He’s Baaaaaaack!

He’s Baaaaaaack! January 24, 2014

Adam Shaw, having apparently blown the last 30 pieces of silver he earned from FOX for his brainless hit piece on Francis as “the Catholic Church’s Obama–God Help Us” now returns to plunge his snout into Rupert Murdoch’s hog trough of money for anybody who will prostitute himself to rid his paymaster of this meddlesome priest. The highly qualified video game reviewer obliges with some boiler plate about how mean Francis is for taking seriously all that claptrap about “blessed are the poor” and wrings piteous tears from his twisted hanky as he weeps for the plight of the rich in a Church sees Lazarus and not Dives as the hero of the story.

It is cringeworthy stuff. Just read it, if you have the stomach.

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  • Jared

    It takes a while to recover from choosing american politics over the faith. Adam, if you read this, know that we’re praying for you; it is dangerous to your eternal salvation to place your politics over caring for the poor.

  • Joejoe

    I was gonna say, he reviews video games and is in his 20s. I’m guessing a possible case of prolonged adolescence.

    And yes, Adam, Jared is right. Pick Catholicism first. It’ll make it harder to be an American but secular society is going to beat you up regardless of how closely your beliefs mirror theirs as soon as you adopt the tag “Catholic” anyway.

    • Jared

      I’m in my twenties and run a video game page on facebook for Catholics (because gaming forums tend to be hostile to the faithful). I’d advise against seeing a particular pastime as immature. It’s not the fault of games that he writes against the pope (with an implied disdain for clergy in general, especially cardinals), but the fault of his acceptance of the false dichotomy of political extremes (ie. if the holy father criticizes the evil actions of corporations, then he MUST be a socialist!)

      • Joejoe

        True, fair enough, and mea culpa.

        I’m in my 30s and play a fair amount of Starcraft 2.

  • Dan C

    Adam Shaw should consider reading the 19th century encyclical Rerun Novarum. It makes Francis look conservative.

    • Or immerse himself in the 13th century Franciscan debate on ownership and possession.

      • HornOrSilk

        Or read the writings of Sts Basil and John Chrysostom on wealth and poverty and social justice..

    • Andy

      Adam Shaw should actually comprehend what he reads and not make a message that isn’t there.

      • Dan C

        Adam Shaw knows that Francis has made clear the Truth: Catholicism like Luke states as does Leo in Rerun Novarum is uncomfortable about wealth and rejects the global economic system’s god of materialism. Adam Shaw reads this correctly and knows that the pope is an opponent of Wall Street- a group of folks making money on money.

        Adam Shaw is close to knowing what the pope exactly means and turns his back on it.

        • Stu

          I don’t know how anyone can read that piece and conclude the Adam Shaw reads the Pope correctly.

          • Andy

            You took the response right from my keyboard. If indeed he is reading what the pope has said and ignoring it – he needs our prayers.

        • CatholicJames##Scott+~

          Ok Dan we get it you are a liberal with Social conservative views on moral issues regarding church teaching.

    • Jonna

      Thanks for your comment, Dan. All Catholics, especially neophytes, should read papal encyclicals beyond Humanae Vitae – my guess is that many would be surprised. As the old saying goes, our faith, if lived well, will tend to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

  • Rosemarie


    To be fair, Fox News also posted this positive piece on Pope Francis just yesterday:


    A search of the site will reveal that most of their reports on him are straight-up news reports, neither negative nor positive.

    • Dan C

      This man reflects a thinking that Catholic conservativism has mainstreamed. The Catholic editor of Patheos is an unashamed proud classical liberal, despite Leo’s 19th century encyclical stomping on that. Sam Gregg and Fr. Sirico regularly shop their ideas on EWTN and other Catholic outlets. He differs little from Fr. Longenecker , or varied Catholic writers on First Things, or KJLopez.

      This isn’t Fox News. This is “the usual.”

      • CatholicJames##Scott+~


        I agree, this isn’t Fox News. I’m not defending Adam Shaw; he’s still just plain wrong about the Holy Father. I’m questioning whether Rupert Murdoch really does want someone to rid him of “this meddlesome priest.”

        On balance, FNC has reported neutrally on Pope Francis, with a few negative opinion pieces and a few positive ones. Pretty much what a news agency which claims to be “fair and balanced” should do; present both sides in opinion pieces and report hard news dispassionately.

        EDIT: Sorry, I switched to a computer where my husband was logged in. It’s me, Rosemarie.

        • Dan C

          Adam Shaw accurately represents the pope. He is rejecting the message.

          • Rosemarie


            I disagree; he does not accurately represent the pope.

            EDIT: From the article:

            “His first major document, — “Evangelii Gaudium” — was a prime example of his disdain for those who are not content to soak in poverty or to submit to socialism.”

            Really? The pope disdains anyone who isn’t either poor or under socialism? Seriously?

            Or how about:

            “But like millions of fathers, I am now working hard — not just to put food on the table, but to give my wife and child as comfortable and secure a life as I can.

            “The Church has traditionally understood and encouraged this aspiration. Unfortunately, this pope does not” (snip)

            Pope Francis doesn’t want fathers to provide for their families? Again, seriously?

            • Des Farrell

              You have saved me from wasting my time reading the piece. Thank you.

              • Rosemarie


                You’re welcome. That makes the time I wasted reading it seem a little more worthwhile. 🙂

        • jaybird1951

          That charge against Murdoch by Mark is just a gratuitous assumption on his part in order to fit his narrative. I doubt Murdoch was even aware of it. Shaw is pretty far down the corporate totem pole.

