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National Catholic Register Fires Two Writers Nobody Read Anymore August 24, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, blogfoolery, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, pr stunts, rank stupidity, scandals, secularism, Society, the struggle for the Church.

And this is supposed to be big news?  In reality, I know both writers (Mark Shea and Simcha Fisher)  probably still enjoy followings far larger than mine (not that I care in the slightest), but their influence has steadily shrunk over the last several years, especially among the milieu I am primarily concerned with – orthodox/believing/traditional Catholics, or, just Catholics.

Mark Shea has serious problems. That much has been evident for years for those with eyes to see.  He may have even hassled this blog a bit a couple of years ago, in a stupid and immature manner.  I never read Simcha.  For one thing, mommy blogs bore the daylights out of me. Beyond that, I never found her to have anything interesting to say, nor to be much of a writer (which is sort of a damning condemnation, coming from me), the few times I tried to read her.  Shea, however, was something else. He reminds of someone I know quite well and used to collaborate with, another local blogger, a man possessed of such a volcanic temperament that he would literally turn his beliefs upside down in order to score a rhetorical point, to win an ideological victory.

Having said the above, does this mean anything?  Is EWTN/NCR turning more orthodox or traditional?  I will admit to some skepticism here.  I don’t think either writer was canned for their beliefs, but for their behavior outside of NCR, which was frequently scandalous and sophomoric, especially with regard to Shea, but increasingly with Fisher, too.  I think these two underwent some tragic transformation, for various reasons (though Fisher’s are more obvious than Shea’s).

Some may say using foul language, going totally unhinged in arguments, or dropping gratuitous sexual innuendos or outright statements doesn’t mean anything, that we should all lighten up, but for someone who puts themselves out as a Catholic (something of a model, whether they want or deserve to be, or not, you become something of a model when you have a large following AS A CATHOLIC), someone whose beliefs and even practices should be emulated, it’s not a good thing.  There are times I’m tempted to use foul language on this blog, and I’ve let it slip once or twice in the distant past, but overall I agree that we should expect more from Catholic writers than foul language, gratuitous sex, circular firing squads (oops), constant click-whoring internecine conflicts, blanket condemnation of hundreds of thousands of the most committed, faithful souls in the Church in this country, and the kind of lowbrow, morally problematic conduct we can see on the TV anytime we want, if we still have one.

I think NCR is not leaning Trad.  If they were, they’d have never let Pat Archbold go.  I think they’re just reaffirming their place in the (shrinking?) EWTN/Catholic Answers/post-conciliar conservativish post conciliar Amchurch circle.  They certainly have some solid content, don’t get me wrong, but they’re not going to post/publish anything that undermines that status quo to which they belong, say, penetrating analysis of Guadium Et Spes 12, or the questionable level of doctrinal authority in the various documents of Vatican II, or an analysis of the grave deficiencies, and even dangers, present in the Novus Ordo Missae.  It is what it is.

And Shea and Fisher are what they are, or have chosen to become. I regret their loss of livelihood, while being jealous of the fact that mine is in no way dependent on the Church and good will of bishops and others, with all the compromises that invariably involves. Frankly, I pray for them, for many reasons, but most of all that they can find the peace they, it might be said, need, heroic practice of virtue, and fuller adherence to the Truth Jesus Christ has revealed through His Church and its constant, perennial belief and practice.  I believe ever more strongly that inward rejection of the traditional Catholic understanding of the Faith tends to manifest itself in outward ways.  There were not many Saints who got into virtual daily shouting matches with other people, or who would politically support a rabid pro-abort and completely amoral woman for reasons of material self-interest while posting daily “dick” jokes.

Eponymous Flower was a bit more caustic and to the point, not that I disagree:

Edit: after years of attacking faithful Catholics and clergy, their reign at the Neoconservative news organ, The National Catholic Register, Simcha Fisher and Mark Shea have finally been dealt with.  They’ve been what’s wrong with EWTN for a long while.  We’ve certainly been calling for these people’s ouster for a long time. Now, how about Steve Graydanus.  Has anyone forgot that they fired the Cankerous?

There’s nothing more despicable than these kinds of people who feed off the American Church.

While harsher than I would say, I do not disagree that Shea, in particular, has become extremely destructive in recent years.  He is not helping souls, he is in fact undermining the good of the Church.

There is probably better analysis here by Boniface, but it’s late and I wrote this in a terrible rush.  Forgive me!

