Father Z Equates Catholic Bishops at WYD 2013 with Nazis UPDATED

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, also known (and hereafter referred to) as “Fr. Z,” will surely dispute the claim of this headline, however, this post will show that the proposition “Father Z equates Catholic Bishops at WYD 2013 with Nazis” is true, by examining the words used by Fr. Z in today’s post at his web log, “Your Excellencies? REALLY?!?

Fr. Z’s post begins with the YouTube video (below) of a large group of Catholic Bishops, dressed in ecclesial attire, rehearsing hand movements to an upbeat religious song in Portuguese.

YouTube Preview Image

Fr. Z follows that video with the following remarks:

Bis pueri senes?

This is supposed to be a rehearsal of some sort.  I don’t know for which event.

I really want to just smile and shrug this off.  I suspect this isn’t what Pope Francis meant when he said that we clerics have to get out there.

This is too far out there.

As a quick aside: I am certainly not one to be offended by strong criticism, even of the Bishops or the Pope. And the opinion given up to this point of Fr. Z’s post strikes me as harmless and even somewhat persuasive, given my general intuitions on the matter.

But then, in the passages and image to follow, Fr. Z crosses into very hot and downright scandalous waters.

In a preventive and defensive disclaimer, Fr. Z anticipates possible critiques of the second image he uses in this post. For the sake of coherence, I will post it here, in advance. The image is a photograph of a single, dissenting person refusing to heil Hitler during a Nazi rally:

Fr. Z  then writes the following disclaimer about what he is not doing, but he also unwittingly describes the analogy he sees between the YouTube video and the Nazi photograph, thereby undermining himself. See for yourself:

DISCLAIMER: Some mouth-breathers out there will claim that I tried to compare WYD to some sort of Nazi rally.  That is NOT what I am about to do.   If there is a better image of non-conformity within a large, uniformed crowd doing something that is just plain wrong, please send it to me.

In the three sentences that follow the disclaimer notice, Fr. Z makes a negative claim — “That [i.e., trying to compare WYD to some sort of Nazi rally] is NOT what I am about to do.” — followed by another claim that, in fact, subverts what the prior negative claim is trying not to do.

Fr. Z tries to say that the only significance of the photo is this: it is a description of “non-conformity within a large, uniformed crowd doing something that is just plain wrong.” However, the only reason why this Nazi photograph is such a powerful description of something that is “just plain wrong” is precisely because they are Nazis. In other words, Fr. Z effectively equates the “wrongdoing” of Nazi’s with the, in his view, “wrongdoing” of the Bishops.

On a close reading, Fr. Z is only partially right in his negative claim. He cannot, strictly speaking, be accused of comparing “WYD to some sort of Nazi rally.” However, he can — and must — be held accountable for making a very direct, logical analogy between the wrongdoing of Nazi complicity with Hitler and the Shoah and the Catholic Bishops merrily gathered at WYD 2013. This alone supports the claim that the proposition, “Father Z equates Catholic Bishops at WYD 2013 with Nazis,” is true.

But there’s more.

In the passage to follow, before the image appears, Fr. Z slightly changes his analogical imagery to describe the Catholic Bishops at WYD 2013. He goes on, saying

It is easy for us, in a crowd, in a mob – wherein there is that unpredictable n+x factor involved – to lose our heads and do what everyone else does in the pressure of the moment.  But, Your Excellencies, after watching this, … really?!?

In this passage one might argue that Fr. Z is not necessarily making the same analogy as before, but, rather, pressing a related and more generic one. Fine. It does not follow, however, to argue that a generic “mob” somehow weakens the prior analogy between Nazi rallies and the (poorly) dancing Bishops. Plus, if you are resorting to letting Fr. Z off the hook for calling our Bishops a “mob,” you’re not exactly winning the overall argument.

And there is even more.

Fr. Z then returns to the original Nazi analogy and makes another, slightly different association that further equates Nazis and the Bishops at WYD 2013. He asks the Bishops, condescendingly:

The next time they ask you to do something like this, and they will, please – be that guy? ALL of you?

That guy,” of course, is the lone person, circled in the photo (above), who refuses to heil Hitler. In other words, Fr. Z asks our (and his) Bishops that, next time, they should not act like Nazis in the one respect noted earlier:  ”non-conformity within a large, uniformed crowd doing something that is just plain wrong.”