      • IRVCath

        Oh, it was mainstreamed long before the present iteration of the conservative movement. It was born out of an inordinate need to assimilate into the majority culture. Remember, we Americans are the masters of picking and choosing which Church teachings to believe. Shaw merely is one of many varieties of that phenomenon.

  • tteague

    Having just come from more than four decades in Protestantland, I now enthusiastically embrace the Pope and the office. I’m not too smart, and I’m still learning, but coming from the “pope in every pulpit” and “every man a pope” way of thinking, I love the Magisterium. Given this, and probably the sensitivities of a newly minted Catholic, I find it troubling and sad that a young man would so disdain and so easily attack the Pope. I don’t want to be blind. I want to see and hear the Pope in the light of Truth. But who am I anyway? Especially who am I, if given the opportunity of putting my criticisms before the world on a popular news web site? Would it not be wise for me to back up a bit at that point? I would hazard a guess that this young Mr. Shaw has not yet seen the true breadth, depth and glory of the Church, does not understand just how critical is respect for one’s elders (something we Americans are bad at doing) and more importantly one’s Bishops, and is feeling his oats (perhaps fueled by a bigger paycheck and the excitement of some temporal glory).

    In my bumbling and limited opinion, I say Mr. Shaw’s piece just drips with punk snobbery of the self-fawning, rich-world faux martyrdom (“I am now working hard…”) masquerading as complete knowledge kind. He supposes his “authentic” life experience trumps whatever the Pope has experienced, which he claims is essentially nothing.

    In terms of Mr. Shaw’s eternal destiny, which I can claim to know nothing, and which his article may be of no consequence, I still worry that this finger pointing which essentially boils down to looking the length of his 20-something nose at the Pope and asking, “and WHO are you?” – I worry that one day, before Christ our Lord, Mr. Shaw will hear the same words spoken to him. And all for thirty pieces of silver.

    I hope I am wrong. Like I said, I’m just a baby Catholic wondering what’s going on.

  • Irksome1

    We’ve heard the complaints about Adam Shaw and Michael Voris for some time. Can’t we just hear about Justin Bieber instead?

    • Rosemarie


      I wish I could agree with you, but I’m about equally tired of hearing about all three of them.

    • Marthe Lépine

      By the way, I have been thinking about asking Mark to put in a prayer request for Justin Bieber. He certainly is a very troubled young man, with too much money, which does not help. I am not joking: He does need a lot of prayers.

      • Rosemarie


        Yeah, don’t get me wrong, I’m praying for him too. I’m just tired of every news report I watch mentioning it. Was this really such a surprise? Messed-up child stars are a dime a dozen; sadly it was almost bound to happen to him. I do pray he pulls it together the way some of them do.

  • Tim in Cleveland

    I’m somewhat confused by this paragraph from the article:

    “The pope’s snub of the struggle for prosperity is a typically derisive attitude toward the American quest for self-development, and an attitude that is often encountered among rich European liberals, or, in this case, clergymen who have not had to work to provide a better life for their families.”

    So does he not like the clergy in general? And what exactly is “self-development”? And who goes on quests anymore?

    • Mark S. (not for Shea)

      “Self-development” is second only to “self-actualization” as a clue that whoever is saying it has been in therapy. Psychobabble shines like neon.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    On the one hand, Adam Shaw looks about 13 years old, so I’m sure he’s still filled with a lot of the arrogant self-righteousness of youth. I was a bit of a tool at that age, too. So I’m hoping he’ll grow out of this.
    On the other hand, reading Shaw’s piece just convinces me more than ever that Trickle Down Economics has reached cult status in the GOP. It is now accepted as an Article of Faith among Republicans, despite 30 years of evidence that it not only doesn’t work, but it actually does a lot of harm.

    • Dan C

      Conservative economic thought is radical and extreme. It has long ago rejected outright Catholic Social Theory. We see few Catholic conservative writers embracing church teaching on economics. Reno is one. Shea has been faithful to the Church and acknowledges the Church has a lot to say. This is compared to many many others who have rejected Church teaching on economics all the way back to the beginning of CST: Ms. Scalia, Fr. Longenecker, Fr. Sirico, most of Frist Things writers , Sam Gregg.

      The rejection these individuals have is all of CST- not just Pope Francis. They will try to misdirect folks, but they are clearly not faithful to many many social encyclicals. Magisterial economic teaching for greater than a century is rejected by many Catholic conservative writers.

      • Alexander S Anderson

        Notably, current conservative economic thought is today far more extreme than the thought of their so-called idol, Ronald Reagan. It’s even more extreme than most of the Austrian economists they claim as their intellectual sources. And both of those were pretty extreme to begin with.

        • This is revisionist by quite a bit. Reagan campaigned on eliminating entire cabinet departments in 1980. The bishops are extreme on life issues. That says nothing about whether they are right (they largely are). Similarly conservative extremism on economics is only a bad thing if they are wrong, something you’ve neglected to even assert, much less prove.

          • Dan C

            Conservative economics divorces private property from its proper ends. Private property is not sacro-sanct in and of itself and must serve justice and Truth. That is the universal destination of goods.

            Mainstreamed into conservative economic thought is that there is to be no violation of private property except rare cases of military needs for security. This is definitely not the case anywhere in Catholic thought, for the properly ordered society seeks a distributive justice, in which private property serves immediately as an antidote to deprivation, not its cause. Deprivation and economic alienation are normalized in conservative economic thought and in some conservative theological contexts adopted by Catholics more than acceptable but expected, desirable, and considered a sign of God’s justice.

