The Faithful Conservative Catholic[TM] Anti-Charism of Discernment Marches On!

The Faithful Conservative Catholic[TM] Anti-Charism of Discernment Marches On! August 14, 2013

Over at the Register, Simcha Fisher makes another one of those controversial assertions that is only controversial for the lunatic fringe of Traditionalist Catholics and Longers for the Legal Imposition of Catholicism on All Mankind, Preferably by Firing Squad.  No, not the shocking assertion that Holocaust Denial is Bad (though that was, for the conservative wingnuts, indeed deeply shocking and controversial).  Rather, it is the stunningly controversial suggestion that a murderous KGB authoritarian thug is not a hero just because he makes a few noises embarrassing to Obama, whom they regard as the locus of all evil in the entire universe.  With the time-tested bonehead lack of discernment for which so many Faithful Conservative Catholics have become known in their defenses of Maciel/Euteneuer/Corapi/torture/unjust war/Romney’s “prolife conversion”/condemnation and hostility directed even to faithful and chaste gays/zealous defenses of the goodness of lying and tempting to mortal sin, once again a morally and intellectually repellent position is staked out on the basis, not of Catholic teaching, but on some simple-minded pagan principle such as “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and “Opposition to Obama taketh away the sins of the world.”  It’s as dazzlingly stupid as the Great Pants Controversy, as brain dead as the “Pope Benedict Condemns Harry Potter” fooferah and as clueless and dumb as the pitchfork-waving mob defending the utter tacky stupidity of Lenten Caribbean Cruises.

Putin has people he doesn’t like poisoned with polonium. He’s not your friend and he’s not some new Constantine. Get a clue.

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  • wlinden

    But Putin is shocked, SHOCKED, that the US allows government spying on people it distrusts.

    • Barfly_Kokhba

      Nobody thinks he was shocked at all.

      I think some Americans were shocked that, even as various US presidents have enjoyed soul-searching power-lunches with Putin and vacations with the King and Queen of Spain, the people who the US government really distrusts, and has been spying on, is the entire American public. Y’know, “We the People.”

      Surely Putin and the rest of the “international community” have been laughing the whole time.

      • The only Americans that were shocked, haven’t been paying attention to the last 50 years of junk mail.

        The government is rather late to the party of spying on the entire American Public- WalMart’s been doing it for 20 years, Sears and Roebuck for a century before that.

  • ivan_the_mad

    I was disappointed that Buchanan put on rose-colored glasses to pen that article. The man is a thug who sees the Orthodox Church as a means to an end as he did the children in orphanages. He’ll discard the tool if it no longer serves his purpose.

  • Mitchell

    Being called to be innocent as doves and cunning as serpents Christians should be happy that Putin is trying to stand up for Christians in the mid east while realizing Putin has ulterior motives. We should be pleased with the russian governments opposition to same sex marriage and to publicly celebrating homosex while advocating for a crack down on violence against gays in Russia. If you think Constantine or many of the other sainted Christian emperors, kings and other leaders were all without great sin that is as naive as saying Putin is a perfect leader. Praise what is good, condemn what is bad.

  • B.E. Ward
    • chezami

      Yeah. Look, I get that Putin is (cynically) being nice to the Church and that’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. But what amazes me is the “Putin 2016” stuff and the serious proclamations that he’s a “better man than Obama” and all of the dumb kool-aid drinking to try to turn the guy into anything more than the cynical pol and murderous thug he is. Must the urge to creation Conservative Catholic Folk Heroes go utterly unchallenged lest one incur vehement suspicion of being a Damn Librul[TM]?

      • B.E. Ward

        Understood. It’s just interesting to me how this has all evolved. The controversial law was passed unanimously by their legislature.. so it’s more than just a “Putin Thing”. Maybe it’s our continued myopic thinking towards Russia. Since World War II we as Americans have never really seen Russia as a vast, diverse country (and sometimes maybe even a, gulp, democracy).. we equate the country with the leader. It’s always been Stalin’s or Khrushchev’s or Brezhnev’s or Gorbachev’s or Yeltsin’s or Putin’s Russia.

  • Michael

    Mark, I think the vast majority of your readers understand what you’re getting it. But over these past few weeks, CAEI has felt like a sleazy mudslinging session. Yes, the people you keep referring to as “Faithful Conservative Catholics [TM]” can hold some truly mind-boggling opinions and political positions. Yes, they can be uber hypocrites. We get it. But all of the “Look at how mean those people who claim to be faithful really are! Look how stupid their logic is! Look how much better my reasoning is!” posts are starting to get really, really old.

    I know, I know – I can go elsewhere. I don’t have to read your blog. But I don’t want to go elsewhere! Your argumentation is top-notch, you defy the ridiculous political polarization that has taken over intra-Catholic discussions, and you speak truth when it ought to be spoken. All good things. But the tone lately – man, the tone – is just getting petulant.

