I read an interview with Mark Shea this morning and it really lit my fuse. The section in red is nothing but unadulterated, ridiculous blather:
I think [Pope Francis is] forcing a confrontation with the rest of Catholic social teaching. By that, I mean all of the incredible riches the church has to offer beyond the questions of abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage, human cloning and embryonic stem cell research—which in my neck of the blogosphere, started out as the five non-negotiables of orthodox Catholicism, but have mysteriously morphed into the only five things that matter to a lot of American Catholics. It has spawned a curious soteriology in some sectors that often boils down to a theory that can be fairly accurately summarized as "opposition to abortion taketh away the sins of the world." Francis has forced a reassessment of that reductionist view of Catholic social teaching and I think it’s all for the good.I'd like to know who Mark Shea hangs out with.
Every pro-life Catholic I know cares about the poor and disenfranchised and the entire gamut of Church teaching. Some issues do have priority, however. If your neighbor is out front beating his two-year-old, it sure isn't the time to run down to serve soup at the homeless shelter. Not only that, but people have different callings. The Lord doesn't expect every one of us to do everything. Remember we "have different gifts but the same Spirit gives them." My call to defend babies waiting to be born doesn't make me care less about helping the poor (Hey, I worked with many of them when I counseled at a crisis pregnancy center!). In other areas, like feeding the hungry, I just mostly do it with my pocketbook instead of my time.
The problem in the Church isn't that a "lot of American Catholics" care exclusively about the "five non-negotiables." It's that most American Catholics (including bishops and priests) couldn't care less about them! If they did, we would have ended abortion years ago!
Shea is one of those bloggers who often criticizes others for being divisive, but if this false and scurrilous accusation isn't divisive I don't know what is. It's why I don't read Mark Shea's blog. You can't trust someone who makes a statement like this that marginalizes the very Catholics who are on the front lines in the culture war. And, frankly, I wonder whether Shea does anything other than blather on about social justice. It's so much easier than actually getting your soft hands dirty.