            These begin the errors of the philosophical foundation of varied conservative Catholic economic theories and where they diverge from orthodox CST.

            In the language of conservatives from ten years ago, these foundational aspects are “non-negotiables.”

            • Non-capitalist systems seem to end up serving justice and truth less often than do capitalist ones. Why would I ever want that?

              Could you possibly point me to this non-marxist theory of economic alienation you hint at because when I search for that, I find wall to wall marx instead and you couldn’t possibly be engaging in tribalist condemnation of conservative thought using Marx as a crutch in a Catholic critique. I must have missed something.

              The task of ending poverty has had no greater aid than the superior distributive capacity of capitalism. Capitalist reforms have led to the denormalization of deprivation. Your assertion that capitalism normalizes deprivation is so far from what I see as objective reality that, again, I cannot understand what you are talking about.

              In just about every case of a putative failure of capitalism that I have investigated in detail there are politicians who actively stop the poor from economically improving their position or engaging in unimaginative indifference to catering to the poor. This is a task of reducing their economic friction effect so that the poor can gain equal protection of the law. Neither of these two failings is actually a failure of capitalism.

              • Dan C

                I did not mention a critique of capitalism, unless you understand capitalism exclusively as libertarianism.

                • Capitalism is largely a classical liberal project whose modern adherents very often are called libertarians. The system is so embedded in the US that conservatism conserves the revolutionary liberalism of the 18th century.

                  So what are the non-liberal wellsprings of capitalism that you support?

                  • Dan C

                    You retain an idiosyncratic definiton of capitalism that will then get your “capitalism” actually rejected by orthodox CST. Rerum Novarum is a rejection of classical liberalism and its tenets.

                    • I note that you have simply avoided answering my question. Until you do, there’s nothing else to say on this branch. Rerum Novarum finds a great deal of common ground with classical liberalism. The edge case where there is disagreement is what to do when the holder of significant material goods is a selfish jerk. Is the use of the state appropriate? There is less agreement there.

                      In Leo XIII’s day, Nancy Pelosi would likely have received a different reception due to her life positions than she does today. I suggest that it is not self-evident that Leo’s age produced a style that similarly has evolved when it comes to economic matters.

                    • falstaff77

                      “The edge case where there is disagreement is what to do when the holder of significant material goods is a selfish jerk. Is the use of the state appropriate? There is less agreement there.”

                      I think you grant too much in asking if is there a role for the state depending on the conscious (or lack thereof) of some individual. Try this view instead: Should a collection of selfish jerks and thieves (the state) be granted the power to take from another?

                      Christ condemned the selfish jerk, but the gospels notably lack any parable where, as a remedy, Christ calls on the state to step up and resolve the matter in the name of justice and equality. Indeed, Malcolm Muggeridge years ago pointed out that, where Christ had distinctly rejected an offer to rule all the kingdoms of the world, today’s church is loaded with leadership who would likely leap at Satan’s offer so that they could foolishly embrace power in a foolish attempt to create the Kingdom of God on earth.

                    • While there is a great statistical case to be made that any collection of individuals large enough to be a state will have a critical mass of selfish jerks, the Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation has made me reluctant to go down that path until I nail down the details very well, a practice that I very much recommend for anyone tempted to go crosswise of a papal pronouncement.

                      In this case it’s his disapproval of the statistical proposition in supply side economics (explanatory update: Pope Francis says spillover effects) and his claim that this is not supported in the professional literature. This is a claim of fact and I would like to get that resolved prior once again relying on that argument. So until I get around to verifying that papal claim, I’ve adopted a self-imposed moratorium.

                      In other words, I’m aware of the argument and it’s a good one. It also may be an insensitive one depending on whether the Pope is right about the evidentiary status of supply side claims and his underlying position about them. That’s a much thornier issue and one that I’ve been hoping somebody else would actually do the research on to give chapter and verse on the professional literature at least. My faith in the shallowness and idiocy of modern western journalism unfortunately has been confirmed so far.

                    • falstaff77

                      Ah, here, 1980:

                      Mr. Muggeridge: But there, again, if the Christian Church had identified itself insofar as it did with a specific movement — political movements — this could only damage it. Let’s go further back. Let’s think of the time ,.hen Christ was alive in –in Judea. Now, if
                      Christ had identified Himself with Jewish nationalism — it must have been quite a considerable temptation, in point of fact — it never would have been a Christian Religion
                      or a Christian Church.
                      Mr. Buckley: Hell — you’ve got metaphysical difficulties there. …
                      Mr. Muggeridge: (Remarks also lost during announcement and cut-off). — could have made mistakes, you see, and very easily. The point is — or, let’s take it even simpler. Let’s take what is to me the most fascinating thing: that temptation in the wilderness.
                      Mr. Buckley: Yes.
                      Mr. Muggeridge: when the Devil offered Christ the kingdoms of the earth, you see. Now; He didn’t take them, of course. Interestingly enough that the kingdoms of the earth should be the Devil’s gift — which I cordially approve of,cordially agree with. (Laughter) Now,
                      Mr.Buckley: He never denied him his proprietorship (Typist guessing at this).
                      Mr. Muggeridge: No. Never, never, never. Now, you see, from the point of view of the sort of Anglicans’ and other clergy … sort in this country that I am talking about, that was an act of madness. Christ should have accepted the kingdoms of the world, and He should have set up excellent, Socialistic, equalitarian, forward-looking, welfare-creating governments in them. And then … could live happily ever after. That’s the lie, … the clergies today. But, of course, I think Christ was absolutely right. Because I think that if you could establish a kingdom on the earth that was any good, then human life would be so insignificant, so tenth-rate that it would not be worth living. You see my point?
                      Mr. Buckley: Yes, I certainly do. I certainly do. And we know, and Christ made it explicit that His Kingdom was not of this world.
                      Mr. Muggeridge: Not of this world.