    Consider those “Faithful Conservative Catholics [TM]” and the prospective outcomes of your writing. On the one hand, perhaps the positions they hold are not set in stone, and they could be brought around to think a little more clearly, a little more with the Church, and little more compassionately. In that case, deriding them as idiots, day after day, on your blog is not going to help. On the other hand, perhaps they will never, ever change their ways. They will continue to spout loony tunes hypocrisy against “ritually unclean” (to use your phrase) sources and consistently defy the true message of love that Christ left (and continues to give) us. In that case, why bother? Let them tie themselves in knots on their own. Remember that “Pope Michael” dude in the middle of Kansas, or wherever it was? Yeah. That’s where the crazy diehards are headed.

    You’ve got an awesome thing going here, Mark, but lately it’s just been painful to read. You can do so, so much better than this.

    • jjalsevac

      Amen brother. I don’t know if there’s anybody on the net who I agree with more, but who I can’t stand to read as much. I am with Mark on so many issues, particularly the absurd calcification of American Conservativism into groupthink and a narrow right/left bifurcation, wherein all things big business/big government are deemed good as long as they are Republican, etc. That’s all great. We could stand to use some voices outside of the “conservative” mainstream. And yet, more and more this blog is more likely to make me want to tear my eyes out than than to send anybody here to get a balanced, convincing presentation of those issues.

      • chezami

        Dude. A subculture where the proposition “Holocaust Denial is Bad” is *hugely* controversial and “Putin’s not a Hero” is *hugely* controversial and women in pants is, like, a big huge giant Thing is a culture that has a lot bigger problems than me to deal with. I’ve simply stopped treating it with kid gloves because it’s ridiculous and needs to grow up. Those comboxes on Hilary White’s piece are a petri dish of the illnesses confronting the growing wingnuttery of that culture. Instead of fighting with me, why not fight with *that*?

        • jjalsevac

          For the simple reason that right now all of our energies are focused on fighting the juggernaut of the Culture of Death. I don’t disagree that there are some very unsavory opinions that fall under the so-called “Faithful Catholic” umbrella. But we can’t dedicate our website to countering a fringe element of the Conservative movement, because that’s not our mission. There may be more things we can do in our reporting to encourage a more balanced response from our readers, and we are always seeking ways to improve on that. The Putin question is an interesting one, and it could be that we need to take some steps to put Putin’s strangely growing number of conservative-sounding remarks into a broader context. But so far all we have done is reported on what he has said that is relevant to our issues.

          • Emmet

            There is a great need for the people in those circles of Catholics who consider themselves faithful to work explicitly against the elements of their own circle who descend into “fringery”. This need can’t be ignored. I’ve seen horrible views expressed in conversation among groups of faithful Catholics and no-one’s spoken up: this has to stop, or the slow poison of the fringe elements with poison what the rest of us are working on.

        • Michael

          There’s a difference between stopping “treating it with kid gloves” and joyfully grinding entire groups of people into dust with long epithets in blog post after blog post, Mark. Refute them, out-argue them, expose the hypocrisy and falsehood – right on, man. But all of that can still be done in charity, and you used to do it very well. Lately, the blog seems to be all about how many clever titles you can ascribe to the people out there that have distorted orthodoxy into something sick (not to mention not representative of any authentic Catholicism).

          • chezami

            Would you prefer “blind guides”? “Whited sepulchers full of dead men’s bones and all manner of uncleanness”? Warnings like “You tie up heavy burdens and do not lift a finger to help?” “You compass land and sea to make single convert and you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are?”

            I don’t *need* to refute people who think Holocaust Denial is a subject open for debate. I don’t need to refute people who seriously believe that a woman in pants is a Jezebel harlot who should be driven from the Church. I don’t need to refute people who think Putin is anything more than a cynical pol. I don’t need to refute the sort of people who have never said they were sorry for calling Bp. Mulvey “satanic” for investigating Corapi. I don’t need, at this late date, to add the umpteenth refutation of the fools who enthusiastically supported torture in the teeth of the Church’s clear teaching. You can’t fix that kind of stupid with argument. What you can do is warn the unwary “That way madness lies.” Jesus used harsh language with the intransigent because when people are deaf, you shout. He also used it for our benefit. When people start tellng somebody like Simcha that they were “once-reliably orthodox” the dumbest thing you can do is side with that person in favor of Putin the Christian Folk Hero.

            • Michael

              I don’t disagree with any of that. Not a single word. But Mark, you’ve got such a way with words that you _can_ shout. You _can_ use harsh language. You _can_ warn the unwary “That way madness lies.” And you can do it all without descending into the mud. You mention in a comment a few levels up the derogatory “CINO” appellation applied to those that someone has decided aren’t Catholic enough for their liking; flinging around “Faithful Conservative Catholic [TM]” isn’t much better, friend; in fact, it’s “CINO” by another phrase. You are a wonderful writer, a wonderful thinker, and a wonderful blogger. You can achieve all of the goals you just outlined, and with which I entirely agree, without coming off as nasty, bitter, and self-righteous, as the past few posts have done.

            • Stu

              I’d prefer that when you counter bad ideas, that you just don’t sound like the flip side of the same record.. Indeed, different lyrics but same sound.

