Our Crybaby Culture

Every couple of days it seems somebody falls apart due to “insensitivity.” The problem has been buzzing around in our headlines for years. We all remember back in January 1999 when a group of Professionally Aggrieved Grievance Professionals came unglued after David Howard, a white aide to Anthony Williams, the black mayor of Washington, D.C., used the word “niggardly” in reference to a budget. It mattered not one iota that the word has absolutely no etymological relationship with “nigger.” (It’s of Scandinavian origin and means “miserly” or “stingy.”) Letters were written; protests were mounted. Howard himself bowed and scraped in abject remorse like a Stalinist show-trial witness confessing to crimes against the regime. Ten days later, Howard was sacked in a rite of sacrificial appeasement to outraged sensitivity gods. Only his own membership in an Approved Victim Group saved him: It turned out that, as a homosexual, Howard was himself backed up by an entire community of Professionally Aggrieved Grievance Professionals with their own deeply rooted sensitivities that likewise demanded appeasement. The mayor therefore offered Howard a chance to return to his position. Howard refused but accepted another position with the mayor instead.

Such tales are not isolated in our culture. One can go on and on, if for no other reason than the sheer amusement of the thing. A couple of years ago, for instance, Southwest Airlines was hit with a lawsuit for racial harassment. Their crime? They do not assign seats. You simply pick a seat, and the plane takes off. So, in the final prep for take-off, one of the flight attendants came on the intercom and said, “Eenie meenie minie mo, pick a seat, we gotta go.” Two African-American passengers naturally could not endure this horrific assault on their exquisite sensitivities. Lawsuit city.
Speaking of cities, Los Angeles issued a request to all manufacturers of computers to cease referring to “master” and “slave” units on their equipment after a hurt soul filed a complaint. Numerous computer manufacturers slavishly complied.
Fortunately, the hypersensitivity industry has also pinpointed the deep wells of pain opened by the Cleveland Indians and the Atlanta Braves. Particularly offensive is the heart-breaking use of the “tomahawk chop” by Braves fans. In other sensitivity news, Notre Dame had to fend off charges from Irish Americans doubled over in anguish by the torment they feel at the label “Fighting Irish” and the Notre Dame mascot (a leprechaun with his dukes up). The Notre Dame Observer (March 23, 2006) had to answer these charges by reaffirming offended Irish people in their okayness and assuring them that the plucky little leprechaun is “a celebration of the resiliency and strength of the Irish people,” symbolizing how “the Irish have suffered through numerous hardships in their history — occupation by a foreign power, religious discrimination, famine and overt racism here in the United States have all been faced by the Irish people, and yet they persevered to become one of the most influential peoples in history.” (Let me say that, as a member of America’s suffering Irish-American community, I thank Notre Dame for drying my tears of outrage. On behalf of the groaning legions of agonized Irish in America, I forgive you, Notre Dame.)
Not everyone is similarly inclined to mercy, however. Sometimes the tinder-dry sense of outrage caused by our culture’s gross insensitivity to practically everything threatens to erupt in a conflagration of hurt feelings. For instance, a couple of years ago a proposed picnic to honor baseball Hall-of-Famer Jackie Robinson led some 40 students at the University of Albany, State University of New York, to protest that the word “picnic” originally referred to the lynching of blacks. It turned out the protestors were what the dominant Europhallocentric Hegemony calls “wrong,” since “picnic” actually comes from a 17th-century French word for “social gathering in which each person brings a different food.” But the sensitivity professionals at SUNY did not let stultifying categories of “right,” “wrong,” “ignorant,” or “informed” get in the way of their festival of emotional incontinence. The strained feelings of offended black students were in such a pitch that the university instead put out a memo asking all student leaders to refrain from any use of the word “picnic.” Explained the Campus Affirmative Action office, “Whether the claims are true or not, the point is the word offended.” Therefore, in publicity for the event, the word “picnic” was changed to “outing.”
However, the use of the word “outing” offended — wait for it — the gay community, so the event formerly known as a picnic was ultimately publicized with no noun to describe it.
Meanwhile, in the sphere of gender and sex, terrible battles are being fought by another gathering of the extremely sensitive. From the feminist musicologist who recently announced that Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was an expression of rape, to the courageous Euro-feminists who suffer “because a man standing up to urinate is deemed to be triumphing in his masculinity, and by extension, degrading women,” great strides are being made. A feminist group at Stockholm University recently sought to ban all urinals from campus, following their removal from a Swedish elementary school. Likewise, the word “history” was banned a while back at Stockport College in Manchester, England, because it contains the sharply wounding syllable “his.” And few can but admire the Oscar-winning performance of Dr. Nancy Hopkins of MIT who told the Boston Globe that she had to leave the room or else she would have “either blacked out or thrown up” after then-president of Harvard, Larry Summers, suggested that there might be differences between men and women in aptitude to the hard sciences. Summers paid for this mild observation with his professional life, of course.
