This is why . . .

I love Mark Shea.  I don’t agree with everything he says, and I don’t always agree with the way he says the things I agree with.  But when he apologizes, he apologizes.  Take note, everybody who’s ever sinned!  I also know through personal experience that he is a generous man to the core.  I understand that sometimes the Holy Spirit makes our sins stand out to us in high relief; but I hope that Mr. Shea will also have his merits shown to him.   His clarity, honesty, and perseverence have converted my heart more than once.

Also very interesting was this passage in his mea culpa:

 I mentioned things living under the rocks.  One of the things that lives under the rocks in my heart has been a deep and abiding fear, a kind of heart conviction about the universe that long predates any conscious relationship with God I formed as an adult (recall that I was no raised Christian). I’m not saying it’s a truth about the universe. I’m saying it’s something more like a broken bone in my soul that never knit right. And what it comes down to is a pattern of assuming that I am, at best, a tool of God, not a son of God and certainly not somebody God loves.  And with that has been a fear that, at the end of the day, once my utility to God is spent I would be tossed away like a candy bar wrapper.

Do you remember when “six word autobiographies” were all the rage?  It can be either a lark or a searing experience to try to distill your life’s story into six words.  I came up with a few that made me laugh, but it was a turning point for me when I came up with this one:

It wasn’t anger; it was fear.

That doesn’t excuse bad behavior, but it does help explain it; and understanding why you do the things you do is a huge step toward starting to stop.

Anyway, whether you love Mark Shea or can’t stand him, check out his mea culpa, and say a prayer for this courageous and good-hearted man who has been put into an outrageously demanding field.


  1. I was really struck by his comments about depersonalization of public figures — using them as symbols of ideas rather than respecting their full humanity. I think this tendency to use politicians and celebrities as the means to a rhetorical end is a widespread cause of the dragging-down of national discourse.

    Some thoughts I had on how to push back against this tendency are here.

  2. Thanks. Tough day. Not much to add. But thanks for you and Damien being Mr. and Mrs. Mensch. I feel like I’m gonna have to do the equivalent of switching from American to Metric measurements. And every time I fail I think the accuser will be there to say, “So you didn’t mean it. You’re so full of crap.” Fun.

  3. Gosh, I admired him for for defending the tears Obama shed over the Newtown shootings. It takes a big man to see *his* humanity. Or how about when he backed down over his fantasy of seeing Mahoney in an orange jumpsuit? His apology to Lila Rose was the right thing to do. When people described him as bitter, I thought that this word wasn’t quite just. I allow him to be human. Plus, he’s Irish. The Irish are allowed to bluster because everyone knows it’s bluster. I guess you could say he reminds me of my fiesty family members in some ways,.The only thing I have ever thought he needed to go down a notch or two with is Medjugorje. And not because I’m a follower.

  4. ” I also know through personal experience that he is a generous man to the core.”

    I wonder how many people could testify to this? I know I could.

    Mark, you seem to do your good in secret, and wear your vices on your shirt sleeve. As painful as that is, that seems to me to be a surer path to holiness than the inverse.

    Hang in there! Us fellow intemperate sinners are rooting for you. 🙂

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