              Aside from the obvious that none of us are Jesus, not everyone can pull off “righteous anger” in their rhetoric. You are a right-handed hittter that is trying to constantly bat on the wrong side of the plate.

        • BM

          Might want to watch your use of the word “hugely”.
          (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

  • Harry

    More of this please. The folks on LifesiteNews are pretty much in love with the guy for his latest laws against “homosexual propaganda” – it’s pretty sickening watching the outpouring of love from Christians for such an evil man because he uses the power of the state to crush their enemies for them.

    • Barfly_Kokhba

      Every politician does or would use the power of The State to crush their enemies, including their own citizens. It happens right here in America, and it doesn’t show any signs of improving anytime soon. Nobody complains as long as it’s the Ubiquitous and Ephemeral Other who is being crushed.

      • Dave G.

        Every politician? Every? Politician? Every one? Seems a bit of an overstatement.

        • Barfly_Kokhba

          I guess you’re right. How about “Every one who would have any chance of succeeding at a national level in a country like America?”

          Democracy is mob rule. If everyone wants to live in a democracy then everyone should expect to be ruled by mobsters.

    • jjalsevac

      You seem to know a lot more about LifeSiteNews’ views of Putin than I do, and I’m the managing editor of LifeSiteNews!

      Glad to know I’m pretty much “in love with the guy.” I thought I thought he was a total snake in the grass who just happens to be saying some true things in the process of cozying up to the Orthodox Church.

      Guess I was wrong!

      • chezami

        Did I mention Lifesite News? No. I didn’t.

        • jjalsevac

          I’m responding to Harry above.

          • B.E. Ward

            Mark can clarify, but he doesn’t normally see comments in their context, so that might explain the problem here..

            • jjalsevac

              That’s alright. I figured that’s what happened.

            • chezami

              Yes. My mistake. I see the comments on a feed and often miss who they are responding to.

      • Harry

        You don’t trust Putin. Good. You’re a wise man – he’s clearly a murderous thug with ulterior motives, and to trust in him for a Christian renewal is gobsmackingly idiotic at best.
        Here’s what Mark and Simcha and others are worried about – your readership is in love with the guy. Their support for him is overwhelming. This view is shared by a number of prominent Christian figures. You could do a whole lot of good by pointing out to your fellow Catholics that what they are doing is morally bankrupt.

        • jjalsevac

          At LifeSiteNews we report on everything we can related to the Culture Wars. Putin has been saying many things on this front lately – strangely enough, many of them true. We view it as our job to simply report the facts of what he has saying. It is true that some of our readership have taken these facts as evidence of Putin being a conservative hero. I don’t think any of our staff believe that.

          That being said, I should have noticed that above you mentioned the “people ON LifeSiteNews,” which I glossed and read as “people AT LifeSiteNews,” which was rather different. I think I was still annoyed at Simcha suggesting that Hilary’s very dry, straight-forward news piece was somehow a paean to Putin.

          • CS

            Ok, so can you tell me why there are so many articles about Putin on your site?And does the hero-worship bother you in the slightest? Because I frankly do not buy your “just reporting the facts, ma’am” line. If you weren’t trying to feed a particular readership you wouldn’t report it the way you do.

            • CS

              And also– if you are indeed “just reporting” on Putin in a factual manner, where are the articles about the crimes he has committed against his critics? Is poisoning people not a Life issue? What about the Russian Orthodox Church’s creepy relationship with the state over the last 30 years? What about the suppression of the right to free speech, without which your website and any other that was defined by a totalitarian government to be “preaching hate” could be shut down?

              • Over the last 30 years?

                Orthodoxy in general (not just the Russian Orthodoxy, but just about every Eastern Orthodox Church I know of) has had a “creepy relationship with the State” for the past 1500 years or so. Roman Catholicism used as well to until the 1850s, when the Italian civil war took MOST governmental power away from the Pope.

                Those of us who aren’t rabid individualist Americanists would actually prefer it that way, seeing as how Pax Romana actually worked to insure economic justice for a very, very long time.

          • Dan C

            The glorious culture wars (may they be waged forever and ever amen) are a tool by the Devil in the real war waged amidst Creation.

            LifeSiteNews fails to see that.

  • Thibaud313

    WARNING : EXTREMELY LONG RANT / HISTORICAL ANALYSIS. Please forgive me but I am 1) of Russian descent ; 2) an history buff.

    Well actually I would argue that Putin has lots in common with other political leaders like Constantine and Napoleon Bonaparte, which include both good and bad (and ugly) characteristics.

    Constantine, Napoleon and Putin are all three very intelligent and skillfull politicians who managed to satisfy their enormous hunger for power and rose to top political powers by being smarter, more ruthless, more unforgiving and more coldly calculating than everyone else, in a time and place (late Roman Empire ; post-revolutionary France ; post-Soviet meltdown Russia) where fighting for power meant having a very good chance of waking up dead, showing both bravery and borderline psychopathy.

