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Austin Ruse on the Catholic Toxosphere

12308267_10205055340449342_2514654047259129308_nAt Crisis Magazine, Austin Ruse has a piece that is, I think it’s fair to say, unfortunately necessary. First, he lays out the facts of the martyrdom of St. Maria Goretti, her canonization, and the way she has been characterized by two popes.

Quoting Pope John Paul II on the centennary of Maria Goretti’s death, Ruse says the pope

underscored the importance of her virginity to her final struggle, “She did not flee from the voice of the Holy Spirit, from the voice of her conscience. She rather chose death. Through the gift of fortitude, the Holy Spirit helped her to ‘judge’—and to choose with her young spirit. She chose death when there was no other way to defend her virginal purity.”

Seems simple, right? Not so fast. Ruse repeats the quote from JPII:

She chose death when there was no other way to defend her virginal purity. And there is the controversy. There are certain voices in the blogosphere who are offended at this notion that Maria Goretti died defending her virginal purity.

Simcha Fisher is so incensed at the notion she wrote a whole column entitled “Maria Goretti Didn’t Die for Her Virginity.” Fisher is smart enough to know she couldn’t get away with that headline so she tries to cover herself with her first sentence, “Or she wasn’t canonized just because she managed to remain a virgin, anyway.”

However, Fisher argues that Goretti was canonized because she focused on her attacker’s soul rather than on her own virginity. Goretti tried to convince him that he was committing a mortal sin and would go to Hell for what he was threatening to do. Fisher says Goretti was not in love with a particular virtue but rather in love with the humanity of a particular person, her attacker.

Fisher says such notions as “holiness, chastity, humility, charity, diligence” are “bathwater” surrounding the “baby” which is “love in action.”

On Facebook, Fisher actually dismisses those who maintain the view held by both Pope Pius XII and St. John Paul the Great as the “Maria Goretti died out of love for her hymen” crowd.

Fisher was not the only one.

Where Pius XII and John Paul the Great called young people to emulate Maria Goretti, a blogger at the ever-diminishing Patheos says, not so fast! Blogger Kari Persson is concerned that Goretti’s response unto death may be considered “normative.” She says such a response to Goretti is “possibly deeply damaging” and could result in “frustration, hatred, and anger, mixed with envy and self-reproach” among those “affected by rape, whether victims or those close to victims.” She also says, “Not everyone can express forgiveness for their attackers as readily as St. Maria…” We should view all of this as miraculous and certainly not normative.

Persson seems fully subscribed to the commonality of our age where trophies are given just for showing up, where winning first prize somehow diminishes those who are second, or third, or last.

Of course, the Church has never taught that all are called to martyrdom. However, we are called to emulate or to draw inspiration from them.

Here is John Paul II on the centenary of her death, “I am especially holding up this saint as an example to young people who are the hope of the Church and of humanity.” He also said her “martyrdom” heralded the beginning of the great century of martyrs, a century where Catholics died for their faith, as she did.

Yet another blogger at Patheos joined the Goretti fray. Mary Pezzulo begins her blog-post with a big sigh: “It’s that time of year again. Today is Maria Goretti’s feast day.” Maria Goretti’s feast day is annual trail for Pezzulo.

Pezzulo recalls a moment a few years ago when a Franciscan nun exhorted her that Maria Goretti “died rather than give up her purity.” Pezzulo left the bookshop where this horror happened “as quickly as possible” and then regretted not telling the Nun “how many people the sister might hurt by repeating the story in that way.”

Pezzulo writes, “Becoming the victim of someone else’s sin is never a sin. It wouldn’t have been for Maria Goretti, either.” Had she fought her attacker and been raped nonetheless, “she would have incurred no guilt. God would have still known her to be pure.” Pezzulo seems to accuse the nun, and others like her, of canonizing Goretti because Goretti refused to be a victim of rape.

One Patheos blogger named Max Lindeman suggested that Maria could not be considered a martyr since she did not die for hatred of the faith and that “martyr of charity” was not “coined until the beatification of Maximillian Kolbe.” For that, though, we can turn to the Angelic Doctor who wrote, “Not only is he a martyr one who refuses to deny a truth of the faith, but he who dies for the sake of some virtue, or to avoid sin against any commandment.” We also note the words of Pius XII and John Paul the Great.

To see how all this has become so unhinged, when Deacon Jim Russell went to the comment boxes to quote John Paul II on Maria Goretti and her virginity, another Patheos blogger named Cynthia Schrage asked him, “What is your f***ing problem?” and accused him of being a “spiritual stalker.”

It is hard to understand this odd fight over Maria Goretti and her canonization. The Church —as expressed in the words of the Pope who canonized her and his successors—regards Goretti as a martyr to her virginity. That is a fact not even Patheos and Aleteia bloggers can get around, try as they might.

I used to get along fairly well with Simcha Fisher. Until I wrote this. You can see that even though I disagreed with her assessment, I did so respectfully, even offering praise. Nevertheless, this opened a rift, the details of which involved some vicious exchanges that will edify no one. In Christian charity, I made an attempt to patch things up, which were returned in kind. Suffice to say, however, that any appearance of friendliness died that day, and occasional jabs are still thrown in my direction.

The fact is, the more openly I became concerned with the actions of the Francis pontificate, the more vilified I (and by extension, this publication) became by the likes of those mentioned – particularly the “luminaries” of the Patheos crowd, which later became the Aleteia crowd when Elizabeth Scalia brought her particular brand of smug, virtue signalling, quasi-heterodox Catholicism to their pages as Editor-in-Chief after leaving Patheos. (I previously revealed what happened to the already waning Catholic channel there after Scalia ended her tenure. It seems the best they can find are angsty, self-loathing Z-list “Catholic” bloggers to fill their roster these days.) Picking fights with and/or mocking websites like ours — rather than addressing the real problems we all face as Catholics — has become quite the club sport with this particular genre of Catholic writer.

But despite their speciousness, they merit discussion in the wake of Ruse’s piece because they signify something deeply toxic in that side of the Catholic media world, and by extension, the larger body of the faithful. Ruse himself attempts to pinpoint what is going on here:

This debate is less about Maria Goretti—after all, it is through the Church and not through Patheos and Aleteia bloggers that we know about her—than it is about something odd happening in Catholic journalism in general.  There seems to be an abhorrence of orthodoxy, that is to say, tradition. Anything traditional smacks of politics, which means political conservatism. Simcha Fisher actually said there is a correlation between those who hold the Church’s view on Maria Goretti and those who believe in marital rape. If “conservatives” believe Maria Goretti died to save her virginity then it must be wrong. There must also be something about being accepted by the larger secular world where virginity is routinely mocked. In a truly odd and angry cri de l’ego published at Patheos this week, Mark Shea said his audience is no longer faithful Catholics but atheist lesbians.

That sounds about right.

Shea has arguably been the most ardent opponent to the work we do here, though the flame has been carried on by some of his less capable neophytes, which leads to this sort of childishness.

Some are more strident in their opposition; a recent virulently anti-traditional article that appeared at the National Catholic Register was taken down with the explanation that it was an unauthorized post that circumvented editorial review. (You can see the full post that was taken down here.) How that happened is a mystery to me, since I keep a tight rein on publishing permissions, and I assume the Register, out of self-preservation, would do the same. But the author — John Paul Shimek — is someone I’ve run into with some frequency on social media. An apologist for homosexual relationships that are “good and godly” (according to criterion he won’t really define), Shimek presents himself as a faithful son of the Church, quoting the Catechism with frequency to bolster his alleged bona fides. But he has no problem making his agenda clear, when asked:


When pressed about homosexuality, he’s almost equally open:


And yet Shimek has written for the RegisterCatholicVoteCatholic World Report, and even Crisis Magazine. All Catholic publications that have a reputation for at least the post-conciliar standards of orthodoxy. At Crisis, Shimek’s bio portrays him as “a Roman Catholic theologian and a specialist on Vatican affairs. Prof. Shimek earned his graduate degrees in theology and philosophy from Catholic University of America…”

I’ve made it a point since establishing 1P5 to focus on ideas, and those in positions of influence who are putting them into action, rather than having personal battles with other Catholic writers.  Nevertheless, we all co-exist in the same Internet space. Often times, we share a subset of the same readers. Internecine squabbles are an inevitability. Personality conflicts are going to happen. I expect to be attacked because I deal in controversial topics, and to be honest, it doesn’t really bother me, since it’s only an indicator of my effectiveness. But I think there is something deeper at work, and it provokes consideration.

For those Catholics who take the most pleasure in scorn and derision aimed at anyone who loves the Church’s traditions and is concerned with the current crisis in the Church — a crisis which has deepened exponentially under Pope Francis — one wonders why they bother identifying as Catholic at all? If orthodoxy and tradition are irritants; if their unorthodox viewpoints are in “ascendancy in the age of the Francis revolution,” how can we even claim to profess the same faith?

These are people who can be ignored by us, but nevertheless have influence — in the aggregate, if not individually — over the average faithful pewsitter. Joe Catholic doesn’t have time to vet every writer at publications he’s supposed to be able to trust. If he’s got nothing more to go on than modern catechesis, even if he wants to be faithful, he’s going to be influenced by the ideas presented herein.