Every once in a while, there are collisions between various aggrieved peoples, which make the suffering they must endure all the more terrible. For instance, a few years ago Native Americans in Washington State (members of one of the highest-ranking Approved Victim Groups) decided they wanted to revive the ancient sacred mystical ancestral tradition of going out in a power boat with echo locators and lots of high-tech gear to kill a whale.
This presented the sensitive people in western Washington with an apparently insoluble conundrum: If the local media complained about the murder of our cetacean brethren suckling at the breast of Gaia, they would be imposing their Dead White European Male Cultural Hegemony on the bleeding wounds of suffering Native Americans! The depths of pain that could well up in the Native American community made strong editorial writers and TV pundits blanch with terror. But if the Manufacturers of Culture in Seattle media didn’t complain, they would be letting Free Willy die at the hands of evil predatory Homo sapiens who have been raping Gaia for eons. The high-pitched cry of pain from the Green Community would be audible to our mammalian animal companions for miles. We would once again have failed to act while our Mother Earth was taken one step closer to extinction by the defiling disease that is humanity!
At last, after much deliberation in closed-door sessions, the hierarchy of values was clarified by the arbiters of correct sensitivity: Native Americans trump Euro-Americans, but whales trump all humans. Accordingly, media reports were filled with cries of anguish from the Green Community on behalf of outraged whales, but there was a moratorium on reports about Native Americans outraged over chardonnay-sipping Euro-American TV pundits telling Native Americans how to run their lives. Instead, Euro-American critics of Native American environmental destruction would only be reviled for their cultural imperialism and insensitivity when they were white sports fishermen complaining that Indian gill netters were indiscriminately denuding the rivers of all fish. For as everyone knows, people who hunt and fish for sport are a form of life lower than Neanderthals, murdering Mother Earth for the sheer pleasure of killing. No one cares what they think. Problem solved.
Of course, religion is also a rich field for the terminally sensitive. On a Beliefnet blog, for instance, a reader complained about the horrors of insensitivity that he must endure as a non-Christian in a religious American culture:
Sure, I can tell people I’m not interested. But what if I sit in my cubicle and have to read Bible verses all day long because they are posted on my co-workers [sic] cubicle? Or if every email I get at work is encouraging me to accept Jesus? Or if people come up to me on the street because I “look Jewish (or Hindi or Muslim)” and [tell me] I should accept Jesus?
Indeed, we have all known the nightmare of having to look at a Bible verse on a coworker’s desk. And who among us can walk to the store or cinema without being battered by a torrent of clamorous evangelists body-blocking us on the sidewalks, e-mailing our Blackberries and text-messaging us with threats of hell? One can scarcely think for the din of Christianist agitprop in which we swim, morning, noon, and night, 24/7. We can only admire this man for his ability to keep his sanity despite the non-stop assault on his extremely sensitive nature.
This is not to say it doesn’t cut both ways. Christians are also capable of receiving non-existent insults as blows to the solar plexus. In 2005, for instance, the Bush White House sent out cards to thousands of people wishing them a happy “holiday season.” Oh the humanity! Reaction from the pained in the Christian community was swift and terrible, because, of course, if a president of a secular nation — acting in his office as president — doesn’t single out Christians for greetings during the holiday season, that can only mean that he has joined the war on Christmas. It can’t possibly mean that he is president of all Americans and being respectful to all Americans. In short, it can’t mean that he meant well. No, he was, with malice aforethought, delivering a slap to the face of every Christian in the Republic. The only response any true follower of the Prince of Peace should have to this crushing blow to our crucified feelings is a howl of outrage!
But American Christians and Jews — heck, even American unbelievers — are still pikers in matters of thin-skinned religious sensitivity. When it comes to sheer childish inability to cope with a world not to their liking, nobody does it like Muslims. As the Cartoon Riots demonstrated, millions of Muslims combine a wondrous inability to face the slightest criticism with a completely un-ironic blindness to their own brutal tendency to bully.
Oversensitive Christians and Jews have light years to go before they can achieve the feats that the Muslim world excels in on an almost daily basis. The death toll from wandering mobs of enraged Christians after the release of the Church-bashing Da Vinci Code currently stands at a very disappointing zero. The Passion of the Christ was likewise a miserable failure, both in its inability to whip Christian mobs into a frenzy of Jew-hating pogroms and its inability to engender a murderous underclass of embittered Jews burning down theaters or pinning Jewish tracts to the dead body of Mel Gibson with a knife. Likewise, the riots that did not break out and the charred cities and dead bodies that did not trail in the wake of Iran’s display of Holocaust-mocking cartoons stand as a testament to the inability of those darn perfidious Jews to freak out every time somebody looks at them with less-than-respectful eyes.
Not that Islam’s pioneering chutzpah in offensitivity hasn’t yielded real benefits for Muslims. For instance, a couple of years ago, Burger King cringed with lickspittle apologies and withdrew an ice cream confection from its menu after the lid of the dessert offended a British Muslim. The man claimed the design resembled the Arabic inscription for Allah, and branded it sacrilegious, threatening a jihad. The Muslim Council of Great Britain, instead of telling the man to “get a life,” patted Burger King on the head for acting in obedience to the threat. Meanwhile, in America, the New York Times (which would not run the Danish cartoons “out of respect for Muslim sensitivity”) runs images of Piss Christ and lectures Christians on art appreciation.