              • Dan C

                I am criticizing the libertarian strain in conservative thought. And that is was permitted to grow.

                • Still waiting for that non-marxist theory of economic alienation.

                  Libertarianism is as close to pure economic liberty or pure capitalism as you can get without being anarchist. What is US conservatism conserving if not the liberal revolution of 1776? Or are we talking about conservatism elsewhere? The PRC has conservatives too and thoroughly non-libertarian ones. Is that what you’re talking about?

              • Dan C

                I can go back to the foundational document of CST for non-Marxist philsophies that reject deprivation and alienation as non-normative, for which the antidote, CST, is the answer. Is that what you mean?

                You have idiosyncratic, non-Catholic economic views. Marxism is not “anything different that limits or regulates the acquisition or distribution of private property.”

                • You’re right that there are plenty of people who seized property prior to Marx. Henry VIII seizing England’s monasteries leaps to mind as an example.

                  The word alien, much less alienation much less economic alienation does not appear in Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum. The copy I consulted for the search is here:


                  Perhaps you could point to me where you’ve found it?

                  I admit that a broad range of views, both good and bad may be Catholic. I can even squint and see where communists, along the lines of utopian communists, could be Catholic. Your attempt to read me out of the Church because I think the poor are best served by an economic system that actually has the best historical track record of lifting them out of poverty is puzzling to me.

                  Systems are for general cases, solidarity and material works of mercy are for the inevitable nastiness that edge cases create because no system outside of Heaven is perfect since we were kicked out of Eden. Economics is a tool to express one’s well formed conscience in the material world. State violence is a substandard and often counterproductive method of creating a well formed conscience and should be avoided when superior alternatives are available.

                  The above are my views, what you label “idiosyncratic, non-Catholic economic views”. Perhaps quoting Leo XIII might help “The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property.”

                  • Dan C

                    Sure. We can quite Leo extensively. We can show that he finds the inequality of his day in a harsh negative light. We can show that he indentifies private property as the answer to deprivation. That a properly ordered society would constitute justice and deprivation would be absent and that the State has a role in protecting laborers.

                    We can note that Leo identifies Creation and its division of private property something created for all men. Not a disproportionate unjust assessment of a few.

                    The identification of the State as assessing taxes to redistribute as defines as “violence” is nowhere in any way an orthodox Catholic position. The state’s role in society and guarding the welfare of the worker is a foundational aspect of CST, is really a non-negotiable also.

                    These points put you outside magisterial teaching.

                    Caritas in Veritats to Rerum Novarum is a set of documents that must be freed of the distortion of this libertarian warping.

                    • You say that you can quote Leo extensively in answer to my question on non-marxist economic alienation but I notice that you don’t actually do so. Strange that.

                      The state has a proper role in protecting everyone and some of those protections should end up helping laborer more than investors just like others should do the reverse.

                      Nobody, including the most ardent, atheist objectivists and anarcho-capitalists assert that private property should be a “disproportionate unjust assessment of a few”. So who are you kidding? You’re setting up straw men.

                      The plain fact is that redistribution, when permitted in principle, generally ends up benefitting powerful interests over time who capture much of the value of the redistribution. We may end up in a situation where such economic distortions are the best of a bunch of very bad choices but that’s a very rare situation and one that is likely to grow less likely over time.

                      So unless you’ve got a pointy hat, quit trying to be a combox bishop. You’re doing a very poor job at it.

                    • Dan C

                      Economic alienation as non-normative:

                      “The fact that God has given the earth for the use and enjoyment of the whole human race can in no way be a bar to the owning of private property. For God has granted the earth to mankind in general, not in the sense that all without distinction can deal with it as they like, but rather that no part of it was assigned to any one in particular, and that the limits of private possession have been left to be fixed by man’s own industry, and by the laws of individual races. Moreover, the earth, even though apportioned among private owners, ceases not thereby to minister to the needs of all, inasmuch as there is not one who does not sustain life from what the land produces. Those who do not possess the soil contribute their labor; hence, it may truly be said that all human subsistence is derived either from labor on one’s own land, or from some toil, some calling, which is paid for either in the produce of the land itself…”

                    • That’s very nice. Where’s the economic alienation?

      • Since conservatives actually have diversity on a large number of things including economic thought, your thoughts read a bit incoherent. Conservatism has gotten somewhat stuck in a rut because it is constantly battling the economic equivalent of the night of the living dead zombie hordes, the marxists of various stripes who keep shuffling along coming to kill the economy.

        Pope Francis is trying to get beyond this rut both left and right are stuck in to examine a number of “what next” questions and I admire him for it. It shows vision. The problem is that he assumes things are settled when they are not and we still have the shufflers coming at us. Those over-optimistic assumptions are not fatal, but they do need to be filled out with details that have yet to emerge.

        I think that you are being rather harsh on conservative Catholics, to the point of false accusation. I hope you reconsider your lack of charity.

        • Dan C

          Catholic conservative economic thought permits classical liberalism and its relative neo-liberalism (libertarianism). It has mainstreamed these views as acceptable, and perhaps preferential.