There is a toxicity in play here that is spiritually dangerous. That St. Maria Goretti’s martyrdom for purity can be called into account (and gotten away with) is only the tip of a much larger iceberg. These are the thought leaders that do the most work to keep our fellow Catholics blind to what is really happening in the Church, and how it is damaging her mission to save souls. They give cover to those who do not wish to see, and that’s not good for anyone.

No doubt many of these writers have seen diminished influence as more and more people wake up, but they still collectively control far more of the Catholic media space than we do. Pray for them, for their conversion, for them to see what we see. It’d be great to have them on our side. And while I won’t hold my breath, with God, all things are possible.

209 thoughts on “Austin Ruse on the Catholic Toxosphere”

  1. Do you have a link to the Mark Shea cri de l’ego article?

    I looked at his site and couldn’t find it. But what I did find was a whole bunch of seamless garment theology. It’s amazing to me how the “consistent life ethic” has become the mainstream conservative position. That’s the sort of theology that leads to wanting “Just Peace” teaching and throwing out the CCC to promote an absolutist understanding of the death penalty. And it’s all based on imagining that Jesus was some sort of hippie.

    It was heartening, then, to see LA Archbishop Jose Gomez attack the seamless garment stuff in the Angelus recently. Seamless garment theology is nothing but a bid for popularity amongst the world. But it’s amazing how the liberals have gone so far off the charts now that people who hold seamless garment views are now thought of as conservatives.

      • I’m honestly trying not to be snarky but the guy seems to suffer from some mental health issues. I don’t think being a blogger is really healthy as a full time job. He seems to have some obsessive/compulsive fixation with “the right” that is likely the result of spending too much time trying to win arguments on the internet. Seems like he needs to log off and get some fresh air but he takes his quest to vanquish the right wing too seriously. All of his little nicknames for them are pretty creepy too.

        • It’s really strange his take on things. He seems to be upset at hypocritical right-wing Catholics, which is fine, I guess, to the extent they are hypocritical. But most of his examples are individual anecdotes about random people, and it seems strange to obsess over the (alleged) hypocrisies of these folks when they have no power or influence or import. But what really makes it strange is that he just assumes that the Consistent Life Ethic is the only truly Catholic way, so that anyone who disagrees with one portion of it is clearly a hypocrite. This is the great flaw of seamless garment thinking, that it tries to make mandatory beliefs that can simply only be judged by a prudential standard.

          I imagine he’s also angry at right-wingers more than lefties because there simply are so very few lefties that have anything resembling an orthodox faith. So for him, prudentially, it doesn’t make any sense to rail against them – they’ve left the shed, and aren’t coming back except through honey-dipped coaxing. Hence his flattery of the lesbian atheist who’s into Chesterton. (I was actually a liberal, licentious atheist who came to the Church not even a year ago because of Chesterton, so I can imagine that he thinks there’s a real chance of nabbing her, and there probably is.) But with the right wingers, they aren’t leaving the Church no matter what he says, and they aren’t changing their beliefs no matter what he says, so he can set up a rhetorical system to convince lefties and moderates to join the Church by saying, “Look at those hypocritical right-wingers that you already hate! Well, guess what? I hate them, too! And yet I’m an orthodox Catholic. So why don’t you come join us?” It’s not a particularly moral way of convincing people, and is extremely divisive, but there’s a logic to it, I guess.

          Of course, the funny part is that the logic is the same as the logic Trump uses in his rhetoric, and that Hillary uses in her own way. It’s a politician’s logic. Which explains so much of the rancor on Mr. Shea’s blog. He wishes to treat evangelization like politics, but he knows that, in terms of orthodoxy, they should be kept apart. So he makes a big deal about the horrible politics of everyone else (especially those right-wing Catholics who try to push the political requirements of the faith!); and that’s the irony, because that’s simply his method of politics, disguised as evangelization.

          • Interesting points. I haven’t read Shea in ages because his prideful pontificating is so revolting. But I must confess, what I can’t stand in him is what I can’t stand in myself, either. So I have compassion for him and will pray for him. I think he and the other bloggers in Novus Ordo Land are the useful tools of those who promote their brand of the faith and pay them.

  2. I also think of a more recent Blessed who became permanently injured and lived the rest of her life as a victim soul….all because she jumped out a window rather than fall victim to rape. Blessed Alexandrina da Costa.

  3. Mr. Skojec, is there a definition for TraditionalISM? I’ve seen it derided elsewhere, and I have never heard of it.
    The way names are tossed around, such as NeoCons, Traditionalists, TraditionalISM …though no definition. Where can I find these definitions? (Actually, scratch neoCon…I’m in the process of reading the Great Façade by Chris Ferrara, and I believe he defines NeoCon there.
    But if anybody could point me to a commonly accepted definition of these terms, I’d appreciate it.

    • Traditionalism: noun The act of walking into the Mass of Vatican II and declaring, “This is not my circus; these are not my monkeys!”

  4. Wonderful article and very squarely on mission. I hope that my thoughts don’t water down the clarity.

    Lukewarm Catholicism seems (as always) at odds with tradition and in this case Tradition as well. Christ promised this sort of division and spoke of a narrow path.

    There really can be no denying that sentimentalism is behind Goretti’s attackers (which is what they are.) that sentimentalism is here in direct conflict with actual love, Charity.

    The divide I see is between Christ-like fanatical adherence to God’s will and a comfortable state of self-delusion.

    It is the tragedy of the times that the delusion of comfortable Christianity (even it’s existing) is promulgated and preached by hireling shepherds.

    • Christ-like fanatical adherence to God’s will

      Explain your phrase, please. Are you denying the existence of the Trinity?

      • During His earthly ministry, the Second Person of the Trinity was perfectly obedient to the will of the Father. We are to live perfectly.

        I think Christ is a reasonable standard for obedience to the will of God, and I used the construct to imply perfect obedience even unto death on the crosses given.

        Is it problematic?

        • When one uses the term ‘fanatical’ these days it tends to lend a derogatory thought process about the subject matter. Since you are NOT denying the Trinity this is not problematic.

        • Therefore: IF/since it was not your intention of being derogatory, and you don’t object about the Trinity… then no problems. However, even the most resolute of Christians among us are very rare to find people like Deidrich Bonhoeffer (sp?) or so many others like that in modern times.

  5. Okay so with all that is going on in the world right now, and the persecution of Catholics, I am a little bothered by your photo that goes along with this article. Trust me it is not going to help portray Catholics in a good light. Or even Santa Claus because it looks like you are partially dressed like Santa Claus. Santa Claus or a Catholics with a gun. Not good. I mean if you were talking about defending your home, okay but.. I usually really enjoy your page and articles but the photo is a little creepy.

    • Uh, it’s a pic of Mark Shea. Catholic and enjoying it is the name of his blog. And if the Church was more interested in spreading truth instead of how it looked to the world, we wouldn’t have half the problems we do.

    • He played the role of Innocent Smith in some not-even-straight-to-video production of Chesterton’s Manalive, from which that still is taken. That’s got to be a candidate for the most egregious case of miscasting in cinematic history.

  6. Well, it seems fairly obvious to me that some of these women are not so concerned with rape victims (does it really need to be said that they are innocent) as with, perhaps, conflicted feelings regarding their own sexual past. That’s what jumped out at me after reading their distasteful words about St. Maria Goretti. Of course, I could be reading into it…

    My second thought is that many of these bloggers are sensing their time in the sun has passed. I think Francis is their undoing. He’s making it much more difficult for thinking people to blithely accept the blither of Novus Ordoism.

    • “Well, it seems fairly obvious to me that some of these women are not so concerned with rape victims (does it really need to be said that they are innocent) as with, perhaps, conflicted feelings regarding their own sexual past”.

      BINGO!!! I had the exact same gut feeling as you when I read the comments from these Pathos gals. To them St Maria Goretti is not an example of purity, but instead a reproach to their own pasts.

    • Exactly right: St. Maria Goretti’s defense-to-the-death of the value of her sexual purity must be especially painful for ‘born again virgins’ who at some point in the past gave it up for free.

      It is almost as if repentance, when it comes to sexual sin, is not supposed to be unequivocal.

    • Speaking as one of “those women,” your insistence on making Goretti’s death about sex is your problem, your obsession, your “conflict.” Face it. You want all “defiled” women dead so that you don’t have to worry about another man having sex with women you want. Because the only reason women exist is to provide you with intact hymens for your harem. (There are reasons women want nothing to do with you, and it has nothing to do with our “sexual issues” and everything to do with yours.)

  7. Ultimately, i can see the marxist infiltration in the false compassion narrative. Rape victims are a victim class and rather than help them not feel they are victims for the rest of their lives, we have to not mention the virtue of purity or any saints that upheld their purity unto death. Were that many rape victims offended by St. Maria Goretti or who was the original champion of these poor victims? Like were people actually told that they should have died, or is this just some kind of self-loathing inference they made on their own or someone made for them?