    Constantine, Napoleon and Putin all did enormous and undeniable good for their respective countries : Constantine put an end to decades of civil wars (even though he actually was partially responsible for said civil wars…) and restored order, stability and economic progress ; Napoleon put an end to 10 years of Revolutionary madness / civil war (even though he actually willingly served under said crazy revolutionary regimes…) and restored order, stability and economic progress ; Putin put an end to 8 years of corruption and misery brought about by crazy unrestrained capitalism following 70 years of crazy communism (even though he actually willingly served under said crazy communist regime…) and (you guessed it) restored order, stability and economic progress.

    As a result, all three gained enormous popularity among their people : Napoleon was the most popular French leader ever for about half of his time in power and Putin is still extremely popular among the Russian people (maybe he wouldn’t get the 65% of the votes he get in elections, if said elections were truly free and democratic but a) he would get close to those 65% and b) the Russian people actually dislike democracy, which they associate with the 8 years of crazy unrestrained capitalism and corruption (the main political forces in Russia are : Putin’s Party ; the Communist Party ; the Right-wing ultra-nationalist Party ; the pro-Western, pro-democracy Party is supported by barely 1% of the population).

    Moreover, all three did undeniable good for Christianity. Constantine put a definitive end to persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire and de facto favored evangelization. Napoleon put an end to the persecution of French Catholics ; Pope Pius VII, recognizing that Napoleon was (at the time) a force for good, signed a Concordat with him, establishing new peaceful relations between the Church and the French government, and even came to Paris in 1804 to bless his crowning as Emperor of the French. Putin favors the Russian Orthodox Church and protects it against its ennemy (crazy femi-nazies endorsed by the West,…).

    OF COURSE, all three of them favored Christianity mainly because they saw political interest in it, not primarily because of their saintly love for Christ and His Church : Constantine was mainly looking for civil peace and unity : though he may have had some sincere Christian sentiments, he was not a saint and was baptized (on his deathbed) as a heretical Arian, not an orthodox Christian. Napoleon wanted national reconciliation and French bishops at his disposal, himself being a typical 18th-19th century “intellectual” with no religious conviction, who actually found Islam more appealing than Christianity. Putin being still alive I won’t venture trying to read his soul (which only God may judge) but I will venture that the promise of giving his people a reason to live and hope AND having the support of the Russian Orthodox Church might be quite appealing to him from a political standpoint :). BUT the fact remains that they did good for the Christians of their country, both for good and bad reasons.

    Finally, all three have been, at least for a time, a force for good for the world. Constantine restored order for the Empire. Napoleon gave long-lasting efficient institutions to France and half of Europe. And Putin, to give only one example, is presently dissuading the US and its European vassals from invading Syria to assassinate Bachar El-Assad and support Al Quaeda and other Radical Muslim groups. Without Putin, the US would have already intervened in Syria, which would have led to a) the explosion of Syria along ethnic and religious lines ; b) power being taken over by radical muslims (just like in Egypt, Lybia and Tunisia) ; c) the extermination or exile of every single Syrian Christians and other minority groups (shi’ite muslims, alaouite muslims, druzes,…).

    In conclusion :

    Are (or were) Constantine, Napoleon and Putin saints ? Of course, not.

    Are (or were) Constantine, Napoleon and Putin complex characters and also our brothers in Christ through baptism who we could try not to dismiss in one sentence as blood-thirsty monsters ? Um yeah probably.

    Are (or were) they, at least at some point and in some measure, a force for good for Christianity and the world ? Undeniably yes.

    Are (or were) they in other regards ruthless politicians who would not hesitate becoming a force for evil if it suited their political goals ? Of course, yes.

    So I would argue that we should neither follow Putin blindly, nor worship him but also recognize that he can be a force for good, even if it is for the wrong reasons.

    If you read that from beginning to end, you’ve wasted 10 minutes and thank you 😉 !

    • Stu

      That says it all.


    • HornOrSilk

      Constantine is a saint. I would also say Napoleon didn’t help Christianity and actively worked against the faith. Putin, I am not sure. He’s better than Napoleon, but he is no Constantine. He could be. He could have an honest conversion, but he has done enough harm to show he has not got there yet.

      • Stu

        Well, I guess there is still hope for Putin in the east as well.

        • HornOrSilk

          As long as anyone is alive, there is hope. St Dismas shows us that end-of-life conversion can end up making one a saint. As with many martyrs.

          I think there is hope with Putin. Though I agree we should, politically, be cautious and not treat him as “our friend,” because he has shown otherwise, I do think his work defending Christians, even if politically motivated, opens up opportunities which I hope comes to fruition. Many a saint started that way.

      • D.T. McCameron

        He might prove to be like that not-very-saintly-at-all defender of Christendom, Vlad.

      • Thibaud313

        Constantine is very likely in Heaven, having been baptized on his deathbed (as was the practice at the time), leaving very little time to commit mortal sins. Though he was baptized by an Arian priest and he probably sincerely believed the heretical Arian faith, so I don’t know. He is venerated in the East though.