One might quibble that the details of what, exactly, is “wrong” could differ from one case to the other, and that would be true. It certainly does not follow from the proposition I am defending to claim that Fr. Z is accusing the Catholic Bishops at WYD 2013 of genocide — or of being Nazi themselves. It is a simile. In Fr. Z’s post, the Bishops are like Nazsi in the respect that they are doing something “that is just plain wrong.”

Nonetheless, it does remain valid to make the propositional claim that Fr. Z, in the post ”Your Excellencies? REALLY?!?“, equates the Catholic Bishops at WYD 2013 with Nazis on at least two (sufficient) occasions and a third, slightly weaker, one:

  1. By making a direct analogy between the “wrongdoing” that makes the photo of a Nazi rally relevant to the YouTube video of the Bishops at WYD 2013.
  2. By asking the Bishops to abstain from dancing and hand motions next time they are in a situation that is “just plain wrong” through the use of the exact same analog noted in point 1.
  3. In addition to points 1 and 2, Fr. Z also refers to the Bishops gathered as a “mob” which, while being a rather stupid remark, does not add or detract from the proposition I am defending, but is hardly a salutary remark to make on the whole.

Since, as I have shown, this proposition, made in the title of this post you are reading, is, in fact, true, then, it must follow that the truth-value of that proposition can and ought to render serious, truth-based implications.

What are the implications that follow from Fr. Z equating the Bishops at WYD 2013 with Nazis?

That question is beyond the scope of this post. But, as you can imagine, they do not appear to be good ones. All my intuitions on the matter seem to be wholly negative.

My humble suggestion to Fr. Z would be to remove the post, apologize to his ecclesial superiors, and consider giving up blogging for an extended amount of time.

Feel free to chime in with the implications you come up with — my comment boxes are wide open, baby.

UPDATE

In an update, Fr. has removed the photo and all of the commentary I took issue with here. The opening remarks remain. He has also added more updates and media about the event, but no longer associates the Bishops with Nazis nor does he refer to them as a “mob”. While he doesn’t name me directly, he does, rather ungenerously, refer to the objections to the previous iteration of his post as “having a nutty.”

As I anticipated some people had a nutty about this, so I took down the photo I originally associated with this post.  Yes, it was the well-known photo that sometimes bears the caption “Be This Guy”, or words to that effect.

I guess having a nutty is persuasive. I do appreciate his prudent decision in censoring his imagery and commentary.

Meanwhile, my comment boxes will remain open.

  • Veronica S.

    I found striking the bishops’ behavior, because I have never seen this, but I understand that it was done during a huge gathering with young people celebrating their faith and they are trying to engage them. It was not within the context of the celebration of the Mass, so it is not a case of “liturgical dancing.” Comparing the bishops to Nazis was an undortunate choice, and even though Fr. Z includes disclaimers all over his post indicating that’s not what he wants to do, just the imagery used says so.

    The bishops may look funny, like my grandma trying to dance to modern beats, but I wouldn’t say is plainly wrong. Something “plainly wrong” would be liturgical abuses, mishandling of sexual abuse scandals, not doing their job as pastors. If all the “wrongdoing” the bishops are incurring into is just look ridiculous while dancing during a youth rally, but they do their jobs as pastors, respect the liturgy and celebrate it with reverence and decorum, they handle the cases of sexual abuse the correct way, and if they proclaim the truth of the Catholic faith without fear, I will not fear for the future of our church, and instead I might say “Hey, Your Grace! Nice dance moves!” and laugh.

    • SamRocha

      I mostly agree with you, Veronica, but I did address the disclaimer issue. Did you find something missing there?

  • TohCal

    If this “Fr. Z” could find a bishop who would give him an assignment he might have to work for a living and not have time for being a self-proclaimed expert on everything.

    • Illinidiva

      What? An actual job rather than mooching off of his readers. I find Father Z’s confusion and increasing desperation since the afternoon of March 13th quite hilarious to watch. Especially his whining about Francis’ car choice. Father Z knows his gig is soon up.

  • MaryRoseM

    The Bishops are attempting to engage with young people and I found “their engagement” very down-to-earth. And, isn’t this the image Pope Francis has been bringing to the world? To use in any way a photograph of Hitler and the Nazis to make any sort of comparison is inappropriate and offensive.