  8. The real reason is because none of us actually want to consider or live up to the example of the SAINTS!

    We want things easy. We want to believe that our minimum effort will be enough to guarantee Heaven.

    We do not ever want to actually sit down and seriously consider what PERFECTION means… what Christ meant when He told us to be PERFECT as the Father is PERFECT.

    We do not want to imagine what Purgatory we may have to suffer to achieve this. What to be pure actually requires of us.

    The lives and examples of those most holy saints puts us to shame. We sin so much so often and in many ways should know better!

    St. Maria Goretti forces us to reflect on ourselves and we feel rightfully ashamed. Not just because we are unpure, especially in this sexually deviant age, but because we don’t actually have the courage to accept death and suffering. We don’t actually value perfection and purity. We say “it’s a hard teaching” and then want to walk away. We don’t possess the faith in God that by His grace we can actually be transformed in our very being towards perfection just as bread and wine can be transformed into the flesh and blood of God Himself. Transsubstantiation of bread and wine, sure, but do not transform me, it is unbelievable, I wish to consume but not to be consumed myself.

    Very difficult, but let’s face it, this is what God justly demands of us. And how we hate ourselves for always falling so far short…

  9. I used to read many of these Catholic pundits 10-15 years ago. Believe it or not, I always found Mark Shea’s writings quite good many years ago. And a long time ago I listened to Simca Fisher on Catholic radio, and thought her clarifications on NFP were good. But something happened in the last 10 years or so. Perhaps it was over-saturation. Many of those who were early pioneers in Catholic online media all of a sudden need to keep their “apostate” above the fray. Many of these Catholic media personalities even built a decent career (EWTN TV guests, guests on Catholic radio, invites to parishes and conferences, etc…). But, times have changed. The blogesphere, Twitter, and Facebook a full of such “experts”.

    Demographically, the number of Catholics who do use traditional Catholic media outlets (NCR, EWTN,etc…) is shrinking and getting older. This poses a problem for those not only trying to make it in the Catholic media world, but it also poses a problem for the “old-timers”. I noticed quite a bit of resentment from the vets – a like an aging lion trying to defend its territory. Maybe 8 years ago I stopped reading almost all of them. What I find ironic is their devotion to the Catholic Administrative State. They all toe the line, no matter what the hierarchy says or does. Perhaps, they fear incurring the wrath of the bishops, who in many cases can make life for their publishers and Catholic media centers unpleasant.

    • Same here. In fact, almost all of the devoted Catholics I am close with have let on to me that they too were supporters of many of these characters and apostolates: financial supporters. But since the Francis papacy and the denial/avoidance of the obvious problems that have come to the fore, not a single one of my friends now donates. This financial dry up must be noticed and felt; and I think they are lashing out. I feel sorry for them, actually, (because I’m too much of a softy,) but I can’t bring myself either to support their willful, irrational denial of the real neo-modernist crisis that we are in the middle of. There’s a tremendous battle of historic proportions right in front of us, and they’re wandering around the edge of the battlefield looking at their boots and noting some weeds in grass. I wish it were otherwise. We need all the help and all the voices we can muster.

  10. Mr. Skojec,

    I love your blog! I love your honesty. You are not a Pope worshiper, but a Jesus worshiper.

    I was blocked from Catholic Answers on Twitter (probably for criticizing the Pope).

    These people that you have described care more about saving the Pope’s face than about saving souls, which I think is the REAL TRAGEDY.

    Keep doing what you are doing, and I bet you a year from now OR SOONER Pope Francis will be completely unmasked.

    • I agree – Steve Skojek should just continue on with his honest reporting and not be concerned about the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Let God, who sees all things, judge them for their hypocrisy.
      We appreciate you Steve. The faithful are waking up and the true shepherds will lead.
      Christ will not abandon His Church. We are not called to win this spiritual battle, for the battle is the Lord’s.
      We are just called to be faithful to Christ.

    • The Pope is already ‘unmasked’ at least among those who have faced their denial that we actually have a Pope who promotes non Catholic, and terribly damaging ‘theology’.

      I echo Steve’s last statement that we must pray for these people while not holding our breath. With God all things are possible, yes, but it seems down to their very DNA they are ‘dug in’ in their twisted ‘truth barometer’. I guess I myself become more than a little discouraged as it seems the harder I pray for them, the more they are solidified in their belief. God has his plan, but as of the present time, He is only revealing bits at a time, and as evident, not for us to see. TRUST in Jesus against all odds is what I believe He is looking for.

      • I guess I myself become more than a little discouraged as it seems the harder I pray for them, the more they are solidified in their belief.

        Could it be that you are hoping that God will play it according to your way and your timetable?

        One thing I have learned is that whenever we are praying for a Godly outcome, we tend to think that such an outcome will be done in our time and in the manner we envisioned. But far too often, God decides to play well.. God. In going from A to B, He could very conclude that the best and shortest distance is through M, P and Z. And being Omniscient then this is the right path and the right time.

    • George Weigel once wrote that Saint John Paul II was always able and willing to “throw truth in the face of lies”, and that this was one of the keys of his great success.

  11. Mark Shea acknowledges that the only people interested in his version of Catholicism are atheist lesbians and yet fails to see in this any indication that he’s gone off the rails.

    Par for the course, really.

    • From Shea’s article:

      It’s not merely that they think [Francis] evangelizes badly. It that they want him to stop evangelizing lest riff raff get in and make life complicated.

      Let’s file that under “not even wrong”.

      The whole article is like that, in all its well-poisoning glory. Criticisms of Pope Francis are hammered into the square hole of Shea’s stiflingly narrow political horizons, as if a worldwide outcry against the heterodoxy emanating from the highest reaches of the Church can be laid at the feet of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Never mind that we’re hearing the same criticisms from Italians, Germans, Britons, Africans, Canadians, Australians, Australian-Canadians (moi?), Frenchmen, and Argentines. No, it’s all because the “Catholic Right” has conflated the Magisterium with the Republican Party platform.

      But as you say, this is par for the course with Mark Shea. He’s congenitally incapable of addressing his interlocutors in good faith and on their own terms, preferring instead to spray invective at cardboard cutouts of his own making. Even when (as here) he indulges in one of his countless acts of contrition for his sins against charity, he can’t resist the temptation to wallow in histrionic self-pity, as if it’s our fault that he comes across as a shrieking toddler. But Mooomm…

      • Mark Shea’s public mea culpas always take the form of “Forgive me, Father, for they have sinned.”

        Not a nice man.

      • Murray, you are an outstanding, penetrating commentator/writer. I see your comments in various places but fail to understand why I don’t see your articles as such at Trad sites. Perhaps you might consider starting your own blog?

        • Thanks, TH2, but I’ve tried it (a Catholic reactionary blog from an alt-right perspective) and…no dice. I have neither the work ethic nor the talent to produce genuine original insights. Appropriately enough for a reactionary, I seem to be better in reactive mode, such as you find in comment sections. Better to read Zippy, or Bonald at Throne and Altar, or Aurelius Moner (an actual monk) at Return of Kings, or, or, or.

    • Reading Mark Shea is the equivalent of reading “People Magazine” i/n/o “Ecumenism”. Both are vicarious mind polluting nonsense.

  12. Simcha Fischer??? – never heard of her til now. Mark Shea??? – Pope-worshipper with mommy issues. Shimek??? – never heard of him til now, but he writes like just another @@@@-licking rump-ranger who pretends he’s a Catholic.

    All of them seem to be people whose lives are ruled by the sin of human respect and worship of their dark lord in Rome. Are they really relevant in the grand scheme of things, or are they just annoying off-stage noises sent to distract the unwary? The best way to deal with nobodies like these is to ignore them.

          • Though not relevant, you made it clear that I am not employed by you and if I am not welcome here you just have to say it.
            You are a father of children please answer to yourself whether the picture you have posted above is way you would want them to repond to others opposed to them.

          • That picture is of Mark Shea. I didn’t make it. It is meant to evoke the attitude he takes toward those who disagree with him.

            And I would have zero problem with my adult children using such an image. None at all.

          • @skojec:disqus I now have context. Thank you and I apologize that I couldn’t get past the picture to the rest of the story If I was to get that context from the story. Sorry, but I have a visceral reaction to it.
            I want to be careful with what I say next. On children and adults, this was advice given to me in my younger years, that what corrupts an 8 year old can corrupt and 80 year old … there are some catholic bloggers who have no qualms posting clips from Game of Thrones … never watched a signle series but know enough that it shouldn’t be watched. I believe I have said what I needed to say.

    • You’re right. Shea would never hold a gun. He’d turn it in to the nearest government building.

  13. As long as I’ve known about Patheos, I’ve found it to be a very toxic place. It seems full of intellectual snobs who thumb their noses at other bloggers because they’re so impressed with their own credentials that they’re horrified when someone who is perhaps less credentialed or experienced than them openly disagrees with them. They wrote some books in the 90’s and early 2000’s, when my generation and yours were still in high school and college, and worked their way into the Catholic speaking circuit. They’ve been sitting there comfortably ever since, and it seems they resent the fact that a new generation of bloggers and speakers (who may actually be their age or older in some cases) is catching attention from an audience who is no longer interested in what they have to say. Are they schoolyard bullies who resent the “new kid?” Are they some kind of theological anomaly- not traditionalists, but not doctrinal progressives either? There are also a few in there who seem to test the direction of the theological/ecclesiastical wind, and go whatever direction seems to promise the most power and prestige.

