Simcha Fisher on the Odious Pewsitter Site

Simcha Fisher on the Odious Pewsitter Site July 15, 2014

In parts of the Islamic world, women can get horsewhipped and killed for the “crime” of getting raped.  That’s because, in certain barbarous parts of the world, all that matters is that the female organism underwent the act of coitus, forced or consensual, to incur ritual guilt with very real penalties.  It’s a mindset that comes from the Stone Age.  Even by the time of the Patriarchs (particularly Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar) some dim sense that the male in the relationship might have some teensy weensy bit of responsibility to bear in the maltreatment of women.  Yet here we are 4000 years later and not only are Muslim savages still torturing and butchering rape victims, but the Greatest Catholics of All Time over at Pewsitter are describing victims of Boko Haram’s multiple rapes as “admitting” they were raped–a telling word choice. As a general rule, you tell of something that happened. You admit to something you are guilty of. Simcha Fisher replies with both barrels–as they deserve.

Update: some of my more charitable readers insist that “admit” is patient of a reading that is not as unfeeling as it sounds to Simcha, me and rather a lot of female readers (particularly victims of sex crimes). Okay. Summoning “love believeth all things” to its summit, I will buy that and apologize for seeing red. But I also don’t think Simcha was particularly wrong to see red. Pewsitter has a long record of saying odious things. The fact that this may have only been semi-odious is nothing to write home about.

Moral: a website written by anonymous cowards who regularly go out of their way to put the darkest possible constructions on the pope’s words should perhaps consider a bit more circumspection about throwing stones from their glass house when they themselves speak so recklessly. The best that can be said for their wording was that it was, ahem, “poorly chosen” and (what’s is it that those guys love to hurl at Francis? Oh yeah!) “sends a confusing message”. And the rest of the site remains a clearinghouse for contempt for much of the Church’s magisterial teaching and this pope in particular. Take the log out of your own eyes, anonymous Pewsitter cowards.

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  • Dave G.

    That’s a strong accusation. A very harsh and strong accusation. Since the Catechism has this to say:

    “Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.”

    I should assume then that she did appropriate diligence to make sure the above was followed?

    • Bill

      I don’t get why you’re endlessly on this crusade to referee all this stuff Dave. More than anything you come off as exceedingly defensive of anything conservative/traditional. You’re not helping your cause. I respect your passion and I truck with you on many things, but I think you need to stand down and be more reflective.

      • Benjamin2.0

        You certainly read Mr. G’s posts in a strange and vaguely negative light. I say ‘vaguely’ because “exceedingly defensive of anything conservative/traditional” could only be wrong in a particular sense of the word ‘exceedingly’. As a matter of fact, I was a little disturbed by the author spinning this condemnation from the choice of a single word, too. Maybe you need to stand down and be more reflective. I just heard this relevant quote from the Catechism:

        Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.

        • HornOrSilk

          Funny how people constantly trying to find the most negative interpretation of Pope Francis say this

          • Benjamin2.0

            Ya’ lost me, Mr. Silk. I always give the pope the benefit of the doubt and never believe a reporter without fivefold corroboration from people with professions which boast at least a slim degree of competence. Maybe you have me cornfused with some other Benjamin…

            Benjamin2.1 is kind of a jerk, if his reputation is to be believed.

          • Chase

            Just because Pewsitters may be guilty of this behavior themselves doesn’t mean the same tactics should be used against them.

    • Benjamin2.0

      The world is full of people who interpret long statements harshly on the basis of the choice of a single word and how it can be best interpreted in as negative a light as possible. What the world needs is crusader referees. Please permit me to thank you for performing a thankless task.

  • Chase

    Without knowing anything about the site in question, I’d have read “admit” as “finally told someone after keeping it hidden out of fear for some time”, given that we’re talking about rape and Boko Haram.

  • Paul

    “To Hell with them.”
    I don’t see this as some type of hate or expression of animosity toward anyone. I see it as “there is no talking sense to this person, they are so far gone, they are so unwilling to allow the light of reason to shine in their midst, they are clearly on a crash course toward damnation, nothing I can do or say seems to have any impact on these morons, let them be on their way to their preferred destination, I don’t have the time to waste anymore.”
    To Hell with them……how is that for a “favorable” interpretation

    • Phil Steinacker

      Come now. The clear, literal meaning of the phrase is to condemn or otherwise wish someone into Hell. Any lesser interpretation is a sanitization of verbiage clearly prohibited by Jesus and His Church.

  • AquinasMan

    That’s the title of the story at the link.


  • Peggy

    So glad Simcha Fischer is on the case.

