Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
Here he is, delivering himself of a typical specimen of Generation Narcissus thinking, the purpose of which is to incoherently yell at the Catholic Church and demand the sacrifice of as many babies as it takes so that he can go on living in Pepsi Generation bliss forever.
Here’s how Kinsley’s logic works:
A) Ridicule the miraculous healing of Sr. Marie Simon-Pierre from Parkinson’s Disease due to the intercession of Pope John Paul II.
The 46-year-old, speaking in a clear, poised voice, said she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2001. Her symptoms worsened with time: Driving became practically impossible, she had difficulty walking, and her left arm hung limply at her side. She also could no longer bear to see John Paul on television, because he, too, was stricken—more seriously—with the disease.
When seeing him, “I saw myself in the years to come, to be honest, in a wheelchair,” she said.
Her cure came on the night of June 2, 2005, exactly two months after the pontiff’s death, she said. In her room after evening prayers, she said an inner voice urged her to take up her pen and write. She did, and was surpassed to see that her handwriting—which had grown illegible because of her illness—was clear. She said she then went to bed, and woke early the next morning feeling “completely transformed.”
“I was no longer the same inside. It is difficult for me to explain to you in words ... It was too strong, too big. A mystery.”
“I realized that my body was no longer the same,” she added. “I was convinced that I was cured.”
As with the critics of the man born blind, Kinsley simply doesn’t bother to pause over any of this. Instead he waves it away and suggests/declares that she never had Parkinson’s to begin with:
Of course, there is another possibility besides a miracle: Maybe she never had Parkinson’s in the first place. There is no way to diagnose Parkinson’s for sure; you just eliminate other possibilities — such as a brain tumor — until Parkinson’s is the last malady standing, and often a welcome one, considering the alternatives. But, according to AP, “Vatican-appointed doctors” determined that “her cure had no scientific explanation.” That sounds bad, but actually it’s good. If there’s no scientific explanation, the explanation must be unscientific — in other words, a miracle. There’s nothing like a scientific explanation to spoil everything. Fortunately, none materialized. Therefore, the Vatican doctors concluded, it was a miracle. One down, one to go.
The radical incuriosity of the atheist is on full display here. Don’t bother with the facts of the case, just dismiss them. Then, moving on, make the standard complaint that because God only worked a sign in one person’s case, he is unjust for not doing it for Narcissus too:
Congratulations to Sister Marie Simon-Pierre. It’s miraculous what a miracle can do. But I could use a miracle cure for Parkinson’s too, as could millions of others around the world who have Parkinson’s or will develop it.
Big deal that Jesus raised Lazarus! If he won’t do the same for me, then (somehow) the sign is meaningless. It’s all about ME! A stunning incuriosity really. And all this is, of course, leading up to the real point:
And one of the main impediments to such a miracle is the Roman Catholic Church. The most likely source of miracle cures for all sorts of diseases, with Parkinson’s foremost among them, is stem cell research. The church opposes stem cell research on the grounds that it uses, and in the process destroys, human embryos.
Note the huge lapses in logic. Having just said that “There is no way to diagnose Parkinson’s for sure” Kinsley now offers not only his own expert diagnosis of his own Parkinson’s, but also his own expert prognosis that if only the Church would support the slaughter of babies, that Parkinson’s would be cured. He also completely overlooks the fact that the Church has no problem with the use of adult stem cells, and that treatments derived from such stem cells work while embryonic stem cells have not produced a single successful treatment for anything.
Of course, even if it did, it would still be wrong, for the same reason that my killing you and eating your heart would be wrong, even if I were starving. There is no essential moral difference between what Kinsley is advocating and the Jeffrey Dahmer Oral Method of Tissue Harvesting except for aesthetics. We have adult stem cells and they work. All embryonic stem cells do is line the pockets of butchers.