    • Their credentials generally aren’t even that great. Usually it’s a bachelor’s in theology or “ministry” from a small Catholic school, some paint-by-numbers book no one’s read, and a blog.

      “There are also a few in there who seem to test the direction of the theological/ecclesiastical wind, and go whatever direction seems to promise the most power and prestige.” — I think virtually all of them do that, given that they don’t produce a product people actually pay for, they have to rely on wealthy donors.

    • You know what? St. Maria Goretti is the one who had the right idea. I will simply follow her instead of the “credentialed” folk.

  14. I gave up on Crisis a year or so ago. Zmirak tweeted a link to an article about rampant pedophilia at a boarding school up north. The day after I read that, Crisis published an article authored by one of the administrators of said school. The subject? The benefits of sending your teenage boy to a boarding school. Voicing concern in the comments got me banned.

  15. I am neither a rape victim nor have I ever engaged in fornication, but I still find the case of St. Maria Goretti to be confusing. It doesn’t help that no one is willing to explain it.

    Engaging in fornication is a voluntary act of the will. Being raped is, by definition, not voluntary and therefore not sinful. So how can St. Maria be said to have “avoided sin?” What sin was she avoiding?

    • Being raped against your will is one thing, but the attacker wasn’t interested in just raping her against her will. He wanted her to consent to the act. He wanted her public consent of the will.

    • Virginity / purity is something precious in itself. The most venerated woman in the Church is a perpetual virgin; one would think that Catholics might have an easier time understanding the value of purity than others; but feminist Catholics have had their minds darkened by their feminist worldview.

      Even when a rapist takes a woman’s purity by force, it remains the case that something very precious has been lost forever. Women who have given away their own purity for free – even if they later repented, married, etc – can be expected to have a difficult time grasping and accepting this, despite the hyperdulia which they owe the Blessed Virgin.

    • Maybe it would help to look at the full scope of her story. She didn’t just resist her attacker’s advances, causing his murderous fury. Yes, she was entirely pure, devout and innocent – saintly – and that’s very beautiful, but if it was followed by nothing else she wouldn’t have been canonized. She went on to show unspeakable mercy for her attacker by forgiving him on her deathbed, wanted him to know God’s perfect mercy by converting, and caused his conversion during his time in jail by visiting him; she has brought about many miracles for those devoted to her, etc. etc. It’s a very beautiful story when the whole thing is told.

  16. According to Mrs. Fisher:
    “They (saints) are in love with living human beings, not in love with virtue in the abstract. They are focused not on the idea of morality, but on the person whose life and safety (whether physical or spiritual) are at stake.

    I wonder if Mrs. Fisher would prefer that Shakespeare’s Isabella, from Measure for Measure, give up her virginity to save her brother’s life?

    • She contradicts herself between sentence one and sentence two. The “idea of morality” has everything to do with the spiritual life and safety of an individual. So, so, so mixed up. And these are the people leading the Novus Ordo Catholics around by the nose.

  17. Good stuff Steve. keep at ’em. Love the pic of the crazed Mark Shea. The overall thought that occurs to me is that the Liberal Catholic Church led by Pope Francis is in full scale retreat before the secular world with many parts of it having already surrendered and joined the opposition. Only Traditional and Conservative Catholics are in aggressive attack mode led mostly by folks like yourself Steve. Fortunately for those of us who remain in the fight we have Our Lady of Fatima as our heavenly support.

  18. All I can is that I am very happy that I stumbled upon your blog.
    The kind of demonic ideas that Shimek proposes will always be around, so we count on you to keep up the fight.

  19. Of course feminists despise St. Maria Goretti. Her martyrdom for purity offends against their basic view of the world and of themselves in ways they cannot even articulate.

    • Oh! You make me smile! The comments here are just the best. Thinking Catholics making thinking statements. Wish we could all sit down and have a glass of wine or ale or mead together.

    • I’m not a feminist and name of Goretti annoys the crap out of me. Why? Because, as a survivor of sexual abuse, I see her canonization and the cult surrounding her focusing on the fact that she didn’t allow the rape. Well, what of the rest of us, who were too little to fight off our rapists? Or too frightened, frozen with fear? Did I lose my holiness when I was violated? Where are the raped saints? Why don’t we have any? Show me one, and I will shut the hell up about Maria Goretti, and so will many others…but I bet you won’t be able to find one..single..canonized saint who has the words “victim of rape” next to her name.

      • That makes no sense. I am quite certain that I would not handle being roasted alive with aplomb, but that doesn’t make the cult of St Lawrence annoying.

        Examples can be multiplied of course, and some of them would be real and personal; but the common feature is that they are saints and I am not, and everything is not about me.

        • How could Goretti have died to keep from sinning when there is NO SIN IN BEING RAPED? She did not die for her chastity. She died trying to convince Serenelli to preserve his. The only person made “impure” by a rape is the rapist. Why is this so hard for you to get?

          • Here is what you miss – I will illustrate it from an example that affects men, more, since you seem fixated on the gender dynamics.

            Cowardice, is a sin. It is not a sin simply to be afraid on a battle-field, but on a battle-field, there are certain threats to virtue that will be difficult to face. Likewise, in a martyrdom. It is not a sin to be murdered, but in the face of physical and mental fear, one can be tempted to waver, and all could be lost.

            It is not a sin to be raped, but in a rape, the integrity of the body and soul can be violated, and, for the woman especially, the possibility of even an involuntary sympathy or yielding to the threats to virtue and integrity of soul on that front, are also a matter of prudent concern. The integrity of our bodies and souls is a precious thing, and we are always betraying the castle of our hearts from within its own city walls in exchange for mere trinkets, let alone resisting an array of purposeful siege engines! This self-awareness should be central to any Catholic’s spiritual life.

          • “… in a rape, the integrity of the body and soul can be violated, and, for the woman especially, the possibility of even an involuntary sympathy or yielding to the threats to virtue and integrity of soul on that front, are also a matter of prudent concern…”

            Translation: “involuntary sympathy” means “all women really are sluts, and when they’re raped they’re only pretending to be terrified, disgusted, traumatized. They really get off on it.”

            Remaining alive is a “mere trinket,” because Good girls don’t obey a guy holding a knife to their throat because they’re trying to stay alive; they do it because they’re sluts.

            And, you really think every minute of every day of a woman’s life should be a “battlefield,” where she should expect to be raped at any second? That constant threat, constant hiding should be women’s lives? Why aren’t you Muslim, then? Not only do they have compulsory veiling, you also get to do honor killings (if the “defiled” don’t kill themselves first, of course.)

          • May the unstained heart of the Virgin obtain for you the graces necessary and profitable for your salvation.

      • St. Maria Goretti is a shining beacon of heroic virtue as a model for our sexualized culture. Recall that heroic virtue is not possible in human nature, it comes only from the Strength of God. St. Maria Goretti had that, and that is why God called her to be such a model by being canonized, as confirmed by two saint popes. She should not be suppressed because of grave sins committed against you. Pray the rosary to Our Lady the Immaculate Conception to help.

        • Nah. Not suppressing her, just annoyed by her. Y’all can emulate the saints you want, I’ll emulate the saints I want.

          Actually, I think I’m more annoyed by all the people who idolize her virginity more than they pay homage to her love for her attacker, which caused her to resist unto death.

          Blessed Laura Vicuna (“n” has a tilda over it, can’t make my keyboard obey) doesn’t annoy me. I don’t think she was ever raped, but she constantly fought off the advances of her would-be rapist, who was luckily a drunkard.

        • Goretti’s story has absolutely nothing to do with sex. Goretti was not attracted to Serenelli in any way. She was called to chastity, for one thing, and also we have ample evidence she had repeatedly told her clueless parents she was being stalked by a creepy predator. She begged them to not leave her alone, but they did anyway. (Maybe we need to make her parents anti-saints.) Goretti’s death was solely about keeping Serenelli from sin. Goretti herself was never at risk of sinning against chastity and would not have done so even if she had been raped. She is an heroic saint, but she died trying to prevent someone else’s sin, not her own. Rape. Victims. Are. Not. Sluts. If you cannot get this simple fact, you’ll never succeed as a Catholic. To project vicarious guilt on to victims of violence is demonic. Worshipping mere hymens is idolatry. By presuming to condemn victims of rape you are condemning yourself.

          • “Goretti’s death was solely about keeping Serenelli from sin.”

            That’s absolutely bonkers, since Serenelli sinned merely by conceiving in his heart the intention to rape, a sin not at all mitigated by his failure to consummate that intention.

          • She also said other things, like “God does not want it!”

            Are you prepared to dismiss as annoying the various Roman virgin-martyrs who had no problem submitting to the mutilation of others as punishment for refusing to surrender their virginity?

