Fr. Z seems to getting the knives out for Pope Francis

The man needs to go do something priestly–like Francis–not make things worse by selling kitsch to help egg his readers on to still more Reactionary arrogance.  This passive-aggressive BS is poison.

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  • freddy

    So, Sunday, Fr. Z. is urging his readers to get a free book written by Pope Francis from Amazon, and Monday he’s dissin’ the Holy Father in an ugly attempt to make a buck. Doesn’t matter that Fr. Z. just thinks he (Fr. Z.) is being funny: *you* don’t think he’s being funny; therefore he’s not funny; therefore he needs to “do something priestly” (though you don’t have any evidence that he isn’t, or doesn’t.)
    .
    Just so you know, I didn’t think the latest “stuff” is very funny, either. I think it’s stupid and silly. But what I don’t think is that it’s dangerous enough to warrant the kind of “Behold! The Enemy!” post you seem to be itching to write. God bless you.

    • Illinidiva

      Father Z has a advertising/ promotion deal with Amazon.. Discuss.

      • freddy

        As do many bloggers. What’s your point?

        • Illinidiva

          First, they aren’t priests. Secondly, please don’t tell me that Father Z is doing it for unselfish reasons. I highly doubt that Pope Francis would be impressed with a priest who spends his day writing bullying and sarcastic blog posts, eating in nice restaurants, and going on fabulous trips all on his readers’ dime. I don’t think that Father Z is helping out poor people in Wisconsin. The reason why Father Z is so snippy about Pope Francis is because Pope Francis is basically condemning priests like Father Z when he talks about puffed up prelates who dress like peacocks and live lavish lifestyles. (It is basically Cardinal Burke and company.. but Father Z falls into that range.)

          • chad

            Acrimonious rants on the imprudent approach of traditionalists, be they Z or Burke, conjure images of pots and kettles.

            • Illinidiva

              I’m sorry.. These sorts personally made my life miserable growing up. I find it great that they are finally facing the music for their ugly and narrow-minded view of Catholicism.

              • chad

                But you are not sorry. I’m a lurker around these parts and have seen your contempt, and it is a lighthouse warning others to stay away. Peace.

                • Dan C

                  nor is Zuhlsdorf ever apologetic for his role in the Catholic wars.

                  • Stacy Forsythe

                    What are the Catholic Wars you keep talking about? In what way are you and Fr. Z enemies?

                    • Marion (Mael Muire)

                      Stacy,

                      I’m not Dan, so perhaps I shouldn’t answer your questions to him.

                      I only wanted to say: if you’re a Catholic (or even if you’re not) best to stay out of these factional wranglings as much as you can. But here it is in a nutshell: Since the 1960s, the Catholic Church has experienced something of a split between the Conservative wing who want to keep the Church as it is, and the Liberal or Progressive wing, who want the Church to adopt many of the innovations brought about by the various cultural revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s.

                      Many of the Protestant churches have experienced the same splits, too, over the last 50 years.

                      Saint Paul had a great deal to say about splits and factions within the early Church (he was against them!). So we should be, too.

                      Me, I’m going to leave for awhile and go pray and later listen to some Advent hymns, and bake cookies and so on, instead of doing what I really shouldn’t be doing, which is putting my nose in here, where it doesn’t belong.

                      Happy Advent, and may God bless us every one.

                    • WJ

                      Was this that thing called Vatican II? I had always thought that all Catholics agreed that this council actually took place! It’s fascinating to learn that it wasn’t really a council but just an undertaking by the liberals!

                    • Marion (Mael Muire)

                      The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) did indeed take place, and volumes have been written about its intent and purpose. Among many others, the purpose was to reach out to other ecclesial communities, especially Protestant circles, while at the same time making it possible for the Catholic Church to become more present as a full participant in the world, instead of being entirely aloof and mysterious to those who are not members. Another purpose was to engage the laity, to make them fuller participants in many more aspects of the life of the Church. And lots, lots more.

                      Some Catholics immediately rejected all of this, and their successors have continued their rejection down to our own day. They label the writings around these changes and all of these changes without exception as “heresies” and “improper innovations.”

                      Other Catholics accepted the changes and had no problem with “Catholic 2.0,” but also had a whole ‘nother thing in mind for the future of the Church: basically to morph the Catholic into something that more resembled a Protestant Church. So instead of it being “Catholic 2.0″, their Catholic parishes became as if “New Life Spa and Dayspring Meditation and Catholic Community Center” or even “Saint Vincent Presbyterian.”Which is NOT what the promulgators of Vatican II had in mind, at all. But the folks who wanted the morphing thing saw the opening, grabbed the ball and ran with it, while the other team was scrambling for some kind of coverage. And the morphers said what they were doing was “in The Spirit of Vatican II”

                      Other Catholics were find with 2.0, but didn’t want to see the Church morph in the way “The Spirit of Vatican II” were doing.

                      So, down to this very day, we have conflicts. And it’s not good.

                    • Marion (Mael Muire)

                      P.S. Sorry, I just wanted to add that there really should be no such thing as “Liberal” or “traditional” or “Conservative” or “Progressive” Catholic – because we should all ALL of us without exception, embrace Jesus Christ as Our Lord and Savior, making Him the heart and center of our lives, and also embrace ALL the teachings of the Church – helping the poor, the needy, the orphan, and the widow and reaching out to the marginalized, always giving preference to those who are poor, and seeking what is best for them, AND living and proclaiming holiness in life in all areas, including in our sexuality. And lots more.

                      So, if every Catholic is truly living all of these things, then everything else is commentary, and details, and should become a matter of style rather than substance.

                      We should be defined by Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified, as Saint Paul says, and not by “liberal” and “conservative.”

              • freddy

                I’m sorry that “these sorts” have made your life miserable, and will pray for peace for you. However, it is precisely when we lump folks together into “these sorts” “my guy” “your guy” or “those types” that a certain danger of uncharity creeps in.
                .
                Fraternal correction done rightly is a work of mercy; jumping on a bandwagon of hissing contempt or writhing in glee as someone you don’t like gets a comeuppance just injures *you*: it makes you look spiteful and bitter, and makes it harder for you to forgive and find peace.

                • Illinidiva

                  See. I get this, but it certainly seems like a one way street. I’m supposed to forgive and turn the other cheek, but more conservative types have never been called out on their uncharitable actions. This is a pretty huge double standard. When the conservative set starts admitting their sins, I’ll react more favorable toward them.

                  • freddy

                    But it’s *always* a one-way street, and it has nothing to do with being liberal or conservative, traditional or progressive, rich or poor, male or female. We have to be the ones to forgive, and it’s always, always, always the other guy who gets a free pass to behave like a jerk.
                    .
                    Our example is the cross: Perfect Goodness and Love forgives, well, all of us.
                    .
                    Ultimately you have a choice: forgive the “conservative set” and pray for their wellbeing and redemption, and be free; or poke and jab and pick and every injury, and be chained. It’s really more about you and your happiness than about “them.” Let me tell you; whoever “they” are, “they” could care less.
                    God bless you.

          • Marion (Mael Muire)

            Over the several years I have read Father Z’s blog, I have found his writing to be consistently temperate and thoughtful, qualities I find refreshing.

            Fr. Z himself clarified that the slogan which set off this response was done in jest, no disrespect to the Pope intended.

            I want to go on record as saying that Illinidiva’s slanderous remarks about a Catholic priest – any priest – are shocking. And, I believe, unfounded. This is a very bad business, indeed.

            Can’t we all just get along?

            Marion. Out.

            • Dan C

              Seriously. As a liberal Catholic he is my declared enemy in the Catholic wars. These blessed wars will rage forever and ever, amen, thanks to his intemperate comments.

              • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                Dan, what does Jesus say we should do to our enemies? Are you doing it? Just wondering.

                • Dan C

                  Touching. Are you so bold to insist on such behavior from Fr. Z? Dare you approach the great and powerful Z when he is rude and obnoxious and whipping up followers against liberals?

                  • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                    You didn’t answer the question, Dan. What does Jesus say we should do (or rather, for) our enemies?

                    Also, you’re engaging in the tu quoue logical fallacy, which invalidates your argument.

                    Can you point out where Father Z has called his brothers and sisters in Christ his “enemy”? When you do, I will be sure to ask him the same question.

                • Dan C

                  He is my enemy and he is sure to note this, something you confirm.

                  In the Catholic Wars, he is a leader of a faction, has an audience.

                  I as a rule, do not respond to Internet shaming when I criticize an Internet icon. So, whatever response you expect with me saying “sure I love my enemies” is not what you will get.

                  Fr. Zuhlsdorf has an audience and appeals to that audience.

                  He has been criticized as above, and in more of the Reagan-era rules e in which one should not criticize one’s tribe, people are trying to shame Mr. Shea.

                  • peggy

                    Fr Z is your “enemy”. Wow. Those are strong words. He probably doesn’t see you that way. He certainly is concerned about liberals and progressive influences on the Church. You should read the forbearance shown to an allegedly liberal priest “frjim” on Fr Z’s blog. I say allegedly b/c people can claim to be whomever they want on the web. Fr Jim consistently is charitable to a fault against Catholic faith and morals, some might say.

                  • Heather

                    Why is there even something that can be described as “Catholic Wars”? Wars are where people described as the “enemy” are people that you are willing to kill if you have to in order to stop them from pursuing their objective.

                    People having disagreements with each other, even vehement ones, is not a war.

                    I frankly hate the term “culture wars” and “Catholic wars” is even uglier.

                    • Dan C

                      We have entire journals, very prominent ones like Crisis Magazine, that are built around the culture wars. First Things is founded around one aspect of the culture wars. Prominent Catholics have made their entire living, and huge careers by being Catholic culture warriors.

                    • Cypressclimber

                      It sounds like you’re describing efforts to defend authentic teaching and tradition as merely a “culture war” by a faction.

                    • Dan C

                      Not at all.

                      While traditionalists will resent this assessment, many of the battles are over aesthetics and less on substance.

                      What the Church has said on economics, and here I reference Caritatas in Veritate and Paul the 6th’s PP as good examples of dismissed teachings.

              • Stu

                What is a “liberal Catholic”?

              • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

                Fr. Z isn’t worth it, Dan. Who gives a rip, ultimately?

                • Dan C

                  I do agree. You are absolutely correct.

                  My point in this is that while folks get weepy about supposed injustices done to Fr. Zuhlsdorf through the rare comment by Mr. Shea, Fr. Zuhlsdorf is a man who fans flames of Catholic conservative anger towards liberals, as applause lines. Fr. Zuhlsdorf is a partisan leader in the Catholic wars, and happily so.

                  I am just pointing it out. I rarely read his blog, and only when drawn to it, I read the assortment of posts, easily finding his disrespect for Catholics on the left.

                  • ivan_the_mad

                    Your critique is again not without merit.

            • freddy

              Thank you, Marion, and God bless you for your courteous and charitable reply. Much better than I could have put it myself.

              • Marion (Mael Muire)

                Thank you, Freddy.

                (If there be any good in what I say or do, then thanks be to God.)

          • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

            “I highly doubt that Pope Francis would be impressed with a priest who spends his day writing bullying and sarcastic blog posts, eating in nice restaurants, and going on fabulous trips all on his readers’ dime.”

            Can you substantiate these allegations with evidence? If not, you’re bearing false witness against your neighbor, and violating the Catechism:

            “2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone
            should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

            Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to
            condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.”

            • Illinidiva

              I see lots of judging going on with the Father Z set, so perhaps you and others should take a look in the mirror first on this one.

              • freddy

                No. Defending Fr. Z. (or anyone) against unsubstantiated allegations is not being part of his (or anyone else’s) set. I would think that JoAnna Wahlund above is part of Jesus’ set, if you will. You are the one, Illinidiva, dividing people into “sets” and judging them according to your own agenda. JoAnna’s post above is no judgment, but a warning. Of course we don’t like to be warned that our behavior is not charitable, but if we can refrain from lashing out in anger, it may do us some good.

                • Illinidiva

                  Nothing I said was untruthful. He posts about his trips on his blog and has an Amazon wishlist that he expects loyal readers to purchase from. I’ve never seen the man promote charity on his blog; he even used the massive typhoon in the Philippines to blog about guns and prepping rather than urging readers to donate.
                  And I know I am a sinner. No one needs to tell me this. However, the hypocrisy of being “warned” that my contempt toward a priest who is guilty of greed and being incredibly judgmental by his Stepford fans who are also guilty of being judgmental is just galling. The Father Z set is more than happy of being judgmental toward those that they don’t know including gay people, divorcees, people who don’t have the correct number of children, liberals, people with checkered past in general, etc. So please spare me the self-righteous lectures on this.

              • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                As I said to Dan, tu quoue is a logical fallacy and invalidates your argument. Can you answer my question? Do you have evidence for your claims?

                I like both Mark and Fr. Z. I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting Mark in person (years ago at a Theology on Tap in Fargo, ND) and I’ve read Fr. Z’s blog as long as I’ve been Catholic (10 years). I don’t like seeing EITHER of them slandered unfairly. You’ll note that I’m defending Mark in the comments of the Creative Minority Report blog.