Also forgive me for the blogfoolery.  About once a year, apparently, I let one of these fly.  For the most part, for me, however, these people were really nonentities.  I didn’t read their stuff, I didn’t care what they had to say, as I had long ago determined that they simply did not comprehend the Faith in the same manner I do, and had nothing positive to offer me. I have found that most readers of this blog have come to the same conclusion.  I generally try to avoid negatively commenting on those who I perceive as having good will and having a sufficiently shared understanding of the Faith and what it means/how it should be applied, but both of these folks have ceased to be in that camp for a quite some time.  So perhaps this is not blogfoolery/circular firing squad after all, but needed clarity.

More time, and better things, tomorrow, God willing.



1. Michael Jarman - August 24, 2016

Shea blocked me several years ago. Forgive my pride in mentioning that fact. Time for confession.

Tantumblogo - August 24, 2016

If that’s the worst thing you have to confess this week, you’re not doing too bad.

2. skeinster - August 24, 2016

Some people should not blog, or put themselves out on social media.
The temptation is too great.
Prayers for them, especially Shea, who strikes me as a deeply
troubled and unhappy person.

3. David - August 24, 2016

I think I have only read Simcha Fishers articles about three or four times. While she does have several children, she seems to have an aloof sense of humor that I just couldn’t get, and it was a turnoff.

However, one writer and sometimes blogger that I like is Tom Nash. Tom is about 5 years older than me, and he works for EWTN and writes for NCR. He has a journalism background. I met him a few years ago on a retreat and he is a “regular guy” – even threw a ball around with him, and he has a sense of humor. You can tell he has a balanced life. Read his movie review for When The Game Stands Tall, and the tribute he wrote for his dad and his sister.

Tantumblogo - August 24, 2016

“She seems to have an aloof sense of humor that I just couldn’t get, and it was a turnoff.”

I could never tell if she was joking or not. If she was, I didn’t get it, and found a lot of her humor mean spirited. The maybe 6 or 7 times I read her, anyway.

4. Joseph D'Hippolito - August 24, 2016

I have a unique perspective on Shea, since he harassed and stalked me online for seven years (and I don’t operate a blog; I just has the temerity to disagree with him energetically). Shea is an obsessive, lying bully. He makes a habit of trying to destroy other people’s reputations, deliberately distorting opposing arguments and emotionally manipulating people with false apologies.

If Shea had serious concerns about his temper, the least he could have done was to “avoid the near occasion of sin,” as the Act of Contrition puts it, by staying away from social media. But Shea didn’t have such concerns about his temper. He reveled in it. He allowed it to become his modus operandi, even to the point of being a vile, obsessive bully. He stalked me for seven years on the Internet. He called somebody else’s employer to complain about that person’s comments. He LOVED doing that. He LOVED his behavior. Otherwise, why would he engage in it so often and with such gusto?

Shea lies the way the rest of us breathe. He is evil. Not just deluded. Not just a candidate for spiritual direction, psychological counseling, an exorcism or a swift kick in the ass. EVIL. The fact that it took an EWTN outlet this long to find that out doesn’t speak well for EWTN.

Shea is a con man, pure and simple. He conned a lot of sincere but gullible Catholics with his nonsense. So was Fisher. Well, the jig is up — and, frankly, none too soon.

Remember Matthew 7:18-20. You shall know them by their fruits. Also, remember Numbers 32:23 and Galatians 6:7. Your sin will find you out. God is not mocked. Shea has made a livelihood out of mocking God, and that sin finally has been found out.

c matt - August 24, 2016

I recall seeing those feuds. Personally, I think it came down to that Shea couldn’t handle the cognitive dissonance of V II, and the post-conciliar NO disaster. It is as though they are afraid, and on a certain level know, that trads are right, and it shatters their world.

5. c matt - August 24, 2016

I suppose they still have their gigs at patheos, and maybe crux will pick them up.

Tantumblogo - August 24, 2016

Crux sounds very possible. I don’t think Patheos pays hardly anything.

Could the distorter be in Shea’s future if he continues on this track?

6. Judy - August 24, 2016

Your headline sums this up nicely.

7. tg - August 24, 2016

My first thought was “great- about time.” They both got on my nerves and I quit reading their blogs years ago. I had to stop subscribing to NCRegister because of their bloggers. I believe if Mother Angela had been able to, she would not have had allowed either Shea or Fisher to be part of the EWTN family. I was going to write Raymond Arroyo an email about those two but never bothered. The last negative thing Fisher did was write a blog on St. Maria Goretti’s feast day. She wrote that St. Maria didn’t lose her life to keep her virginity- something like that. The gossip in me wonders what happened.

dfw area - August 25, 2016

I remember that St. Maria Goretti brouhaha. I wondered what she would say about canonizing someone like a distant relative of mine (see below). I have mentioned this story in a comment on this blog before (and other places as appropriate generally with regards to “immigration”). The case involves a married woman. I’m biased, but I say “santo subito.”

