Mark Shea offers a public apology


Catholic commentator Mark Shea offered a very public apology today for the way in which he has argued on his blog lately. While contemplating the Eucharist during the Mass of Corpus Christi, Mark said it became apparent that he has received messages from many people saying, in effect: “You taste bitter.”

He responded:

And I couldn’t argue with that. I do taste bitter. And for that I am deeply, profoundly sorry, because it is through my fault, through my fault, through my own most grievous fault that I do. I’ve become bitter in much of my interaction with people. And bitterness is a root that “defiles many” according to Hebrews. In my case, I think I have defiled quite a number of hearts who came here looking for the gospel and instead just got Mark Shea getting increasingly cynical and angry about all sorts of stuff. You can’t eat food, including food for the soul, that is bitter. My apologies to all to whom I have done this.

But Mark’s self-examination doesn’t stop there. People who he thought willfully refused to get the point? He started to dehumanize them. He also confessed that he treated those in the public spotlight like they were not human persons. And he included Lila Rose of Live Action in this.

To Lila Rose (and all her associates and sundry supporters) my sincere apologies and contrition. I got so caught up in arguing about points I wanted to persuade people of that I completely failed to see you as human beings and reduced you to means to an end. It was a sin and all I can do is ask for forgiveness. In addition, as the argument has “hardened” (for want of a better word) I have let that bitter taste poison the conversation. It’s lost people who might otherwise have listened, which is my own stupid fault.

To be clear, he wasn’t announcing that he had changed his mind on a specific theological question. What he was doing was more impressive. He was calling himself out for the way in which he argued: “Again, the point is not who was right or wrong about the point being argued, it’s that I have been wrong in the way that I argued, very often reducing people to means.”

Mark added: “In [the] future, I’m going to be trying to take the blog in different directions. Don’t know what that will look like, but I think it needs to happen.”

I’ve also made mistakes in public and had to apologize in public. It’s incredibly difficult and humbling to do. Mark’s earnest apology is to be commended.

I have met Mark face-to-face (offline as they say) and consider him to be a friend. I think he has a service to provide Catholics who honestly yearn for the truth of the Catholic Church and strive to be faithful to her. Much in our politics today is distorted by a Culture of Death. Conservatives and Catholics alike are not immune from this. (And the Culture of Death affects how we treat each other; it affects human sexuality and greed, etc.) And so we need to make sure that we take stock from time to time and make sure we question our cultural assumptions.

And Mark can be excellent at that. He can remind people that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are totally unjustified. He explains that torture is immoral (and by the way, doesn’t work well anyway.) He’s not afraid to call out the Prosperity Gospel and those who ignore the poor. He gets Catholics to really second-guess the Bush-Wilsonian aggressive foreign policy which tries to solve all the world’s problems.

While I don’t agree with him on every issue, I’m glad that he makes Catholics defend their positions in line with the Church rather than simply accepting everything Rush Limbaugh says as infallible.

So I hope that Mark will continue to write about politics and about how Catholics have a role to play in improving our public policy debates.



  • no more mr. nice guy


  • SixtusVIth

    “The prohibition against the direct intentional killing of the innocent is an absolute moral norm that admits of no exceptions.”


    Bad news for Abraham (sacrifice of Isaac) and Moses (genocide of the Canaanite nations). It’s always nice to see Catholics who are more Catholic than the Scriptures. You guys do a great job giving the Prots ammo.

  • Seamus

    He’s still pretty bitter. A bunch of people on Austin Ruse’s Facebook page are comparing notes about how they got banned from Mr. Shea’s page because of disagreements with him. In my case, I wasn’t banned because of disagreement with him (I actually agree with him on the torture issue–and back in his pre-Patheos days got some nice words from him because of my defense of his position), but because I pointed out the inconsistency between his denouncing another commenter for name-calling an opponent, and his own frequent use of the term “Rubber Hose Right” to characterize torture apologists.

    And I won’t even talk about the language he used, except to wonder whether he kisses his mother with that mouth.

    • Andrew

      Yeah… I had the same experience. I actually agree with him on many issues but when I dared disagree with him… long string of insults and personla abuse followed by a ban. We should all pray for him.

  • Lank

    Mark Shea is a liar. He consistenly blocks anyone who argues with disagrees with him on his website. The “block” button is now his infallibility mechanism, showing that as a former Protestant he still considers himself his own Pope. The damage he has done to me personally with his acidic replies and blocks shows that he is insincere and possibly delusional. By whose authority does he even speak? You have to have the support of a Bishop to put the word “Catholic” on a business or blog. This has been done with books with the imprimatur for decades. I find so many errors and such a troubled soul, I don’t think he should be calling himself a Catholic Apologist at all.

  • Don A

    Let the Church’s Magisterium have the last word on the debate about the morality of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: “The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end in itself or as a means to a good end. It is in fact a grave act of disobedience to the moral law, and indeed to God himself…” and, “Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.”
    The prohibition against the direct intentional killing of the innocent is an absolute moral norm that admits of no exceptions.

  • AK

    “He can remind people that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are totally unjustified.”

    Really? And Operation Cornet – the invasion of the main Japanese islands – would have been a better option? Yes, Mr. Revisionist, it really was zero-sum, one option or the other.
    There’s some merit to your other callouts but this one has ben put to bed by all except the revisionist blame-Amerika-first red-diaper babies masquerading as Christian social justice warriors.



Receive our updates via email.