                • Dan C

                  But liberals?

            • Anne

              it is not rash judgement, as he blogs about his lifestyle frequently.

              • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

                If that’s the case, then it should be very simple to produce the links to his blog posts in which he states that he “spends his day writing bullying and sarcastic blog posts, eating in nice restaurants, and going on fabulous trips all on his readers’ dime.”

                I eagerly await your evidence.

          • Anne

            Father Z is the antithesis of Pope Francis and is proud of it..
            How pathetic!

  • ChGPe

    I take it you must not read Fr. Z’s blog regularly, because like the article you linked to states, he has been very adamant to his readers about not reactively jumping onto every seemingly-problematic thing that Pope Francis says. He also consistently does “priestly” things, such as constantly urging his readers to go to confession, offering Advent reflections, offering background on the week’s liturgical readings, etc. But in spite of all this, you chose to latch on to one thing that he does (which admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of either), and try to paint it like it’s a consistent behavior.

    This misleading BS of yours is poison.

    • peggy

      And much of the commerce he promotes center on the wares of cloistered men and women religious orders. The sales of their soaps, coffees, etc., help those monastaries to keep on going. We need to support the contemplative life of Catholic religious.

  • B.E. Ward

    I think you should include a poll. It’s the fastest way to get every one of Fr. Z’s readers over here ASAP!

    • Illinidiva

      So Father Z’s readers just mindlessly drone the company line? Would they also be willing to go to Jonestown and drink Koolaid with him?

  • Guest

    oh boy.

  • kenofken

    Nobody outside of the Hip-Hop, stage magician or pimping community has any business going by a single-letter name!

    • Steve

      What about Mr. T?

      • kenofken

        He’s on the hip-hop celebrity spectrum.

  • A.P. Hill

    Fr. Z *is* doing something priestly – he is not engaging you when you try to start these fights with him.

    • Militaris Artifex

      I concur. I also think that Father Zuhlsdorf is still engaging in calming the afrighted who have been unsettled by the change in precision between Pope Francis and his predecessor. The mug can be taken in a sense as making a jest at one’s own expense, as easily as it can be taken as “egging on his more reactionary readers.” As an autodidact over the past 3 decades in Austrian econmics, I can identify to some degree with those who are sometimes unsure precisdly how to understand some of the Holy Father’s publicly quoted statements, including some of those in Evangelii Gaudium.
      Pax et bonum,
      Keith Töpfer

      • Julian Barkin

        I have to agree with Keith and AP here. I do believe that honestly it is in jest what he’s doing, though he is making a buck off of it, no lie. What is a priest like him to no, not connected to the chancery’s moneys or head of a liberal media conglomerate that can profit off donations and programming?
        Honestly Mark, do not give the Trads Behaving Badly more ammunition to keep acting like Pharisees in my diocese by acting like this. You are already hated by them b/c to them you are a “neo-Catholic” who is on the side of modernism and this would be viewed as an attack on Traditional Catholicism.
        Or are you joking in jest too??? Hoping for the Latter, Julian.

        • http://www.subcreators.com/blog Lori Pieper

          I don’t know. . . Even Fr. Z’s readers seem kind of nonplussed by the whole thing. He himself is now simultaneously trying to claim that he doesn’t know what the impenetrable statement “Self-absorbed Promethean Neopelagian” really means, or that it was intended for the “liberals” all along. I think he may be headed for a meltdown of some kind. . .

          It might help to know that Fr. Z has made a kind of habit of taking unflattering things said about traditionalists, things like “lockstep papist sheep” and slapping them on mugs and license plates, making them into a kind of badge of honor, in an effort — I guess — to keep his flock stirred up and marching to the “right” beat. I think this time he just went too far, forgetting not only that the silly phrase was actually coined by the Holy Father, but that he is asking people to be proud of being basically sinners and heretics. He’s panicked and is now trying to backpedal. Or maybe not.

          Personally, I think Pope Francis might have done better to stick with a good succinct phrase, the type he’s so good at, to describe certain people, something like “sourpusses.” Because who would ever put “I am a sourpuss and proud of it” on a mug? Oh well, somebody would, I’m sure. I’ve seen stuff on mugs that would set anyone’s hair on fire.

          Hmm., this made me think a bit. The phrase in question, used for rad-trads, along with words like “narcissist” and “elitist” that don’t really sound like Francis: could someone have put him up to it? Just slyly suggested it to hm? Someone like . . . Mark?

          Mark, I’m not kidding. When I first heard those words from the exhortation, I thought they sounded like you. Come on, confess! (I hope this doesn’t get you into any more trouble with certain people).

          I really don’t. Seriously. Really.

        • chezami

          It was obviously a passive aggressive sneer at Francis and a clear signal to his Reactionary readers that it’s fine to get on with the program of mocking and ignoring the pope. As to the hatred Pharisees have for me, you say that like I should care about pleasing them. We are not living in a time when it is the Super Uber Catholics who are declaring themselves the enemies of the teaching of holy Church. The main task is to warn people away from these Pharisees until such time as God bring them to repentance.

          • Stu

            Mark,

            Listen to yourself.

            “Clear signal…” A coffee mug?. Really?
            Is this some sort of Cold War conspiracy?

            And the all of the “Pharisees” are out to get you? Really?

            Honestly, take some time off.

            • chezami

              Yes. A coffee mug. Coupled with his citation of Andrew Napolitano announcing that his he about done with Francis, this is an obvious cue to the Uber Pure in the comboxes that it’s okay to go ahead and start speaking with mockery and contempt of the Holy Father. If Pelosi fans at Huffpo had put “Adolescent Progressive and Proud of it” on a coffee mug, Reactionaries would know exactly what is being spat upon. Fr. Z’s fans know what they are spitting on too. How dare this upstart pope criticize them in their pure awesomeness.

    • Illinidiva

      By priestly, not being a misogynist jerk would be a good start. Or how about help the poor and disabled like Francis does?

      • freddy

        “Misogynist jerk?” Really? I think if you’re going to start with the name-calling you’d better be prepared to offer quotes and links. You’re only coming off as frustrated, bitter and angry; which is dangerous to your soul and does your argument no good.

    • Ivan K

      That must drive them crazy…that Voris and Fr. Z. never bother taking the bait…it’s so much easier getting a rise out of one’s kindred spirits…loons like Matatics…

  • wlinden

    Linked post, NOT the original one from Father Z’s blog says “….since the label was aimed at Fr. Z and his readers….”

    Yes, Evangelium Gaudii was directed at the threat posed by a blogging priest and his host of followers.

  • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

    Can I vote for this post was in bad taste, but so was Fr . Z’s, especially since he is trying to make a buck off it? Why the need to be so tribal? Sometimes a good man can make a serious mistake, and this was one such instance.

    • Dan C

      I can’t muster a boo-hoo for a man opposed to me and my faith. He is on your side of the Catholic wars. But I rarely see anyone ever critiquing Zuhlsdorf when he is rudely trashing liberals.

      He does not deserve much sympathy .

      • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

        When’d you start taking a “side”, Dan C? :-/

  • ivan_the_mad

    I did chuckle when I first saw the image over at WDTPRS, but then I realized its motivation. I thought it was a foolish thing to do, because even giving Father the benefit of the doubt one can easily imagine how some among his comboxerati might cloak themselves with that in a spirit of defiance. Most imprudent.

  • Cypressclimber

    Much ado about nothing. Hardly “long knives.”

  • Tom

    How come it seems you never criticize your fellow Patheos bloggers when they say things worse than what you’ve ripped into others for? The Crescat was far worse than this in her criticism of Francis, and while she’s since apologized for it, you never said a word while it was going on. The same goes for Leah Libresco, whom you defended when she stated she supported civil gay marriage, and Joseph Bottum whom you savaged for a position that was actually less favorable to gay marriage than Leah’s?

    I have nothing against the Crescat or Leah, and I read both of their blogs regularly, to clarify. If you have some kind of policy to keep things civil among fellow bloggers than I understand and respect that, but why don’t you apply it equally?

    • Illinidiva

      I’m actually fine with Crescat’s concerns about Pope Francis. She has a certain idea of the papacy that is different than Francis’ idea. It is okay to be edified by a certain sort of spirituality (i.e. ornate and European), but she didn’t say that it was the only sort of spirituality. It was hers. I’ve been very honest about how I didn’t really get Benedict, so I am fine with someone not liking Francis for her own spiritual reasons. What I am not fine with is the traditionalists not wanting to discuss the real reasons that they dislike the Pope Francis and arguing that he is “confusing.”

      • Marion (Mael Muire)

        I admire and appreciate many things about Pope Francis, and am 100% on board with his agendas for social justice and for evangelization. But I must admit at times I have no clue what he is talking about. “Self-absorbed Promethean neo Pelagians”? Who? I think about what in the world that might mean, whom it might apply to, and after awhile my brain starts to feel overfull, and tired, but I’ve made no headway in understanding. And certain other of the Holy Father’s remarks have had this effect on me, as well. So, I kind of give up and move on.

        Some of the writings of Popes who lived centuries ago are similarly hard for me to fathom, but for a different reason: the gap in years and cultural and religious milieux makes understanding difficult, I think.

        The writings of JPII and Benedict XVI I found pretty accessible, although sometimes they went over my head. But to experience a passage going over one’s head feels different to me from having it confuse me. Different brain sensation.

        • Illinidiva

          Francis speaks in non-pope speak. He is really easy to grasp. The dense academic tomes of JPII and Benedict weren’t. I think that why traditionalists whine about “confusing” is because they don’t like parts of what he is saying. He is pointing out that they too are imperfect sinners, unlike the previous popes who just gave them gold stars. And “self absorbed promethean neo-pelagians” are traditionalist Catholics.

          • Marion (Mael Muire)

            “And ‘self absorbed promethean neo-pelagians’ are traditionalist Catholics.”

            This, in a series of unfounded slanders, is against the Pope and against traditional Catholics generally.

            I am confident that Holy Father Francis The Vicar of Christ on Earth would never himself slander an entire swath of the faithful indiscriminately, simply because we are attached to the older forms of the liturgy, to traditional devotions, and to the Magisterium.

            Francis is too charitable and too just an individual ever to be capable of committing such a sin.

            Please, to my fellow Catholics attached to the traditional ways, do not, repeat, do not believe that our present Holy Father the Pope has slandered you in this way, as has been suggested here. Not true, not true!

            • capaxdei

              “Francis is too charitable and too just an individual ever to be capable of committing such a sin.”

              Well, and he didn’t, as anyone would know who has read the whole sentence the expression appears in, and who does more than grind the pope’s thought through a binary US-vs-THEM ricer.

              But US-vs.-THEM thinking is a firm habit throughout the Church. The trick — and I think Pope Francis is better at this than a lot of people have yet recognized — is to denounce US-vs.-THEM thinking without reducing US-vs.-THEM thinkers to the THEM that US denounce.

              • Marion (Mael Muire)

                Capaxdei, live forever!

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              Read in context, The pope is referring to people “who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past.”

              Note that he’s not really attacking traditional Catholic devotions and practices. His criticism is of certain Catholics who “feel superior” to their fellow Catholics because they adhere to those practices. The problem is their interior attitude. He doesn’t say that the old ways are bad or should be ditched. Rather, he’s saying that Catholics shouldn’t adopt a judgmental, elitist attitude since it ultimately quenches evangelism.

              The whole section is talking about “Spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and
              even love for the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being.” The pope says that this can take many different forms, one of which is “self absorbed promethean neo-pelagianism.” He also mentions gnosticism as a different form of this.

              So no, the passage is not attacking *all* traditionalist Catholics but the self-righteous mentality that some reactionaries adopt.

              Here’s the context:

              No to spiritual worldliness

              93. Spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being. It is what the Lord reprimanded the Pharisees for: “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (Jn 5:44). It is a subtle way of seeking one’s “own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:21). It takes on many forms, depending on the kinds of persons and groups into which it seeps. Since it is based on carefully cultivated appearances, it is not always linked to outward sin; from without, everything appears as it should be. But if it were to seep into the Church, “it would be infinitely more disastrous than any other worldliness which is simply moral”.[71]

              94. This worldliness can be fuelled in two deeply interrelated ways. One is the attraction of gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings. The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others. These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.

              • Marion (Mael Muire)

                Rosemarie,

                Just brain-storming with you here: So what the Holy Father seems to be saying is that it’s possible for a Catholic be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, poor and a child in spirit, utterly reliant upon God for everything she needs, living from moment to moment in complete surrender to Him and trust in Him, profoundly humble toward others, striving always to see others as better than herself, seeking always to be the last in everything, and overlooked, loving nothing better than prayer and the Sacraments and also to serve the poor and the forgotten with tenderness . . . AND . . . find Heaven itself in the glorious and gorgeous traditional art, statuary, architecture, music, liturgy, and all other traditional religious observances . . . AND uphold as sacred and applicable at all times and everywhere the Church’s traditional teachings on sexual morality (without condemning anybody, just seeing no point in attempting to ignore it or do away with it, since it is what Our Lord wills for us). And hold human life as sacred from the moment of conception until natural death?