Likewise, the British press tried recently to ban images of pigs, lest Muslims be offended; while some British schools also removed or restricted such “anti-Muslim” children’s books as The Three Little Pigs, Charlotte’s Web, Babe: The Sheep-pig, Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, Olivia Saves the Circus, and Animal Farm. This, while Arab television was running a series based on the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. And, of course, there were recent paroxysms of outraged sensitivity over the presence of the cross on the British flag: a cruel reminder of the sufferings of Muslims during the Crusades (which the Muslims both started and won).
Here in the United States, this peculiar willingness to scrape before the sensitivities of the Professionally Aggrieved has created a rich mulch of bureaucrats, pundits, and various members of the Chattering Classes who have shown themselves singularly well-disposed to lick the hand of violent Muslim thugs in spaniel-like obsequies even as they piddle on the floor in outrage over the imminent imposition of theocracy at the hands of some bogeyman compact of damp-handed bishops, Evangelical soccer moms, gun-toting members of the Hallelujah Bible Church of NASCAR, and a couple of Republican Jews. Andrew Sullivan has made a second career of seeing in “Christianists” precisely the same danger to the Republic as that posed by Osama bin Laden. Some Evangelical politician sends a letter to his fellow believers asking for prayers for his campaign? That is exactly the same thing as bin Laden’s conviction that God is on his side in his murderous war on every American man, woman, and child.
This peculiar conviction that, “If you’ve seen one Abrahamic religion, you’ve seen ’em all,” also apparently governs much of our policy in transportation safety. Alloyed with our peculiar fear and shame over the possibility of giving offense, it has yielded the wondrous policy of acting as though absolutely everybody is at equal risk of being a terrorist, just as, 20 years ago, grievance activists in the homosexual community persuaded everyone we were all at equal risk for AIDS.
This logic, however, turned out to be flawed since, in actual fact, the AIDS virus is not a mugger or serial killer, striking victims completely at random. Indeed, it turns out that AIDS follows perfectly predictable and knowable transmission vectors having to do with certain behaviors. If you are a human being who does not choose to swap bodily fluids indiscriminately, your chances of getting AIDS are essentially zero. If you do engage in that kind of behavior, you are at extremely high risk for AIDS.
In much the same way, it turns out that not everybody is at equal risk for being an Islamic terrorist. Studies are well on the way to showing a strong correlation between Muslim terrorists and a condition known as “being Muslim.” Though the data are still being analyzed, it’s probably not rash to say that every Islamic terrorist is a Muslim, though of course not all or even most Muslims are terrorists. But given that the Muslim community does seem to be the locus of the problem of Muslim terrorism, it would seem prudent for security officials to focus their efforts there and not spend a great deal of time scrutinizing nuns, six-year-old farm boys, and Lutheran Bridge Club members for their ties to al-Qaeda or similar Islamic organizations.
Naturally, this suggestion is met with sharp cries of pain from sensitive Muslims who protest the bitter injustice of seeing the Muslim community as the source of every act of Islamic terror in the world. Surely the Amish, Model Railroading, or Origami communities can share some of the blame for these monsters. Must the focus be entirely on the Muslim community, merely because 100 percent of all Muslim terrorists hail from it? If this is not a shattering tragedy of profiling, then what is?
Personally, I don’t know how the Feds are going to resolve the problems of searching high and low in order to avoid looking where the problem is. But in the interest of everybody being a lot less miserable, I think it would be good if we all studied a few tips on how to become more insensitive.
1. Ask yourself, “Am I an idiot?” There are three basic kinds of idiots: intellectual, emotional, and moral. An intellectual idiot is too stupid to know or find out what a word means. An emotional idiot is too stupid to care what a word means if it stands between him and a good temper tantrum. A moral idiot may be intellectually and emotionally sound, yet still be willing to sacrifice the happiness of others simply to file a lawsuit on behalf of intellectual or emotional idiots who don’t know what, say, “picnic” or “niggardly” mean. If you are any of these kinds of idiot, proceed immediately to step two.
2. Consider the possibility that you just need to get a life. Signs of this need include spending all day in a sweat of irritation because religious people exist, hallucinations that you are being raped by classical music, constant convulsive outrage over words like “history” and “master/slave” or “outing,” and a gasping sense of oppression at the thought of urinals. Wigging out over leprechauns and tomahawk chops is another “get a life” indicator. Still other signs include loss of sleep and anger-management issues over presidential greeting cards, cartoons, ice cream lids, and books with pigs in them. If these symptoms persist, proceed to step three.
3. Grow up. Failure to grow up could result in becoming a human toothache and constituting a transmission vector for ulcers, psychological and physiological ailments, and a whole host of complex societal disorders including an overburdened diaper-laundering industry.
4. Finally, find something useful to do with your time, such as learning to laugh, particularly at yourself. You’ll be happier. So will the rest of us.



