Mark Shea dons his armor and goes forth to charge that windmill:
First Things publishes this festival of crazy contempt for Francis in which we are instructed that “Francis is … an ideologue and a meddlesome egoist.” We see the teaching office of St. Peter described as a “sandwich board”. We learn that “Francis serves an environmentalist mindset that, unlike the traditional ethos of conservation, views man as a parasite” (how the aptly named Ms. Mullarkey divines knowledge of the Pope’s Human Extermination Agenda before Francis has even published a word of his encyclical is left unclear.Shea seems congenitally incapable of giving a fair minded analysis of his opponents' positions. It's a rich bit of projection for Shea to accuse Mullarkey of divining the pope's intentions in the same paragraph that he divines her belief that the pope has a "Human Extermination Agenda." She said no such thing, but that doesn't gin up Establishment outrage as much.
Then it goes to Rev. Wright (culture war dog whistle!)…. and ends with… BUM BUM BUMMMMMM… Satan. And Francis. Next to each other. All it needs is this to really complete the vibe.This is what Mallarkey wrote:
The world is what it has been and will remain. Satan is still the prince of it. And Francis is imprudent.Thank goodness we have the valiant Mark Shea to make these connections for us. Here I thought Mullarkey was simply restating what has been the tradition of the Church since time immemorial, that Satan is the prince of this world, and saying, rightly, that the pope is deeply imprudent. It turns out those evil, evil reactionaries think Francis is the devil! I totally trust a man consumed with burning, seething hatred for "reactionaries" (read, Catholics who call out Shea on his buffoonery) to tell me what they think.
Shea goes on to give his usual nuanced analysis: "this revolting (in every sense) smear job," "The stinking, sweaty, panic-stricken hatred of the pope from the kind of 'faithful conservative' Catholicism represented by Maureen Mullarkey," "this was not written on a bathroom wall where it belongs. It was not published on some blog published from Ignatius Reilly’s basement. This was published by First Freakin’ Things." He ends by plaintively whining, "First Things: What happened to you guys?"
Mark, have you ever considered that maybe us "reactionaries" have a point about Pope Francis? That maybe when a mild mannered moderate forum like First Things is starting to say the same things Traditionalists have been saying for months, it might be a sign that Francis's papacy has been a disaster and you're making yourself look ever more the fool by defending the indefensible? Shea compares Mullarkey's article to "the dumbest hayseed tract from a Fundamentalist who makes Jack Chick look like a Ph.D." Shea reminds me of those old anti-Catholic canards that Catholics worship the pope. If Francis said in an interview that Mary was the Fourth Person of the Trinity, I've no doubt Shea would take to his blog and excoriate those of us who said the Holy Father was wrong as being more evil than Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Palpatine, and the Dark Lord Sauron rolled into one.
Normally I'd leave comments on Shea's blog, but he deleted my comments and banned me long ago. From what I gather, I'm in excellent company and I consider it a badge of honor.