Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"The Catholic Fascist" Revisited

My post linking to the satirical site spawned a flurry of commentary — All Hail The Catholic Fascist! "I will no longer follow your blog if that is the kind of humor Western Confucian approves of," said the first commenter, whether satirically I do not know. "Association [sic] liturgical traditionalism with fascism is not funny," the commenter continues. "What kind of Catholic are you? I think you answered [sic] my question."

Much of the thread is taken up by the question of "if Arturo Vasquez isn't likewise a parody," to which the accused responds, "Not sure if I am a parody of myself, but I do try to have fun," to which I can only say, "Amen." When the discussion briefly gets back on topic, Mr. Vasquez rightly suggests that "the right wing Catholic Internet is such a vast sea of stupidity that a parody of it almost writes itself."

Mark Shea gets a word in edgewise at near the beginning, saying, "CF is revealing itself to be the mere id of Vox Nova, finally expressing the contempt it feels for the Church's teaching on homosexuality, women's ordination, and prolifers that it has never been able to give voice to as it pretended to care about orthodoxy more than liberalism," expanding these ideas a few days later into a post of his own — Vox Nova's Id.

Mr. Shea in his post says that "the lefties at Vox Nova offer some hilarious skewers of the right wing Catholic blogosphere at its most absurd, and in the process make it clear that, yeah, the Vox Novans don't really give a crap about abortion, don't much care about the Church's teaching on homosexual practice, and would be quite happy to ordain women."

(My thoughts: one can "give a crap about abortion" but realize the G.O.P. doesn't; "the Church's teaching on homosexual practice" should not be that much of a concern to those of us not interested in "homosexual practice," and; those who "would be quite happy to ordain women" are wasting their time because it can never happen.)

More seriously, Mr. Shea points out is that "satire without regard for what the Tradition actually teaches will soon be trained on the gospel if you are an ideologue who holds the Church's teaching in contempt when it happens to threaten your ideological commitments. And without regard for the Tradition," he continues, "you can also wind up just saying anything in order to score points and lashing out at anybody with the wrong perceived tribal affiliations." Mr. Shea offers this example: "Jimmy Akin (you know, the guy who was just denouncing Hiroshima as a war crime) is perceived as a 'Catholic Fascist' because his political orientation is basically conservative."

That said, Mr. Shea notes that "some of their satire is wicked funny and can only be outdone by the unconscious self-parody of some of the crazier voices in the right wing blogosphere" and offers as a case in point a "rant about those who regard the nuking of Hiroshima as a war crime" as being "arguably guilty of mortal sin."

I find Vox Nova's Obamalatry as silly as the next guy, but find the site less offensive than The American Catholic, the deserving target of The Catholic Fascist's satire. What makes "the right wing Catholic blogosphere" more contemptous is that its ideas are not merely silly; when it comes to foreign policy, they kill.

You'll find no surprises at either Vox Nova or The American Catholic. Both fail to think out of the box, or rather, the very small and nearly identical two boxes in which Americans are allowed to think (which the great Bill Kauffman once called "ideological veal crates") when it comes to political, social, and economic issues.

UPDATE: This blog has been honored with the The Catholic Fascist treatment, in a post asking, "What exactly is a 'Western Confucian?'" — Only Pure Catholics, Please.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Both fail to think out of the box, or rather, the very small and nearly identical two boxes in which Americans are allowed to think ..."

My fear (paranoia?) is that these cultural issues are used by the powers that be as distractors so the folks forget all about our debt slavery, loss of liberty and constant warfighting. Maybe laughing at ourselves more would show us a way out of the trap.


10:14 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Faustina, I've often had the same thought, but would call it a suspicion rather than a fear, and certainly not paranoia.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take "The American Catholic" to be an encouraging sign, in that it proves that we American Catholics have come far enough to feel comfortable having our own Know-Nothings.

Back in JFK's day, Catholics would never have dared call other Americans unAmerican.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous m.z. said...