    • Steve Pålsson

      It isn’t 1968. Today’s young people aren’t anything like my older siblings’ generation and won’t find that behavior engaging. I think whoever got the bishops to make fools of themselves that way had some other purpose.

  • hunk4hire .

    Give it a rest, Sam.

    This reads as if it was written for the high school newspaper. You’re really stretching here.

    • Harry Flynn

      Agreed.
      You are making a mountain of a molehill, Sam. Fr. Z. expressly stated his intention was to highlight non-conformity.
      The “suggestion” at the end of the blog post betrays your heart. You simply do not care for Fr. Z. and take this opportunity to pounce on him.
      It’s just that simple.

      • SamRocha

        Do you think the proposition I maintained to be true is, in fact, untrue? That is the only question, really.

        • Harry Flynn

          To the detriment of what fuels it?
          I think not.

          • SamRocha

            I see. So you think the proposition, while being true, does not outweigh the motivation of his post? This is an interesting point, actually. Am I reading you correctly?

          • Harry Flynn

            There is a wonderful scene in the movie “The Shoes of the Fisherman.”
            Pope Kiril had just disciplined Fr. David Telemond (sp?) for heretical ideas. The Cardinal in charge of the commission made his confession to the Pope and said that his heart was in the wrong place in issuing the judgment against Fr. Telemond. This, because the Cardinal knew the acrimonious nature under which he acted and not out of virtue.
            The scene appears not to be available on YouTube.

          • SamRocha

            You seem to miss the fact that, on the whole, I agree with the sentiment of Fr. Z’s post. But questioning my motivations fails to account for the analytic question I’ve posed.

          • Harry Flynn

            If one examines the heart, the rest comes into focus.
            Thus I establish what is in your heart first before discussing the analytical.

          • SamRocha

            Okay, so now that you’ve done that, what are your analytic counterarguments?

    • SamRocha

      “This reads as if it was written for the high school newspaper,” writes the person who uses the pseudonym, “hunk4hire.”

      Gotcha, buddy.

  • Thinkling

    Fr Z has made the sad mistake of confusing “wrong” with “in bad taste”, or perhaps even just “not to my taste”.

    While seemingly hair splitting, this type of mistake is the type which has led certain mondern folks down the road to quasi-schism. I am usually a big fan, but he needs our prayers now. I do hope he takes down the post and apologizes, even if he affirms he did not like the display.

    • SamRocha

      Your point is very well taken. I hope I didn’t imply anything to the contrary. Thanks.

      SR

      • Thinkling

        Thanks, no not at all. The mistake I referred to was -his- equating being wrong (sinful) with being tasteless. Other than you perhaps mildly overthinking the situation (to my taste :) ), I agree with you, and am glad he (at least partially) atoned.

    • Steve Pålsson

      It seems to me that what you are saying cannot be true, since I have abominably poor taste, yet I also find it offensive that they were humiliating and ridiculing the bishops in that way. The reason I find it offensive is not that I care if a bunch of old men are knocked off their high horses, but rather that I care when our Lord, who they represent, is humiliated and ridiculed.

  • Francisco

    I’ve had enough of Fr. Z. This is not his first controversial post. He might show some humility, and try to avoid putting himself somehow above the aforementioned bishops. He has just lost a reader.

  • lindenman

    Hey, Father? I’ve got some terrible news for you, buddy. It’s about your parents, so you’d better sit down.

    Ready? Here it comes:

    There was only one Virgin Birth.

    (Aren’t you proud I didn’t mix that up with the Immaculate Conception?)

  • William

    While Rome burns, the last thing in the world that the Most Holy Roman Catholic Church needs is for its bishops to dance the macarena. Father Z is spot on.

    • Illinidiva

      I know Francis’ trip to Brazil has just been awful for the Church.. Just awful. A whole week of good press topped off with 3 million+ at a Mass on the beach… sarc off//

    • Gatormom

      Father Z is right.

    • Petro

      What should they be doing?

      • TreeOfLifeSword

        Preaching fire and brimstone. We got the ‘love, love, love,’ concept down…

    • SamRocha

      At least you were witty about it. Nice line about the macarena. Respect.