    I would think that in that case the girls would be fearful of revealing rapes by the Boko Haram creeps. I don’t take it as a confession of one’s guilt. “Admit” can have different appropriate meanings. This war among Catholics is getting out of hand.

    • Benjamin2.0

      “Admit” can have different appropriate meanings. This war among Catholics is getting out of hand.

      Very sensible.

      • Peggy

        I don’t know whether “sensible” sells here any more.

    • > “Admit” can have different appropriate meanings.


      > You “admit” to something you are guilty of.

      More fair (though still partial) would be to say that “admit” implies some reluctancy. Not necessarily from guilt, also from embarrasment or pain (or conceding a point, or even being humble)

      Perhaps in this case the word should not be avoided (it does not help), but the reaction of Simcha Fischer seems intemperate to me.

    • Catholic & loving it

      “This war among Catholics is getting out of hand.” Maybe, Dawn of the Planet of the Catholics? A war is brewing, brace yourselves, it’s gonna get a little nasty.

  • ivan_the_mad

    Pewsitter is indeed odious, but there are more tangible targets to fire upon than this.

  • CJ

    That’s an awfully thin reed on which to base this much outrage. The word “admit” isn’t univocal, and the article doesn’t give any hint of blaming the girl for what happened. It just doesn’t make sense to go after them hammer and tongs on the use of the word alone. It’s striking to contrast this with the way you handle criticism of Pope Francis’ troublesome statements.

    • JefZeph

      Not to mention the fact that Pewsitter didn’t write the headline. In fact, I’d like to be shown any article or blog post the “anonymous Pewsitter cowards” ever have written. They don’t write. It is an aggregate web site for crying out loud.

      And if I were to say that the Pope “sends a confusing message” (which I have thought on more than one occasion), what exactly is it that I’m “hurling at Francis”?

      When gay rights activists wear shirts bearing his image because they believe he has condoned their cause, his message must logically be deemed more than a bit confusing in light of such a clearly defined Catholic teaching as the denouncement of homosexual behavior.

  • Willard

    GOPewsitter is certainly an abominable dissenter site but this is actually one of their least offensive headlines IMHO.

  • Jude

    I believe “admit” was the proper word choice, hence its use. You and Simcha are a scary pair. Perhaps you should look into a different profession, as blogging seems to be a temptation to sin for you.

    • Phil Steinacker

      I agree.

  • IndyTrucker – ( may take a clause as object ) to concede (the truth or validity of something)

  • Mark Power

    A simple search for a definition of the word “admit” elicits the following result: “confess to be true or to be the case.” There is no reference to guilt. Rape is a traumatic crime, whilst the victim caries no actual shame, they can often feel the shame of the crime as though they were dirty or guilty, which they are not. You “tell” of the events that occurred, a process that is often traumatic for rape victims, you “admit” that the event took place. Mark Shea’s bias against PewSitter has in this instance made him look small and petty and argue like a liberal

  • Phil Steinacker

    I say to you, Mark, what I said to Simcha:

    It appears you should make more frequent use of a good dictionary so you can understand the various meanings, uses, and contexts of a given word.

    The practice of changing headlines to advance a favored view or an agenda is not uncommon, but like you, I don’t care for it much.

    However, your attack on the use of the word “admit” is specious at best.

    Mark, this is as a good example of why I so rarely visit you or Simcha any longer. You each are all too willing to give in to your visceral impulses. Each of you look very foolish right now. You guys fired from the hip before consulting a dictionary, for pete’s sake!

    You guys must be closet liberals, because when you see something which stirs up your emotions you copy their worst behaviors.

  • texasknight

    Odious? (1. deserving or causing hatred; hateful; detestable. 2. highly offensive; repugnant; disgusting.) I have found that Pewsitter offers articles and blogs from many perspectives. They do link odious material (like from the fish wrap and huffporn), but are not odious themselves. Rather, it is you that are odious for your false witness.

  • E. Davison

    I agree with those who are pointing out how unfair Mr. Shea has become. Does his knowledge of the English language not admit of different meanings of “admit”? Does he not see that the Pewsitter tag was taken from the original headline? Does he not grasp that sometimes it is hard for victimized women to talk openly about the harm done to them?

    What has happened you, Mr. Shea?

  • Cat

    What a mountain out of an anthill! OK, possibly that was not the ideal choice of words, but in reading the story, I cannot reasonably come to a conclusion that it was chosen deliberately to cast doubt or aspersions on those poor women, nor to imply any larger philosophical misogynistic views of rape or violence against women, nor the women’s characters. Seems Shea scrounged for a needle in a haystack so he could write something (anything?) against Pewsitter. Low class.