                I’m not describing anyone I’ve met in this life, but rather I’m describing someone like Saint Therese of Lisieux.

            • Illinidiva

              He is denouncing the excesses associated with the traditionalist set. I’m sure that there are people who like traditional devotions and also are committed to charity and have joie de vivre. There are also cranks and scolds like Burke in the group, people who put the rules before mercy and love, and people who are obsessed with sexual morality before everything else. Francis is just calling them out on these excesses. This is hard for some to handle because they haven’t been called out on their particular excesses for decades and expect to receive gold stars from popes.
              This siege mentality that some traditionalist Catholics have is ridiculous. There have been two conservative popes in a row and all the Paul VI bishops have either retired or died out. It is just the pendulum has swung too far to the right considering that characters like Burke, Cordileone, Chaput, etc. have prominent appointments and is in the process of correcting itself.

          • Netmilsmom

            Huh? Did you read the cup?
            Both JPII and B16 wrote books that were easy to read.
            I needed to get a dictionary for ‘self absorbed promethean neo-pelagians’

        • Fr. Denis Lemieux

          Well, he doesn’t just coin that phrase and leave it sitting there. He goes on to describe exactly the kind of attitude of mind and heart and speech that he is talking about. It’s not entirely left up to the reader to interpret. In fact, I think so-called ‘liberal Catholics’ who are quick to label, dismiss, and sneer at Catholics who have other approaches and understandings of the faith would fit just as readily into what he’s talking about here. Personally, I hate, hate, hate all this stupid labelling.

          • Stu

            “Personally, I hate, hate, hate all this stupid labeling.”
            ————————–
            Absolutely. It serves no purpose and does much more collateral damage because it leaves people guessing as to whether or not one is talking about them.

            We need to discuss ideas, not people and groups.

          • Dan C

            You are correct to point out those sneering liberals. They are unjust. Also.

  • CrustyNatsFan

    The passive aggressive aspect of it what is most annoying and juvenile. It is like my little brother using a double entendre to tell a crude joke and insisting his innocence the whole time. Then dismissing anyone calling him out as lacking a sense of humor. I think Fr. Z knows exactly what the Holy Father meant and it clearly made him a little uncomfortable–uncomfortable enough to resort to the antics of a squirming teen. Yes, selling these mugs does not warrant him or readers of his blog as being labeled “the enemy” but they certainly deserve some chiding to just grow up.

    • Illinidiva

      He has been passive aggressive to Pope Francis for a while now.. Bergoglio class for instance and his obsession over the Ford Focus in June.

      • Cypressclimber

        Oh come on!

        Here’s the thing I think you’re missing. Fr. Z, being a priest, is going to look at other priests, and bishops, and cardinals and popes, from a somewhat different perspective because of his clerical state. This is true in any profession, I think; when you’re “in” the group, as opposed to looking at the group from the “outside.” This can manifest itself several ways, but one way is that there may be more familiarity toward someone who, to outsiders, seems to inspire more “awe.”

        So I took the “Bergoglio-class” to be a joke, and a funny one; and the business about the car the same way, although I think there were some serious points made as well.

        The pope, as much as we love him, is not above criticism, certainly not in his decisions and remarks. I loved Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, but I didn’t agree with everything they did; and one can receive their teaching faithfully, while wishing they’d framed it differently.

        As someone else pointed out, Father Z has done yeoman’s work calming the concerns of many more traditionalist folks about the holy father. As such, he’s been a great friend to the pope, not his enemy.

        • Netmilsmom

          Thank YOU! Cypressclimber, you are the voice of reason.
          When I see someone NOT asking for clarification of a Pope who might just be talking above one’s head, it strikes of Popology. Unless it’s dogma, we might not agree with everything a Pope says.
          Don’t put the pressure of saintly perfection out of our new Holy Father. He is doing a great job while getting used to the water.

        • Illinidiva

          First, Pope Francis is Father Z’s boss. If I was that passive-aggressive to one of my clients or managers, I’d be without a job. Second, these are clearly “passive-aggressive” digs at Pope Francis, his style, and his priorities. Father Z understands his style and priorities are different from Francis and is passively-aggressively lashing out at Francis because of it rather than reexamining his own priorities.

          • Cypressclimber

            “Boss” is a bit much. That title applies far more to the bishop to whom a priest is directly accountable, and if he’s assigned under a pastor or anyone else as a supervisor, it applies there. Unless a priest is reporting directly to the pope, the title “boss” doesn’t fit well.

            For example: a priest takes a vow of obedience to whom? Hint: not the pope.

            My point being that while a priest — precisely because he’s a priest — might have a somewhat different public posture toward the pope than others, nevertheless neither priest nor laity is barred from being critical of something the pope says. And I think a jest is allowed as well. Of course, humor can always misfire.

            “Passive-aggressive”? I’m not seeing that. I’ve known some real passive-aggressive folks, and this doesn’t strike me that way. I think this is an overused term, this case included.

      • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

        Ford Focus:Francis::Red Shoes:Benedict

        Except one is a symbol the world understands, the other – very unfortunately – is not.

    • Cypressclimber

      While I can spell out what each of the terms mean, it’s far from clear to me just whom the holy father meant to include in the term, SAPNP. Many seem to take it as only describing traditionalists. I think that is rather facile.

      • Stu

        Yup. I’m quite confident that the Pope’s words have multiple layers within at differing audiences. It seems as though instead of worrying about “who” he was talking about, the point of it all is to examine ourselves down deep and make sure it doesn’t apply to us as individuals..

  • RelapsedCatholic

    Post after post Father Z convinces me that he is a SSPX member that didn’t quite have the guts to break away. Reading his reactions to Francis has been as funny as it is repetitive. ‘He was mis-translated!’

    • Ivan K

      He’s a neopelagian crypto-schismatic…burn him!

    • Illinidiva

      He doesn’t like Francis because some of his readers might wise up and stop giving to his ammo fund and Amazon wishlist. Apparently he picked up a lot of commenters when the slime pit of misogyny, homophobia, and anti-Semitism that is Rorate Caeli stopped vetting comments and is playing to his new more extreme readers.

      • freddy

        When did God gift you with the ability to read hearts, Illinidiva?
        You don’t have to like the man, but you should at least speak the truth in love, no?

        • Illinidiva

          No. But he did give me the ability to read the man’s blog.

  • chad

    4 hours old and only 23 comments? Must be vespers. By morning we will be aflood with THE correct approach to this clash of titans.

  • Stu

    Wow. Three Patheos bloggers all feel the need to comment on this like it is earth shattering. Perhaps the next exhortation will talk about the self-absorbed Catholic blogosphere.

    It’s an attempt at a joke. Perhaps it misses the mark. Humor is risky and often does. Just like blogging.

    **All hands, secure from panic and hysterics.**

  • John F. Kennedy

    Pretty judgemental. Why not give him the benefit of doubt?

    • Dan C

      As a liberal Catholic, one of the declared enemies of Fr. Zuhlsdorf, I can’t muster a boo-hoo for him. He is my enemy as he states in the Catholic wars.

      • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

        Any comments on this attitude, Mark?

        • Dan C

          Ever get bold enough to stand up for liberals on Fr. Z’s blog? Or is that just acceptable behavior, because, you know, ifs Zuhlsdorf. Zuhlsdorf is a combatant in the Catholic wars.

          • ivan_the_mad

            That’s a fair question. The standards are quite different. Far fewer flying monkeys (to borrow Mark’s humorous appellation) appear in threads (here or there) critical of what might broadly be termed liberals.

          • Benjamin2.0

            Maybe it’s acceptable behavior because, you know, it’s Catholic liberalism.
            *shiver*
            A traditionalist will err by demanding too high a standard for orthodoxy which, if not agreed with, can sometimes be respected. Liberal Catholics chafe at the thought of any standard of orthodoxy, particularly regarding modern political hoo-haws like abortion which is as inherently evil and outstatedly irreconcilable to the Catholic Faith as a thing can be. They’re just not the same – certainly not two sides of a coin, or opposite poles within the same belief system. Perhaps a comparison could be made with the SSPX or other such Uber-traditionalists.

          • Cypressclimber

            I don’t know you, so this comment isn’t about you but the category of “liberal Catholics” who you say Fr. Z is too hard on.

            Father Z is pretty pointed in his commentary on those who make a wreck of liturgy, architecture, doctrine and catechesis–and rightly so. If it hadn’t been for Pope Benedict specifically allowing priests to celebrate the extraordinary form on their own initiative, it would no doubt continue to be the case that those who like it, and want it, would have to beg for it, like Lazarus begging for scraps from the rich man’s table. In my mind, Pope Benedict’s action was “liberal” in the best sense; and yet the liberals Fr. Z lampoons could not have been more antagonistic.

            My point being, that Fr. Z criticizes actions and behaviors which, like it or not, have been part of the “liberal Catholic” project for decades.

            In short, I think the libs have it coming. In spades.

            • Dan C

              Fr. Zuhlsdorf is a leader of a certain faction in the Catholic Wars. You just happen to justify that faction’s words and actions.

              I happen to suggest Fr. Zuhlsdorf attacks liberals, misleads his audience (because he has an audience, not a flock) about Catholic social doctrine and especially is silent on matters that fail to fit his worldview, like Benedict’s encyclicals (he wrote three).

        • chezami

          Sure. I see no particular reason Dan is wrong. Fr. Z. does consistently treat Catholics on the left as clear and obvious enemies en masse. Why should Dan suppose he doesn’t? I think Dan would (obviously) choose to forgive him and pray for him, since that’s what you do for a brother in Christ (as, by the way, I assume Fr. Z would do for him). But I see no reason why Dan should care about all the butthurt whining and outrage here simply because yet another Conservative Catholic Folk Hero is being criticized for his passive-aggressive swipe at the pope.

          • freddy

            “…butthurt whining and outrage…Conservative Catholic Folk Hero….”
            .
            It just needed that. My day is now complete.
            .
            and on that note, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good fight. A pox on both your houses. I’m off to my kitchen, hopefully to create rather than destroy.

          • http://crudeideas.blogspot.com/ Crude

            Sure. I see no particular reason Dan is wrong.

            Alright. Declaring other Catholics as enemies: A-OK sayeth Mark Shea.

            No doubt an attitude communicated from Pope Francis. I’ll check his writings – I may have missed this.

            • chezami

              Ah. So you were gathering ammo for a gotcha, not actually asking a question. Do practice remedial reading. What Dan said was that Fr. Z has declared him an enemy since, you know, Lefties are the devil in the Z-iverse. Keep gathering that ammo for the cult!

  • Ivan K

    “In these stressful times we need humor”

    OMG, everybody run, the traddie priest is sharpening his knives! He seems to be chanting something in Latin, too. Can anyone translate? It sounds ominous!

  • Chesire11

    Honestly, this strikes me as a traditionalist getting a bit waspish, and irritable at a shot across his bow. While I think it unwise, I’m not ready to declare Father Z an aspiring schismatic over it! Hopefully this is nothing more than the equivalent of hitting the send key on that e-mail that would have been better to delete.

  • Andy

    Incrdible – for Father Z no questioning allowed about Benedict – even honest questions asking for clarifications were often greeted with derision by Father Z and hon combox cohort. N0w with Francs – not so much. If Benedict as Pope and must be listed to, why not Francs? Francis seeks for the most part bluntly, he s not a liturgical dictator, he questions the lifestyle not only o the laity, but also the priestly class – all of these seem to make Father Z uncomfortable, which leads I think to hs passive-aggressive style in writing about Francis and inflames his combox crowd, so he can appear to be trying to calm them down.
    I know nothing of hs priestly behaviors so I won’t/can’t comment on them.

  • Fr. Jay Finelli

    John F. Kennedy said: “Pretty judgmental. Why not give him the benefit of doubt?”

    I think Marc Shea should go back and meditate on his previous post “Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault”. He is so quick to attack and judge everyone who he accuses of attacking others!

    In case you missed it and in case Marc wants to review his past mea culpa.

    Come on Marc – from Fr. Corapi to Fr. Z and many in between. Preach the Gospel, help out the new evangelization, but don’t become a bitter old man!

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2013/06/through-my-fault-through-my-fault-through-my-own-most-grievous-fault.html

    • Dan C

      Do you defend the liberal Catholics who get attacks? Or is this just tribal?

      • Fr. Jay Finelli

        Of course! There shouldn’t be this constant attack of one another back and forth. What do we look like? “By your love, they will know you are my disciples.” Honest criticism is fine, but when it becomes a constant thing, there is some amiss.

        • chezami

          Constant? This is probably the first time I’ve remarked on Fr. Z in a couple of years.

          • Stu

            A month ago you said this….

            “The one thing Fr. Z appears to give no indication of doing at all is “working as a priest”. He appears to have no priestly duties whatsoever and spends all his time blogging, asking for money, larking off to Rome or cruises, and doing some sort of “study”. I think of him everytime I hear the words “priest shortage”. The Anti-Charism of Discernment naturally sees in all this one of the greatest priests of our time. I’ll take Fr. James Erving, working among the poor of Roma, Texas over this stuff any day.”