Breitbart March 2016

‘The Mexican illegal [with no prior record] raped and killed her, according to Coulson.

“He grabbed her. He tied her up with a dog collar. He forced himself on her. He shot her three times with the rifle,” he said. Razo left her to die. “He said he shot Margaret Kostelnik because she wouldn’t voluntarily give him sex,” Coulson added./
> http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/03/21/illegal-alien-allowed-to-stay-in-usa-pleads-guilty-to-rape-murder-kidnapping/

I also did read a few things by Mrs. Fisher in the past and I hate to say it but I really wondered about her seeming lack of knowledge and understanding re: Catholicism. I would think — how come someone who writes like this has a national blog ? (I’m sure also read internationally.) I would say hey, I could do better and I don’t have a theology degree (I don’t know if she does).

8. tg - August 24, 2016

You forgot about the other guy that got fired John Shimcek. He is one sick puppy.

9. Magdalene - August 24, 2016

Shea blocked me too. Not that I read his screed but saw an article through another site and posted that he was an embarrassment. Which he is. Never read the woman’s stuff. But they still have Patheos (pathetic-ous) to fall back on for income and to promote whatever it is they promote and to slur whoever they want.

tg - August 24, 2016

I read somewhere that income from Patheos depends on how many people read your blog. Since then I never have gone to that website or follow a link.

Tantumblogo - August 24, 2016

Yeah but they don’t get much. Maybe two dollars per thousand views or something like that. Might be a bit more if people click the ads on their pages.

10. Joseph D'Hippolito - August 24, 2016

c matt, the problem with people like Shea and Fisher is that they effectively worship Catholic ecclesiastical structure as God rather than God as God. They’ve defined themselves by that world view. That’s why they react so churlishly to disagreement.

As far as future employment is concerned, they’re done as Catholic commentators. If you manage any other Catholic publication or media outlet, especially one with a large audience, do you really want to take the chance of damaging your company’s reputation by hiring either of these two jokers? They might bring over a lot of “fans” but they’d also bring over a lot of critics.

People at Crux, the National Catholic Reporter, etc. aren’t stupid. They probably surmised that EWTN/the Register got hit hard financially, and they probably can’t afford a similar financial hit. Lots of people said they no longer would patronize EWTN if it kept Fisher and Shea on board.

Here’s a fascinating analysis that reinforces my point:


11. tg - August 25, 2016

I wrote a thank you email to Jeanette, the NCRegister editor as Boniface suggested. She replied back with a thank you for encouragement and asked for prayers. I told her to stand strong on her decision, don’t back down and apologize.

12. tg - August 25, 2016

…and don’t apologize.

13. Joseph D'Hippolito - August 25, 2016

tg, can you please supply the e-mail to Jeanette? I can’t access NCRegister’s site.

tg - August 25, 2016

Joseph, jdemelo@ewtn.com

By the way I agree with what you said about Shea and Fisher.

Joseph D'Hippolito - August 25, 2016

tg, I really appreciate that. Thank you.

14. Gary - August 26, 2016

Concerning Catholic Anwers.com , I once posted that I felt Francis was a liberal, being a Jesuit and that I missed Benedict a lot.mi got a message saying I’d be banned if I showed a lack of charity again!!!! I was just being Honest😀

Joseph D'Hippolito - August 26, 2016

That’s a lack of charity??? Seriously???

Wow. Gary, I’m sorry you had to go through that nonsense.

One has to wonder how knowledgeable these “apologists” are about the faith they claim to uphold. One also must wonder whether these same people manifest any of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.

Judy - August 28, 2016

I mulled over your comment and just have to ask: Does anyone know when “apologist” became a profession? Honestly, I don’t remember ever hearing the term used when I was growing up, never came across it in a Catechism. I mean, I know we are all supposed to be ready to give a reason for our faith, but do we each get to decide whether to slap that on a business card? I’ve got a lapsed Catholic senior citizen working the deli counter where I shop for groceries, and I’m trying pretty hard to drop some apologetics into each of my visits there. (“Eat more deli meat, kids.”) I’m somewhat suspicious of people who turn their faith into a paycheck (nuns, priests, and monks excluded), but when you add in minor celebrity status, book deals, and speakers’ circuits, little bells start going off in my head. I’ve also seen way too many Catholics put those apologists up on a pedestal, like they have infallibility. I had yet another one singing the praises of Scott Hahn just this past week. I read a couple of his books, and he’s okay, nothing new. But I’d still rather read Gueranger, the saints, Lapide, etc…

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