Four Things I Didn’t Expect

Four Things I Didn’t Expect June 6, 2013

…from my apology the other day:

1. Reconciliation with Steve Kellmeyer, who was the soul of graciousness in my comboxes.

2. Hearing from a dear friend who, unbeknownst to me, had been hurt by me being an idiot. That meant a lot too.

3. At least two pieces on the web, here (from the typically smart Leah Libresco) and here (by the impressively-named Erin Glaser Arlinghaus), remarking on the phenomenon of treating public figure as though they are sort of semi-fiction and using them as means to rhetorical ends.

4. The sheer magnanimity of youse guys.

Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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  • kansas wheat

    Mark, we love you, maybe sometimes you’re too angry, but we all remember what happens to the tepid. Enjoy the day the Lord has given you. Te deum!

  • I’ve come pretty late to the excitement the last couple of days. I don’t what there is left to say, except that considering how long and often I have resisted the self-knowledge God tries to give me, I think you have received a great grace here and are profiting from it.

    Funny thing was, Mark, I always cheered mentally when you would tear into a wrong opinion from someone on torture; your tone always seemed right to me — until I myself was (briefly) on the other end of your tirade in the Lila Rose thing. It matters not at all now, of course. But perspective is an amazing thing! I hope I will start trying in the future not to simply score points but talk to others like people, not things. God bless you.

  • Maolsheachlann O Ceallaigh

    I was re-reading the first and second books of your Mary trilogy on the bus to work this morning and I was in tears several times– I would actually say this trilogy might be my third favourite book ever after Orthodoxy by Chesterton and Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis. So I was surprised to look at your blog after a day or so of not reading and to see this.

    My first reaction is to think that the criticism seems excessive, that righteous anger is not a sin, and that this is mostly a function of your being so prolific a writer.

    But, as you say, many people seem to take the opposite view and it’s admirable to take the criticism on board like that. I suppose we should just thank God there seems to have been something of an outpouring of grace from this.

    • Imp the Vladaler

      I was re-reading the first and second books of your Mary trilogy on the
      bus to work this morning and I was in tears several times

      Those are either incredibly short books or that is an incredibly long daily commute.

      • Newp Ort

        Or an incredibly fast reader!

        • Imp the Vladaler

          Hmm, yes.

          • Maolsheachlann

            Ha ha ha, I’m a very very slow reader, I had a few pages left of the first book when I started my commute and got a few pages into the second one. I guess it was pedantic of me to be so specific. But I have to say the ambiguity of the word “read” keeps me honest– I’ve often ticked, with a clear consience, those boxes that ask if you’ve “read” the terms and conditions because it never specifies that you’ve read ALL of it.

  • Elizabeth517

    I was struck by Paul Williams’ comment on your “mea culpa” post that he was guilty of “tuning in to watch the fireworks.” Your biting and hilarious righteous anger does scratch an itch for your readers–it’s not like we were always reading you in spite of it. (I have gotten some of this kind of pleasure from your blog and it occurred to me that I used to scratch this itch in my former life by reading Wonkette!) Anyway, I think blog readers are complicit in the problem of tone, and we can do better too!

    Your insight about using people as a means to a rhetorical end is a big one and I hope it has a big impact on Catholics on the Internet.

    • Evan

      Your absolutely right, Elizabeth. Commenters can and should do better as well. I am definitely guilty of having “tuned in to watch the fireworks.” Since my very first reaction was to think Mark was overreacting to hypersensitive to complaints, I realized I was committing quite a few of the same sins as well, especially reducing political figures to objects.
      I’m glad your apology was so fruitful, Mark, and thanks for the eye-opener.

      • Clare Krishan

        ditto the mea culpa re: commenting and rhetorical end.
        Grammar and logic can only be: we love as we are loved.

        (dimitte nobis debita nostra,
        sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris
        Mizaru: U+1F648

    • Rosemarie


      It “scratches an itch” as long as one agrees; when one disagrees it rips off a scab.

      (…sorry if that’s too graphic.)

  • Newp Ort

    Walk the fine line Mark. Negativity that offends and ultimately hurts yourself is good to recognize and avoid. but raw intelligence, sharp wit and an itchy trigger finger are your gifts, and we love you for them. use them with love, but use them!

    • said she

      Yes!! Sharp wit is, well, sharp – and sometimes leaves a Mark. But we, your loyal fans, come here precisely for that. Use those gifts, Mark, with love.

  • Stu

    5. The Spanish Inquisition?


  • Rosemarie


    I’m not always good with the mushy stuff so I haven’t written yet. But I appreciate what you posted and seeing you reconcile with Steve Kellmeyer was wonderful. Please pray for me as I pray for you.

  • Elmwood

    I wonder how many people including myself treat our dear president Obama as a fictional character and forget that he is a human being created like us in the image of God. It’s challenging to love your enemies and turn the other cheek.

    I think the right wing media and the left do this routinely and is why I stoped listening to Micheal Savage, the worst offender of all, though I think he was entertaining.

    • ivan_the_mad

      This. The two-minute hates accomplish nothing except spiritual harm to the participant.

  • Stan

    So when is Kellmeyer going to apologize to all the other people he’s insulted and maligned over the years?

    Answer: Never – because they won’t bring him the attention/hits/potential business that linking up to a Mark Shea blog post will.

    • chezami

      Please. Show a little charity.

  • John Schaefer

    Thanks, Mark. Thoroughly enjoyed both – especially Erin’s piece. Wonderful.

  • Andy, Bad Person

    I didn’t expect a John Z to go completely unhinged into Mark Shea attack mode. I never seen anyone go for the jugular to hard, especially against a person who was clearly trying to be sincere.

    • chezami

      I don’t know what this means. Probably best that way.

      • Andy, Bad Person

        True, true. You’re doing a good enough job of doing the right thing here without me playing “let’s you and him fight.” I’ll shut up now.

  • I missed the earlier posts. Wow, what a catch up. You’ve given me much to chew on. My prayers to you for success on your new road.