          Just looking at Rerum Novarum, one can see the radical departure this is from all the popes who have written papal encyclicals, and even the primary assumptions of basic CST premises.

          There is a modest diversity in conservative economic thought. Libertarianism has tainted most writers and thinkers on this matter.

          Catholic conservativism does need an intellectual corrective on how much they depart from even the first CST encyclical.

          This is a diagnosis. Not a judgement.

          Second, there is this thought that somehow Francis is “getting past both left and right.” I think this reads into Francis a dynamic suggesting he even knows or cares about the American Catholic Wars. He probably doesn’t. He is saying things that are barely novel compared to all the previous popes. His novelty is that his evaluative schema shows what “preferential option for the poor” really means.

          He has said little new or in any way different than other popes. All the way back to Leo, who too, a pope writing against classical liberalism in a Gilded Age like our own, was called a Marxist.

          I also suggest that you read Professor R. Reno on the ridiculousness of calling modern neo-liberals Marxists.

          Reno has the proper assessment if today’s economy. He critiques most acutely the thought that the economy is socialized and struggling against Marxists at every turn. It is not 1974.

          • If the neo-liberals say the sun rises in the east, agreeing with them is no sin. To critique a school without identifying what Catholic conservatives improperly accept from that school is a fairly ugly form of tribalism. There are actual problems with objectivism and libertarianism but not so much economic problems as in other areas.

            I think that this essay gets a number of things wrong and it’s absolutely daft to identify this as *the* conservative position.

            The plain truth is that we do not know what the government is doing in the US. There is not even a comprehensive list of governments, much less what they do. So far as I understand it, public sector spending is at approximately 40% of total US GDP and the regulatory state isn’t actually being measured. How you make any judgments on its extent prior to measuring it is beyond me.

  • It’s just about impossible to decide which is the most hilariously clueless pronouncement in Shaw’s work. He seems totally unable to handle an actual idea with any kind of complexity.

    He reads the Pope’s remark about the “culture of prosperity” deadening compassion and immediately asserts that the Pope doesn’t want him to make a good living for his family. No doubt if the Pope were to criticize “consumer society,” Adam would immediately cry: “He doesn’t want us to buy groceries!!!!”

    But this takes the cake: The Pope’s supposed lack of compassion for working people like him is “possibly due to his career in bureaucracy that usually contains zero experience at parish level, in which he would have at least had
    experience bringing in money.”

    Yes, we all know what a soulless bureaucrat Jorge Bergoglio was as a bishop. Never any contact with the people at the parish level, nosiree. And how bishops never have to raise money, because . . . well because they don’t live in parishes, I guess. Forget politics or ideology (though it’s hard to imagine where he got his contact with either). The best explanation is that young Adam has apparently been living under a rock all of his life or at least has learned nothing about the real world since kindergarten.

    Other than the ridiculous misunderstandings, his work wouldn’t be too bad. Except for the politics and ideology, of course.

  • Dave G.

    I say we all show him. Let’s all sell everything we have and give it to the poor!

    • Dan C

      Have you read Rerum Novarum, the first social encyclical? I am reading it now in a group. Many liberation theologians are moderates compared to this encyclical. This is the reference point for understanding Catholic Social Theory.

      • Um, no.

        Rerum Novarum is valid, real, and should be read in the context of what we have learned since then. Putting it up on a pedestal and ignoring or even minimizing further development that has occurred since it was written is not appropriate.

      • Dave G.

        I had to read that years ago in a church history seminar. I remember thinking it was so socialist it was capitalist. Sort of hit me as a Catholic ‘here’s what’s good with both points’ approach. But as TMLutas says, it was of its time, and things have developed since then.

        • Dan C

          You will have to demonstrate where he is now wrong. He speaks powerfully to this gilded age.

          • Dave G.

            And if I said he was wrong, you’re darn right I’d have to demonstrate. Luckily I didn’t say that. I said it was speaking to the times and things have developed. The growth and evolution of unions, for instance.

            • Dan C

              With Leo’s extensive treatment of good and bad associations, you have plenty of wiggle room to judiciously reject unions. Which is a common consevative viewpoint considering the standing ovation Christie and Walker received for changing contractual obligations for certain government employees.

              Considering how few workers actually belong to a union today though, I think fighting unions is again a 1960’s position and due to the crushing loss of union membership, the right should consider itself winning there. Except when they wonder what happened to all the Scout leaders snd Knights of Columbus volunteers under age 60. They would be working their second jobs now and have no time to volunteer. (Want some Kirkian “mediating institutions?” Have some good work for decent pay.)

              Enough on unions and workers pay.

              • Dave G.

                Believe me, I can see both the worth and the problems of unions. I’ve seen both. I currently work for a company that, like most modern companies, is not union. Yet my wife was in a union profession and I saw the problems. But that was just one change off the top of my head. I actually enjoyed reading it when I did. Again, it was something that seemed to stand apart from the competing ideologies of the age, perhaps as the Church always should. Affirming what is right, but challenging what is wrong. But reading it in light of the changes and developments nonetheless.

                • Dan C

                  I will never question the troubling aspects of unions.

                  In general though, the right should be doing a victory lap. In terms of unions, they won. Only teachers and firefighters and police men to go and if these unions are abolished or marginalized no other public service union will have much clout.

                  This would be one of those areas in which conservatives are fighting a 1980’s battle when unions are brought up. Unions are dead, pretty much.