  • annemarie

    I guess I don’t understand why this is such a problem for the Bishops to have fun with youth. It doesn’t appear to be a Mass. If it were during Mass, then I would have an issue with it. We don’t have to be rigid, just faithful to the true teachings of the Church.

    • Lydia

      Exactly. This wasn’t a liturgy. It’s okay to have fun, even if you are a bishop.

      • Steve Pålsson

        Look at their faces. Look at their forced smiles. They weren’t having fun.

        • Lydia

          I could just as easily point you towards the ones who were not forcing a smile. Look, I get uncomfortable with grown men dancing around, too, and I feel sorry for anyone who feels forced to participate in something that makes them uncomfortable, but it’s hardly a de fidei matter. Mountain out of a molehill.

    • Dan Li

      … Eh. I prefer bishops to be magisters than peers…

  • SamRocha

    Dear readers,

    This post is *not* about what I think of the dancing Bishops. As I said, I am inclined to agree with Fr. Z on the basic matter of taste — I, too, am not fond of hand motions and the rest.

    However, I am not disputing THAT. I am only showing how Fr. Z went further than the matter in which we are likely to agree, by equating this gathering with a Nazi rally.

    This narrow scope is a very serious limit, albeit one that I think is reasonable. I would encourage all the critics of this post to find a logical problem with the argument, to show how the proposition is untrue. Otherwise, all the opinions and criticism fail to rationally advance any ideas to the contrary.

    If this post is irritating to you, then, your burden of rebuttal is crystal clear: prove that the proposition is untrue or at least not as true as I made it seem. All rebuttals making other points are, in effect, attacking the wrong adversary and self-defeating.

    In other words, Thomas Aquinas called to say that he not impressed with the disputatio of my critics thus far. If I were Fr. Z, I wouldn’t be impressed either — with friends like this, who needs enemies?!

    SR

  • Steve Pålsson

    I’m sure no one doubts that you have exquisite taste.

    “Fr. Z” (ought you to use the familiar abbreviation while verbally attacking him with fighting words?) “is permitted his comment as long as he is doing nothing but discussing the poor taste of it all, because that’s the only thing about it that offends me. If he has any other point that I haven’t personally thought of, he should apologize and take a long break from blogging.”

    Uh, huh. I’m sure he’ll do that.

  • Petro

    Despite his fervent following by a group of people on the internet, Father Z. is an inconsequential figure in the global, and even national, scope of the Church. He not only holds no position of import, he holds no position at all. He has a blog. He skews his blog to attract a certain audience. From this blog, he generates funds. What he does with these funds is unclear.

    The Catholic blogosphere would do better to ignore his histrionics, and leave him to entertain those whom he entertains. Although that group may seem large at times, it’s really a drop in the bucket compared to all those Catholics going to mass this day, and those who have fallen away or are struggling at the moment.

    • Dan Li

      He may have been blunt and over the line, but even some of us youth do not exactly the liturgical changes that’ve been whirling up. E.G,: If it can be sung by a Disney Princess or sung on Broadway, it’s likely not good music for mass. I’m not exactly calling for a return to Latin exclusive masses or Tridentine Masses everywhere and the like, but could we just tone down some of the less irreverent introductions?
      … That said I certainly wouldn’t mind resurrecting the Sarum Rite or spreading the Ukranian or Byzantine Rites as far as the eye can see…

      • Petro

        I appreciate your opinion.

        My comment was in reference to the amount of attention that Fr. Z garners on Catholic blogs far outweighing his actual influence. Whether or not he is right has nothing to do with whether or not he deserves the attention he garners.

        This post is a good example. Sam is my favorite lay blogger. He posts challenging and insightful pieces regularly. Few of his posts ever get this many comments though their topics are much more significant than what Fr. Z wrote on something.

        This is the way of the world though. Fr. Z is very skilled in maneuvering in this environment.

  • Steve Pålsson

    I’m sorry, at first I failed to realize that you were attempting to reason.

    “In other words, Fr. Z effectively equates the “wrongdoing” of Nazi’s with the, in his view, “wrongdoing” of the Bishops.”