        As for Napoleon, his actions strongly favored Christianity from 1800 to 1806-1807 : he quite simply made Catholicism legal again in France, he stopped anti-Catholic persecutions, he offered amnesty to Catholic guerilla fighters in the west, all this explaining that Pius VII, seeing him as a force for good signed the Concordat with him and blessed his crowning as Emperor. But of course he did all this only for political reasons. And as soon as he saw Catholicism as an obstacle more than as an advantage (because Pius VII refused to enforce the Continental blockade within the Papal States and French, Italian and German bishops unexpectedly grew a pair and supported the Pope against the Emperor’s claims (Concile of Paris of 1811)), he tried to crush Catholicism under his boot, going as far as taking the Pope prisonner from 1809 to 1814 (and then Pius VII, a 5-feet, 100-pounds sexagenarian resisted the threats of the most powerful man on the planet for 5 years. It was awesome but that’s another story).

        So my point was correct but very incomplete, chronogically speaking.

        • HornOrSilk

          Constantine is a saint. Of the Catholic Church. Sure, he is remembered in the East more (Catholic East), but the recognition of his Sainthood in the Catholic East as an Equal to the Apostles is the same as the non-Catholic East. You can see, for example, a Ukrainian Catholic parish dedicated to him in the US (which means, Catholic) :

  • jjalsevac

    “stupid, brain dead, clueless and dumb, pitchfork-waving mob”

    So much for the “new tone” of the blog I guess. I was kind of hopeful for a while there.

    • chezami

      “once-reliably orthodox” applied to somebody like Simcha, or lionization of a man like Putin as some kind of Constantine Redivivus hero is stupid, brain dead, clueless, and dumb.

      • jjalsevac

        Fine. It’s true. But I just don’t understand what you intend to accomplish by stating the truth in the way you do. Are you trying to convince people of anything? Or just receive the applause of those who already agree with you?

        My criticisms of the way you blog have never been that what you say isn’t true. I often agree with you, more than you would believe. It’s just that I can’t stand to read your truth, because it’s expressed in language that is so full of gall.

        There are so many ways you could make the same points and change hearts and minds and educate, but you have consistently chosen mockery, and I don’t understand why. It’s so out of keeping with your message, as well as the tone of your calmer and more insightful theological writings.

        • chezami

          I’m trying to work toward the day when apologetics for the mass murder of Jews, or lionization of authoritarian murderous thugs, or weird obsessive trivialities about women in pants, or the acceptance of torture, or similar crazy crap is no longer part of the ordinary universe of discourse among people who boast about their superior fidelity to the Church constantly and call for the expulsion of CINOs.

          • jjalsevac

            A worthy goal. I just don’t think what you’re doing will actually accomplish that. But, good luck!

  • Barfly_Kokhba

    It will be twenty or thirty years at the most before the USA has its very own Putin. We’ve been steadily careening in that direction for decades.

    Perhaps it will be after the next phase of the Bush-Clinton Duarchy squeezes the very last drops of ostensible principle and idealism from the American political scene.

    Eventually the time will be ripe for a “Transcendental” Unifying Figure who will use all the various mechanisms of Totalitarian Police State Power that have been incrementally assembled, with the acquiescence of a distracted American public, over the last several administrations. Some particularly talented individual will use these apparatuses of State Power to dispense with the last, even superficial vestiges of the whole “Constitutional Democratic Republic” charade.

    Take a good, long look, America: sooner or later, we will have our own Putin. Bank on it.

  • meunke

    Putin does what Putin does because it benefits Putin. When it ceases to benefit Putin, he will cease to do it.

    It’s not complicated.

  • Joe

    Dear Mr. Shea,
    I think it is not optimal for you to define your blogging mission as, effectively, condemning the comments sections of websites. (However richly they deserve it!) That’s pretty much the definition of troll-feeding, writ large.

  • kirthigdon

    I’d take Putin to either Bush or Obama by a long shot and I actually think he is fairly comparable to Constantine in so far as he is tough and authoritarian and using Christianity for his own political purposes, but apparently believes in it. I understand his spiritual advisor is a well known Russian Orthodox abbot. So far he has been less ruthless than Constantine in waging war, maybe because his enemies were weaker than those of Constantine. He also has not had his wife and son put to death and it is far from proven that he ever ordered anyone poisoned.
    Kirt Higdon

    • Bryan

      You have utterly lost your mind.

  • CJ

    Constantine killed his son Crispus on the word of his second wife who (probably falsely) claimed that Crispus was planning a coup. When he later realized she lied he killed her by either locking her in an overheated sauna or drowning her (accounts differ). He also had his brother-in-law and nephew killed to secure his throne after promising that he would spare their lives if they surrendered.
    Not defending Putin or his actions. Just saying that he may be closer to Constantine than you think.

  • He isn’t our friend. But why do you of all people need reminding that conversion is possible?

    • chezami

      And I denied that where?

      • “He’s not your friend and he’s not some new Constantine.”

        I’m not so sure of that anymore. Rumor has he’s started going to Mass- ok, Russian Orthodox Mass, which kind of fits with his previous nationalist and authoritarian tendencies, but still, Mass. This law isn’t his idea- came out of the legislature- but it seems to have woken him up to the need for Russia to regain traditional family structures.