I don't support women's ordination, same sex marriage, or abortion. My co-bloggers have for the most part clearly stated their opposition to the same. Mr. Iafrate left Vox Nova of his own volition several months ago. He is free to start any venture he likes with anyone he likes, regardless of whether he is behind the Catholic Fascist or not, as he has been accused.

I confess to be at a loss over Vox Nova's Obamolotry. I've been at a loss over much of the "criticism" of Vox Nova from the beginning. Regrettably, much political commentary is fact free mental masturbation. People have their ideological websites that they frequent. They repeat the same stupid arguments, often with facts of dubious origin. Despite loathing libertarianism, I frequent a number of libertarian sites, although I confess to doing so less and less as the sites have increasingly become pits of intellectually souped up nihilism.

As for the Internet beggar, it has long been apparent that he will maliciously impugn people in order to curry favor with others to put bread on his table. I think panhandling would be more respectful, but he didn't ask my advice.

As for the Catholic Fascist, the site practically writes itself. It is reflective of most of the Catholic blogosphere, a place filled with bitter people that couldn't organize a one person Bible study but deem themselves competent on the running of parishes and dioceses and even the whole Church. It is truly pathetic. Occasionally there is a pearl out there, but most of it is just garbage.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it amusing that people have connected me to Vox Nova without knowing what I am about. I comment on Vox Nova sometimes. Some of those comments are supportive. In some, I have told them that they are wasting their time on politics, and Obama in particular. I am profoundly a-political. But the only thing about the CF blog is that it is an idea whose time has come. The Catholic right has been mocking everything outside of itself for YEARS. It is about time someone returns the favor.

The nice thing about satire, and this is what many don't get, is that you don't have to agree with the people who are doing it. It is a sort united rhetorical front, and nothing more. I will say at times I find Vox Nova more tiresome than the American Catholic blog, or Mark Shea, or a number of other "right-wing" sites. But when the latter get critical, they go for the jugular, and feel they are completely justified, since they are on the side of Absolute Truth.

The problem with people like Shea, who was cut to the quick by the criticisms on CF, and was licking his wounds on his own blog, is that they are ultra-sensitive to criticism. Maybe Vox Nova is as well, but as I have said before, and I'll say again, the "Obama worship" that goes on on the progressive Catholic Internet is nowhere near the idolatry that some have towards Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, etc. If I am going to choose between wrong headed progressivism and right-wing, bloodthirsty enthusiasm, I would choose neither, but I could at least put up with the former.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Sam Rocha said...

"Both [Vox Nova and American Catholic] fail to think out of the box, or rather, the very small and nearly identical two boxes in which Americans are allowed to think ..."

Ouch! I guess my work at Vox Nova is more status quo than I have fooled myself to believe.

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Name me "major" Catholic politically conservative bloggers who are uncritical fanboys of Glen Beck or Sarah Palin. Or George Bush, for that matter.

I'm thinking through it, and when i do, I see far more willingness to criticize the GOP/conservative secular movement on the right hand side of the Catholic blogosphere than i do criticisms of Obama at Vox Nova, America, NCR and Commonweal. If you can find me substantial crticisms of Obama at any of those four...I'll buy you a new pair of heels.

The whole Catholic Fascist thing is screamingly unnuanced and pathetic.

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Arturo Vasquez said...

That was easy:

I prefer a hot red pair of stilettos. But something with a more sensible heel is fine.

Sancta Sarah, ora pro nobis!

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Sam Rocha said...

Can I get a pair too? Here are three titles and links written by yours truly:

"‘Whatever is necessary’: Obama defends war, again."

"For the Record: Obama’s War or Obama’s Re-Election?"

"For the Record: Obama’s War or Obama’s Re-Election?"

12:12 AM  
Anonymous Arturo Vasquez said...

Wrong link above (though illustrative):

My bad

12:21 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

M.Z. and Mr. Rocha,

Your offerings are what has kept me coming back to V.N. I painted with too broad a brush. Also, I should have mentioned when quoting Mr. Shea about homosexuality, abortion, and womynpriests, that I didn't recall ever reading the wrong position being advocated on your pages.

Also, I don't recall ever reading Mr. Vasquez call use the race card to silence his opposition.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Mark P. Shea said...