    What Fr. Zuhlsdorf was saying is that what they were making the bishops do was wrong, and that the bishops should not have gone along with it. He was using the picture to illustrate his point. Was he “equating” the two wrongdoings? Yes he was, providing that we accept this assumption:

    “Only if an organized group wrongdoing is at least as grave as that of Nazi officers who saluted Hitler with the fascist salute, one should be encouraged not to participate.”

    So you are correct, given the truth of your unspoken and undefended assumption.

    • SamRocha

      What assumption is that, exactly? Is it the scalar inference you are making to make sense of what Z meant by “wrong”?

      • Steve Pålsson

        1. This assumption:

        “Only if the wrongdoing is at least as grave as that of Nazi officers who saluted Hitler in that way at that event, should passive resistance be recommended.

        Given that assumption, you would be right to say that Fr. Zuhlsdorf was “equating.” Absent that assumption, you cannot charge him with the sort of “equating” you describe.

        Personally, I’m not sure that equation isn’t justified, though I am not a student of modern German history. Obviously the German soldier was conscientiously refusing and obviously there were others there who could have refused had they been braver and had more integrity, but as far as I know there may have been many (the younger officers perhaps?) who had no idea what the protest was about. They were just saluting in the normal way at that place and time and respecting their political leader as conventional military discipline demanded and as “the bible tells us we should do” I suppose. On the other hand, it seems obvious to me that many of the bishops who participated were embarrassed. It must have occurred to them that they were embarrassed for a good reason, yet they participated.

        • SamRocha

          You seem to be, on the one hand, trying to refute the equation and, on the other, defending the equation. Meanwhile, Fr. Z has removed the relevant text and photo.

          Could you offer an alternative assumption that is both relevant and effective in refuting the one you see me using?

          • Steve Pålsson

            I am saying that the equation is valid provided the assumption is valid. I cannot think of any other unspoken assumption that would make the equation logically valid, though you presumably can, since you are referring to it as a “proposition” and say that you’ve defended it.

            What you are saying is that since Fr. Zuhlsdorf used the “be this guy” photo, he must be saying that what the embarrassed bishops who “went along” with the group is JUST AS bad as the German officers who went along, right?

            That conclusion only follows if you accept the proposition that we cannot criticize someone for “going along” with the group unless the matter has a moral gravity equal or greater than what the German officers in 1936 faced by being instructed to use the fascist salute and hailing Hitler.

            My point that I’m not entirely sure the bishops weren’t faced with a moral dilemma equally grave was a tangentential one I guess, though not entirely off-topic. It had to do with the topic of your article.

          • Steve Pålsson

            I can’t edit the comment with my ipad! I meant “I’m not entirely sure the bishops weren’t faced with a moral dilemma equally as grave as the dilemma faced by the German officers…” I don’t know who knew what when in Nazi germany, if you see what I mean. Obviously one saw the significance of the act he refrained from doing, which is precisely why the photo is used to say “be this guy.”

          • SamRocha

            I see both of your points now. The second, on its own, is an interesting question, but I am led to think that it leads to a discussion that is to the side of my issue in the Fr. Z’s post. The first, however, seems to put a qualification on wrong doing that is foreign to my analysis. I think I addressed in this paragraph:

            [One might quibble that the details of what, exactly, is “wrong” could differ from one case to the other, and that would be true. It certainly does not follow from the proposition I am defending to claim that Fr. Z is accusing the Catholic Bishops at WYD 2013 of genocide — or of being Nazi themselves. It is a simile. In Fr. Z’s post, the Bishops are like Nazsi in the respect that they are doing something “that is just plain wrong.”]

            The resemblance between the them, I admit, is not very clear. Perhaps your added assumption clarifies it more than I intended it, but I am not sure….

          • Steve Pålsson

            Yes, anyone who does something wrong is “like the Nazis” in the trivial sense that the Nazis did wrong things too, I suppose. That’s hardly controversial. I’m like Nazis that way and so are you. You have done wrong things today.

            If you think that was Fr. Z’s point and you are so offended by it that you contemn him and think he ought to take a Lent from blogging as penance, you are a nut. His point, though, was not simply that some of the bishops did a wrong thing, it was that so many of them went along with the group and meekly followed instructions, even though they knew what they were doing was wrong. Fr. Z certainly did not say or imply that what some of them refused to do was just as gravely wrong as what the lone German officer refused to do.