        Is it possible, perhaps, that we’re seeing a man on the verge of conversion away from pure materialistic socialism?

        Got a long ways to go. Got LOTS of public repentance to do. I’m certainly not following the Mad Trads in their rush to canonize him by popular demand. But, I’ve got to say, I don’t *dislike* the new Putin.

        I made the mistake with Newt Gingrich doubting his sincerity in his conversion- I’m not sure I’m willing to make that same mistake twice.

        • CS

          Well, Disqus ate my long response, so Ted I gotta just ask: Since when is there a “new” Putin???

          • I started hearing about it 2 years ago, I think, dribs and drabs coming out of Mother Russia. Hard to remember.

            It was definitely *after* 2008, and if I really wanted to be a cynic, I’d say it was about the same time that Russia wanted to start trading with the European Union and build that Natural Gas pipeline to deliver Ukrainian and Siberian gas to Europe (with of course, Mother Russia getting a lion’s share of the royalties).

            But even if so, he by no means would be the first to be inspired to convert for business opportunities.

  • D. Morgan

    Maybe Our Lady has become tired of waiting for the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart and is taking matters into Her Own Hands.

    • Stu

      Or maybe the Consecration was done and we are now seeing the fruits of it.

  • Mark R

    I really cannot see fringe American conservatives getting into a love feast with the good Russian Orthodox people, either in Russia or abroad. There are little fringe ultra “kosher” Russian Orthodox groups who would have even less in common with fringe Catholics.
    Putin only looks good because he is better than what existed for most of the XX cent. in Russia
    I would hesitate to criticize how another country gets its leaders, however, since I have little faith how we get ours.

  • Guest

    I don’t suppose there is any hope for peace among Christ’s fold if the Catholics that get listened to speak like this.

    • Mal

      Who said they were Catholics?

    • Guest

      I mean, speak like Mark is here speaking. Sorry for the confusion – my fault.

  • Richard Bohler

    “lunatic fringe of Traditionalist Catholics”?? I am a “traditionalist Catholic.” Thank you for the persecution. All Christians can expect it. Do you r-e-a-l-l-y believe we’re chanting in Gregorian “Yer darn tootin’ we love Vlad Putin!”?? Get a grip.

    • chezami

      Persecution. Good one.

      • Richard Bohler

        Pray tell, what would YOU call being slandered for actually believing what what Christ Himself teaches through the Church He founded? I believe the Master had something to say about that very thing on the Mount. (Matt. 5:11-12)

        • chezami

          If you think that Christ taught it was good to deny acts of mass murder, then I’d like to see the Bible you’re reading.

  • Jim in Seattle

    Mark, you have gone way off the deep end with your attacks on people

    • chezami

      Want to have lunch and tell me all about it? I’ll buy.

  • Philip

    Constantine had many people executed, too, as did most every other great Catholic king.

    • HornOrSilk

      We have to remember, holiness does not mean impeccable. Sinners become saints (as St Jerome shows us).

      The greatness of Constantine can be seen in several ways. First, his protection of Christianity. Second, his promotion of Christianity and trying to listen to the Church. Third, changes in laws to improve the morality of Rome (we must remember, it was worse before him, and contextualize him in this way — yes, he did evil which should be mentioned as evil, but he also did so in a way which overcame worse evil and promoted the good beyond himself). Fourth, he helped build monuments to Christ. Fifth, he helped the Church as the Church even if he didn’t get all the ecclesial politics. Sixth, he helped sponsor a form of religious liberty long before modernity.

      Yes, Constantine was a ruler who engaged practices which moral theology, given time, would decry. But he was also cleared from it all in baptism and before his baptism, he pointed to the good beyond himself. It is not that his baptism was used for a justification of evil, rather, he sought the good in his time, pointed to it beyond himself, and received the grace which perfected nature. He is a GREAT saint.

      • kirthigdon

        Interesting. You could say all those things about Putin as well. In addition, Putin is a practicing (if far from perfect) Christian. He did not put off Baptism until his deathbed and in the meantime publicly practice ceremonies of an ancient pagan cult in which he had long since ceased to believe. Constantine did both of those. I look forward to meeting both of these rulers in heaven. It wouldn’t surprise me if Putin prays to Constantine for his interecession since Constantine’s sainthood is recognized by the Russian Orthodox Church.
        Kirt Higdon

        • HornOrSilk

          You must understand why Constantine put off his baptism. It was a thing of his time, when many did the same thing. He wanted to be baptized in the Jordan. When it was clear he won’t be, he wanted to be baptized.

          I would also say Constantine’s trajectory is important. We can review this not that he is dead. Putin? He could end up that way. It’s what I’ve already suggested: we don’t know for him.

  • entonces_99

    I’d be inclined to agree about Putin, but the fact that Solzhenitsyn thought he was good for Russia makes it difficult for me to dismiss him out of hand.

    • HornOrSilk

      I agree, for the most part. When dealing with morality and the good, we must do two things. We must express what the good is and where others fail (and here, Putin fails a lot), but we must also look at evolution and change, and compare X with Y. Has Y improved things? If so, even if Y is not perfect Z, it is something to commend, even if we point out where it fails in relation to Z.