      • You are correct. Some make it sound like there are several valid choices in this type of situation. There are not. While certainly excusable given the circumstances, in the standard narrative St. Maria clearly made the wrong one. When faced with force she should have protected her life, not some notion of purity which in this situation she did not stand to lose anyway.

        The point is not details of what happened over a century ago though, it is how it has been spun and abused by a certain type of confused Catholic, all too common since at least the time of St. Jerome, who views virginity as intrinsically meritorious because it means lack of sex. The correct view has nothing to do with sex per-se, rather it means a single vocation devoted to, as St. Paul said, “things of the Lord”. For those with that gift virginity is appropriate.

        This perverted view of sex leaves us with the unfortunate situation of the Catholic Church lauding actions which are not that far in substance from a terminally ill cancer patient seeking physician assisted suicide – choosing death instead of suffering or loss.

        Best to leave this as a brave girl who did what she could, but her actions that can serve as examples are only the initial resistance and forgiving her attacker afterwards.

        • Yes of course the point is not the details. Why would we need the truth about what happened to Maria? Of course the truth might make your words seem crass…

          • The truth is Goretti told Serenelli, “YOU will go to hell!” She did not say “we” or “I.” The idea that she was somehow equating being raped with a loss of her own chastity is the LIE. Linking St. Goretti with chastity makes no sense, never did, and is an act of great cruelty toward survivors of rape. Goretti died trying to keep a brother soul from committing grave sin. Someday — soon, Dear God — she will rightfully be described as the patron of forgiveness and those who are or who work with repentant violent criminals. Her chastity was never at risk and never would have been affected even if she had been raped. (Read St. Augustine on that one.) The sinful, idolatrous obsession with mere hymens is to order rape survivors to commit suicide. This cruel, disgusting, destructive “tradition” is demonic, and should have been rectified and condemned by the Church decades ago. Goretti’s death was exploited and co-opted by the woman-hating, woman-fearing, psychotic Hymen Cult to punish victims of violence for sins we have never committed. Raped women are not worthless “damaged goods.” Women are not merely vaginas and wombs to be rated and used by men depending upon their “cherry condition.” Using Goretti’s heroism to promote the suicide of rape victims is one of the worst things this Church has ever done — and everyone knows how long that list is. Stop putting hatred in God’s mouth. Stop cooperating with the destruction of victims of violence. Stop perpetuating this ugly, demonic lie.

          • Your anger (or self-righteousness?) seems almost militant. I usually find that if I am feeling a certain level of it, I should examine my own mental and emotional state to see what needs adjustment. St. Maria Goretti desired that her killer not go to hell, as well as that her physical purity be preserved. You almost make it seem as if she did not personally care whether she was raped or not. This, to me, is so far out of the realm of what any young girl in her position would be feeling that I must call you on it. No one is suggesting that raped women are worthless, or damaged goods. That seems to be in your mind, not mine.

          • Almost militant? I fight for justice and for the Church every day.

            Stop putting your hate into God’s mouth. STOP CALLING RAPE VICTIMS IMPURE. Every time you do, you make yourself a rapist. You’re a danger to any girl who comes near you. Keep your pro-suicide poison in your own mind.

          • The sad thing about you, is that you are obviously trolling — which does no service to women who have been raped, molested, assaulted. As a woman, a daughter, sister, mother, and grandmother, I assure you I have seen more than my fair share of how women sometimes suffer. You embarrass yourself and your sex.

          • You’re not almost militant. You’re actively militant. You’re willfully not listening to the incredibly patient and measured responses you’re receiving. I’m sorry you’re so angry. I have multiple rape victims in my immediate circle of family and friends, but I’ve never seen anything like what you’re doing here. It must have been awful for you.

            But I don’t need you here spewing your presumptuous bile at our readers. If you can’t rein it in, I’m going to do it for you. Respectful discourse or none at all.

        • Yes, let’s leave this as a “brave girl who did what she could”, forgave her attacker on her deathbed, caused this bitter, unrepentant sinner’s conversion in his jail cell (he would later be called to testify on behalf of her canonization, unheard of), a girl who has performed many miracles, continuing to this day. Just a “brave girl who did what she could”.

          • I’d agree, except that far, far too many people are exploiting Goretti’s story as a way to encourage rape victims to commit suicide — or feel guilty for having survived. Look at these comments and at how many people equate being a rape victim with being sinful.

          • It looks to me as if you are stuck in a false dichotomy. Being a rape victim is (of course!) not sinful. Being raped is terrible: it is an objective violation of sexual purity, by definition against the will of the victim. If it were not an objective violation of sexual purity then there wouldn’t be any reason to treat it as the terrible crime that it is.

            Violation of sexual purity is terrible in itself, even when done consensually. Done against the will of the rape victim makes it doubly so.


          • So, rape victims aren’t guilty, they’re just “defiled.” Defile this, idolator. If hymen busting is the only thing that makes a crime bad, I guess it’s OK if I take your car and stab you 14 times in the process, right? (By the way, Jesus was very likely raped immediately before the Crucifixion. By your “logic,” he would be defiled and therefore no longer a perfect sacrifice. So much for that whole Salvation deal, eh? Sending you all sorts of SURVIVOR COOTIES! Guess what! Rape survivors can sit next to people on buses and perform surgery and serve you food in restaurants! Ooooo, icky!

          • You can use the pejorative term ‘defiled’ if you like, though it isn’t a term I used. Rape victims have undeniably lost something objectively important, have had a terrible crime perpetrated against them. The rage coming through in your comments seems if anything to indicate that we actually agree about that.

          • That “loss” is not a justification for suicide. The “loss” suffered during sexual assault is not DEADLY. Rape victims are not permanently “ruined.” Yes, believe it or not, life as a rape survivor is worth living. (For one thing, it helps drive off weirdos obsessed with some sort of bizarre physical “purity.”) You do know that every instance of masturbation in which you’ve engaged makes you far, far more “impure” than anything every inflicted on a rape survivor, right? So, why are you still alive? Your interpretation of Goretti’s death is that it was a justifiable suicide (because little girls are more powerful than men with knives, apparently.) If “sexual impurity” justifies committing suicide, why are you still alive?

          • That “loss” is not a justification for suicide. The “loss” suffered during sexual assault is not DEADLY. Rape victims are not permanently “ruined.”

            Of course, of course, and of course.

            Your interpretation of Goretti’s death is that it was a justifiable suicide …

            You might consider doing more listening and less attempted mind reading. Goretti’s death is (also of course) not suicide — she did not kill herself.

            This post about supposedly (but not actually) contracepting nuns is pertinent:


          • And, there’s the reason you’re here. Trying to drive people to your site. Stop wasting everyone’s time with your spam.

          • This is an old thread which gets almost no traffic, so I’d have to actually be as dumb as you apparently think I am, if I were posting here to create blog traffic.

            I’m here because you sent me an email by replying to my old comments in this thread. If you don’t actually want to discuss a subject with folks, you might consider refraining from sending them notifications by replying to their Disqus comments.

            But again, it is up to you.

          • And, you’ve still not explained how Christ could have been made “impure” and still been a Perfect Sacrifice.

          • First, the contention that Christ was raped is both historically dubious and, in any case, quite irrelevant.

            Second, you seem highly offended by the term ‘purity’. Perhaps the word ‘integrity’ would be more amenable. Rape undeniably violates the sexual integrity of the victim. This is, of course, not the fault of the victim: it is the fault of the perpetrator. But that the sexual violation involved in rape is objectively real should be an easy thing to concede, whatever vocabulary one prefers.

          • That “loss” is none of your business. You don’t get to celebrate, endorse, feel-relieved-by the death of a female human because your obsession with her supposed “impurity” makes you feel icky. There is no “loss” suffered by a rape victim that means she would be better off dead. If Goretti was not fighting for her would-be rapist’s soul, then her death is meaningless. There is no loss in rape that is worth dying for. Stop going around in circles. Admit it. You want rape victims dead because we make you nervous. (And, you still haven’t explained why you’re still alive, even though you’re sexually impure.)

          • We don’t actually ‘celebrate’ the murders of martyrs like St. Maria Goretti. We celebrate their heroic virtue.

          • Why is the defilement of Christ’s body “irrelevant.” Scripture’s quite clear that he was violated, tortured, and, especially, humiliated. The male Greco-Roman obsession with anal rape as a way of showing dominance against other men means it was far more likely than not that Christ was raped. Therefore, in your mind, “impure.” If not, then why? Because he’s not female, right? Admit it. You think only women are made impure by rape. In fact, you hate women so much, you don’t even think rapists are as impure (hey, they’re dominant, which is good, in your mind, right?) to nearly the same degree as a “ruined” woman. Please take a vow of celibacy. No woman needs a man like you in her life.

          • Admit it. You think only women are made impure by rape. In fact, you hate women so much, you don’t even think rapists are as impure …

            It is up to you, but you really should consider the possibility that not everyone fits your cartoon stereotypes.

          • Two things:

            1) Whether your suspicions about your interlocutor are correct or not, it is still the case that you obviously have plenty of hate and anger, which you need to set aside. Forget about how bad he is, and think about how bad you are. Mea maxima culpa, we say, not sua maxima culpa. Then, resolve to change it.