                  For those of us who understand we are in a Gulded Age, Leo’s message is “right on” in terms of a diagnosis and prescription for this modern day.

                  • Stu

                    Unions killed themselves when they stopped having concern about the working man but instead focused on simply having their piece of power.

                  • Rosemarie


                    Unions are dead? You don’t live in NY state, do you?

              • falstaff77

                “Considering how few workers actually belong to a union today though …”

                Not so few in government employment, which is the problem. Local government employment in 2013 is 44%, higher than unionization ever reached in the country at large in the 1950s.

                • Dan C

                  1% union employment in any industry is a problem for conservativism. I get it.

                  But you guys have won! The decline continues and the number of union employees will continue to shrink.

                  Whatever propaganda group has that you saying that is having you focus on winning a battle from 1976. Unionization is not troubling at current levels. What is destroying communities is not overpaid union employees. It is underpaid employees fighting to make ends meet and the drain this has on resources. And then others fearful of their jobs.

                  And… Then… No one volunteers at the local “mediating institutions.”

                  In general, conservativism won. The unions are diminishing. It is not a trend upward. Citing that some industry has “too many” unionized employees is just propaganda.

                  Conservative R Reno suggests it is time to stop fighting 30 year old battles, and to answer the troubles. Unions are a problem for Norquist. Not America at this point.

                  • falstaff77

                    “Unionization is not troubling at current levels.”

                    In the private sector I agree. Who said otherwise? Again: public sector unions, with 30-45% union control *is*, as FDR said, a problem.

                    “And… Then… No one volunteers at the local “mediating institutions.”

                    Agreed, at least very few compared to the past.

                    Lets look at the past. Most grade schools teach the radical socialist Upton Sinclair: child labor, guilded age, robber barrons. But this is far from all. At the turn of the century some 2/3 of adult males in cities like NY belonged to what were called mutual aid societies; Carnegie built his thousands of libraries; there were thousands of charitable/religious hospitals across the country (now mostly gone); the Red Cross and YMCA began, on and on. Why is this, the difference between now and then?

                    Something to consider: Also at the turn of the century, total government spending (federal, state, and local), never exceeded 10% of GDP before WWI, and 2/3 of that spending was local. Today of course total government spending is ~40% of GDP, the majority having swung to federal spending dominated by entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment, food stamps)

                    • Dan C

                      I am the radical you hate . I also buy into the history you are struggling to rewrite on behalf of the wealthy. (Just as a point of reference.)

                      I believe we are in another gilded age and that Catholic conservativism has bought into libertarianism which is incompatible with the faith.

                      I speak highly of public servants like teachers and fire fighters. So, attacks on the government unions attack these individuals.

                    • falstaff77

                      I hate the lie, not the radical.

                      If you believe history is here rewritten, then please correct the history.

                      ” So, attacks on the government unions attack these individuals..”

                      “So,” as in logically therefore? This is to say that public unions on one hand, and the teachers and the fire fighters on the other hand are the same thing. This is a union which these teachers and fire fighters are often *compelled* to join; a union which we know many members drop immediately when the force is removed.

                      Your “So …” above is a lie.

  • Mike

    Mark, I just wanted to say that I read you everyday at work; I love your postst and I pray with you; at least I force myself to, when you have prayer req.

  • Joe

    In the past, I’ve tended to let my political views override Church teaching on certain issues (the Iraq War, if I remember correctly). But even then, I still respected both the Church leaders and their views and never denigrated them (I just didn’t find them practical).

    This guy on the other hand, should just slip on his cowboy boots, convert to the Southern Baptist church so that he can leave tract “tips” at Bob Evans after Sunday brunch (ref. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godandthemachine/2013/11/stupid-things-christians-do-tract-tips/). That way he can encourage the poor waitresses to seek their “quest for self-development.”

    Such is “the market and its adherents.”

    • Dave G.

      Maybe he could just try to be as good as you are.

      • Benjamin 2.0

        And maybe he could just try to be as good as you are.

        • Dave G.

          Well, I didn’t say I failed, but he fails worse. But I suppose he could try.

          BTW, how did you get the bold letters?

  • Marthe Lépine

    As I read Adam’s piece, I have been thinking of what that Professor that Mark is linking to in “The forces of liberal education”… Seems to me that Adam is a clear demonstration of the results of the kind of education described in that other post… He has not learned to actually think, or even to read with attention. Hopefully he will grow up and start learning.

  • chad

    Shaw knows what he is doing. We treat him like a kid who isn’t as lost as he really is. I would guess he read this blog post and the comments, but pride does this funny thing of emboldening one when they are criticized. He only becomes further entrenched in his ideology. His second best hope is if someone who was a mentor flips on him.

    • Rosemarie


      Unfortunately you’re right about pride getting people more entrenched in their false beliefs after criticism.

  • CatholicJames##Scott+~

    Mark Shea doesn’t watch Foxnews thus he rarely has anything meaningful to say about it other then knee-jerk repeating his “Pox on both your houses” Meme. OTOH my wife Rosemarie and I we watch Fox all the time. O’Reilly and Megan Kelly have treated the Pope fairly & O’Reilly has defended him from right wing knee jerk stupidity. Sean Hannity has made some dumb statements. But the most part they have been fair to Pope Francis.

    But this Adam Shaw dirtbag is obviously too conservative to get a job over at MediaMatters or the Huffingtion Post so he writes his anti-Catholic crap over at fox website.

    He should stick to video games.