Mark P. Shea


Mark P. Shea is the author of Mary, Mother of the Son and other works. He was a senior editor at Catholic Exchange and is a former columnist for Crisis Magazine.

  • D.B.

    Reminds of the joke paperwork that circulated when I was in the Army…it was called the “Hurt Feelings Report.”

    Whiners are robbing my space of oxygen when they are around me.

    Human Toothaches indeed.

  • Janey McGarry

    This was too funny!!!! I laughed so hard!!! Mark, you have really hit a lot of issues right on the head. You have an amazing gift of writing! You are so right. People need to ‘lighten up’ & get a life!!! There are so many more important things in life, like treating all people with dignity, kindness, & respect. God is not going to judge us on how we were offended, but how we offended; not on how we were not loved, but on how we loved. Blessings, Mark.

  • Mrs. O


    Our priest said they had “sensitivity training” to specifically deal with those parishioners who could not accept the word “No”.[smiley=shock]

    I thought he was just kidding.

  • BenK

    When addressing the Christians’ hurt feelings about things like ‘Happy Holidays’ or bibles that replace He with She, we are encountering a difference in tactics that bears some reflection. If hurt feelings are the only way to be heard in the process of society making laws and rules, should Christians:
    1. Always lose – and thus suffer real persecution as the laws are systematically turned against them
    2. Play the game – and act offended so they get some say in legislating
    3. Flip over the board – and do something so outside the existing system as to entirely overturn it; but this would take action on the scale of amending the constitution, a revolution, or something on a similar scale that voids the voices of all the special interest groups and liberation theology types.

    Really, the third may have great appeal in some sense, but it generally feels impractical; the first seems like a bad idea too, and the second is thus the way most people decide to go.

  • Josh S

    Amen, brother.

  • Adriana

    Mark: It would be funnier if you did not belong to a group that does quite a bit of whinning of its own.

    Each time there are complaints about Catholic Church behavior – unless it is committed by liberals – the kneejerk answer is “anti-catholic propaganda”. It was how the sex scandals were first dealt with, blaming the media and the anti-catholic bias for airing them.