      This is how I view Putin, myself. There are many areas he does great evil and we must express these evils as evil. On the other hand, there are other areas where he has developed Russia to something which is good, and these goods must be commended. The evils are not justified by the good, but the good must not be ignored because of the evil.

      This is what makes discussion on Putin difficult from those not in Russia. His evils are easy to see, and I agree, they are evils worthy of rejection. But they are easy to see in our Western perspective and our Western history. The developmental goods are harder to see.

      Those who defend Putin see the proper good he has developed. I think they are right to see them. But the evils must not be ignored. A saint can do both. I don’t think Putin is anywhere near a saint, but I don’t think he is anywhere near the evil his detractors would have us believe. He does great evil, yes, but he pushes for more good beyond himself and what came before him. This is where I say “I like him” even if I also admit the evils I see make me say “I hate this.”

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Putin is the only real-world Bond villain I’ve ever seen. I’d say all he needs is a furry white cat in his lap, but Putin would probably skin the poor thing.

  • simplynotred

    Your full of Smicha, young lady, and the attention your trying to get for yourself, is a joke. Obama is the real enemy to Catholics, but then your claim to be a Catholic is fouled with you dedication to the Abortion King of the United State. Since Gay Marriage is also your true kings agenda, it likely that you support the adoption of children by gay and lesbian couples. Considering your believe in other than the Catholic faith, is why no one listens to your feminist babbling.

    • chezami

      Warn that Putin is a thug, get told you support Obama, abortion, and gay marriage. Stupid.

      • simplynotred

        Lets see Obama is supporting the murder of Christians, Putin wants to start protecting Christians world wide. Obama support Same Sex Marriage in America, Putin in making Gays and Lesbian illegal aliens and sending them out of Russia. Putin attends Christian churches, Obama helps destroy Christian churches. So Smicha you support Obama ad consider Putin dangerous to Christians – well this Traditional Catholic see’s more harm from the US president than from an individual who was praised by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Wow, Mark your deep loathing and vicious hatred for Catholics who may, just may may think clown masses and pro-abortion politicians are not a great idea is frightening.
    I like Tradition, I believe in we can learn from those who went before us. You may hate me for that but Tradition is a good thing.
    I do have to hand it to you after reading your post for the second time I have never seen so much hatred for Catholics in so short an article before.

    • chezami

      Yes. Clearly this is about my secret love for clown Masses and abortion and my hatred of good liturgy. Clearly.

    • Emmet

      Good grief. He doesn’t have a problem with people’s critique of “clown Masses” or with Tradition – you’re misunderstanding him. He has a problem with Holocaust denialism and ignorant and simplistic views on issues concerning the Church – from any point on the Catholic plane or sphere of views and experience.

  • Harry

    Now Mark, you need to calm down. Now I’ll be the first to admit that Putin isn’t a perfect man – far from it. But isn’t Christian history littered with examples of sinful men who did good in their time for the Church? Constantine, Charlemagne, Torquemada, Petain, Franco – the list goes on. We shouldn’t be too quick to judge these flawed men for their actions taken in times of confusion and hardship – we should avert our eyes from their imperfections and focus on only the good that they did.
    Now it is true that Putin has had a number of his critics killed – but we need to balance our reluctance to support such actions with his promise to beat down the homosexuals whenever they pop up. I think you’ll all agree that a small pile of corpses BUT with a cowed and terrified homosexual population versus the legalization of gay marriage is an easy choice to make!

  • Kitchener Waterloo Traditional

    It’s very sad to see a self identified Catholic (professional at that) display such hatred towards fellow Catholics. Did someone cut you off in the drive-through line on their way to a Latin Mass, Mark?

    • chezami

      There are two groups I consistently run into who fling out the word “hate” when you dare to criticize them: Traditionalists and gay activists. Funny that.

      Meanwhile, stoney silence about the crazy Holocaust Denialism. Poor, poor you, Kitchener.

  • Guest

    I agree, Kitchener Waterloo Traditional. I can’t help wondering where all the loathing for anyone who disagrees with Mr. Shea comes from. It is really sad. I agree with much of the substance of what he says, but he says it in such a disagreeable, judgmental and arrogant way. No place for humility, grace, charity and mercy. No hate the sin, but love the sinner.

    For example, see above, “With the time-tested bonehead lack of discernment for which so many Faithful Conservative Catholics have become known . . . . It’s as dazzlingly stupid as the Great Pants Controversy, as brain dead as the “Pope Benedict Condemns Harry Potter” fooferah and as clueless and dumb as the pitchfork-waving mob defending the utter tacky stupidity of Lenten Caribbean Cruises.” Or below in the comment section: “Warn that Putin is a thug, get told you support Obama, abortion, and gay marriage. Stupid.” Or “‘once-reliably orthodox’ applied to somebody like Simcha, or lionization of a man like Putin as some kind of Constantine Redivivus hero is stupid, brain dead, clueless, and dumb.”