            Admittedly you backtracked after someone else did you due diligence for you, but you did say it.

            • chezami

              You’re right. I’d forgotten that. Wow! A regular campaign of vicious persecution.

              • Stu

                “campaign of vicious persecution.”
                ——
                Your words, not mine. I asserted no such thing. I simply corrected your oversight.

              • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

                Mark Shea: a man engaged in the steady pursuit of catching no flies whatsoever. ;-)

            • Anne

              What is not true in that statement?

          • Fr. Jay Finelli

            I didn’t mean constantly on Fr. Z, but just too much criticisms of many people. Of course we all do it on occasion, but it seems to be a constant theme. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m a sinner like we all are.

            • Dan C

              I agree, myself a sinner and all. One should not have any pretense that Fr. Zuhlsdorf isn’t a major combatant in the Catholic Wars. I am a peon, with no audience like he. But he inflames and, I say, warps Catholic doctrine- so much so his audience is shocked that someone thinking like Francis (who is not far from Benedict- who had as one of his first official actions a dinner with Hans Kung) actually is well within orthodoxy.

              I am fine with discussion, but Fr. Zuhlsdorf is in no way seeking discussions.

    • Anne

      Noteworthy that you name Corapi and Fr. Z in the same sentence.

      • Fr. Jay Finelli

        Fr. Corapi is a classmate and long time friend, whom I have not seen for years. But your missing the point!

  • peggy

    Yep, this is a dissenting priest on the attack against his own shepherd.

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/12/17-dec-77th-birthday-of-his-holiness-pope-francis/

    Shame on you Mark Shea. I echo Fr Jay Finelli’s Q about what happened to your big “mea culpa” and putting people in boxes? I am curious as to how I or others here fit into your nicely constructed boxes.

    I apologize for the meanness of my tone. I had refrained from commenting and even stopped reading, for a long time. Maybe I should go back to that.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      I apologize for the meanness of my tone

      You realize that you typed that sentence before hitting “post,” right? Is it an apology if you say sorry and then hit post?

      • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

        The thing to do is write your post and then delete it before posting. I do that all the time.

    • Mike Petrik

      Nothing mean in your tone Peggy, especially by the standards of this blog. That said, I can appreciate your discomfort with even such a mild departure from your normal gentleness.

      • peggy

        Thank you Mike! I’ve been holding it in many a time….deleting my own comments…just leaving without comment as it does not seem worth my time…or it may result in my own excommunication from the approved fold. What’s the point?

        Andy, below. I get ya. I meant what I said, but I am sorry if I have placed myself in the seat of being judge. I know not Shea’s soul, but I don’t like what I’ve been reading here for some time. If one does not fit into Shea’s vision of what it means to be Catholic, then one is out of the fold apparently.

        • chezami

          You’re entitled to your opinion, Peggy, which you have expressed with civility. So I don’t know why you assume (after the thousands of other arguments people have had with me), that I’m just about to excommunicate you. I think Fr. Z has been in a bind since Francis’ election. He has cast himself as Uberpapist, as did his readers. Then they were suddenly faced with a pope they really dislike. Fr. Z has tried to mollify the combox star chamber, so accustome to reading everybody else out of the Church for years. But it’s becoming increasingly obvious that he dislikes what Pope Francis has to say about Reactionaries too. This, coupled with his favorable linky love to Andrew Napolitano, signals a new phase in telling the Pure in his comboxes that (wink, wink) he gets it and thinks the pope is mean and is picking on poor them. The ridiculous pretense currently being presented by reactionaries–”We have no idea who the pope is talking about but we certainly feel affronted by the pope juvenile insults”–is just part of the passive aggression. They can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that the word they are looking for is “dissent”.

          • peggy

            I don’t have personal feelings about this. You are no one I know. You don’t know me. I find your general routine tone to be accusatory of those who don’t see things your way, from anything inside the Church to economics and politics. You label and judge souls of people you don’t know very harshly.

            The mug slogan is self-effacing. Actually, what I had read myself of EG was that Francis had identified factions within the church and judged each one. Why, I don’t know? What good was that?

            I have to get my kids…more important than pixels on a screen.

            • chezami

              I don’t judge souls of people at all. I do–because Jesus says to do it–judge the fruits of people, including their words. That was not self-effacement. It was mocking defiance. As to the pope, his words were diagnostic of various atittudes and factions in the Church that promote spiritual worldliness, which opposes evangelization–the subject of his exhortation. And because one of the tribes diagnosed congregates in great numbers in Fr. Z’s comboxes, Fr. Z gave the wink and the nod to them that the can ignore and mock the pope.

              • peggy

                Well, I read that segment on my own and discussed it with others at another blog. I wondered why the Hf could not speak to us all as one Body of Christ, instructing us to put aside a variety of stumbling block, without labeling and dividing us.

                Fr Z does not mock the pope. He in fact defends him and tries to find ways to agree with and support the Holy Father, though in fact, Fr Z of course probably disagrees with some things the HF has said. Fr Z promoted the Holy Father’s B-Day today and offered prayers–horrors, of horrors, in Latin–for the Holy Father. Fr Z is making a valiant effort at

                support for the Holy Father, about whom it is clear he has concerns. We’ve got to give those concerns to the Holy Spirit of course, but we are all human. Even priests. Fr Z has encouraged no dissent from the faith or the Holy Father.

          • peggy

            One more thought. You see, Mark, I am a rad trad, I guess. Just before B16′s abdication our parish’s fondest wishes for a round church came to being. I could no longer attend the novus ordo. Certainly not in a round church. I attend now when the needs of the family call for it. But I am largely much happier at the EF up the highway about 15 mins. It is a different and to me better expression of Catholic worship. I go to a run-down town, in a 200 year old French log structure. No insulation, but lights and sound system installed. Organ sounds like from another century. It’s pretty cold in the winter and hot in the summer. I like it much better. I pray for my family to come along in time. Many things Francis has said have concerned me. Many things I have liked, ie, no to women clerics, outreach to Jewish peoples. (I am not an anti-semite.) The liberal world’s false attachment to him is a concern too; for he is not all they think he is either. I pray about these things. I remain faithful to Holy Mother Church and the Holy Father.

            • chezami

              Peggy: I really could not care less about your liturgical preferences. I mean that in a good way. I have nothing against people who like the EF. I merely object to those who imagine that their liturgical preferences qualify them to judge everybody else in the Church, including the pope.

              • peggy

                But you do care. You put people in boxes by their liturgical sensibilities and make assumptions about their attitudes, whether toward external pieties or the Jewish people, eg.

                Lots of people “judge” or evaluate or make judgments about the pope. That is a pretty visible position for a man to be in.

                Maybe it is sad that you don’t care about liturgy, the mass in particular. It is the central act of worship of Catholics.

                • chezami

                  No. I don’t care. Not one iota. I don’t make assumptions about your attitude toward people who don’t attend the EF, because I don’t know what it is. I don’t assume you are an anti-semite because I don’t know you. That said, when you declare it “sad” that I “don’t care about liturgy” you betray one of the most obnoxious qualities of Traditionalists: the assumption that because I am content with either the OF or the EF, my faith is defective, when all I meant was that, well, I am content with either form. That tendency to deem themselves holier than the Church (which permits either form and which calls the *ordinary* form the *ordinary* form is precisely what I find most obnoxious about Traditionalism. If that hurts your feelings, tough. Contentment with what holy Church permits is not a sin on my planet.

                  • peggy

                    There’s more to the liturgy debate than OF v EF. At the OF, there are lots of asthetics issues, many would argue resulting from the flaws of its implementation. (that’s another Q). The OF on its own is a whole series of questions of liturgical appropriateness. Things don’t matter….Ok. At some point, some things at mass may matter to you…or not…Oh, well.

                    But you judge people for caring about how they worship…
                    But, my complaints have been about the tenor of your posts in general…”crazy right wing this or that…”” bla, bla, bla…Every one around you but not at your point is wrong, eh? Because YOU are the authority? About what is an appropriate way to discuss the pope’s views on econ which don’t jibe with our experience? That’s the vibe I get from your blog. You condemn the people about whom you post b/c they’re not like you. No gray area. Sometimes short of research too. I don’t think you’ve met many of your subjects. Offer a measured opinion once in a while instead of a wholesale condemnation of some segment of society.

                    The upshot on this post, is that Fr Z is NOT on the attack against the Holy Father. None of his readers took the mug that way either. His readership seeks to be faithful to the Holy Father and the Church. But, yet, for liturgical trads, this HF is a challenge.

                    • chezami

                      No. I don’t judge people for caring how they worship. As I say, I don’t care a bit if you go to the EF. I do, however, resent people for judging how I worship when the Church says I am free to go to the EF. Your inability to grasp this elementary fact, coupled with your projection of your own judgement on to me is, again, one of the most obnoxious themes of Traditionalism. Can’t you just go to Mass and be happy without the need to assume that my contentment with the OF is not a defect?

                      And yes, Fr. Z is obviously taking a passive aggressive swipe at Francis.

                    • peggy

                      You are free not to care. I don’t care how you worship. I am a member of an NO parish still, since our kids need to finish PSR etc. I don’t talk down the OF to any one at the parish, though if asked, I have had to say I need to go to EF, etc. I don’t judge those who attend OF. I just can’t do it myself, though I do attend for my family as needed. I have many good friends at the NO parish. We’re in a small town.

                      But worship means something. And at some point, at some parish, things might go on that are beyond Catholic or appropriate to the mass. We all kind of know that…So, we all have some sort of limit…otherwise why be Catholic, eh?

                      I really care that you spew uncharitable things about “rad trads” and many other factions of society in a very harsh, broadbrush manner on this blog. Often with incorrect or misconstrued information. That’s what turns me off here. But this may not be the place for me. And that’s fine. Lots of blogs in the world..or time with family…reading books, etc.

                      Adieu.

          • Cypressclimber

            “Dissent”?

            Exactly what teaching are the “reactionaries” you refer to, dissenting from?

            Setting aside whether Father Z in fact dislikes Pope Francis’s comments or not, isn’t he allowed to dislike them?

            Now it’s “dissent?”

            • chezami

              You seem to have the notion that dissent is only dissent when it’s dissent from dogma. I dissent from that opinion.

  • DM

    I don’t think Fr Z could have done any more to defend Pope Francis to his readership. He’s earned a festive joke.

    • Stu

      And the best leaders roll with the joke and actually use it to their advantage. I’m quite confident that the Pope would not succumb to the panic and hysteria we have seen here from the sourpusses over a coffee mug.

      • Cypressclimber

        I think the holy father would find Fr. Z’s jest amusing.

        • Stu

          I do too. I read the Pope like some of the better Admirals I worked for. They were comfortable with you kidding them, In fact they relished it because it meant you were paying attention.

          • capaxdei

            The Pope might find the mug amusing, but I’m not so sure. I don’t think he finds spiritual worldliness to be a laughing matter.

            But then, I don’t think the mug is kidding the Pope, I think the mug is saying the Pope doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

            • Stu

              All very fair and a reasonable opinion. And if the mug is an attempt at humor, it again shows that humor is risk and often people misfire.

              But what it is not, as some have asserted (not you), is some manner of crypto signal to an army of followers to begin attacking the Pope. That is the sort of stuff of
              birtherism, truthism or Dan Brown novels. That’s just wacky.

      • Marion (Mael Muire)

        the Pope would not succumb to the panic and hysteria we have seen here from the sourpusses over a coffee mug.

        “over a coffee mug”: no.

        over the slander and calumny against Father Z personally that we have seen here, that’s different. If every instance of calling someone else out is “panic” and “hysteria” in your book, then I would have to conclude that panic and hysteria do not mean what you seem to think they mean.

        • Stu

          I use “panic and hysteria” because that is how our host likes to characterize every instance of someone not “getting Francis” like he does. That’s all.

          The mug is meant in jest. Personally, it’s not my cup of tea (see what I did there?) but it’s not some cryptic code to signal a reactionary army of pharisees to rise up against the Pope as Mark implies. At worst, it’s simply a misfire on humor (which happens). At best, it’s Father Z making a message more palatable for a certain group of people. Either way, it’s not a big deal and certainly not worth slandering a priest over as you point out.

          • chezami

            No. The mug is meant in passive aggressive defiance.

            • Stu

              And Queeg proved with geometric logic that there was indeed two keys to the wardroom.

            • Fr. RP

              And you know this
              because:

              a) Fr. Z told you directly

              b) Fr. Z told someone else and they told you: a.k.a hearsay

              c) You have read his soul

              d)You have decided that that is what it is on your own authority and then declared it infallibly to your combox
              warriors. Who have gotten out the long knives against Fr. Z…

              This is distressing. Having met you I believe that you are a much better person than the paranoid posts that have been hitting your blog for a while now. What gives? Why is it o.k. to slander people whom you think are slandering people you like?

            • said she

              That’s not how is struck me, nor any of my Fr-Z-fan friends.

              Could some people take it that way? Sure. But I’d bet only a tiny percentage of his fans would see it as anything but a humorous use of big words, as seen in his “unreconstructed ossified manualist” mugs.