Ideological veal crates. That's good.

I don't read VN or TAC hardly ever, so I haven't kept up on the staff changes there.

With respect to Arturo's racism: I was referring to his "I love me some blackface" bullshit in the comboxes at CF.

I agree with you that the bellicose messianic Americanism at TAC is far more dangerous and deadly than the nose-pulling of CF. However, as I virtually never read TAC and as CF (being the New Hotness) was more prominent on my monitor, I wasn't attempting a full review of TAC.

2:32 AM  
Anonymous Arturo Vasquez said...

Remember, an attack on Mark Shea is an attack on his family. Because all he has is his reputation that can sell books (evidently, he has admitted to having no other real skills), so any criticism of Shea, or any ever so indirect satire of his views, is taking food out of his family's mouths.

We should be ashamed of ourselves.

P.S. I still don't see where I have ever implied that he is a racist.

3:30 AM  
Blogger love the girls said...

Anonymous writes : "If you can find me substantial criticism of Obama at any of those four...I'll buy you a new pair of heels"

To which we get an N.C. R. article written by a pacifist who criticizes Obama, but for the typical nonsensical pacifist wrong reason.

An article worthy of Catholic Fascist's alter ego blog: Catholic Secularism.

3:34 AM  
Blogger Mark P. Shea said...


Don't remember saying anything about my family. However, I can see why, after your cheap shot about blackface, you'd be in a hurry to change the subject with more falsehoods.

Relax, dude. In a week or so the site will have shot it's bolt and nobody will remember your attributions of racism to everybody you loathe.

4:10 AM  
Anonymous Arturo Vasquez said...

I still don't see anywhere on the Internet where I implied anything. But anyway, if you are referring to that blog in general, I think they have devised a world of barefoot and pregnant women, commie Mexicans trying to take over the Southwest, cross-dressing judges, Gregorian chant listening militiamen, and Iran as a big smouldering hole in the ground after a nuclear holocaust. I am sure they are then a bunch of sexist, racist, genocidal maniacs over there. Or maybe it's just satire. I don't know. I flunked reading comprehension in high school.

4:28 AM  
Blogger Tito Edwards said...

I see TAC has been accused of being an unadulterated fan of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and the Tea Party.

We at TAC have never posted anything supporting Mr. Beck.

We have posted positive AND negative article on Sarah Palin.

As for the Tea Party, it has been more of analysis of what's been going on, but no cheerleading.

Now to Mr. Shea's assertion of bellicose messianic Americanism, I think of Pope Leo XIII's criticism of "Americanism". But my guess is that Mr. Shea is accusing us of being overtly pro-American.

Though he cautions he wasn't giving a review of TAC... overall.

Either way, no harm done.

We love our country and we won't back away from showing our colors of being Americans. So I'll take that as a compliment! :)

As for Western Confucion's comments regarding us, so be it.

In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,


5:51 AM  
Anonymous Joe Hargrave said...

Is it Confucian or Confusion?

Allow me to briefly argue on behalf of TAC.

We have a variety of bloggers from different political backgrounds. It may be that some post more frequently than others, but this opinion of yours that we "fail to think outside the box" is simply ludicrous. It shows that you really haven't read our website or seen the range of opinions contained therein.

We have left-of-center contributors such as Eric Brown and Tim Shipe, we have rather moderate conservatives such as John Henry, Michael Denton, and Darwin Catholic, we have what I suppose you would call a more "mainstream conservative" Don McClarey and Tito Edwards, and plenty of others besides.

There is also myself. I am a Distributist and a libertarian, I certainly owe no allegiance to the Republican Party or to "mainstream" conservatism, I support Ron Paul politically. I have done practically nothing BUT trying to get people to "think outside the box", on numerous occasions, and many of my co-bloggers have as well.

Your characterization of our blog, sir, is mistaken. It is ignorant. It is not based in the truth. And if you yourself would like to "think outside of the box" you have constructed for yourself on the basis of such scant information, we invite you to visit TAC, to comment on our posts, and engage any of our authors in a respectful and civil manner.