    I recall a few months back how, discussing abortion, I mentioned the Magdalene Laundries as an example of how the Catholic Church made the situation worse. The answer I got was that I had been deceived by a movie that was pure anti-catholic propaganda. Well, now it turns out that the movie, if anything was milder than the repulsive truth.

    “Anti-catholic propaganda” indeed. Same as the real reason O.J. was put on trial for murder was “racism”. The excuse does not look any better on you than on him. Also remember that by denying or attempting to hide a crime is being an accessory after the fact, and makes you a criminal too.

    You live in a glass house. Do not throw stones.

    Bye bye, self righteous criminals

  • Andy

    Mark: It would be funnier if you did not belong to a group that does quite a bit of whinning of its own.

    Bye bye, self righteous criminals

    Sheesh, are you leaving forever, again?!?

  • Patrick

    When did he leave?

  • Mack

    As a (gasp) teacher I am occasionally accused of insensitivity (“You gave us only two weeks on that essay and my printer broke last night and we had a revival and God is more important than your class and how’s this gonna get me a job and this is ridiculous”) and even of racism (“niggardly” pops up in MACBETH). Such accusations are always an inculturated excuse; look the accuser in the eye and say “You can try that nonsense on some weakling, not on me.” “No” works fine too.

  • I am not Spartacus

    LOL She left in a huff several times at Taki back in the day when comments were allowed.

  • Completely Insensitive Person

    One of the most hypocritical manifestations of this ridiculous, whiny it’s-all-about-me-I’m-such-a-victim hypersensitivity is when people air their dirty laundry in public, assume the majority of folks viewing it will side with them, and then complain about how those who don’t are being completely insensitive and offensive.

    Hey, don’t put it out there — ever think of that?

    You may have a right to express yourself, but you don’t have a right to force everyone to agree with your or empathize with you.

  • Patrick

    This is by far the most offensive article I have seen in a long time. Thank you.

  • Christine

    Hi Adriana,

    I am just curious, as I am not very familiar with the Magdalene Launderies. Weren’t most if not all of these in Ireland and the UK? Didn’t they spring up as “treatment” for women after they were sexually permiscuous? Weren’t these women living in a different time and age when there were few social nets for the poor and indigent (they didn’t have AFDC, welfare, or WIC)and during a time when there was a stigma in regards to women who were sexually permiscuous.

    I understand that women were abused and that there were sinful actions committed against many of the women, but according to Wikipedia, many of the women joined the religious order that was in charge and that this religious order was very stringent.

    I am not making any excuses, and would like more information, but it seems to me that we view a lot of things with our modern eyes and view stringent ascetism as abuse. For instance, St. Junipero Serra was seen by many as a slave driver according to our modern sensibilities, but the natives who chose to live with him worked only 30 hours per week (albeit hard labor) and he lived an even more physically stringent life than them.

    I guess I don’t see the correlation of your argument to the great article that suggests we all lighten up. Maybe your argument about sinful behavior committed by women thousands of miles away didn’t fit the argument then, and you were called on it. Maybe nobody was taking offense, but rather had very little background on it. Sin does exist, and people do sin. How does one comment on it, specifically when it is used to stop anyone from talking about something else?

  • Christine
  • Completely Insensitive Person

    Christine — I’m not Adriana, but I can answer some of your questions.

    The Magdalene Laundries were still in existence in Ireland in the latter part of the last century, which may seem like a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, but it doesn’t make the targets of their abuses any less human and deserving of the same respect you and I would demand for ourselves.

    The laundries were used as a catch-all for girls deemed by varioius parties as “difficult”. Some girls were sent their because they were considered too much of a temptation for boys since they were merely pretty or suspected of being flirtatious. There was no investigation or oversight at all regarding who got sent, who did the sending, and on what grounds.

    The crimes perpetrated for decades against these women is as appalling as any other human rights violation you can dig up, no matter what perspective, time period and/or cultural mindset you choose to view them through.

    I believe Adriana’s point was that the Catholic Church is as guilty as any other party when it comes to playing the victim card. They have deflected investigation into and accurate description of the atrocities committed at the Magdalene Laundries (and during the sex scandals) by whinging and whining about being the victims of anti-Catholic-propaganda.

  • Christine

    Thanks for the insight, CIP. I still am clueless with how Adriana’s initial argument would have been relevant to the abortion argument in the US, but I see the point with the Catholic Church whining.