  • Old Guard

    Let’s try this: “I admit that PewSitter sometimes lacks discernment in its choice of headlines, but this isn’t a good example.” Does using “admit” in this context make me guilty of something? For the record, as a reader who occasionally sends stories to PewSitter, I can tell you that the person submitting the story is prompted to write his own headline. More often than not PewSitter uses the reader-suggested headline, but sometimes it does get changed. Another observation: PewSitter’s editor relies heavily on reader submissions. I’ve seen the same story linked multiple times on the same day with different headlines, indicating that the stories probably weren’t read, just posted quickly without much thought using whatever headline came to them.

  • Bill Russell

    This “admit” certainly was another opportunity for you characteristically to smash a mosquito with a sledgehammer. Pewsitter ran this story obviously to condemn the terrorists. To suggest that the word “admit” was deliberately used as an offense against the poor girl is worse than risible However, in your attack you repeatedly call the writer a “coward.” As a trained psychologist, and one who has studied some of your other writings, I’d have to say that you have a serious problem with anger control. Unless you have proper counseling, the time will come when your explosive temper will be seriously damaging to you and probably to those around you.

  • Dave G.

    Mark, as a long time reader who owes you much, and thanks you for all you’ve done for me and my family, and for the part you played in my journey into the Church, I must also echo the sentiments below:

    “What has happened you, Mr. Shea?”

    Your blog seems to have become all the things you used to warn against almost a decade ago when I first began visiting your blog. Understand, I still am very fond of you. But there is concern. And not just because you’ve changed your positions on things. But because of things like this. When the post was down I rejoiced, thinking you had done the right thing. But this apology just seems to be digging a deeper hole. Prayerfully concerned as always,


    “The courtesy of your hall is somewhat lessened of late, Theoden, son of Thengel.”

  • Willard

    I think you touched a nerve Mark. You are at the top of the headlines at GOPewsitter right now. Keep up the good fight in your support for the Pope and don’t let the naysayers get you down.

    • Dave G.

      This doesn’t have anything to do with, or should have anything to do with, their stance on Pope Francis. If that’s the reason, that alone is cause for concern.

  • Sharon

    I tried to comment on Simcha’s site but could not post as a guest and I am unwilling to make my friends’ contact details available to all and sundry.

  • Peggy

    For a while this post was not visible on my screen today. I had thought maybe Shea had thought better than to leave these inflammatory unjust accusations stand.

    I admit that I am disappointed.

    [See what I did there?—Yes, I am a show-off!]

  • rodlarocque1931

    Pewsitter is a daily ritual for me and I am so glad to have found the site.

  • Ethan

    I agree with Mark and Simcha wholeheartedly. While the dictionary meaning of ‘admits’ has no suggestion of guilt, it’s connotative use almost universally in the modern era is to imply the guilt of the party admitting. If you read the headline ‘Police chief admits criminal activity,’ you would never interpret it to mean that the police chief is recognizing the existence of criminal activity. You would certainly understand it to mean that the police chief himself was culpable. There is no difference between the interpretation here and in Pewsitter’s headline. Thus, I side with Simcha and believe Mark’s update, in which he admits that Pewsitter’s intentions could have been innocent, to be well stated.

    • Dave G.

      Actually a headline written like your example would need more information to know what is being said. Is the chief saying criminal activity is happening, has happened under his watch, he’s aware of it, he’s guilty? It would probably be written, assuming his guilt, as “Police chief admits *to* criminal activity.’ Or if he was the victim, Police chief admits being robbed, or being target of criminal activity. Hence the headline, “schoolgirl admits being raped” was seen by most as ‘she finally came out and admitted what we all feared.’ Perhaps implying she finally displayed the courage needed to admit what we all feared. Which is why Simcha’s accusation-to-condemnation on an interpretation that even straining doesn’t suggest, and Mark’s subsequent jumping on board, seemed to all here (all but a couple) to have violated the Church’s clear teaching on how we are supposed to handle interpreting such things.

  • LSpinelli

    I understand where Mark’s coming from. Pewsitter most definitely loves to put their spin on things – a Reactionary Catholic spin. The type who claims that Pope Francis is the Antipope. “Only people whose eyes are opened through grace” will see this Pope for what he really is.” The group that gets Mark’s hackles up. The group who makes up a great number of Pewsitter’s “clippers”.

    It takes an awful lot of pride and nerve to claim that you were given the “grace” to see through Pope Francis, unlike the rest of the billions of slobs that belong to Holy Mother Church.