  • CatholicJames##Scott+~

    I tried to post a nasty screed in Shaw’s comments box over at Fox(why should Mark be blessed with my abuse when there are others far far far more deserving).

    But I can’t get it to sign in my google. I’ll figure it out later.

    BTW this is my screed. Enjoy. The Rage of BenYacov lives!

    Adam Shaw is an incompetent hack in his mid 20’s who should stick to reviewing video games and leave Moral Theology and analysis of Papal statements to somebody with more wisdom, age and education. What he knows about Church Social Teaching could dance on the head of a pin with the proverbial angels.

    Pope Francis repeats the Biblical condemnation of materialism and consumerism. He warns against greed and pursuing the making of money for it’s own sake as an end in itself. His only aspiration (if Shaw had bothered to actually read Evangelii Gaudium instead of merely skimming it for proof texts he can take out of context like your average MediaMatters jerk) is that people turn to Jesus Christ and make Him the focus of their lives.

    If Adam Shaw knew his Baltimore Catechism he would know the purpose of Life is to LOVE GOD AND TO SERVE HIM.

    It is as plain as a pin up of Roseanne Barr! Pope Francis’s message is to be content with Christ and make knowing him the goal of your life not the pursuit of mere money.

    Shaw it seems is a conservative first and a Catholic third. It should be the other way around.

    BTW What Francis has been saying isn’t new.

    QUOTE””Yet if we refuse to share what we have with the hungry and the poor, we make of our possessions a false god. How many voices in our materialist society tell us that happiness is to be found by acquiring as many possessions and luxuries as we can! But this is to make possessions into a false god. Instead of bringing life, they bring death.”END QUOTE

    The above was not said by Pope Francis it WAS SAID BY POPE BENEDICT!!!!!!!!!!

    I dare this disrespectful little anti-Catholic wannabe to call Pope Benedict a socialist.

  • HornOrSilk

    If this is true, I expect Shaw will be asked for another article on Fox News: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=21652968 (Pope writing an encyclical on the “ecology of man”)

  • Dan C

    Mr. Shaw’s piece is infused with the standard “the pope and the bishops do not have a charism for this.”

  • Andrew Simons

    The blurb at the bottom of the article says that Shaw is an FOX editor who reports on “Anglo-American and Catholic” issues. At first, I thought it said “Anglo-Catholic” or something like that, but nope, there it is: Anglo-American. Ironic that Fox has a designated reporter on issues important to white folks.

    • Irony that a major news organization has a reporter on one of the most important foreign policy beats the US has? Please stop embarrassing yourself.

      • Andrew Simons

        The correct term would be British-American. Britain is the political entity.

        • Britain is not a modern political entity. It is an island which forms the bulk of the territory of the United Kingdom which *is* a political entity. The island of Britain holds devolved parliaments for Scotland and Wales as well as the UK national parliament and come 2015 may no longer be home to only one country as there’s an independence referendum that is likely to come up.

          Please stop embarrassing yourself.

          • Andrew Simons

            T.M. — you’re awfully defensive about Fox, and pedantic to boot. Merriam-Webster (online) defines “Anglo-American” as “a North American whose native language is English and especially whose culture or ethnic background is of European origin,” and “Anglo–American” as “the adjective form.” Fox is ignorant and is using the wrong term, and it’s *funny* that Fox does so, given that network’s politics. In defending them, you’re sounding humorless (humourless, if you prefer), ignorant and pedantic, all at the same time — a good trick.

            • jaybird1951

              Why do you and Mark automatically assume that Shaws’ views on Francis represent anyone more than himself including Rupert Murdoch. Mark’s rhetoric here was once again overheated and cliche ridden.

              • chezami

                O the humanity! An obscenely rich man’s nose has been tweaked for publishing stupid anti-papal rubbish!

                • Except for that pesky charity thing, there’s nothing wrong with it at all. It’s a rich journalistic tradition to afflict the comfortable. But is it Catholic?

                  • Dan C

                    1. The Gospels are harrowingly harsh about wealth. Not in the “the decry love of money” but actually wealth receives some harrowing warnings.

                    2. Servant of God Dorothy Day felt it her special mission to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

                    3. Pope Leo:
                    “22. Therefore, those whom fortune favors are warned that riches do not bring freedom from sorrow and are of no avail for eternal happiness, but rather are obstacles;(9) that the rich should tremble at the threatenings of Jesus Christ – threatenings so unwonted in the mouth of our Lord(10) – and that a most strict account must be given to the Supreme Judge for all we possess.”

                    Seems to be Catholic.

                    • Nothing false about what you write here, but also not much relevant. Fox is objectively airing voices across the spectrum from pro to con on Pope Francis. It’s not engaging in the war on the Church that Mark regularly talks about. It’s engaging in its usual mercenary business of maximizing viewership/listenership/readership, something that is classic Murdoch.

                      I was a bit clumsy in shorthanding my view above and I see why you took it in this direction. Peace, we don’t necessarily disagree on this point.

            • I am not responsible for Merriam-Webster’s sketchy entry. The usage for anglo-american is not “issues important to white folks”. I’m reasonably confident that every major power has staff keeping an eye on the UK/US relationship and the term is used often enough. The africans and the asians are no less likely to do so than the whites.

              Since we’re moving into the name calling section of our conversation, the central problem with your original point was that it was stupid and racist. I decided to focus on the stupid in the hopes that you would quietly drop it.

              The stupid was too strong to take a hint.