  • TreeOfLifeSword

    With all due respect, Hispanics are sort of like this, very group oriented and high energy at big events. This is ‘just their way’… They tend to want to drag everyone into their energy. I think it’s just a cultural thing. Unsure what this was for tho. We certainly don’t do liturgical dancing…

    • SamRocha

      “We certainly don’t do liturgical dancing…”

      Who, exactly, is this “we”? And, as a Hispanic, I think you’d better be much more careful about generalizing across group of people who stretch from the Iberian Peninsula, to North, Central, and South America.

      • Mrs T

        I think Brazilians would be highly upset to see that you do not understand that they are not Hispanic, indeed their national language is Portuguese NOT Spanish. Secondly, I am Hispanic and all of you are missing the point that Father Z tried to make. The Holy Mass repeats the sacrifice at Cavalry therefore the focus of the attention needs to be on Christ and the Mass itself. We Should not be drawing attention to ourselves or individual singers … We run the risk of missing what the Mass is about if we’re so focused on the spectacle going on around us. FAther Z is chastising the Bishops for encouraging this distraction. Our joy stems from Christ giving his life for us and we would be joyous even if there weren’t a single note of music.

        • Petro

          Sam didn’t call them Hispanics. He’s responding to the first commenter who calls them Hispanics.

    • lindenman

      If, once a year throughout my childhood, I could navigate Central Park during the Puerto Rican Day Parade, Fr. Z should be able to dip deep into his reservoir of Anglo-Saxon forbearance and sit through this video without freaking out.

  • DeaconsBench

    If the good padre wanted to make an apt (and clever) criticism of the dancing bishops, he might have compared them to shepherds acting like sheep.

    But then he would have lost that shocking visual and he would not have generated nearly as much attention. And the sheep analogy is much too mild, I guess. He clearly has contempt for some bishops, and this is his way of articulating it.

    I wonder what his own bishop thinks of having one of his priests sneering at the episcopacy like that …

    • Steve Pålsson

      I am sure you are mistaken. He wasn’t expressing contempt for the episcopacy he was expressing respect for it. Whoever had the idea to instruct the bishops to make fools of themselves and make fools of the episcopacy that way was expressing contempt for the episcopacy.

      • DeaconsBench

        We’ll have to agree to disagree. Where I come from, one who respects the episcopacy doesn’t say in a public forum that they are behaving like mindless Nazis. As I indicated, there are better ways of expressing the same disapproval of what went on in Rio.

        • Steve Pålsson

          One who respects the episcopacy DOES NOT say that the Bishops who went along with that foolishness even though it made them uncomfortable were behaving like the German soldiers who went along with the other foolishness even though it made them uncomfortable–but one who respects the episcopacy DOES say they were behaving like mindless sheep?

          • DeaconsBench

            Call me madcap, but my first reaction to the Third Reich isn’t to consider what the Nazis did “foolishness.” Calling bishops sheep is, in comparison, a veritable valentine. At any rate, the point is moot. Fr. Z evidently realized he’d crossed a line and took down the offending picture. Good for him.

  • Suburbanbanshee

    Putting your hands in that position, alone or en masse, is foolish and nigh scandalous. It’s not the blessing position, and neither are their hands shaped properly for either way of giving blessings. And given that Argentina is right next to Brazil and has in fact had a Nazi/fascist problem, you can’t just say, “Ooh, the bishops are ignorant and never heard of the Nazi party rallies.”

    When you look at a bishop, or at anyone giving a blessing, you shouldn’t have to fight the impression of a great evil. You’re supposed to be able to see a bishop acting like a bishop.

  • Steve Pålsson

    Ok, Mr Rocha, I’ve thought of another assumption that would make your conclusion valid:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf, (or simply “Z” as you refer t him apparently not affectionately but contemptuously) said or implied something like:

    “what those bishops who went along with the group were doing was just as bad as this:” (insert nazi rally photo here)

    But you are very bright and it seems highly unlikely to me that you think that is what Fr. Z said. You must know that what he is saying is something more like this:

    “I think more of those bishops should be like this guy: ( nazi rally photo here)

    The point of course being that there is an organized group of people just following instructions and going along with the group rather than refusing as they know they should do.

    • SamRocha

      Fr. Z is called this in many, many places. He uses the same name on Twitter, I meant no disrespect by calling him that.