    Maybe Deal should have mentioned our whining as Catholics as well. Our culture has indeed worn off on us quite a bit…

  • CIP

    I never saw the original debate in which she brought up the Magdalene Laundries, but if I were to venture a guess, it would be that the Catholic Church itself, through its actions and mindsets towards women has proactively driven women to seek abortions. By offering judgment, condemnation and punishment, and by dehumanizing women, they have created a state of fear in which women seek abortions rather than be treated like animals — treated worse than people treat their animals in some cases.

    Everyone whines. And everyone thinks their whining is justified. Everyone’s human, after all.

    The article has more to do with shallow PC groupthink and knee-jerk reaction than playing the victim card, although the two usually go hand in hand, so Adriana’s point is valid.

  • Christine

    Thanks again, CIP, but I have a problem with making the jump between Catholic abortion policy in the US and the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland.

    It is still illegal in Ireland to have an abortion, as far as I know, and the Magdalene Launderies seem to have been set up to catch women before they were pregnant. The Irish still don’t allow abortion even though they had this institution and the US allows abortion at any time, due to Roe v Wade, even though we didn’t have the Magdelene Launderies.

  • CIP

    First of all, there were Magdalene Laundries here in the USA and in Canada, but the worst of the atrocities were perpetrated in Ireland, probably due to the unfettered power the Church had over what were essentially state matters and the truly sinister and creepy mindset of the Irish Catholic Church when it came to anything to do with sex.

    Secondly, the atrocities perpetrated at the Magdalene Laundries had more to do with creating an atmosphere in which it was indeed a better choice for a terrified, pregnant, single young girl to seek an abortion (no matter how horrifying back alley abortions were) than to turn to her parents or her Church. However, stories and memories don’t die, and those who’d experienced those atrocities first hand, or who’d lost sisters, cousins, and/or friends to the Laundries grew up and immigrated and were in a position to make or influence policy, they remembered.

  • CIP

    By the way, while the Magdalene Laundries were originally begun as sort of an early version of halfway houses for women who had engaged in prostitution but wanted to be rehabilitated to mainstream life, they quickly morphed into an unmonitored, unregulated, unexamined reform school system in which very young girls could be sent for practically any reason at all.

    You seem to think it’s okay to illegally incarcerate people against their will in order to, um, catch women before they become pregnant, whatever the heck that means…

    By your logic, we should all be indefinitely incarcerated in order to catch us before we sin, although one wonders who would do the incarcerating in that case…

  • Christine

    Trust me, CIP, I don’t think it is okay. I just have a problem with people who try to shut down other arguments by bringing in a scandal from another part of the world to prove their point. Especially when the argument did not apply to the article that was mentioned previously. Adriana originally had a problem with an anti-abortion article on this website and used this terrible situation in Ireland to discuss politics in the US. She got angry when she was presumably re-directed to the argument at hand. I don’t know what occurred on that stream, and neither do many others who are reading these comments, but I don’t think that it had true relevance and was intended to shut the other opinion down. Sin is sin, and abortion is ALWAYS WRONG, even when horrible things happen to people. Two wrongs NEVER make something right or excusable.

    I truly am glad that these institutions in Ireland were shut down, but I don’t think that these atrocious institutions have anything to do with abortion in the US, and I don’t think that it should be used to in say, “Bye bye, self righteous criminals”.

    Please don’t try to shut me down by implicating that I would approve of violence against anyone, just because I say that the argument does not support the murder of unborn children in the US.

  • Christine

    In an effort to get back to the great article, I won’t be commenting any more on this topic. [smiley=happy]

  • CIP

    Ah…so you weren’t really interested in the truth of the matter, or me, or anything I had to say…you just wanted to get a final dig in on an old argument you were having with someone else…[smiley=laugh][smiley=laugh][smiley=laugh]

    Not that you’re about anything but treating others with respect and dignity…[smiley=laugh][smiley=laugh][smiley=laugh]

    Oh, man, the hypocrisy just never ends…[smiley=wink]

  • CIP2

    We’ll all pray for you Adriana, uh CIP.

  • CIP

    No, I’m not Adriana.

    I suppose that’s another example of your brand of Catholic charity, though?

    As I said, the hypocrisy is astounding!