    Compare these words from Mr. Shea to the following from our Lord:

    “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:21-22, ESV)

    If he could just learn to speak the truth in love, as we are all admonished to do. It’s really too bad.

    • chezami

      Dude. I have zillions of people disagreeing with me every day. Consider the possibility that my motive is not ‘hatred” but actual criticism of real faults and really bad ideas in this particular subculture. Your perpetual search for ‘real” motivations constantly leads you to ignore my plain English words. Holocaust denial is bad, not “controversial”. Lionizing thugs is bad, not “controversial”. Defending liars and sexual abusers with accusation of hatred of the Church is bad and stupid. etc. Figure this out, because Traditionalists are the worst enemies Traditionalism has.

      • Guest

        And, once again, you don’t address the issue of the insulting vitriol which you hurl at anyone who dares disagree with you. It’s all justified by the ends (which is apparent from your response), I suppose, a fault which you do not hesitate to use against those who dare disagree with you. Having zillions of people disagreeing with you each day does not justify the insults which you hurl at those who disagree with you. Our disagreement, when it exists, is nothing personal, but your insults are very personal. You fail to note that my problem with your writing is not, for the most part, its substance, but, rather, its style and the loathing for others which it reveals.

        And I am not perpetually searching for your “real” motivations. It’s plain enough to see. The agenda is self-aggrandizement as a leading spokesman for the One, True, Proper Understanding of the Catholicism in America [TM], thus the need to belittle and insult anyone who dares dissent. The problem is, you are not a cardinal, an archbishop, a bishop, or a priest. You have no formal authority and, yet, you pontificate as if you did. Your opinion has no more authority than any other layman.

        A little humility, grace, charity and mercy would go a long way.

        • chezami

          That’s because I don’t hurl vitriol at anyone who dares to disagree with me. When you can begin to figure out why I raise my voice with Holocaust Deniers but not with others, you may begin to penetrate the mystery. Or you can wallow in self-pity and continue to miss the bleedin’ obvious.

          • Guest

            I’m not wallowing in self-pity. What is obvious is that our Lord admonished us not to insult others or call them fools, lest we be damned, and, yet, you refer to others’ “bonehead lack of discernment”, as “dazzlingly stupid”, “brain dead”, “clueless and dumb”, and a “pitchfork-waving mob”.

            Maybe instead of insultingly pointing out the specks in the eyes of others, you should spend removing the beam from your own eyes.

  • Kitchener Waterloo Traditional

    Bishop Williamson, SSPX is the only Catholic Holocaust denier I’m aware of. That Mark Shea insinuates all ‘trads’ deny it too is disgusting. Shame on you. This division you’re trying to cause does not serve the Church, thus serves our enemy.

    p.s. You don’t have ‘zillions’ of readers pal.

    • chezami

      I don’t insinuate that at all. I do state, because it’s true, that an awful lot of Traddies toy with that crap (which is why Williamson remains popular with a lot of these people) For crying out loud I *link* the embarrassing spectacle where Simcha Fisher comboxes burned down with Traddy lunatics and their excuses for antisemism and Holocaust Denial. Why not go fight with those people instead of those of us who notice them?

  • Nate C

    Incredibly ignorant remarks. Shame on you and your hatred of faithful Catholics. You can spew your lies and falsehoods all you want, but the truth is the truth and everyone with a brain sees you for who you are. Damn those traditionalists right??? I mean, they keep making the V2 and YOU look bad.. make them pay..make them pay with whatever liberal tactics you can find.

    • chezami

      Thanks for illustrating my point. The check’s in the mail. If you are looking for the worst enemies Traditionialism has, check the mirror.

  • Kitchener Waterloo Traditional

    I don’t know of any Catholic who denies the Holocaust except Bishop Williamson. Your straw man hatred of those attached to the Extra Ordinary Form is unChristian. Perhaps your motivation is self-serving as a professional Catholic but I doubt Jesus is happy with this tactic. At some point this prejudice of yours becomes a mortal sin: bearing false witness. Why don’t you use your platform to promote unity in the Church instead of ‘trad-bashing’?

    • HornOrSilk

      I see Holocaust denial with many “hyper-trads.” E Michael Jones has his own version of it. Michael Voris even has problems with it. You can find Holocaust denial on many trad-forums. Not all support it, to be sure, but it is a clear subset which is not silenced but treated with respect.

  • John

    Nothing like spreading peace among the faithful. These insipid remarks do nothing but divide an already divided church into a “them and us” class warfare. Not exactly inspirational reading. You might want to consider a job with the New York Times or CNN, they would appreciate your approach.

  • SMC_BC

    The only time I read anything by Mark Shea or Simcha Fisher is when something comes up on other Catholic news sites. Always. Yes always, it will have something to do with something the two of them disagree with and as always both Mr. Shea and Ms. Fisher will be insulting someone or some group about something…they’re always rude.

  • enness

    I agree with Simcha, as I often do, and am glad though not surprised to see that she has your support.

    But I must say re: “condemnation and hostility directed even to faithful and chaste gays” that you do yourself no favors by continuing to bring up circumstances in which YOU (no, not your late friend) were legitimately criticized…