            2) The ancient canons of the Church disbarred male rape victims from admittance to the clergy, precisely because they understood that the sexual wound, the loss of sexual integrity and wholeness, was profound and rendered the man’s vessel broken, defiled and unworthy for service at the altar. Everybody understands that a violation of one’s sexual integrity is a profound tragedy.

            That said, man and woman respond differently to rape – just for starters, it is unnatural for a man to be penetrated and passive, so there is nothing natural or pleasant in the act that would attract him, whereas at least in the woman’s case the mechanics and some element of the interior dynamic (wherein she is passive and ravished) are according to nature, meaning that there is some danger of involuntary sympathy with the act on her part. Some of the early women-martyrs spoke of this and, as St. Augustine mentions when discussing the sack of Roman cities by barbarians, they even threw themselves off of cliffs rather than risk experiencing any kind of involuntary sympathy with their violators’ crime upon them.

            The metaphor of integrity, or “continence” (literally “containing-ness,” “not-leaking-ness”), which are in fact the terms Holy Tradition uses for such sexual matters, are good ones. For example, traditionally even men would not commune, or serve at Mass, after even so much as a nocturnal emission. The Church has historically called upon the people to fast from sex whenever they fast from food, and also on the day before and after Communion (something mentioned in the Catechism of Trent, and ubiquitous in traditional sources before then). The traditional word used in moral theological books for a man’s ejaculation brought about by impure thoughts or stimuli, is “a pollution.” So, if for example I dwell on impure thoughts and then have a nocturnal emission, acknowledging this to be somewhat my fault, I will tell the priest “I suffered a pollution, through my own fault.” Yes, we believe men can lose purity, too! So, this idea that only women are rendered impure by sexual matters, is all in your head. Stop burning your bra for a minute, and instead seek to burn away your sins and passions.

            So, to sum up: the Holy Tradition understands that both the male and female body are defiled by rape or sexual events, even in more or less involuntary acts; it also understands that the possibility of some interior sympathy with impurity in a rape, however involuntary, is more likely in the case of women, and this makes the tragedy all the more poignant in their case. You should try letting go of the perverse, Feminist defensiveness, and allow yourself the tranquility of simply being a person who can see the situation as a Catholic first, and as an embittered harridan last. That is the liberty of a Catholic – not a Liberty from bad feelz, but from pointlessly bad feelz brought on by superfluous, ideological baggage. Lose it and see life peacefully, in all its simultaneous futility and fecundity.

            Finally, for what it’s worth: it is blasphemous in the extreme to imply that our Lord subjected Himself to such indignities. His Passion was voluntary; He willed every bit of it; He did not will that; no Saint ever implied it, nor did the Scriptures, nor did any of the visionaries who were given to see all of His Passion (Saint Brigid, Anne Catherine Emmerich, etc.). Fear, with Holy Fear, to assert such a thing where thousands of holier and wiser souls have had no such thing to say.

        • How very sad a response. From what I recall, St. Maria had already decided to give herself to Our Lord, to offer her virginity to Him and be His bride. Not everyone has their rapist branding a blade and threatening to kill them if they didn’t give in. Some of us were just forced due to men being physically stronger than women. There is no sin in that. I am a survivor of rape myself and love St. Maria for her love of purity, modesty and holiness…even to death. What a blessed way to die…to protect the purity, virtue and gift you had pledged to Our Lord. She had that gift available to her and took it:+)

          Choosing an early savage death was not avoiding suffering…she had no way to know she would die from the wounds. I think our world needs to regain the beauty and gift of virginity, purity and modesty…of virtue. And as victims of rape, we can begin to be examples of the greatness of Our God who heals and restores all:+) Working with a Christ centered counselor and attending the “From Grief to Grace” retreat helped me heal. I hope it helps all women harmed by sexual abuse to heal and follow the virtue and example of beloved St. Maria:+) God bless~

      • Do you know the circumstances? Do you know how old Maria was at the time? Do you know what injuries she sustained? Please tell me you are simply ignorant and would not have written what you did knowing the facts.

      • Oh honey:+( It sounds like you need some serious healing from your rape. Please look into a Christ centered counselor or check in with Dr. Theresa Burke’s ministry called “From Grief to Grace”. I too was raped and I absolutely LOVE St. Maria Goretti. She has a different circumstance than us, that’s all. There is no sin on our part for not being able to ward off our attacker. If anything, St. Maria has helped me value purity, modesty, and holiness even more…and has made me grateful for the healing restoration God has done in my life:+)

        I don’t know all of the lives of the saints, but I know they all went thru some horrific experiences…so it wouldn’t surprise me if some were raped. It just might be that Our Lord is calling you and I to be saints for Him in this area, yes?

        Seek healing and find His peace…and maybe our beloved St. Maria will become your patron saint:+) God bless~

          • Then go after it:+) Look up the retreats I mentioned…work with a Christ centered counselor who (via Practicing the Presence of Our Lord) will bring Him directly into what happened to you. Only the Divine Healer can heal us up:+) I worked with a Christ centered counselor who did wonders for me in this area. Her name is Dr. Kim West. I think her website is

            It’s worth getting free and whole again:+) May St. Maria Goretti guide you to that hope, healing and peace-filled future:+) God bless~

          • St. Augustine or St. Agnes would be better “guides” for rape survivors. The people who should appeal to Goretti are rapists, repentant criminals of all kinds, or anyone dealing with issues of forgiveness.

        • Why would Goretti cause you to value purity when her purity was never at risk, and would not have been affected even if she had been raped? What you’re saying makes absolutely no sense. Goretti’s death is about sacrificing for others and foregiveness. Why do people keep bringing sex into it? The only person whose chastity was at risk was Serenelli’s.

      • There is at least one patron for rape survivors — St. Agnes. She was ultimately martyred when her father/rapist caught up with her after she fled to another country. (She was revealed by her generosity, which had become the stuff of local legend.) She was eventually murdered by her rapist/father, but she did her best to survive, including getting the hell out of Dodge. Another patron is St. Augustine, IMO, who was vehement in his instruction to nuns raped during the fall of Rome that they were not “better off dead” (it was Roman custom for rape victims to commit suicide) and specifically states that rape victims are not guilty of any sin against purity. In fact, the Catholic Church (up until the exploitation of Goretti’s canonization by a corrupt, idolatrous magisterium) usually fights for rape victims to continue to be thought of as “virgins,” even if their culture says they are damaged goods and would be better off dead. This is one reason I have hope that the Goretti heresy will eventually be corrected. Claiming that Goretti would have been guilty of sin if she had been raped (and, when the truth of her story makes all too clear that she was fighting for Serenelli’s virtue, not her own, which was not at risk in the first place) is to disagree with centuries of Catholic tradition and with a Doctor of the Church. The hymen idolators go on and on about how they’re the True Catholics, yet they have no idea what the Church teaches and has taught for centuries about rape. It sure as hell isn’t that rape victims are guilty of sin or better off dead. I hope and pray that the Goretti heresy will be corrected soon.

    • She did not die for her purity. She died for Serenelli’s. Stop calling rape victims sinners. Stop committing idolatry by worshipping mere hymens. Stop allowing a demonic obsession with physical virginity to pollute you and make you a destructive force in the world. When you call rape victims sinful you’re committing an act of Satanic worship.

  20. I could be wrong, but I get the sense that many of these feminist Catholic women view marriage as a kind of blanket permission slip to be a non-virgin: the temporal consequences of their own premarital indiscretions are in their view erased by marriage: so of course there is no value in virginity or purity per se, to the extent that even when it is taken away from a woman involuntarily by rape something precious – something so precious as to be worth dying for it – has been lost.

    I mean, if there were something that precious or valuable in virginity or purity per se we would expect the most venerated woman in the Church to be a perpetual virgin.

  21. You’ll find the closer you get to naming the consistent and clear truth of situations that you will be anathematized by those claiming Catholic superiority. Expect more of the same, Steve, not less.

    Especially if you’re kind about it with those who should be your friends.

  22. Steve writes, “The fact is, the more openly I became concerned with the actions of the Francis pontificate, the more vilified I (and by extension, this publication) became.” He knows, of course, that there are huge numbers of us who respect and admire him and this publication.

  23. All the true Catholic intellectuals are on our side, that is, all those who can lay claim to a deep and penetrating study of the perennial philosophy that under-girds the True Faith see the importance of what 1Peter5 is doing. That is one of the most encouraging signs that this “movement” will be perpetuated, the other side’s “dernier cri” notwithstanding.

  24. Mr. John Paul S., for the good (or the demolishing) of his intertwining, convoluted matrix of masculinity and homosexuality needs to spend an evening reading Scot Lively’s *The Pink Swastika*.

    Yet he most likely has and has disallowed and discarded the bare facts; that his notions weren’t invented in his head or his precious little experiences.

    Mr. S.,
    I’m calling you out.

  25. Hi Steve,
    Thank you for the article. I was a bit disappointed with the picture though. I am sure you had your reasons. It just didn’t seem to match the import of the article.
    Continuing to pray for your incredibly important work.