              • Dan C

                “Anglo-American issues” should be radioactive as a term. It seems to me to be more “Southern strategy.” a chance to race bait. Adam Shaw’s new beat as an “Anglo American issues” writer therefore excludes my issues. I read it for what it is, pandering to Anglo-Americans. “Anglos” are a particular subclass.

                You can pretend otherwise. Suit yourself. But such pretending becomes willful ignorance at some point.

                • Anglo American is one of the world’s largest mining companies. It is also a term used in several treaties between the UK and US.

                  I suggest you (as well as Andrew Simons) read up on the cases where people using niggardly (which means cheap and comes into english via the norse) got into racial troubles because it sounds like a racially charged term that arrived in english via the spanish word for black.


                  This is a similar instance. We have enough actual racism in the world that making stuff up to get offended over. But even taking the most friendly interpretation of anglo-american, it still doesn’t make it stuff white people care about, any more than Martin Luther King is stuff black people care about. That’s where things went racist as well as stupid.

              • Andrew Simons

                You’ve moved into name-calling b/c you lost the argument.

                • You really should look over the thread time stamps before you make such an accusation. Or do you find “humorless”, “ignorant”, and “pedantic” to not be insulting.

                  You thought that you could get a nice two minute hate in on Fox. I have mixed feelings on that as I have my own issues with them. The anglo-american thing is as stupid as the DC niggardly scandal, and just as racist.

                  • Andrew Simons

                    I’m glad you have issues with Fox, but Fox used the wrong term to describe something, and the term they chose to use was ironic and funny for two reasons: (1) a “news” organization, known for frequently misleading people on facts, chose a clunky, wrong term to describe the duties of one its editors, (2) the term the “news” organization used was, in its primary meaning, racial. This was ironic b/c Fox is often a racially-biased “news” organization. What’s odd is that you would go to the mat to defend Fox and to be so humorless and pedantic about it. “Stupid and racist” is name calling; “humorless [b/c you didn’t get the joke], ignorant [b/c you denied the meaning of the word] and pedantic [b/c of you how you approached the whole disagreement]” describe concrete behaviors.

                    • Actually Fox did not use the wrong term to describe a foreign policy journalist beat covering UK/US issues. It is one of a range of terms that could have been used and one that I have heard in lots of other contexts that are clearly not racial in the least.

                      People get fired over stupid idiocy like this as the whole niggardly controversy demonstrated and that’s about the time when I lose my sense of humor. You’re trying to normalize a nasty bit of racialism. It’s illegitimate to do this and aggressive in a bad way. Shame on you.

          • jaybird1951

            Our ambassador in London presented his credentials to the BRITISH government. Andrew is correct. .

            • Is the International Standards Organization sufficiently official to settle this?

              Go look up ISO-3166, the country name is United Kingdom. The two letter code is GB which is what they used to call it before they renamed it in 1801 (they further renamed the place in 1922 with the secession of Ireland).

  • Dado7

    Which Pope Francis quotes in Adam Shaw’s article were inaccurate representations of the Holy Father’s words?

    • Andy

      Using the Pope’s words in an article is not a representation – it is a quotation and you are right he did not misrepresent/misquote the pope. He did however, truncate the phrases and sentences from their context – a typical hit piece activity. However, Shaw misrepresented the Pope’s message. But no doubt you know that – you are merely trying to defend the indefensible –

    • Evangelii Gaudium did say “Business is a vocation, and a
      noble vocation, provided that those engaged in it see themselves challenged by a
      greater meaning in life; this will enable them truly to serve the common good by
      striving to increase the goods of this world and to make them more accessible to

      As I understand it the Pope’s statements aren’t against people making a living or starting a business. But to only be concerned with a “better life for themselves and their families” is not exactly the Christian way. Christians, not just Catholics, are clearly to care about the “least of us” and our neighbor.

      To be honest there are actually times I’m not sure how I feel about this Pope, but Mr. Shaw’s statements in the recent one at least were quite inflammatory and hostile. Basically saying the Pope is spoiled man who never had to make a living. Which, besides being a slap in the face of many priests, isn’t remotely true as he entered the seminary relatively late (for a priest of his generation) and was a part of the workforce. So if you’re going to criticize you should at least know a little about who and what you’re criticizing and he largely doesn’t. His article is arrogant and slightly obnoxious. Granted he’s young, so he might be immature, but still it’s not a great piece of criticism. (I think you maybe could criticize a Pope, any Pope, in an orthodox and mature way. I’d grant Shea comes way too close to “No you can’t, not ever” but I think he’s mistaken. If this Pope really means there must be absolute economic equality for all I’ll say he’s wrong, by previous Papal statements and just basic plausibility, unless he makes it a matter you have to assent to. Even then though it would be an unfortunate “I have to assent to something I know is ridiculous because the rest of it is so True.”)

  • Elmwood

    Seems to me that even when a GOPer explicitly attacks the pope for reiterating catholic social teaching, tea-party bloggers come out of the wood work in defense of liberal economic policies.

    Liberal capitalism is the flip-side of Marxism: the church rejects both as inherently materialistic.

  • The big problem is his video game reviews are awful. If he had to speak for the video game community, couldn’t they find someone who actually knows how to review video games?

    • Stu

      I bet he can’t play Intellivision baseball either. 🙂

  • Rosemarie


    Adam Shaw is back once again, only singing a slightly different tune this time about the Holy Father:

    Solving the ‘Enigma’ of Pope Francis

    Read the article and view the video interview with the author on the top. Both are quite good and call into question the notion that Fox News is “at war” with Pope Francis.