              After all, the whole point of the mugs is to generate conversation, such as in the workplace. How can prompting someone to ask a question that leads to discussing the Pope or Catholicism be a bad thing??

            • DM

              Nonsense. He defends Francis all the time. At the top of the blog there’s a banner saying ‘Reading Francis through Benedict’.

      • Alfred Rambit

        In isolation, maybe this cup thing could have been looked over but in general, Father Z has been very disrespectful and dismissive of the Holy Father, just look at the following links:

        http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/09/a-monsignor-moment/
        “Pope Francis is having a monsignor moment.”

        http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/12/fr-z-on-fr-hunwicke-on-the-franciscan-friars-of-the-immaculate/

        “Pope Francis is making snarky comments.”

        http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/11/evangelii-gaudium-54-and-the-attack-on-trickle-down-economics/
        He’s dismissive of the Holy Father’s authority, saying he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. (I wonder how he’d react to someone saying that Pope Benedict isn’t a biologist so he has no right to say that life begins at conception.”
        I can give you more examples if you want.

        • Cypressclimber

          Your attempt to make something of Father Z’s various comments falls flat.

          The first is clearly a joke about how possessive clerics are of the “monsignor” honorific, and how much trouble the pope would face if he got rid of it. That’s a reasonable argument. How is that disrespectful?

          Second, you attribute to Father Z something someone else said.

          With your third example, you quote nothing, you only give your own characterization of what he said. I don’t see anything “dismissive” in Fr. Z’s analysis of the pope’s exhortation. He is attempting to unpack and understand it. What’s wrong with that?

          • wlinden

            Right. He applied “monsignor moment” to himself when a webcaster mistakenly called him “Monsignor”.

          • Alfred Rambit

            Firstly, just because something is a joke doesn’t mean that it’s not meanspirited or disrespectful. “Monsignor moment” comes from “senior moment” which refers to someone having a moment of senility. Does Fr. Z mention such clerics who are possessive in the post? He talks about the pope mainly, and clearly suggests that getting rid of monsignors would be a bad idea. This ties back to the “monsignor moment” part.

            Second, no, look at the post again, Fr. Z does in fact call the Holy Father “snarky”. It’s in brackets so those are his words, check again. Fr. Z also says that the Pope appointed a “commissar” over the Friars of the Immaculate, again a negative term.

            Thirdly, Fr. Z post approvingly to an article written by Samuel Gregg. Gregg calls the Holy Father “naive and simplistic” when it comes to economic matters. He also links to Rush Limbaugh and says that Rush is basically right in his critique of the Holy Father. Rush argues that the pope has stepped beyond his legitimate boundary from religion into politics, and he says that the Holy Father is “totally wrong — I mean, dramatically, embarrassingly, puzzlingly wrong.” when it comes to his critique of capitalism. Next Fr. Z says that the Holy Father’s judgment is limited by his Latin American experience, even though, the exhortation does not reference Latin America as the target of the critique.

            So yes, Fr. Z is urging people not to take the Holy Father seriously. Fr. Z calls the Holy Father snarky, links to articles with which he agrees in which the Holy Father is called naive and simple minded and embarrisingly wrong, and says that the Holy Father has a “monsignor moment” which sounds suspiciously like “senior moment” which is not a nice term overall. Fr. Z is a piece of work, he then dares to make money off of the image of the Vicar of Christ, and to give out prayer cards blessed by the Holy Father to people who donate more than 3 figures. He is a disgrace to the priesthood.

            • Cypressclimber

              OK, on item 2, I looked again and see you’re correct. However, I simply don’t agree with your characterization on number 3. And I stand by my reaction to your complaint about the monsignor comment.

  • Bill

    Father Z is Father Z. He is who he is. He is a priest in good standing which deserves our respect. He is funny and learned and seems like a good guy. He’s also fussy, smug, and a bit insufferable. But we all have flaws. On merit, I think he’s an above-average blogger, though the constant focus on luxe (and I’m NOT talking about papal or traditional luxe, but things like his finery and cooking) do bug me somewhat.

    The only blogger who I just really have a super tough time with is Pat Archbold. His writings are really off the rails, overly focused on politics, defensive and bitter.. His brother is much better.

    • BillyT92679

      CMR is much, much, much worse than WDTPRS. Matt Archbold is the only one there keeping it afloat. I’m not trying to be a dick. I really worry Pat Archbold is careening toward SSPX country. He’s much more disdainful of Francis than Fr Z

      His call out of Mark was disturbingly personal. Sam Rocha and GATM were much harder on Fr Z than Mark was

      • chezami

        Dunno. Didn’t see it. Oh well. Probably better that way.

  • Jared B.

    On the plus side, Pope Francis may now be the first pontiff to give birth to a meme. ;-) Like with other unintentional meme creators, sure there is a level of making fun of him, but there’s also the fact that there are just some things you cannot say or do without expecting a little of that. If coining the phrase “self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism” isn’t one of those things I don’t know what is. I glanced at some of the other translations in languages I know at least a little of, and yeah it sounds funny in other languages too. Funny phrases get put on mugs. If the pope saw the mug himself, I think he’s got thick enough skin to not get too offended.

  • Jared B.

    Papa Frank evidently expects the Catholic faithful to have thick skin. If I may quote John Zmirak, “In his [Pope Benedict XVI's] criticisms of theologians who actually renounced key elements of the
    faith, wielding their entrenched positions in the Church or academia to
    promote heresy, did he as cardinal or pope EVER use language as
    intemperate and biting as what we’re getting from the Spectacularly
    Humble and Charitable One [Pope Francis] — aimed at faithful Catholics?” Pope Francis has had some darn blunt criticism that, within any reasonable interpretation of his words, is intended for Catholics who have *never* done or said anything contrary to the magisterial teachings of the Church. One needs to apply “if the shoe fits wear it”, but it simply isn’t true that he is only directing his criticisms against full-blown heretics, or schismatics, or people who have said or done anything objectively *wrong*.

    After a few decades of literal heretics and spiteful anti-Catholics thriving *within* the Church, some people have developed a bit of an attitude problem about that situation. If the pope wants to give some attention to the fact of their attitude problem, that’s his prerogative. There are professional victims, sure, and yeah they do need to grow some thicker skin. There are nonetheless people who have been, repeatedly, told and treated as if adhering to Catholic tradition to best of their ability in accordance with their conscience is objectively wrong. That is going to brew some anger over time, in all but the most saintly Christians. So if people with said attitude problem take the pope’s words as a further attack, and feel angry about it, can anyone be surprised?

    Honestly, considering some of the alternatives (c.f. SSPX) making a funny mug is a pretty healthy way to blow off some steam. Energy directed at humor is redirected away from rage or despair.

    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

      Pope Francis has had some darn blunt criticism that, within any reasonable interpretation of his words, is intended for Catholics who have *never* done or said anything contrary to the magisterial teachings of the Church.

      What about “Love your neighbor”? That’s a pretty central magisterial teaching.

      • Jared B.

        Pretty sure that applies to everyone. And that’s the point: Pope Francis has shown a trend of singling out traditionalists as being somehow uniquely worthy of his condemnation. Responding to this with a bit of humor strikes me as one of the more charitable possible responses. Getting offended at the humor, created by traditionalists (who, donchaknow, are thin-skinned professional victims who can’t take any criticism) is the pot calling the kettle black.

        • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

          Pope Francis is “picking” on traditionalists because traditionalists don’t think they’re being bad. They think they’re being good. But they’re not actually being good. They’re actually guilty of tithing mint and cumin while harboring hatred and despair within their hearts. Francis is calling them out.

          “Liberals” in outright dissent from Catholic teaching know the pope thinks they’re being bad. They don’t need to hear that.

          • Jared B.

            Good points, and I partly agree. Better to say that *some* traditionalists are bad, not all of them of course. “Liberals” in outright dissent from Catholic teaching know the pope thinks they’re being bad. True. They don’t need to hear that. Um no, they like all sinners do need to continue hearing that until they repent & reform. The father in the parable did not shrug and ignore the prodigal son then proceed to nitpick the older son. And Pope Francis has not spared liberals from criticism anyway.

            Not all critiques are created equal; some hit the mark, some are out of touch with how things really are (e.g. strawman arguments or the loaded “when did you stop beating your wife?” line). Poking a little fun at the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism thing could be from some annoyed people who realize the pope has hit close to home. Or it could be from some annoyed people who think the pope has missed the mark.

            I myself am not even a traditionalist (reactionary or otherwise) tho my sympathies obviously lean in that direction. I know that reactionaries have a trend of overinflating their own persecuted state, and I know that Pope Francis has been plagued from the beginning from having a handful of his statements blown out of all proportion compared to the whole. I still think it’s not unreasonable to note that he has appeared to make a point of critiquing traditionalists—granted that that’s just one out of many more significant themes in his thought.

            It has to be admitted that after all the whining is filtered out, traditionalists—I use the term to refer to those who are not reactionary cranks—have some justified anger at the direction the Church has gone and is going. I think they deserve to blow off a little steam in the least-malicious way possible. Could those mugs / bumper stickers be seen as a defiant, passive-aggressive, snide gesture? I guess so. I just don’t see it that way.

            • chezami

              Not all Liberal are in dissent from the Church’s teaching. And lots of them are listening to this pope while conservatives are busy anointing themselves as little messiah sent by God to save the Church from the Pope.

              • Jared B.

                If lots of liberals (great point btw; if not all trads are reactionaries, I obviously have to grant that not all liberals are dissenters) are listening to this pope, then Deo gratias. I’ve mostly heard him misquoted, or his [out of context] quotes used as a truncheon against Catholic faith & morals. Everyone I know personally [who get all their news from MSNBC, Fox, LifeSiteNews or some combination] has mainly succeeded in “listening” to things he never said or never intended to say. The difference is that the non- or ex-Catholics are quite glad that “Pope declares everything every conservative ever said is wrong”, meanwhile I know Catholics who are lately very troubled with doubt, that perhaps their years of commitment to pro-life / pro-family causes has been misguided, or that their economic views that had been at least permissible are no longer so.

                The New New Evangelization consists of assuring Catholics—I’m talking about good but less-than-perfectly informed people who’ve been doing their best with what catechesis and grace they have been given—that they didn’t get anathematized overnight! So that they can stop worrying and get on with the actual new evangelization. Yeah part of that may have to mean distancing ourselves from the ‘conservative’ label, which is a shame since I think it got hijacked.

                As for evangelization…It’s already enough pressure to put ourselves out on a limb to live out, defend, and promote the Catholic faith in a way that’ll make it attractive to all people inside and outside the Church who don’t yet know it very well. Being able to answer questions of the sort “Is the faith true?” is hard enough. Now, the whole conversation has shifted to “Is what you’re saying really the faith at all? Because Pope Francis said…[insert misquote or misused quote here].” It’s a little bit of the DaVinci Code all over again: suddenly everyone who can read is a better expert on Catholicism than anyone who’s actually studied the Catechism…or the Catechism itself.

              • said she

                Surely, not all conservatives!

                • chezami

                  Of course not.

                  • ivan_the_mad

                    YOU PAINTED ME WITH A BROAD BRUSH I HATE YOU MARK WHY CAN’T YOU COMFORT ALL OF MY PREJUDICES AND AGREE WITH ME ALL THE TIME AND BASICALLY RUN YOUR BLOG AS I SEE FIT.

          • lisa

            I agree. However, do not lump all traditionalists into one bin.

            • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

              If the shoe doesn’t fit, people shouldn’t wear it.

              • Stu

                And if it doesn’t fit, people should go around everyone trying to cram everyone else’s foot into it.

        • chezami

          No. Reactionaries have shown a trend of whining about being singled out when, in fact, Francis has had lots to say to a wide spectrum of Catholics. This passive aggressive bit of defiance is par for the course for the way Reactionaries have responded to him since his election. That they believe themselves the special object of his hostility only demonstrates that he is, in fact, the special object of their hostility. And Fr. Z chose to feed that with this snide gesture.

  • Stu

    ‘Yes. A coffee mug. Coupled with his citation of Andrew Napolitano announcing that his he about done with Francis, this is an obvious cue to the Uber Pure in the comboxes that it’s okay to go ahead and start speaking with mockery and contempt of the Holy Father”

    ————–
    Indeed, an entire army of pharisee, reactionary followers of Father Z are now marshaling to do his bidding and rise up against the Pope and all who would dare stand in their way. And as soon as the albino monks show up, it will begin.

    • peggy

      I have not read/heard Napolitano say he was “done” with Francis. He was just on StL radio, lamenting Card Burke’s removal from the bishop committee. He did call Francis a “liberal pope.” Now, if B16 may be called “orthodox” even “ultra” etc, then Francis may appropriately be called liberal.

      • chezami

        Note that you pit “orthodox” against “liberal”, insinuating the Francis is not orthodox. Once again, this is why Traditionalists are so often obnoxious. Your assumption that you sit in judgement of the Holy Father’s orthodoxy is repellent.

        • Phil Steinacker

          You opend the door, now walk through it. Why don’t you give us your long list of liberal, orthodx bishops and Catholic publications – prelates and organizations KNOWN for their progressive positions which are also established as orthodox.

