on many different topics, not a singular trigger. I seem to recall those conversations well predated Trump publicly advocating torture.”

    I remember Mark Shea’s posts about torture, in the context of whether or not waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation” techniques conducted on terrorists captured after 9/11 and the Iraqi constituted torture and were therefore morally wrong. he was defintely a bit “off the rails” on that issue. But that was long before Donald Trump was anything but a real estate mogul who had a reality TV show.

    Maybe that was the start of his descent. Sad. He can be a good apologist.

  45. TonyO says:

    “Most so-called “Catholic vote” groups are little more than shills for the Republican party. If they supported ethnic cleansing, these putzes would find a way to justify it.”

    That’s just the sort of stuff that is unhelpful and is classic on how Shea has gone off the rails. There are plenty of grass roots Catholic groups that are not shills for the Republican Party – heck, there are plenty that if they WERE shills, you would have to say they are shills for the Democrat party, given that their whole mantra is “social justice” as envisioned by the Dems. There are also plenty that seek the advancement of bipartisan solutions, or that seek third party options, or that promote voting for this or that pro-Republican policy but against this or that individual Republican candidate, such as Trump. There is so much variation that it is downright silly to lump them together with that “most” stuff.

    That said, if we were required to decide to align with one viable national party, well there is nothing in the Republican platform that is intrinsically evil and MUST be voted against, which is not something one can say about the Democrat party platform. (There is, admittedly, plenty in the Republican platform that intentionally ambiguous and some that is two-faced, but the the Dems are guilt of just as much of that, if not more, so that’s a toss-up.) Fortunately, there are other parties around anyway, and nobody is required to vote a whole ticket on one party either, so we don’t have such a choice forced upon us.

  46. JuliB says:

    I used to follow his blog, and thought he was a pretty decent apologist. I don’t expect to agree with anyone 100% of the time, so tended to overlook some of his opinions.

    However, when I read an article of his (perhaps in Catholic Answers) in which he attacked people who were uncomfortable with the confusion generated from Pope Francis’ lack of clarity, I changed my mind for 2 reasons:

    1. He went personal in his criticism. Rather than understanding that most of us are people of good will, he acted as if we were totally wrong, bordering on evil.

    2. He compared the Pope’s ambiguity to that of Jesus’ parables and teachings. Jesus said things that could be interpreted/understood in different ways, and this was perfectly fine, admirable even, for the Pope to do this too.

  47. Athelstan says:

    At his best, he can serve to keep more politically conservative Catholics honest, for example on capital punishment.

    Mark’s abusive treatment of Edward Feser and others who have tried to raise thoughtful concerns about the catechism change on the death penalty suggests otherwise, I’m afraid.

  48. Athelstan says:

    “He was fired from a Catholic periodical that survives by playing it safe, because he wouldn’t play it safe.”

    No: Unfortunately, Mark was fired by the Register for his pattern of abusive behavior on social media. And frankly, they exercised forbearance for a good deal longer than they should have. “His writing and engagement on other forums was irreconcilable with our editorial vision and standards of charitable discussion.”

  49. Southern Catholic says:

    Athelstan is correct, he was let go for abusive behavior on social media, comment boardsm etc. I also agree that it was allowed to go on for too long.

    It is really sad to see how angry he is about everything.

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