Saint Thomas Aquinas

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mark Shea (The Magisterium of One Attacks Again.)

It seems that Mark Shea has gone on another one of his nonsensical rampages against me again. He made a complete fool out himself over at Tom Wood's blog claiming he knew nothing about economics, yet he runs off at the keyboard about the subject all of the time as if he was some authority on the subject. When I and another commenter pointed this out in the combox, he apparently felt he had to seek vengeance on me for it, so he again attacked my character by essentially calling me a dissenting Catholic in his latest article on Inside Catholic. As he has done before, he has falsely accused me of being for "maximum death", which I have never called for. In fact, the only point I have argued for is that the death penalty should not be completely abolished, because there are cases where the State deems it necessary to keep the moral order. This is something that is tied into the natural law. I wrote two articles on my blog pertaining to this issue, and nothing I have said goes against the official teaching of the Church. The Church has always said that there are certain instances where Capital Punishment is permissible. According to Mark Shea however, anyone who is not actively seeking its complete abolition at this time is not a good Catholic. Take a look at Mark Shea's latest post on Inside Catholic. The article is ridiculous and it is quite easy to point out some his gross errors and false accusations. What amazes me is that anyone in their right mind would invite and actually pay to have this guy to talk at their parish. That being said, lets look at some of the brilliant comments Shea has written.


Shea in his article repeatedly puts words in my mouth lumping me in as someone who is for maximum death. This is a nothing but a lie and a complete fabrication. Mark Shea however pulls this kind of trash talking all of the time. Shea links my blog article on his new post and then sums me up in his "bottom line." "Bottom line: For the dedicated death penalty maximalist, if you aren't in favor of maximum death for the maximum number of criminals, you are a Bad Catholic." Where I have ever said that we need to apply maximum death to a maximum number of criminals and anyone does not is a bad Catholic? I'll give you a hint, I never have. Read my two articles here and here. Shea has no clue as to what he is talking about. This is nothing but Shea throwing a fit.

Shea has read a few lines from the Catechism about the death penalty and now he thinks he is an expert on the subject. It seems to me he does not even understand the basics of morality or even the primary purpose of punishment in general. The two articles linked above, and on my sidebar, are what I have formally written on the matter, aside from some brief commenting on some blogs, and as I said, nothing I have written goes against formal Church teaching. If were Shea I would be worried about writing things like, "It does not follow from this that all morality should be legislated. I don't want a law making sure everybody honors the Sabbath. I don't think homosexual activity should be criminalized." That was Mark Shea's brilliant opinion on Catholic morality concerning laws on homosexuality. In Shea's opinion it should be legalized! No problem for Shea. I wonder if Shea has read the Vatican document that looks down upon governments legalizing it? I guess not. You can read all about Shea's opinion on it here. It seems that he contradicts himself at every turn. He quotes the Catechism on the death penalty and then condemns anyone whom he thinks does not adhere to it as if it is infallible on this subject in two paragraphs, then he contradicts another Church document on homosexuality where the Vatican says its not good for laws on homosexuality to be changed that allow it. Which side he going to stay on? For Shea, the "One man Magisterium" it is of no matter. If you don't agree with him, look out, he's gong to get ya! Read some of his articles, especially the one by him saying that homosexuality should not be outlawed. Then you can get a feel for how bankrupt this guy is when it comes to teaching Catholicism, let alone making a living off of it. This is truly a travesty, and shows the poor state of Catholic apologetics today. He really has no clue as to what he is talking about and is about as shallow as they come. He is a true cut and paste kind of guy when it comes to apologetics. If I were him I would stay away from commenting on subjects like Capital Punishment, economics, or any moral theology in general. It is way out of his league. I also do not appreciate being misrepresented like he has done here again on Capital Punishment. Buyer beware.

7 comments:

scotju said...

So Mark Shea thinks sodomy ought to be decriminalized? Combining this with his anti-death penalty hang-up, I suppose he will now be denouncing the execution of killers who are queer!
Speaking on a more serious note, I noticed that Shea made this remark about decriminalizing sodomy some years back. What I don't understand is why this piece of blaspheny and heresy slipped under the radar. Since Shea is widely read, thousands of people saw this article. Why no outcry from the blogging community? Is there some sort of Devil's agreement in St. Blog's not to criticize Shea, except in a namby-pamby way? This reminds me of the way the Deal Hudson scandal went down a few years ago. In spite of the fact he seduced a co-ed while she was drunk on drinks he plied her with, he got off with only a little embarassment. Interestingly enough, Mark Shea works for Hudson at Inside Catholic. Great minds work together, eh!?

dudleysharp said...

Sadly, Mark sems to just make things up when thngs aren't going his way.

This is what I had to deal with:

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/no-contradiction-between-opposition-to-abortion-and-opposition-to-the-death

I hope he corrects his pattern.

scotju said...

Dudley, MS will never change his pattern of behavior until someone with authority cracks down on him. Some of his fellow bloggers like Akin have tried, through the years, to straighten him out, but all he has done is to say "Ahhh, I'm sorry" and turn around and repeat his obnoxious behaviour with another person. No, the only way Shea is going to cease and desist is if his bishop gets wind of this outragous garbage and threatens him with church discipline or if someone threatens to sue his fat hinny off for slander or libel.

