Mark Shea: Worst. Person. Ever.

One thing about blogging at Patheos: you can’t choose your neighbors. It was a pretty quiet place around here when the Right Kind of Catholics made up most of the blogroll, but then they started letting anybody in.

I knew things were really going to hell when Mark Shea first showed up. As an author, blogger, and speaker, he’s used the Church to achieve worldwide fame and boundless wealth while leading the real faithful (ie, cradle Catholics) astray. It’s about time courageous people take a stand against laypeople with keyboards, and Fr. Peter West has bravely taken up the gauntlet in a relentless series of Facebook messages and comments aimed squarely at putting Shea in his place so no one will ever listen to him again.

It was good of Fr. West to perform this important task, since he already had a very full schedule that involved regular Facebook posts vigorously defending the Republican Party, as well as acting as Vice President of Human Life International.

Can anyone doubt that Fr. West first contacted Shea privately to counsel him as any good priest would do, and failing that, brought his concerns to Shea’s publishers and his bishop? After all, these were serious matters that needed to be addressed with a sense of pastoral care befitting a priest of the Holy Catholic Church.

Fr. West began his fraternal correction of Shea with an August 28th post declaring, “Something is deeply wrong with Mark Shea. I wouldn’t be looking to him for theological guidance.” This was in response to a serious and pressing issue, first raised in a May 1st post by Shea titled “A Gay Man I Consider a Saint.”  The post was little more than an apologia for rampant and unrestrained sodomy, masquerading as a charitable reminiscence of a chaste and pious homosexual who had recently passed away.

I mean, really! What else could Fr. West have done? Shea’s compassion and charity was grotesquely misplaced when we all know that sexual perverts are damned without exception. Shea even went so far as to officially canonize this unrepentant homosexual! As if he had the authority! By far the worst thing he did was to say he didn’t even care if the homosexual was chaste. That it wasn’t any of his “business”! As though the sins of each person, living or dead, are not the pressing concern of each and every Catholic. We are called, by virtue of our baptism, to render judgment on the sins of others. Obviously, Shea’s “conversion” is sorely lacking if he doesn’t understand such basics of the faith.

Shea pretended to be puzzled by Fr. West’s misrepresentation of his opinion fraternal correction, and attempted to “reason” with the good and holy priest.

Father: I have said nothing opposed to the Catholic faith. I said I knew a chaste gay man who lived and died with great love for the faith. I didn’t know (and still don’t) whether he managed to live with perfect chastity, but then I don’t know if you have lived with perfect chastity either, Father. However, I *presume* you have as I presumed Perry had, given what I saw of the obvious intensity of his faith and commitment to the gospel. I still have no reason to think he committed any sins in that department. And I did not and do not see it as my job to act as Inquisitor into either his sex life or yours, Father. I see nothing in any of that that which opposes the Faith, and you defame me to claim there is. What is more, you teach your followers to join you in that defamation. I implore you to stop.

I ask you, did you ever hear such utter rot? It was a good thing that Fr. West ignored Shea’s pleas for prayer and calm and continued to encourage his followers in their relentless (but, of course, always charitable and fraternal) corrections of Shea, until the conversation finally slowed down after about 800 replies. Sure, it was vicious and personal, with crass insults and messages from mentally ill people who had slipped their meds and started randomly lapsing into odd vaudeville routines, but passions were high, and Shea’s wickedness certainly warranted such harsh treatment at the hands of a shepherd of souls.

Yet this was surely not enough medicine for a reprobate like Shea, so Fr. West stepped up his attacks fraternal correction. He added a “Mark Shea Alert” to his Facebook page, castigating Mark for agreeing with something written by Zac Alstin for Mercatornet.  This was a long overdue antidote to one of the curses of the Catholic church: people agreeing with other people. At last, Fr. West was on the right track with the idea of a Mark Shea alert, which should become a permanent feature of all truly faithful catholic blogs, complete with a color-coded warning, such as this:

It was getting serious, however: Shea and his minions weren’t accepting the harassment fraternal correction–hard and personal, but obviously necessary–in the proper spirit, and Fr. West soon announced that he was under threat from diabolical Shea supporters. I have no doubt about this at all. They will stop at nothing, so Fr. West had no choice but to increase his character assassination fraternal correction, with further posts on Shea’s criticisms of Lila Rose’s use of deception in her anti-abortion efforts; Shea’s failure to love conservative patriots like Glenn Beck and Andrew Breibart; Shea’s criticism of John “Formerly Father” Corapi for defying and slandering his bishop, his employees, and the leaders of his order; and criticisms of Shea for criticising his criticism.

All in all, it was a very thorough effort at slander fraternal correction, which Shea neglected to accept in the proper attitude of groveling gratitude. All the while, Shea continued to deny he believed the things Fr. West claimed he believed, which is just silly. Who knows better what Shea believes? Shea himself, or a priest who, though he has never met him, has read a few of his blog posts?

I ask you, in the spirit of clericalism, to be honest with yourself here.

The ugly truth is this: Shea is a convert, and all good and faithful Catholics know converts may be nice to have around now and then to fill out the choir, but they can’t really be trusted. They’re not really part of the body of Christ, to be treated with love and respect like real Catholics.

It’s also clear that there is no room in the Catholic Church for people who express doubt about Republican political candidates and fail to hate Obama quite thoroughly enough. Fr. West’s proud and constant public support of the Romney-Ryan ticket is, in fact, the official position of the Roman Catholic Church, and Pope Benedict himself has endorsed them for their unwavering commitment to talking about abortion once or twice a year, maybe.

I actually find Fr. West’s relentless pursuit of a layperson with a blog rather comforting, since it means the Church is not entering the period of persecution we all believed was ahead, and that we have in fact solved all our serious problems. This gives us the opportunity to gather in the circular firing squad and attack other Catholics. It’s even more encouraging that the leader of a pro-life organization can take the time to insult fraternally correct another tireless advocate for the pro-life cause, since it means that the scourge of abortion has vanished from the land. Bravo, Fr. West!

UPDATE: Follow-up post.

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Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.


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