          OK – then give us your short list.
          Go on – I dare you.
          As for the pope, get off your high horse. Veteran Vatican watchers have long been aware of orthodox, conservative, liberal, and progressive forces in the Vatican and throughout the Church, and have commented on them. The distinctions areoften contextual.

          I’d say you do a fine job sitting in judgment of others yourself. Pot calling kettle bloack, and all that.
          Nasty much?.

  • Alfred Rambit

    Whenever Father Z use a colorful phrase a good thought experiment would be to see it applied to Pope Benedict. For example, If Biological Solution is not a sinister phrase, than how come Fr. Z would never write something like: “Pope Benedict is resigning? Well it’s just another sign of the Biological Solution doing it’s work.”
    Would Fr. Z ever make a mug that said something like: “Living under the Dictatorship of Relativism, and proud of it.” or “Dissenter to the Ordinary Magisterium and proud of it,” “Seeing the Council through a Hermeneutic of Rupture and proud of it.”

  • AquinasMan

    I tend to agree with Father Z on most counts, but this was just imprudent. Maybe it’s no big deal to most of his audience, but why do something unnecessary that you can be bludgeoned with by the Catholic Neo-Enlightenment Police?

    With all due respect to the myriad side-tantrums on this thread, Shea makes a valid observation in the OP. If the matter is as serious as Fr. Z believes, it shouldn’t be trivialized in the form of a trinket. And there’s no need to create more antagonism when there’s already plenty of it on all sides.

    I think there’s some well-earned concern and criticism over Francis’ personal opinions. That said, even if Francis did everything in his power to wreck the Church, it’s not going anywhere. God can reward us with some popes, and punish us with other popes, but He is ultimately in control. If Francis turns out to be a Marxist in the Vatican, we need to shut up and take it, because, guess what, God willed it for one reason or another. If he turns out to be the greatest pope since Peter, then hallelujah. I’m ready for either outcome.

    • Stu

      As usual, Mark has a point but it get’s lost in being grossly overplayed.

    • Cypressclimber

      Since we’re parsing complicated descriptors, what is the “Catholic Neo-Enlightenment Police”?

  • John Barnes

    There’s a certain irony in Fr. Z. selling a “We Love Our Priest” bumper sticker with the caption “A sign of appreciation for the parish priest” (http://www.cafepress.com/frzsstore). While his full-time “ministry” appears to be blogging, more than a few parishes in the U.S. don’t have a priest.

    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

      Not every period of a priest’s life involves active ministry.

      • John Barnes

        Glad we agree that what Fr. Z. does isn’t ministry.

        • ElizD

          Fr Z says Mass regularly at the church a block from me. That is priestly ministry. I tend to agree this particular item of swag was not in the best judgement and open to a bad interpretation. His blog actually does a lot to educate and brings some back to the Sacraments, see his continual exhortations to go to confession. That does minister to people. Pray for him. He is indeed an active priest.

          • Alfred Rambit

            Wow, you mean this priest actually says Mass? A priest, saying Mass? He should be commended.
            Is Fr. Z assigned anywhere? Does he have day to day responsibilities? He is a “president” of a latin mass association in Madison, but is that a canonical structure? What does he do other than say Mass and hear confessions for this group?
            His blog is his hobby, it’s not a ministry, Tell me, how is soliciting money for recreational travel, for ammunition, guns, and $4,000 a month part of his ministry? What does he actually do that requires that sort of money and equipment?

            • Illinidiva

              He apparently still isn’t incardinated in Madison despite basically living there and saying Mass there. I’m sure that the blog is a stumbling block for even a bozo fellow traveler like Morlino. I cannot imagine that any bishop would allow the blog to exist in its current form without restrictions on the posts, etc. They could get at the very least P.R. blowback or even legal troubles. However, it is probably for the best. Would you actually want Father Z assigned to a parish? He is the sort of priest who drives people away from the Church.

              • ElizD

                This is a rude and unfortunate comment, especially namecalling my bishop, who is a good and kind shepherd, in the model of good Pope Benedict moreso than good Pope Francis but truly a worthy bishop who indeed loves the people of Madison. Do you have a bone to pick with some point of the Church’s doctrine that he’s patiently upheld? Are you suggesting that bishops get into the business of censoring blogs? Fr Z is responsible for what he puts on his blog, and ultimately he is responsible before God for that. Fr Z says nothing against the Faith and he has exerted himself continuously in a reasonable and favorable interpretation of Pope Francis. His homilies at my parish also bear that out. Settle down. Feel free to pray for him.

                • Illinidiva

                  My understanding from friends that live in Madison is that Morlino is a nosy busybody who is micromanages parishes down to the music that they are allowed to play. Neither he nor fellow traveler Father Z understands Francis’ vision of compassion and mercy. I wouldn’t want to deal with either; I couldn’t imagine Father Z being a merciful confessor or caring about other’s problems. He is a misogynist jerk.

                  And employers definitely have a right to monitor and censor employees blogs. Some of Father Z’s posts would have been controversial and would cause headaches for any diocese that incardiates him. I remember one over the summer that suggested that gay people were extra violent. Even his passive aggressive posts about Pope Francis would cause a bishop headaches. No bishop wants to spend time putting out fires by issuing statements about the latest Father Z controversy.

                  • ElizD

                    I am a woman, I know Fr Z personally and he has always been kind, respectful, good to deal with, and nothing remotely like a “misogynist”, so that is nonsense. He is critical of the same kind of destructive marxist-feminists I myself have extensively worked to counter, and that we all need to say no to. I remember him writing in regards to the violent murder of Bp Paprocki’s secretary by a homosexual activist, about how police say to him that some of the most shockingly violent crimes they see are by homosexuals, it had seemed that way to me too (that there was perhaps a pattern connecting ultra violence and homosexual behavior), so I didn’t find that necessarily an unreasonable thing to say nor did I think he was remotely claiming that was true of all same sex attracted folks. You have a laundry list of things you don’t like, but behind that is there disagreement on some of the teachings or discipline of the Church?

                    • Illinidiva

                      Father Z is incredibly juvenile and disrespectful toward people who disagree with him and is passive aggressive toward Pope Francis. He has absolutely no pastoral sense whatever and has written some shockingly insensitive things including the post about gay activists being violent murderers. (You really don’t see how gay Catholics might be offended by the insinuation that not only are they “diseased,” but they also are prone to murder). And this is even before we get into Father Z making profits off his clerical collar.
                      And I’ve met my share of petty clerical priests like Father Z growing up and that really caused me to have a love-hate relationship with Catholicism. Bad priests like Father Z have caused me to leave the Church more than once.

                    • texastwist

                      “He is a misogynist jerk” I could tell you first hand stories.

                      I notice that he only offers his benefactors an occasional Mass and prayers as well. I thought that was curious. Z thinks he’s above women, above men, and just about above anyone else at all. He’ll never get a parish assignment and Morlino isn’t his boss. An Italian bishop is. I forget the name. Well, actually, the name has probably changed since the bishop who sponsored him for ordination was dotty and pretty old at the time. Anyway, the way it works is that he’s free as the wind and so long as his card shows him as a priest in good standing, blech, he can take on assignments wherever he wants so long as the local bishop approves. He’s sort of a freelance priest. He blogs to earn his real money, but you know he gets paid by the TMSM as well, and I bet that’s a good stipend there. And he’s definitely a for profit priest and clearly not afraid to put his hand out for donations in any given situation. He may need a new biretta or cape and he’s a showman priest without exaggeration. He does TV whenever he can and I know he gets some good donations from that too, though I don’t know how often or if they even use him anymore. Anyone in Catholic circles who knows how things work tends to stay away from him, his story is sketchy at best. I’ve said enough, probably too much, but your posts have amazed me since I first came here because you know him, whether you’ve ever had the misfortune to meet him in person or not. I have had that misfortune and if I ever get the inspiration, I think it would make a great movie. I just hate to make the Church look stupid, though it does enough of that on its own, sometimes.

                    • Illinidiva

                      Thanks! I’ve never met him, and I hope never to. (I attend one of the evil liberal parishes he probably hates.) I read left and right Catholic blogs and news sources just to understand what is going on. It is quite easy to peg the man just from reading his blog posts although I sometimes wonder if Father Z is a long running performance art piece. And I did hear some information from friends who live in Madison that he isn’t incardinated in their diocese but still somewhere in suburban Rome. He also couldn’t get into any seminaries in the U.S. (wonder why..) and had to go to Italy. I’m assuming that he only was ordained because of his ability to be a suck up career climber. I think that he is very small potatoes, but he must some Curia types (who are probably in the process of being purged right now. Apparently Francis feels that there are too many people working in the Curia and is in the process of culling those who he thinks are suck-ups.)

                      And it does seem like he is trying to incardinate in Madison, but I’m assuming that even a fellow traveler like Morlino would hesitate to do so. I’m not an expert on PR or legal issues, but I think that the blog might be a stumbling block. I don’t think that any bishop, even ultra conservative Morlino, wants to constantly defuse situations arising from Father Z’s blog posts. I remember one that suggested that gays were prone to violent homicides that got him in trouble over the summer. And I don’t think that he gets TV gigs anymore. The major networks got burned by their associations with the Legion of Christ and probably only use priests who have serious credentials now. Unlike the priests who tend to get booked often such as James Martin, Father Z doesn’t have any books or serious journalistic credentials to his name.

                    • texastwist

                      Z has definitely made himself into a caricature. I think he fell in love with Bing Crosby in the Bells of St. Mary’s and modeled himself after that character, um, no, not in what he did and how he worked, just how he look and got treated ergo, the biretta and cape. He’s been playing a role throughout, it’s what he does publicly. Privately, well, let’s just say the good natured sharp witted priest disappears. You just can’t live the life of a cartoon character 24/7.

                      There were mixed stories about his seminary time in the US. He was tossed, he couldn’t get in, whatever, the bottom line is that at one point his only hope of ordination was to go to Rome and shop for a sponsor. Which he did. I have friends there who know all about that part of his journey, but there’s no point in going into that here. He got the sponsor regardless. He liked to allude to his being somehow in the know in the Vatican, but that wasn’t a reality. Now for sure no Bishop in the world without Alzheimer’s would give him the time of day if they took one look at his blog. It’s actually kind of creepy to know he thinks (pretends?) all of that is fine. The good thing about it is that he’s dug his own grave by just being who he is online. He’s got no chance at his hopes for a red cap or anything other than what he has right now. He may be quite the high end darling globe trotter, but fewer and fewer of his fans are going to be around much longer. I think he must be saving for his old age, because he’s going to be a has-been soon enough. My experience, and I know I’m not alone in this, shows a deep disrespect for women, but they probably come in real handy for him as a means of financial support, so he plays them very well when he wants something from them. Real charmer. I bet a lot of his benefactors are women and while I didn’t notice an ad on his blog asking for them to remember him in their wills, I’ve no doubt it will happen if it hasn’t already. I have only been to his site once or twice because it makes me feel dirty to be there, so I didn’t spend any real time. I saw enough in my 10 minutes. It boggles my mind that people can go there and not see immediately that this is a contradiction to the message of Jesus. I couldn’t bother at all to read what he writes. I know it’s a lot of garbage.

                      Makes you kind of marvel at God that even a Z can help people in spite of himself. So, even though he has less than no value for me, I’ve taken my experience of him and turned it into something that is positive and keeps me close to God. I can’t say I pray for him every day, I barely think of him at all, but on the rare occasion that I do, I say a prayer for him in the hopes that it will help him to stop distorting the priesthood, God’s nature and our call to holiness to the small masses who listen to him. He’s welcome to his life. His star fades. Maybe now it’s already losing its light.

                    • Cui Pertinebit

                      We are responsible for our actions. Nobody “causes” you to leave the Church. Own what you do. I’ll tell you the truth: amongst the factors that have contributed to your choosing to leave the Church, it is almost certain that your anger, your bitterness, your lack of forgiveness, and your resistance to Church teaching are major factors.

                      Homosexual attractions are intrinsically disordered, and those who experience them habitually, suffer from a disorder in the appetitive aspect of the soul at the least… I include myself, who suffer from such attractions regularly, though I do not at all identify as an “homosexual,” just as I would hope somebody who struggles with the temptation to lie doesn’t embrace “liar” as an identity for himself!

                      In true Christian charity, I encourage you: refuse to identify as a “homosexual,” if you do; embrace Church teaching and truly let go of the bitterness and anger. These are things you can do, and must do. You make these choices, and you own their consequences.

                  • Cui Pertinebit

                    The bishop is the pastor of his flock, and he is not only allowed to oversee everything pertinent to the household of faith he oversees, he is charged by God with the fearful responsibility of taking great care for everything with a view to the Last Judgment. The bishop is in a special way the keeper of the Liturgy and the Sacraments (of which he is the fountainhead in his diocese), and not only can, but should, oversee everything of import related to the Liturgy. The music is of immense importance, and the norms for it are prescribed by Vatican II in Sacrosanctum Concilium (reverent nature, with preference for Gregorian Chant and Latin); if parishes did it right of their own accord, I suppose the bishop would inevitably be less involved. But they don’t, so kudos to him for ensuring that things are done well and with respect for God and the beauty of His house.