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

As far as the current Catholic position on capital punishment goes, I suggest you read this:

http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=1463

If Shea is accusing people of being "death penalty maximalists," especially when it comes to murder, then he is opposing divine revelation on the subject (Gen. 9:6). Frankly, so did the late JPII.

As far as Shea's and Hudson's behavior is concerned, the silence coming from responsible parties reminds me of the near unanimous defense of Roman Polanski from the Hollywood Establishment. IOW, he's "our guy" and we don't criticize or hold "our guys" accountable. Sadly, this is the exact same behavior the prelates displayed this century when the clerical sex-abuse crisis broke again (cf. SS Peter Damian and Alphonsus Ligouri).

If you want to report Shea to his bishop in Seattle, do it! As someone with whom he feuded for a good five, six years, I will support whatever course of action you take. But do something! Too many good people talk and do little else. It's time to heed Edmund Burke: Evil triumphs when good people do nothing.

Nick said...

I prefer a more "traditionalist" approach to the whole subject of the death penalty: St Therese of Lisieux - The Little Flower!

St Therese teaches us mercy is the answer for men on death row. A quote from her autobiography, A Story of a Soul (Ch 5) explains her feelings:

"In order still further to enkindle my ardour, Our Divine Master soon proved to me how pleasing to him was my desire. Just then I heard much talk of a notorious criminal, Pranzini, who was sentenced to death for several shocking murders, and, as he was quite impenitent, everyone feared he would be eternally lost. How I longed to avert this irreparable calamity! In order to do so I employed all the spiritual means I could think of, and, knowing that my own efforts were unavailing, I offered for his pardon the infinite merits of Our Saviour and the treasures of Holy Church.

...I said in all simplicity: "My God, I am quite sure that Thou wilt pardon this unhappy Pranzini. I should still think so if he did not confess his sins or give any sign of sorrow, because I have such confidence in Thy unbounded Mercy; but this is my first sinner, and therefore I beg for just one sign of repentance to reassure me." My prayer was granted to the letter.

The day after his execution I hastily opened the paper, La Croix, and what did I see? Tears betrayed my emotion; I was obliged to run out of the room. Pranzini had mounted the scaffold without confessing or receiving absolution, and the executioners were already dragging him towards the fatal block, when all at once, apparently in answer to a sudden inspiration, he turned round, seized the crucifix which the Priest was offering to him, and kissed Our Lord's Sacred Wounds three times. . . . I had obtained the sign I asked for, and to me it was especially sweet."

Look at this beautiful act of Love and Mercy that brought true Peace to all parties involved! This "little giant" of a Saint sure knew how to put things in perspective and bring justice and peace to society!

Matthew Bellisario said...

It seems to me that Aquinas is right when he says that the impending death of a criminal may often bring about his repentance. Had he been spared he may have never converted! Great post. As Aquinas says,

“The fact that the evil ones, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement. They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so obstinate that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from malice, it is possible to make a quite probable judgment that they would never come away from evil.”

dudleysharp said...

Romano Amerio, a faithful Catholic Vatican insider, scholar, professor at the Academy of Lugano, consultant to the Preparatory Commission of Vatican II, and a peritus (expert theologian) at the Council.

"The most irreligious aspect of this argument against capital punishment is that it denies its expiatory value which, from a religious point of view, is of the highest importance because it can include a final consent to give up the greatest of all worldly goods. This fits exactly with St. Thomas’s opinion that as well as canceling out any debt that the criminal owes to civil society, capital punishment can cancel all punishment due in the life to come. His thought is . . . Summa, 'Even death inflicted as a punishment for crimes takes away the whole punishment due for those crimes in the next life, or a least part of that punishment, according to the quantities of guilt, resignation and contrition; but a natural death does not.' The moral importance of wanting to make expiation also explains the indefatigable efforts of the Confraternity of St. John the Baptist Beheaded, the members of which used to accompany men to their deaths, all the while suggesting, begging and providing help to get them to repent and accept their deaths, so ensuring that they would die in the grace of God, as the saying went." (3)

Some opposing capital punishment " . . . go on to assert that a life should not be ended because that would remove the possibility of making expiation, is to ignore the great truth that capital punishment is itself expiatory. In a humanistic religion expiation would of course be primarily the converting of a man to other men. On that view, time is needed to effect a reformation, and the time available should not be shortened. In God’s religion, on the other hand, expiation is primarily a recognition of the divine majesty and lordship, which can be and should be recognized at every moment, in accordance with the principle of the concentration of one’s moral life." (3)

Some death penalty opponents "deny the expiatory value of death; death which has the highest expiatory value possible among natural things, precisely because life is the highest good among the relative goods of this world; and it is by consenting to sacrifice that life, that the fullest expiation can be made. And again, the expiation that the innocent Christ made for the sins of mankind was itself effected through his being condemned to death." (3)

3) "Amerio on capital punishment ", Chapter XXVI, 187. The death penalty, from the book Iota Unum, May 25, 2007 ,
http://www.domid.blogspot.com/2007/05/amerio-on-capital-punishment.html