  26. Legends in their own lunchtime, Steve. Their fame clocks are at 14 minutes and 57 seconds.

    Blogging can be dangerous, especially when readership numbers swell bringing with them a sort of pseudo-fame. Heads swell in proportion to the readership numbers, then egos swell then it degenerates into squabbles similar to those of the Apostles when they were arguing among themselves about who was the greatest.

    “Mirror, mirror on the wall…………who’s the greatest blogger of them all?”

    Carry on with the good work, Steve.

    • Well, please pray that I do not suffer the same fate. Our audience has grown to a surprising size, and I need always to remember that it’s entirely in God’s hands whether we keep it. I hope to only use our influence well.

  27. Yes, Mr. Shimek once wrote for Catholic World Report, which I edit. All of his pieces appeared prior to his open apologias for homosexuality (or at least prior to my knowledge of them). He has not written for CWR since last October (he did some reporting for CWR during the Synod) and he will not be writing for CWR again. His statements in recent months are outrageous. Just wanted to be clear on that count. And just recently I had a little dust-up with him on Facebook about Cardinal Sarah and liturgical orientation. Let’s just say that Mr. Shimek is very confused about many things relating to orientation. Pax, Carl E. Olson (Editor, CWR)

    • Thank you, Carl. I think he fooled a lot of people, and built the credibility for his (originally subtle) heterodoxy on the strength of his writing CV.

      I know he won’t be writing for Catholic Vote anymore either, and I assume the Register is done with him. Wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the same thing with Crisis.

  28. We call them feminazi’s where I’m from – they are very sad and we should pray for them.

  29. “No doubt many of these writers have seen diminished influence as more and more people wake up..”

    If we continue to “throw truth in the face of lies” then this Catholic awakening can only grow and grow. Keep up the great work, Steve!

  30. After several days I continue to marvel at the response Austin Ruse’s article garnered. When I first dropped in over there the other day it had eighteen comments – now it has 711. A testament to the heroism of virtue, of heroic chastity no less. A verdict on the fallen
    state of contemporary Roman Catholicism of the deconstructionist mode.
    It does truly upset the heterodox, of whatever stripe, to see conformity to Christ preferred to all else. It unmasks us.
    Maria Goretti, Therese Martin, Dominic Savio, Jacinta Marto, Francisco Marto, Jose Maria Sanchez, Teresa Quevedo, the list goes on of children with a virile fortitude upheld by the
    love of their Lord.
    Where is it to be found amongst us Roman Catholics today?

  31. I’ll repeat here what I said on Crisis where the Ruse post appeared in full. We simply do not have the time to pull out rhetorical nuclear weapons to use on other Catholics sites and writers that may not be in full accord with 1P. I’ve followed Aletia for a long time and have found many articles delightful – including some by Ms Fisher. The present management there does not share my very negative view of Francis – at least not uniformly. But is it time to argue that some of Aletia’s authors write for an audience of lesbian atheists as implied by Ruse? I don’t think so. And if Aletia isn’t coming down hard on Francis, many of their readers are – check the comments. I don’t see the Goretti dispute being so simple especially when one considers that the fate of the murderer is central to the power of the narrative. When I first joined the Church and was advised to get a subscription to Commonweal and America I was astounded by the depth of the civil war in the American Church. I’ve never felt that Aletia has ever been in the same boat. (If nothing else they often have articles from Philip Jenkins who is one of the country’s best historians.)

    I certainly agree that Francis is on the wrong road. I have no doubt that many of his supporters would make Mother Church something like the mainline Protestant denominations – dying in an embrace with decadent secularism. But when you’re in a battle, be very careful to avoid making an enemy out of an nation with which you have some differences. Nobody wants the Francis challenge to end up being over things like which way the priest is supposed to face.

    • You are, then, in favor of going along to get along? The very thing that has contributed so greatly to the ignorance and poor formation of so many Catholics? So much so that many will follow Francis off the cliff? Your own rhetoric, accusing 1P5 of using “rhetorical nuclear weapons” is inflammatory.

    • But when you’re in a battle, be very careful to avoid making an enemy out of an nation with which you have some differences.

      This is sound advice. None of this is edifying.

      But the Aleteia writers pretty much already despise Steve and 1P5 to begin with (just look at their social media feeds). And yes, the animus is similarly high against Crsis, albeit for somewhat different reasons.

  32. I couldn’t read all the way through Ruse’s article. The repeated references to St. John Paul II as “the Great,” were nauseating to me. Koran kissing and the scandal and sacrilege that took place at the Assisi prayer conferences, among other things, are what produced the Shea’s, Longernecker’s and Fisher’s who Mr. Ruse bemoans; not to mention the Dolan’s, Mahony’s and Schonborn’s we are are left to deal with as well.

  33. Nothing says Christian charity like branding a fellow Catholic’s work a “particular brand of smug, virtue signalling, quasi-heterodox Catholicism.”

      • Putting aside the fact you aren’t Christ and Aleteia falls short of a brood of vipers, the problem is you can’t write “smug virtue signaling quasi-heterodox Catholicism” without sounding smug. The writer in you knows this.

        • I’m not Christ, but neither have I exceeded Him in my epithets. And Aleteia may not all be a brood of vipers, but the ex-Patheos crowd is.

          As for my descriptor, I can’t find better language for the condescending twaddle Scalia peddles under the auspices of thoughtfulness. I didn’t mention how many thousands of words she uses to express what could be accomplished in far less.

          She reminds me of a tenured public high school English teacher who can’t be fired but would never otherwise be employed. I can’t fathom why Aleteia, which was a promising Catholic outlet, brought her on.

          • I can’t fathom why Alethis, which was a promising Catholic outlet, brought her on.

            The bylines she got at National Review (where the main Catholic standby is Kathryn Jean Lopez, with all that implies) probably helped – gave the impression of some mainstream cachet. But mostly, I think it was personal connections.

  34. Could it be that both sides have a point and neither is exactly wrong? What I mean by this is; could the disagreement between the “opposing” views of her sainthood boil down to a modern disagreement about what is virtuous? How does sexual purity jibe with love of God and love of neighbor?
    St. Maria Goretti viewed sexual purity as a virtue, and to most people in modern society, this is incomprehensible. Purity in this sense, a gift back to God, of the sexual self is an unfathomable idea to those awash in a “sexified” culture, where the sexual act has become more a leisure activity or an intramural sport, than a spiritually and emotionally powerful, (and sometimes dangerous,) entity.

    Purity? Why would someone die for purity? That is a question we need to better answer, rather than scoff at the majority who don’t understand. (“Because it is virtuous” is not sufficient)

    • Well I think the Aleteia side is wrong simply because they neither understand what the virtue of purity is nor that is is most pleasing to God.

      • You have just perpetuated the circular argument without explaining why it is a virtue, and so, why it is most pleasing to God.
        Fischer, for her part, is on to something of the truth in that part of the virtuousness of purity is that impurity damages the soul of the one with whom we are impure.
        That all do not see this, may be stubbornness, but what seems more likely, in my experience, is that they do not understand. The burden is then on us for a better explaination.

        Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”
        Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.

        They are, in fact, often blind to this idea

        • Fischer, for her part, is on to something of the truth in that part of the virtuousness of purity is that impurity damages the soul of the one with whom we are impure.

          Sure, being impure with another person adds insult to injury, if you will. But solo impure acts are also mortally sinful.

          And sainthood isn’t really about “less bad than the other leading brand”.

          • I’m not sure that’s accurate; it seems it is worse to lead others into sin than to simply fall into sin alone.

            Temptations to Sin.
            a He said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur.
            It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.

            This does not absolve sin, clearly, but it does show Fischer is partly right, why not do our best to show her the rest of the way?

          • “Better” and “worse” is not what is at issue.

            The attempt to suggest that Goretti’s sacrifice for the sake of her own purity was not meritorious qua sacrifice for the sake of her own purity isn’t “partially true”: it is flatly false.

          • Part of her purity was her concern for the fate of another’s soul, this can’t be separated from the whole of purity, but is a part.

            Thus she is on to a part of the truth

          • 12
            “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.”

            We all see only in part, even if we think we “know” fully. Some have better understanding, others less so…..St Paul knew more than most, yet only part

            Again, she knows part of what that purity means and misses the more complete meaning. you may know purity more clearly than she, but still, only partially

          • Sure, nobody (outside of the asylum) is wrong about everything all the time. That doesn’t make her any ‘less wrong’ about the specific point.

        • Children are pure in a way that requires no explaining to them. With adolescence, of course, comes the temptation to impurity. But puberty is after all a temptation, an urge, yet not really much more than an urge, to turn from a virginal state that is real and not at all sentimental to sin. Understanding virtue, it may be, is not a matter of explanation (thank goodness). One may leave Eden. It’s been done. . . . But abandon the memory of Eden?

          Is the child that he or she was ever truly forgotten by the adolescent he or she becomes? I cannot believe that. The guilt that adolescents feel in their sexual explorations is not an artifact of acculturation or religion but simply natural to conscience. A great deal of persistent, deliberate, and unstinting effort must be expended by those who teach children, adolescents, and adults to instill in them a preference for impurity.