                    Fr. Z has heard my confession and helped me with two important spiritual questions. He was merciful and kind – generous, even. What kinds of judgment do people pass on you, I wonder? What kind of judgment does God say He will pass on us? “As you measure unto others, so shall it be measured unto you.” Do you think there is anything problematic about writing hateful, unmerciful accusations against other people’s supposed hatred and lack of mercy? Where is your mercy? What about your hatred? Why should you care, if Fr. Z does the same things you do? Maybe you’d get along together!

                    And you can put two and two together: Fr. Z’s blog – which certainly constitutes a ministry that has been helpful in bringing many, including myself, to Catholicism – could certainly cause problems for whatever diocese incardinated him. And now you know why he is incardinated far, far away; he gets to be involved in a useful ministry while helping the local Church to avoid those headaches.

            • ElizD

              The Tridentine Mass Society of Madison is in fact a canonical association of the faithful in the Diocese of Madison, for which the bishop nominates the president (currently Fr Z) who is then elected by the membership. I am a board member of the TMSM so I do know this for a fact. It is a group for matters related to the Traditional Latin Mass and its promotion in our diocese but the actual Masses themselves are parish Masses (the church a block from me that I refer to is part of the Cathedral Parish). His blog is the main ministry he engages in, he is not a parish priest. One does not have to agree with every opinion and interest of Fr Z to understand that. Since he does seem to make a living at that, and he is a very prolific blogger who seems to devote most of his time to that, I would understand calling it a ministry and a business but it does not make sense to call Fr Z’s blog a “hobby”. He clearly does also have hobbies which he refers to. I think it is not especially your business what his finances are and that you are being hostile about his fundraising success because of not agreeing with him about some things. I know Fr Z and he has always been kind and generous.

              • Alfred Rambit

                Thank you for clarifying the status of the TMSM, so what exactly are his duties as President of this organization?
                How is his blog a ministry? Has a bishop assigned him to it? Does it have any official relationship to an ecclesial structure? Or is it just his own personal blog? That’s what confuses me. It looks like it’s Father Z writing about whatever he feels like writing about, whether it be the maniple, President Obama’s dog, gun culture (something church teaching does not cover), he writes comments to what other people write, and once in a while answers a question that usually are not that difficult to answer (e.g. a pregnant woman wondering whether or not she should kneel to receive holy communion). If he’s not officially assigned to the duty of maintaining his blog, then why does he spend the majority of his time working on it, and doing performing a task that he is assigned to?
                If the blog is his ministry though, then his raising of funds Is my business because then the blog is part of his official activity as a priest. Why does he need $4,000 a month? Why does he need so much combat equipment and ammunition? Why does he need to be taking all of these trips that are seemingly nothing more than vacations? Should a priest be fundraising amongst the faithful and thus taking donations from other priests and orders for things that are simply his own enjoyment?
                Take this for example, if a priest were asking for gift cards to Victoria’s secret, and for funds for a trip to Las Vegas, would that not require some explaining to do? Certainly there is necessarily nothing wrong with a priest buying women’s lingerie, or taking a vacation to Las Vegas, but it does raise certain questions about what he is up to, and whether or not it is appropriate to use his “ministry” to finance such activities.

                • texastwist

                  Love it! The Wish List slays me!

        • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

          I’m out of this discussion until I have more and better information about what this “Fr. Z” actually does all day. Until then, I am in no position to draw any conclusions about him whatsoever.

    • John Flaherty

      Seems to me that his blog constitutes a “ministry” of sorts, precisely by virtue of giving numerous people an outlet where they can learn more of traditional Catholic expressions and even discuss things of the Catholic world with other readers.
      I would remind you too that many of the parishes who don’t have priests..might be better enabled to have priests if they offered the faith in a manner that caused young men to actually take faith seriously.
      Far too often, young men are dissuaded by the..modern approach..that too many faithful seem to take to life in general. No diocese will have priests in abundance if they act as though faith isn’t important.

    • Elleblue Jones

      I don’t quite understand what his ministry is? It’s fine to sit back and criticize while others are in the trenches day to day.

    • Stu

      You are free to contact his Bishop about that. Priest don’t just “show up” and take over or start a parish.

      • Carlos

        Wait…. he doesn’t have a bishop in the US. Some obscure place in Italy I guess.

        • Stu

          And that Bishop has assigned him to his current duties.

          • Dave P.

            It would not surprise me if Fr. Z ends up incardinated into Madison. Now if we could just convert him into a Packers fan…

            • texastwist

              He’s from that neck of the woods. He may be a Packers fan, though maybe it would be the Vikings. He started seminary up there somewhere in Wanderer territory, but that seminary didn’t work out for him, so he went to Rome to find a bishop to sponsor him.

              • Elaine S.

                The fact that Fr Z doesn’t mention, on his blog, having some kind of regular daily pastoral ministry does not in and of itself prove he doesn’t have one. Perhaps his bishop or whoever he may be working with has asked him not to mention it on the blog, or he has chosen not to mention it on the blog, because he doesn’t want to attract undue publicity, harassment or criticism of said ministry — which, knowing the number of crazies out there on the internet, is entirely possible. Lots of ordinary bloggers never mention where they work or reveal the identity of their spouses or children for similar reasons. If you knew nothing about them other than what you read on the blog, you might assume they did nothing but blog all day when that is not the case.

                • texastwist

                  Elaine, you’re a very nice lady, if a bit naive. Unfortunately, I know too much and have had enough experience of Z not to be able to pretend he’s just a nice priest who’s doing his best. He gets along best in settings where people elevate priests to pedestal status and worst in settings where he’s not treated as a demi-god. He’s a flash in the pan priest who may always have his blog, but will never get what he covets, a red hat. His reputation does him in.

                  It’s really not worth all this discussion about Z, he thrives on being the center of attention and putting him there is unhealthy for all of us.

    • Cui Pertinebit

      I believe Fr. Z is working on academic projects (including a dissertation). The blog is a means of attracting support with a minimum of distraction (I’m sure it doesn’t take him eight hours a day to put up a few blog posts here and there, like a day job would). It would be better, perhaps, for you not to feel as though you were in a position to make judgments about him or his circumstances. For, if you are allowed to feel that way about him, what criticism could you possibly make of his attitudes towards others?

  • Jared B.

    The only two reactions I’ve seen from the current pope are people who
    don’t believe or practice the faith cheering “Yay, the pope is on MY
    side now!” or Catholics fetting “Oh snap! If even the pope isn’t on my
    side any more, what am I doing?” Haven’t personally met any of the
    reactionary / conservative haters. Also haven’t personally seen any of
    this genuine listening on the part of liberals that I keep hearing reassurances is really going on. Whatever good is coming from the lips of our current Pope, I just have to try to remember to say a prayer of thanks, then another prayer or two for patience.
    Whether we are liberal / progressive / conservative / traditionalist /
    or even I-refuse-all-labels-and-am-simply-Catholic-plain-and-simple
    Catholics…Pope Francis is not making it easier for ANY of us to A. live out our faith as our conscience
    has informed us and B. defend our decisions articulately. Respective tribes
    (sorry, the label-refusing identity counts as one) are bound to bristle
    with each other a lot more, with all the papal statements & interviews
    air-dropping more ammo to shoot each other with. That’s been my experience
    so far. That’s why I greeted a funny mug with some gratitude and
    relief. It has been, and will be, a lot worse.

    • capaxdei

      If you don’t know any Catholics who have reacted to Pope Francis in any way other than, “Even the Pope isn’t on my side any more,” you should move.

      • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

        Well, rather than move, he could be the one who reacts rightly.

        • Jared B.

          It’s just an endless stream of pointing out that either A. The pope didn’t even say what you heard he said, so chill. B. The pope said that, but here it is in context, and it doesn’t mean anything like what you think it means, so chill. C. The pope’s statement touches on matters of fact, not doctrine or morality, so if you think he’s wrong about it, then it just means that he was looking at a different set of evidence than you are; he’s not a bad pope nor are you a bad Catholic. CHILL.

          • chezami

            There’s also c) The pope said that, but you are too arrogant to listen because you consider yourself a Real Catholic and the rest of the Church, including the Pope, to be the Church of Nice and beneath contempt. That the actual go to strategy of the Reactionary Francis bashers.

            • Jared B.

              Yeah I haven’t had the [dis]pleasure of conversing with any of the Francis Bashers in person; tho I know several Limbaugh fans who if I brought it up (i.e. am a masochist) would probably engage in just that. And like I said, 99% of what I hear until I dig a little deeper and what everyone seems to be hearing, are things he really didn’t say; bad paraphrases or quotes out of context.
              Almost everyone seems to be reacting to this imaginary Pope Francis and are either gleeful, enraged, or despondent about the progressive Marxist abortionist pro-gay kind of leader that he…isn’t. :-/ Although the conservative reactionaries, even if they were brought up to speed and understood what he really meant, would still say it’s bunk, so I’m not terribly inclined to throw those pearls.

      • Jared B.

        Actually, the majority of Catholics I have ever known have NO reaction to Pope Francis because they never hear / read anything he says. Ditto his predecessor, and his predecessor, et cetera. That seems pretty common among cradle Catholics, it seems; it’s converts like me who feel more of a need to hang on every latest statement from the Supreme Pontiff.

        I used to think of them as uninformed Catholics. Now, I think they are the sane ones. Their faith, the way they live it, pray it, and learn it, is clearly rooted in things more permanent than what the latest pope has to say about it. Right now I’m reading St. Teresa’s autobiography for the second time. Her teachings about prayer are becoming a bigger influence in my life. It just dawned on me that nothing, nothing this or any pope has ever said or ever will say is going to overturn what St. Teresa says about prayer, like she could be retroactively declared a heretic. Some of my acquaintances and relatives (particularly who are active in the pro-life movement) have been fretting that exactly that is going on: that virtues are being declared vices, that they can be condemned for what they thought they were doing right. I fretted a bit too, afraid that my newly-found interest in mental prayer & contemplation is now considered “narcissistic” or “self-absorbed”.

        I’m starting to come around to the realization that hanging on every word from the Pope is actually a distinctly un-Catholic approach to the faith; it’s an attitude that has more in common with Mormonism (whose head prophet really does have the power to alter overight what does and does not constitute their faith). It simply isn’t possible for any human being to agree with absolutely everything that one other person says, even if he’s the pope, without destroying our individuality not to mention our own unique vocations in life. It wasn’t possible under any of Pope Francis’ predecessors either. It is however, possible to assent to the Catholic faith in its entirety.

    • said she

      My friends from the OF all think Pope Francis is wonderful. Same for my EF friends. Honestly, I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like him! They all see him for what he is: a son of the Church. I realize that none of my friends are bloggers or pundits or journalists… just, you know: real people, trying to live out their Catholic faith in a fallen world. But they have all expressed gratitude for our Holy Father being a humble, approachable, sensible leader.

      The media love a battle, and some people have been infected with that “need” to see conflict or Liberal v. Conservative in everything. But I’m not seeing any of that in my neck o’ the woods. Thanks be to God!

  • Tim

    You do realize that being an orthodox Catholic doesn’t require one to be an Ultramontane right?

    • chezami

      You do realize that it is not ultramontane to think that a good man and a good pope should not be treated with passive aggressive contempt, don’t you?

  • iBookworm

    Dude. Fr. Z was taking a series of dismissive insults and making a joke out of it. We traditionalists are used to being marginalized and misrepresented. It hurts a little more when it’s the Holy Father doing it. I little black humor can be a salve.

    And actually, Fr. Z is constantly trying to calm those who, like me, feel a little betrayed by recent words and actions of the Holy Father. Yes, sometimes our betrayal can spark bitter words, spoken in the hurt and deep worry we feel. When the Franciscans of the Immaculate are sternly censured while the LCWR and openly heretical priests still run free, we worry. When the man charged with being the visible representative of Christ on earth lauds Nelson Mandela without mentioning his legacy of abortion (thereby undermining the words of courageous bishops who tried to temper the adulation by drawing attention to the little ones who suffered), we worry.

    We are hurt and scared, Mark. Cut us a little slack, huh?

    I like your books, Mark, and I really want to like everything else you write, but MAN, you are constantly putting me down. I grew up with the beauty of Catholic tradition, lived out in a full and complete way — parish, school, the whole bit! Not only do I see nothing lacking in the old ways, but it’s my culture. My culture, man! It’s my home! It’s beautiful and dear to me. And you’re constantly putting it down, dude. It’s harsh, man, harsh.

    • capaxdei

      “Self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism” is not a dismissive insult. It is a diagnosis of a particular, grave, spiritual illness — essentially the same illness Cardinal Ratzinger called “the Pelagianism of the pious” in his 1986 spiritual exercises.

      It is also a comically inelegant phrase, one I admit to having told a few jokes about. But to the extent that the coffee mug turn’s Pope Francis’s dead serious diagnosis into a joke, it is imprudent — especially since it’s a joke told to those most in need of comprehending the diagnosis, either because they themselves suffer from the disease or because they are hurt and scared because they haven’t been able to distinguish between the Pope’s views of traditional Catholic practices and the anthropocentric worldliness that can hollow out those practices.