    Ah, Catholics…every time they turn around they show you who they really are…[smiley=laugh]

  • Billy Bean

    Heck, Mark, I don’t know whether you’re a genious or not, but I had to to get people’s attention somehow. Whether or not you are a genious, I DO know that you are an exceptionally gifted writer who has a way of hitting exactly the nerve that seems to need to be hit. In a short while, you may persuade me to become a Catholic!

  • Billy Bean

    Nevermind; I’ve already totally discredited myself.

  • Administrator

    We’ll all pray for you Adriana, uh CIP.

    Unless Adriana is moving between states, she and CIP are different people.

  • John Griffin

    Would be humorous if it weren’t true.[smiley=shock]

  • Francis

    The author touched on Muslims who this past weekend complained about racial profiling. We are at war with a group whose faith teaches them that any infidel’s life is worth nothing. After 9/11 not one high ranking Muslim came out and spoke against what took place and when there is silence, that means deep down there is agreement

    So when we capture a few high level targets, to protect Americans (thank you President Bush), and have to use high level interrogation like waterboarding (which is not killing them) and we have crybabies on the left who complain and our Attorney General wanting to prosecute those that are trying to keep us safe, I think the cry babies start right with the present white house

    Unlike Catholicism where we are now so ecumenical and we now teach that those that even deny Christ can be saved (Jews, Hindu’s, Moslems, etc) in clear disregard for scripture and traditional catholic teachings, it is our faith and those souls who will be lost.

    And why did the church change her teachings? To appease those very crybabies, basically a New World Order, to avoid these conflicts and in many regards she has, but those faiths that hold to their beliefs like the Jews and Moslems (I read the Pope is visiting synagogue again, has a rabbi ever visited a church and our Holy Father even prayed with Moslems)are holding fast to their faith

    So the moral is “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”-and the church has lowered her standing in the world unfortunatly because of her listening to these crybabies

  • Andy

    So when we capture a few high level targets, to protect Americans (thank you President Bush), and have to use high level interrogation like waterboarding (which is not killing them) and we have crybabies on the left who complain and our Attorney General wanting to prosecute those that are trying to keep us safe, I think the cry babies start right with the present white house

    Yikes. It takes a truly spectacular feat of moral gymnastics to equivocate the types of things Mark decries (tantrums over words like “niggardly”) to torture.

    There are any number of horrible things I could do to interrogation victims. Are they morally acceptable because they are “not killing them?”

    There are many, many good things to criticize the current White House about, but don’t sell your soul for Bush. He really isn’t worth it.

  • Mark P. Shea


    It is one of the especially weird marks of Church Lady “conservative” Catholicism that it gets bent out of shape over using a term like “SOB” to describe a nasty person we need to forgive, but then blithely equates offense at a term like “niggardly” with opposition to the mortal sin of torture. Over a hundred people have died while in our custody and even our own internal investigations have acknowledged that not a few of these were tortured to death. In addition, we have now documented, in court, the deliberate torture of innocent people in order to extract false confessions.

    Learn something about the actual teaching of the Church and stop defending grave evil under cover of patriotic consequentialism. Shame on you.

  • Francis

    Mr. Shea and Andy

    Not condoning everything Bush did, but as commander and chief he took an oath to protect us, and if harming your enemies does that to protect us, then so be it. We were taught by Pope JPII to respect our elder brothers the Jews, have you taken the time to read the Old Testament and the horror the Israeli army inflicts on the Philistines and other of their enemies? Men, woman and childre, possibly Holy Father can discuss that while in the synagogue in Rome with them

    So in choosing between the Republicans the part of Obama and abortion on demand with my taxpayer money, I choose Republicans because they are not crybabies which is what this thread is about

    Not to hijack as this is against the rules, but wanted to defend myself

    Enjoy your day

  • Mark P. Shea

    …in defense of 21st Century torture the moral theory, specifically condemned by the Church, that war means you can do any evil you like to save your own skin. A creative, if utterly illiterate and immoral, way of spitting on the plain magisterial teaching of the Church. But par for the course for yet another defender of consequentialism.

    If this disgusting display is what “conservatism” now stands for then count me out. It’s as slimey as “liberal” excuses for abortion.