          • it is up to us to reacquaint and explain the beauty of purity….better than we have, because I’m still waiting for that articulation that makes me say “yeah, that’s it!!” Even though I sense it inside.
            A priest friend of mine, who entered the priesthood later in life, after “living” a life outside the church, put part of this re-education as having to undergo deformation before he could undergo priestly formation. Do not underestimate the difficulty of this, it is not unlike an addiction or entering an alien world. This is why so many do not get it…it is not out of obstinance.

          • I’ll just note that the fact that someone is flatly wrong is entirely distinct subject from what will or will not help them understand just how wrong they are and why.

            If someone insists that 2+2=5 it may be impossible to convince them that they are wrong, for reasons as varied as there are human beings and their various failings and limitations.

            But the truth isn’t about them; it doesn’t depend upon whether or not they are convinced of the truth or even sane; and they are in fact wrong.

        • There is nothing circular about my stating that they simply do not understand. But otherwise I agree with you, we need to be able to explain it to them.

        • Good morning, Veritas,

          To satisfy your own apparent frustration about what you suggest to be a lack of “understanding” on the part of the masses, reflected in your final supposition here, “…but what seems more likely, in my experience, is that they do not understand”, see the first chapter of Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans (18-32), which adapts itself so prophetically well to our now fully circular, neo-pagan culture, a point from which there is no departure but directly into the bowels of hell, save from Divine intervention. At least the pagans from antiquity worshipped deities apart from their own immanence. This culture in so much of its ethos, literally believes itself to be God and as a direct and existential manifestation of this unutterable hubris which fully rejects grace, that which is both freely given and completely undeserved, the intellect is profoundly darkened and in spite of that, there will be no excuse. There can be no excuse as souls do go to hell and as so many of the greatest Saints have proclaimed over the centuries, that will be the majority of souls. May Almighty God have mercy on us. In caritas.

    • Squishy, but nice try. It would seem you are discounting, at least somewhat, the natural law imparted to us by God. Not only that, but St. Maria Goretti was 11 years old. I’m not sure she knew the finer theological points regarding purity and chastity in all their levels. Also, and speaking (sadly) from experience, one has a much keener understanding of purity once one has lost it. I simply do not believe that most modern people are unable to comprehend that sexual purity is a virtue. If that were so, child sexual abuse would be considered normal–and this is just what some on the fringe would have us believe.

      • If you don’t believe this is true about modern people, you are sadly sheltered. Get out and have heart to heart conversations with them…it IS true, unfortunately. As C.S. Lewis said “you don’t realize you are asleep until you wake up” and so it is with these.

        • And again, the reasons why various people are ignorant or deluded are as varied as the population of human beings is varied.

          It may be true, as you suggest, that their ignorance and delusion runs deep and is very difficult to penetrate.

          But that doesn’t make them any less wrong.

          • I’ll agree….but it is our commission to show them the truth, in a way they can understand, and in a merciful way….. ( it is one of the works of mercy, scorn and snark, however are not works of mercy)

          • I don’t know who this “our” is. Different people have different callings. I am sure that someone probably has the specific calling to try to convince self-righteous self-promoting lecturing Internet feminists that they are wrong, but I’m pretty sure that isnt everyone’s calling.

            If you feel that it is yours, though, then more power to you. I’ll be interested to see you work your magic in the cited pundits’ comboxes.

          • Based on your answer it would appear that your view of a calling is to be self-righteous in your own special way. You might consider “go and make disciples of all nations” or “instruct the ignorant” these are what all followers of Jesus are called to…spread the Good News.

            Alternatively, you could continue to choose “I thank you Lord, that I am not like other people…like that tax collector”

          • Does that mean that you aren’t going to link to your own work where you try to convince these bloggers that they are wrong and persuade them to believe the truth? Or does it mean that you didn’t actually mean that that is what “we” are called to do when you said it?

          • That’s because I don’t disagree other than to point out to you that you are oblivious to how lost some people are. They have no idea what you are talking about because they long ago went off the path and have no idea which direction is back….even those looking to find their way.

            And that fringe who would make child sexual abuse normal is not as fringe as it used to be….this is part of my point.

            Given this, it does not surprise me that even the faithful have difficulty seeing the virtue of true purity since they have rarely if ever seen it lived out

  35. To what do we attribute this visceral reaction to Saint Maria Goretti’s “martyr for virginity” status? Could it due — at least in part — to the fact that this generation was formed in the phenomenological oddity of “the Theology of the Body”?

    Or might it have more to do with the fact that many people have simply assimilated some of the fundamental presuppositions of the sexual revolution without accepting it completely?

  36. “For those Catholics who take the most pleasure in scorn and derision aimed at anyone who loves the Church’s traditions and is concerned with the current crisis in the Church — a crisis which has deepened exponentially under Pope Francis — one wonders why they bother identifying as Catholic at all? If orthodoxy and tradition are irritants; if their unorthodox viewpoints are in “ascendancy in the age of the Francis revolution,” how can we even claim to profess the same faith?”


    This says it all. As a convert to the Catholic faith, I am utterly flabbergasted by what I see. I became convinced the Protestant sects I had been associated with were wrong, so I moved on. I came to study the Catholic faith and in its clear and distinct {and frankly, easily grasped} orthodox form, reiterated over and over in the perennial Magesterium of the faith, I saw the Truth. So against the desires of my siblings and extended family, I and my wife {and a little later all my adult children} converted to the One True Faith.

    Only to find it virtually controlled by effeminate heretics and passive and vacillating supposedly-orthodox prelates.

    Honestly, I just don’t get it. If you don’t want to follow the faith as it was passed down to us and you don’t have the guts to stand up and do what we lay people are doing; standing up and being heard for the faith in our workplaces and among our families and other non-Catholics, why not just chuck it and become Lutherans, Anglicans and Unitarian Universalists? At least such folks would demonstrate a bit pf personal integrity.

  37. Hey, if the child resisted and tried to fight off being raped then she did die for her chastity, kapish?

  38. No, this is not about “orthodoxy.” It’s about condemning victims of rape as “sinful.” Linking St. Goretti with chastity makes no sense, never did, and is an act of great cruelty toward survivors of rape. Goretti died trying to keep a brother soul from committing grave sin. Someday — soon, Dear God — she will rightfully be described as the patron of forgiveness and those who are or who work with repentant violent criminals. Her chastity was never at risk and never would have been affected even if she had been raped. (Read St. Augustine on that one.) The sinful, idolatrous obsession with mere hymens is to order rape survivors to commit suicide. This cruel, disgusting, destructive “tradition” is demonic, and should have been rectified and condemned by the Church decades ago. Goretti’s death was exploited and co-opted by the woman-hating, woman-fearing, psychotic Hymen Cult to punish victims of violence for sins we have never committed. Raped women are not worthless “damaged goods.” Women are not merely vaginas and wombs to be rated and used by men depending upon their “cherry condition.” Using Goretti’s heroism to promote the suicide of rape victims is one of the worst things this Church has ever done — and everyone knows how long that list is. Stop putting hatred in God’s mouth. Stop cooperating with the destruction of victims of violence. Stop perpetuating this ugly, demonic lie.

    • Pope Pius XII was not and is not a “woman-hating, woman-fearing, psychotic Hymen Cult to punish victims of violence for sins we have never committed.”

      I am sorry (as in feeling sorrow over your injury) for any suffering that you have endured, but it does not give you a license to maliciously slander everyone who takes a different view that has nothing to do with hating women in general or despising or demeaning victims of rape in particular.

      • Yeah, we don’t hate you. We just think you should be dead. Anyone who gives a rape victim a prayer card of St. Goretti that includes the current woman-hating, misogynist, suicide-promoting standard text is guilty of attempting murder. They might has well include a bottle of poison and a loaded pistol, along with a note that the “defiled” should kill herself outside because good girls don’t make other people have to mop up their blood.

        Pius XII, reacting to the reality of women’s progress in the professions as a result of technological progress, urbanization since the turn of the Century, and WW II, was exploiting the Goretti canonization for his own paranoid purposes. Pius XII was far, far from perfect. Many of his decisions have threatened the health and piety of the Church. This exploitation of the Goretti story is one of those bad decisions. Ditto the endless instructions to women and girls to cut up their faces to avoid being “defiled,” the complete burying of St. Augustine’s teachings on rape and the Church’s definition of “virginity,” and his presuming to make all Marian devotion as somehow being about intact hymens. Pope Pius XII, among many other things, was a great big basket of neurotic obsessions. Pius XII needs to be taken by anyone, or any political persuasion or of either gender, with a great big scoop of salt.

        I feel sorry that you are incapable of honoring the equal humanity and dignity of women, and resort to passive-aggressive, presumptuous insults instead of legitimate discussion.

        • Did you even read this article? Wherein it mentions that we’re not all called to be martyrs?

          What’s your stance, then? That Maria Goretti set women back 100 years? That women shouldn’t value their chastity or that they should only value it to a point?

          Why don’t you muster evidence–not invective–for your claims about Pius XII?

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