I'll Just Make a Bigger Tent Over Here...

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

In case you haven't heard, the Catholic blog world has got a bad case of whiplash over the firing of Mark Shea and Simcha Fisher from the National Catholic Register.

Guys..... what cha doin'? Because Eye of the Tiber was looking a lot less like satire on this one.

One of the things I love about being Catholic is it's a BIG tent. There's tons of variation in here before you even get to the fringe. ( I totally admit there is a crazy fringe. We all have our struggles...)
I take offense at kicking people out of the tent's conversation box because they did not stay in arbitrary boundaries.

Catholics are not required to have allegiance to any particular political party. We don't always need to be pretty and inspirational in a motivational poster kind of way. Catholics are people, and sometimes people are messy.

If we can't handle having writers who might be salty, different, and willing to call you on your comfortable pedestals, then I question how the Register can say they are ministering "to the peripheries".

Simcha, in particular, did a great job of reaching me personally. How to think about self care as a service to others, when I seriously need a pep talk about taking little kids to mass, and the best piece of doing discernment with NFP I've ever read.  When I read her stuff I saw someone relatable - a real person. Someone who wasn't afraid to call us to harsh realities.

Yes, both of them can continue writing on other platforms, but it's not insignificant that one of our biggest Catholic newspapers is cleaning house like this. That tells me someone like me would probably not be afforded a place in the national Catholic conversation.


I'm not interested in the ever-building Catholic tribalism. My goal is to bring as many people into this big Catholic tent as possible, not to create more battle lines or find more reasons to draw our circles smaller. So I'm going to be over here patching the tent, and whoever wants to join in, even the Register, would be welcome.


  1. Oh goodness, it's kind of scary how the Eye of the Tiber didn't seem satirical at all. Kirby, do you know if any official statement has been released on why these two were fired? I wasn't able to find anything the other day about it.

    1. There was an official statement about Shea's firing, but NCR appears to have taken that down. To my knowledge, there have been no further statements.

    2. Ugh, that's annoying. I mean, if they're going to pull a big move like this, I think they really need to put out some sort of formal explanation. Otherwise, I think they will quickly lose credibility quite quickly (though I guess that's already happening since Simcha is amazing and I'm shocked that they fired her).

  2. Beautifully stated. As a young Mom, I've learned so much from Simcha's writing, and thankfully laughed a good bit while reading too.


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