  • Francis

    Since Mr Shea continues on the bandwagon of torture and church teachings, the church has always believed in capital punishment, as Our Lord Himself confirms this power of capital punishment in the interview with Pilate before His crucifixion:

    Pilate therefore saith to him: Speakest thou not to me? Knowest
    thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and I have power torelease thee? Jesus answered: Thou shouldst not have any power against me, UNLESS IT WERE GIVEN THEE FROM ABOVE…. (John 19:10-11/DR)

    Pope John Paul II expressed his personal opinion in Evangelium
    Vitae and in the Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae that “modern penology” has developed to the point that the death penalty should virtually never be used. That is his personal opinion and not infallible as councils have already declared this not to be the case

    The teaching of the Church from the earliest centuries, as
    represented, e.g., in the writings of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica, IIa IIae, Q. 64, A. 2), and St. Alphonsus Liguori (all Doctors of the Church), as well as in the Encyclical Casti Conubii of Pope Pius XI, is that society has the authority to inflict punishments upon its
    members, and even to deprive a criminal of his life, for the necessity of the common good: (1) primarily, to vindicate the moral order and expiate the crime, (2) secondarily, to defend itself, (3) to deter other would-be offenders, and (4) to reform the criminal or deter future crime.

    The dogmatic Council of Trent decreed: “[well founded is] the right and duty of legitimate public authority to punish malefactors by means of penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, not excluding, in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty.”

    So with due respect Mr. Shea, as you are aware, infallible church teachings, like the Council of Trent, can not be usurped by new thoughts on a subject, even by a future pope as that would only be pastoral and not dogmatic

    So torture stands as does capital punishment as acceptable by the One True Catholic church, you may not believe in it and that is fine, but dont mislead the readers here that the church teaches this as you are incorrect

  • Mark Shea

    Torture is condemned as gravely and intrinsically immoral in Veritatis Splendor 80.

  • ClarkB

    This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Catholics spin words when it suits the Church’s goals. Notice how when words are used by Church officials that “Illegal Alien” becomes “Illegal Immigrant”, then “Undocumented Immigrant”, and then just “Immigrant”. This is simply because the majority of illegal aliens (the proper legal term), about 23 million of the 30 million illegal aliens in the U.S., are Latino Catholics.

    Ask yourself an honest question: Would the Catholic Church be in favor of amnesty if the majority of illegal aliens were Muslim? I think not.

    It can be shown that the large presence of illegal aliens in the United States led to the economic crisis. The locations with the greatest mortgage failures are the same places with high illegal alien populations; look at the maps to see the pattern. It is estimated that the illegal aliens held about 5 million subprime, 0% down, mortgages which have failed. It is also estimated that illegal aliens hold between 7 to 8.5 MILLION jobs in the U.S. Thus, when there is profit for the Church, then the very sovereignty of our nation, as well as the stolen jobs, are of secondary importance.

    These are facts. And while some Catholics may disagree with my point, it appears to be supported by the evidence, is on topic, and is not abusive. In the meantime, there are many good Catholics who are out of work and who have lost value in their homes, due to the illegal alien invasion, which is aided and abetted by the Catholic Church.

  • Francis

    Torture may be condemed in such, but again once the church has dogmatically proclaimed teaching on faith and morals, as she has done with torture and capital punishment in the Council of Trent, and St Thomas a Doctor of the Church, not to put any Pope down but like the church has tried to do so unsuccessfully after Vatican II is to try and ignore its teachings before Vatican II and Pope Paul VI. When was the last time you heard a pope or a Priest recite any church teaching other than from Vatican II or an encyclical after? The answer is very easy, because it would contradict what they are trying to sell today as Catholic

    So what you have quoted Mr Shea, the encyclical, has already been infallibly defined and then falls into the category of personal opinion of a Pope, or pastoral in nature.

    And please dont ever call me a liar, that is uncharitable and uncatholic and slander as I think my case is slightly more substantial than yours

  • Wm Brown


    I just read this article, so I’m sorry for such a delayed reply. This is simply one of the finest pieces I have ever read on this proposterous, omnipresent modern developement of our Western culture. You say it all so well! It rivals anything that Mark Steyn and even Jonah Goldberg have said on the topic of this most bizarre and peculiar cultural mass behaviours.
    I suppose that only with our information technology and mass media could such widespread and pervasive idiocy be possible on this scale. Jejune, infantile, unexamined thinking seems the order of the day, and I don’t see it getting better anytime soon. An analysis of how we got here would be fascinating (I am sure that this has been done).

    Keep up the perspicacious writing. It is refreshing.


    Credo ut intelligam