Good day, and God Bless,

Joe Hargrave of TAC

6:15 AM  
Blogger Mark P. Shea said...


Can't explain why your amnesiac fugue swiss-cheeses your memory like that. You can remember things about people you loathe like an elephant. But things you wrote just the other day? Well, But just to jog it:
Commie prelates and effeminate intellectual obamacrat homos aren’t funny, and neither is this blog. If you want funny, try Marmaduke comics. Or black face. I love me some minstrels in black face.

Since you've made it clear that CF lampoons the evils of the whole right wing Catholic blogosphere (which you denounce in its entirely right here in WC's comboxes) and you offer no qualifiers whatsoever in your side-splitting portrayal of those darn Anglo conservatives and their joy at minstrel shows, a person can be forgiven for assuming your are saying that conservative Catholics are *typically* reflected in the words you wrote above.

If you want to recant that despicable suggestion, I'm all ears. If you want to reply by saying "Hey Everybody! Shea makes a living as a Catholic writer. What contemptible capitalist scum" then I will go on assuming you are the racist you reveal yourself to be with your empty cheap shot. And to that assumption, I will add the conviction that you are a coward who changes the subject when he is caught out in a despicable act.

Now to Mr. Shea's assertion of bellicose messianic Americanism, I think of Pope Leo XIII's criticism of "Americanism". But my guess is that Mr. Shea is accusing us of being overtly pro-American.

No. I'm saying that a blog which takes seriously lunatics who suggest that critics of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are guilty of mortal sin are friends of bellicose messianic Americanism. There's a reason Catholic Fascist is funny. Some of their darts find the target.

6:57 AM  
Blogger love the girls said...

I've not often read TAC, but I have read quite a few posts on Vox Nova by those who do contribute to TAC.

And of those posts, what has typically stood out is how much secrete agreement there is between the two sides.

While I think Western Confucian is incorrect to see TAC as the more dangerous, he is correct to see the two sides as being in secrete agreement while they are seeing themselves as not possibly further apart.

Vox Nova bans those they actually disagree with, while keeping those who they only partially disagree with.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the blog of which you speak is a great honey pot - like Wikileaks.

Within a week or two, the blog of which you speak has gone viral and ruffled a lot of feathers.

Big shots' feathers - feathers of people I'd have least thought followed this stuff.

We can now identify who reads what in the blogosphere. Before the existence of the blog of which you speak, we weren't necessarily sure about that.

Think about it.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Shea:

Strange. That comment doesn't have my name on it.

Perhaps you need a refresher on the alphabet?

9:12 AM  
Blogger Tito Edwards said...

Mark Shea,

No. I'm saying that a blog which takes seriously lunatics who suggest that critics of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are guilty of mortal sin are friends of bellicose messianic Americanism

You mean in the commboxes?

What is posted represents TAC, what is discussed in the commboxes is another thing.

Now if you are accusing TAC of being bellicose messianic Americanism, that's good by me.

We are all equal in dignity in the eyes of the Lord.

What seems to you as us being friendly to those "type" of people as your profane accusations suggest is TAC giving equal treatment as Jesus asked us to be to those that we disagree as well as agree with.

Your comments are pretty harsh, just sayin'.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a little surprised that Shea objects so strongly to the "black face" portion of the comment, but thinks that it is perfectly acceptable to call prelates "commies" or Democrats "homos" to get a laugh. Be homophobic or red-bait, that's okay. But bring up black face, and that crosses the line of decency. I suppose that kind of proves the point, doesn't it?

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Kevin J Jones said...

These sorts of arguments must look insane to people who can't type coherent commentary at 100 words a minute.

I'm tempted to just joke about the whole thing.

Why are internet flame wars so nasty?

Because the stakes are so small.

12:22 PM  
Blogger love the girls said...

Kevin Jones writes : "Why are internet flame wars so nasty?

Because the stakes are so small"

Or it could be because the method of socialization via the internet doesn't allow for nuances of speech and body language which are natural to communication.

An interesting problem, when one considers the common occurrence of dead silent coffee shops packed with patrons conversing online.

11:09 PM  

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