      • Cypressclimber

        As a spiritual diagnosis, it properly can and should be applied to more than traditional Catholics. Is one allowed to say the holy father was imprudent–or inexact–in seeming to focus this critique only at more traditional folks? Or am I now a heretic to be denounced?

        At any rate, I think that’s what hurts someone like iBookworm–and he or she is far from alone.

        • capaxdei

          I think what Pope Francis has been criticizing is a specific spiritual illness that, empirically, is very much centered in the more traditional circles of the Church. (I’ve decided to use the term “Cargo-cult Catholicism” for the more general illness of treating some set of Catholic behaviors as the necessary and sufficient content of the Faith, which seems to be common throughout the Church.)

          • Marion (Mael Muire)

            “Cargo-cult Catholicism.” Interesting. And got it. (I think)

            Although . . . I wonder whether it might be possible to speak of the aberration of residing one’s faith in certain behaviors alone, (behaviors, that is, that are in contradistinction to the teachings of the Church), as possibly inhabiting the religious life of members on (as it were) “both sides of the aisle.” A possible example: A soi-disant progressive Catholic with a strong Democratic party affiliation may vote for a (D) candidate who supports targeting the infant in the womb for destruction on demand, and there may be any number of motivations for her doing so. Some may not fit what I’m talking about here. But one would: If her motivation is “I believe it is my obligation as a follower of Christ to support the party that will provide and increase social services programs to the needy, and therefore I will declare wrong and irrelevant the Church’s teachings about the sanctity of the life of the child in the womb.”

            Bam. Cargo-cult again. I think. But on the other side.

            I think the Cargo-cult stuff happens in Traddie circles especially in South America, and that’s the Holy Father’s experience over many years. I think the Cargo-cult stuff happens in circles among both here in the U.S., which is why some of us in the U.S. are puzzled about what he might have meant.

          • rodlarocque1931

            Doesn’t the Pope have bigger fish to fry then a few cranky traditionalists?

            • capaxdei

              It’s not my place to tell the Pope to go soft on heresy.

          • DM

            Atheists use cargo cults as an analogy for religion in general, so my instinct is that this this a meme we should be reluctant to adopt. It’s the people in the planes who repress their faith who are abnormal, while the simple folk on the ground are mesmerized by a higher power, and that’s normal. When I react to the elevation of the Host the way they react to a plane, I’ll know I’m sane.

            Behaviour is a non-negotiable part of our faith – the sacraments all involve ‘active participation’ properly understood. So in practice we optimize our choices leading up to our reception of the sacraments to make sure our participation is active – if I drive rather than walk to mass, will I get stressed? If I walk will I have enough time to prepare? If that’s true of the decisions we make before mass, it’s doubly true about the decisions made at mass, including the rite of mass.

            Emprically, all we see is someone who is very keen to make the right choices. To diagnose this as an illness is a judgement that a spiritual director should make.

    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

      We are hurt and scared, Mark.

      “Be not afraid!” as someone once said. Also, joy and competence are real disarmers. Attract people with your joyful and skillful chanting (or polyphony or whatever). In any case, the church is not going down in flames. Be not afraid.

  • XIVClement

    I believe the good sister in the wonderful film “The Song of Bernadette” is exactly who the Pope has in mind. Watch from 57:37 to 1:03:42. Pelagianism is basically believing you can say rosaries, exclusively attend the traditional mass, etc. and by doing so, God will owe you heaven. All too familiar in the trad world.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cs9ofAuWFw.

    • Phil Steinacker

      By your skewed explanation it’s clear you have no idea what pelagianism is.

      • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

        It’s not so far off. How can you love God whom you have not seen if you do not love your brother whom you have seen? Therefore, if you do not love your brother, then no matter how many rosaries and masses you pray, the love of God is absent. If the love of God is absent, the grace of God is absent. If the grace of God is absent, then it is by works you are trying to be saved. And if you think you can be saved by works, that’s close enough to Pelagianism for government work.

        • rodlarocque1931

          once can only love one’s neighbour if one loves God first… the fruit of prayer is charity not the other way around.
          We must give God first and then to neighbour….
          the Government forces charity out of us, funds soup kitchens gives welfare etc,,, but where is the prayer and love of God?
          the world doesn’t need any more soup kitchens it needs more contemplative monasteries…

    • hockeyCEO

      So a nun (St. Bernadette’s superior) who has lost humility, charity, and love represents the ‘trad’ world? What a dreadful opinion you have of traditional Catholics.

      • chezami

        Or perhaps, what a dreadful reputation many many Traditionalist Catholics have earned for themselves. The instinct to always blame somebody else for that reputation and to so rarely wonder why that reputation is so common beyond the hothouse of Traditionalism is one of the many reasons Traditionalism has that reputation.

        • hockeyCEO

          If believing and practicing ALL of our Catholic faith is what you call a dreadful reputation, then so be it. Thanks be to God.

          • chezami

            The smugness. It burns.

            • hockeyCEO

              Not smugness, but joy!

              • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

                Other people do not experience it as joy.

        • Cui Pertinebit

          I have met one rad-trad who lives up to the stereotype, and I know many traditional Catholics.

          Rather, I think that *most* traditional Catholics’ suspicions are largely accurate: that people have negative view of them for the same reason that the society at large has a negative view of Catholicism. I.e., the closer something comes to the Sacred Tradition, the more it has a tendency to irritate people. Part of this is merely human – people don’t like the reminder that something passes judgment on their lives and calls them to a more sober and attentive lifestyle, and so, just as a secular person tends to be irritated by even moderately observant Catholics, so many Catholics who “aren’t so obsessed with all the traditional things” tend to be irritated by those whose observance perhaps pricks their own conscience.

          Another part of it is demonic – the demons ply their trade on all of us, and they have more or less success based on whether we are trying to remain always in the state of grace, on whether we practice the virtues or not (especially humility and gratitude), etc. Thus, many people who have a more “it-all-works-out-fine” approach to practicing the faith, may find that they have exposed themselves to an heightened level of demonic obsession or influence, which naturally carries with it a revulsion for sacred things. Where sacred things are unavoidable – as in the church – it is important to banalize the music, the liturgy, the art, etc., so that the sacred does not have to be experienced as sacred. Thus, traditional Catholicism produces a literally demonic revulsion, because it holds forth all the most potent and unmistakeable signs of the sacred as sacred.

          Finally, I will concede that some trads do become legalistic and dour. The demons have two maxims: “anything but Christ,” and, “if you can’t get them away from Christ, anything but moderation.” For, if you throw out moderation, then it is no longer Christ that is served, but one’s own sense of “radical fidelity to tradition.” In one way, this last sin draws the most compassion (because it is an error they have fallen into after trying to reject worldliness and everything that is not of the most surpassing excellence), and in another way, it draws the most severe judgment, because it deals directly with sacred things, with sacrilege, with blasphemy and with the final impenitence of the pharisees’ sin: in the midst of belief in God, to mock God by turning Him into a pet, expecting Him to reward obedience to the letter when really He is Master and expects our obedience to the Spirit, albeit in utmost respect for the letter.

    • Cypressclimber

      Embedding the video was cool; as was the choice. But here’s a direct question, if you don’t mind? Are you saying you, personally, have experienced “trads” who fit the description you give? Would you please quantify “all too familiar”? Do you mean all, nearly all, most, a lot, some, a significant subset, a few…or you’ve met three?

      I’m not trying to be contentious; I’m trying to get a more concrete sense of just what you’re alleging, and how significant it is.

      • Cypressclimber

        One reason I ask is that this has not been *my* experience. On the contrary, folks who are more traditional seem prone to doubt their salvation excessively, not assume it.

    • rodlarocque1931

      This video doesn’t prove your point, in fact it contradicts it. The good nun said “why should you see the Blessed Virgin when you haven’t suffered as I have…” well eventually she learns that in fact St Bernadette did suffer and greatly… so it proves her point that suffering is the royal road to heaven.
      I really doubt there are many traditional Catholics that go to the same extremes as this sister but frankly the Holy Father’s negative comments attributed to traditional catholics is a disgrace. By extension he insults all of the history of the church up until the 1960′s. Traditional catholics are simply those that want to be catholics as their ancestors and are suspicious of changes that seem to smack of appeasement of the world rather than the glory of God and His temple.

      • Elaine S.

        The whole point of this scene (which has had a big impact on me personally, ever since I watched “Bernadette” as a kid) is that ACCEPTANCE of suffering — not just suffering for its own sake — is the royal road to heaven.
        Self-chosen suffering, i.e., penance or mortification, is intended to do three things: prepare us to bear involuntary suffering, help us emphathize with those who suffer involuntarily (the sick, the poor, etc.), and remind us that we are sinners who need to remedy the wrongs we have done. If it doesn’t do that — if it simply makes us testy, judgmental and self-righteous, as it apparently did to Bernadette’s Mother Superior — then what is the point? Isaiah 58 makes a similar point — “this is the fasting that I wish…”
        The lesson I take from this scene — one that I have attempted to put into practice in my own life — is that, all other things being equal, putting up patiently with suffering you DID NOT ask for is a better and more effective penance than anything you take on by your own choice.

  • DM

    187 Comments. We’re not talking about a mug, really, are we?

    Bottom line: is the Magesterium an Etch-a-Sketch? Can a new Pope come along, shake the Etch-a-Sketch and start all over again? In other words, we have to obey the Pope blindly during his pontificate, but once he’s dead, or abdicates, then anything goes. That doesn’t sound right. It makes our obedience during a pontiff’s lifetime sound inauthentic.

    A messier alternative is to square whatever the Pope says or does with the opinions of his recent predecessors. If the circle can’t be squared, then as long as we’ve done our best, and kept an open mind, we go with the traditional formula. I did that during Benedict’s pontificate (with Assissi III), I do it now. I’m not a hater, and it’s not personal – they’re not out to get me and I’m not out to get them.

    The encyclicals of the 19th and 20th century concerning Liberalism are a treasure trove of good sense. I’m not against Francis or the conciliar generation. The only issue is: are they heeding sufficiently the warnings given by Leo XIII, St Pius X and co?

    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

      By saying that the realm of economics is not outside of the teaching authority of the church nor its ends free from judgment by human beings, Pope Francis is really a back-door Pius IX or Leo XIII.

      • DM

        That’s right – and credit to him for defending the principle. I might add that Leo XIII’s economics is situated within a political programme of defending the Christian constitution of the state. Hence in Leo’s ideal state, if the governor does make a modest inroad into the market, we can have the confidence that it’s being done by Christians, in the name of Christ, without prejudice to the rights of the individual and the family.

        All of this is compatible with a healthy skepticism towards social programmes initiated in a non-confessional state by socialists and freemasons, which have a quite different goal. I’m broadly speaking in favour of socialized medicine, but we can’t wish away how the NHS has promoted the culture of death in the UK since the 1940s. Francis has a firm grasp of one side of the issue, and he’s right – Christians shouldn’t lie awake at night worrying about the problems of the rich – but I’d like to see some practical advice on the other side of the issue. The Church has enemies and they are willing to borrow the Church’s clothes – charity, compassion, justice – to achieve their goals.

  • Martin Kelly

    Mark, I stopped reading Zuhlsdorf years ago. It was the photographs of the nice meals that finally did it for me. He is a priest of the diocese of Rome, and might perhaps show a little more respect for his bishop. On the other hand, I have theard that that diocese has a saying about its own – that ‘Rome is full of odd priests’.

  • ryan

    When you have a blog constantly asking for gifts, money, donations, not to mention sales of coffee mugs, bumper stickers, prayers for “benefactors” (is a greedy priest really the one you want praying for you?), etc., it might bother you to have a superior who embraces poverty and humility .Just a thought.

  • Cui Pertinebit

    I know I’m replying to this a bit late in the game, but few people seemed to get Fr. Z’s message right.

    Fr. Z’s mug is about one thing: a dry, but definitely good-humoured, sense of resignation to the caricature to which all “traditional” people tend to be consigned. The last bit of the mug – “and proud of it” – is the real laugh line, because it seems to confirm the “promethean” pride and arrogance imputed to them, and by doing so in a good-humoured way, disarms the insult and shows how it doesn’t really apply (because that’s something which nobody who was actually a proud, self-absorbed promethean neopalagian would ever be able to do; an authentically proud, self-absorbed promethean neopelagian would only be able to feel a chilly sense of contemptuous rage).

    The mug is not earnestly identifying with the insult, and it’s not really even mocking the Holy Father. The mug is more a way of shrugging and saying, “what can you do?” while embracing the absurdity, so as to show that, perhaps, the criticism is in fact undeserved and that yes, even traddies have a sense of humour about themselves. At least, that’s how it seems to me. I suppose Fr. Z could shock me and say that, no, in all seriousness, he is filled with contempt for the Pope, can’t wait to “sharpen his knives” against him, and that proudly proclaiming himself an heretic and a narcissist is his idea of putting the faith into action. But it seems like you would have to be deliberately uncharitable to impute that kind of motive to the man…


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