      I think you are failing to see that Fr. Z made BOTH of those claims, the first in the disclaimer (pt 1) and the second in point 2. I’ve shown that here already, so I wont repeat myself, although I do think I’ve responded to this issue, as best I can, below.

      • Steve Pålsson

        Two people can use the same name and it will have very different significance.

        For example, lets say I was about 25 years younger and you talked to me, to my face, in the same contemptuous way you are talking about Fr. Z. I would have at least been tempted to hit you. Do you think I would have been less likely or more likely to hit you if you presumed to call me “Otto,” the nickname my friends used?

        • SamRocha

          You’ll have to take my word for it or not. I used the name “Fr. Z” because it is the usual way he is referred to — even at his own website. About hitting me: I’ve been in some very heated, escalating debates and arguments, I tend to see desire to resort to violence as a sign of weakness. But I’ve got a pretty stout chin, too, so no worries. All that being said, can you give me an example of contempt on my part towards Fr. Z?

  • Deacon Don

    I’m going to skip the implications of Fr. Z and Nazis and go right to the heart of the issue – that there is something “wrong” or “unseemly” or “undignified” about hand gestures and dancing by the “princes of the Church”. Perhaps he, and those who agree with him, should re-read the parable of the “Forgiving Father”, the point of which is that the Father RAN to his son – a VERY unseemly thing for a Jewish father to do. And he did it to embrace the one he loved. I would see their willingness to participate in much the same light.

    • Steve Pålsson

      I think you are right, but if you watch the video you will see that some of the bishops did refuse to participate and many of those who participated were obviously very uncomfortable. Since they were uncomfortable they must have known it was wrong. I hope and assume that those who participated joyfully without embarrassment were acting with a condescending love, as you suggest, and it did not occur to them that they were making the episcopacy ridiculous.

    • Dan Li

      … As one of those youth, please allow me to tell you that, while there is nothing inherently wrong about it… it was still somewhat disheartening. This is just my opinion but they are the successors of the apostles, and in this day and age dignity and the hermeneutic of continuity is of greater worth and benefit than… this. A bit more of the sublime over the ‘joy of the games’ would have been better, since the actions seem to fall in line more with the culture, which at this time is barreling off a cliff (as always).

      But then I’ve a love of the Byzantine & Syriac Liturgies so I suppose I’m not exactly ‘main stream catholic youth’.

  • IF

    I don’t know how old Fr. Z is but he obviously does not sound like a priest who works with the Y O U T H!!!!!! Youth are energetic, playful, lively, dancey, jumpy, happy, adventurous, excited, laugh a lot, etc.
    This is why this even is called World Y O U T H Day, an event which Fr. Z obviously did not participate with.
    Priests, and youth ministers, as well as anyone who works with youth usually dance, laugh, play games and participate in activities that the youth hold at their parishes. This is the youth asking the Bishops to participate and to sing and be joyous…
    J O Y O U S being the key word here!!!! Praise the bishops for their work with the youth, for supporting them by dancing and singing along with them!!!!!!!!!! Especially in Brazil, knowing that Brazilians are famous for being happy, dancey and joyous!!!!
    SHAME ON YOU FR. Z. FOR CRITICIZING THEM…SHAME ON YOU!!!!!
    If you didn’t agree with it, at best keep it to yourself!!!!!!!! HOW DARE YOU BE CRITICAL!!!!!!!!

    • Harry Flynn

      Yes, because being critical is somehow a shameful thing.

    • SamRocha

      IF, as much as we might seem to agree, I find your style and lack of reasoning here entirely counterproductive and silly. I’d gladly take the side of some of my critics in this thread to avoid being associated with this sort of melodramatic nonsense.

    • http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/ Ben Yanke

      “I don’t know how old Fr. Z is but he obviously does not sound like a priest who works with the Y O U T H!!!!!!”

      When he came to my youth group, he had our attention the entire time, had us laughing, was very witty, overall, the youth loved him. I know him, he does just fine with youth.

  • John Lillis

    Fr. Z was right from the beginning…. This author and all those in league with him can enjoy the “Kool Aid” when it is served… Outwitting? Not hardly. God bless.

    • SamRocha

      Right about what? I didn’t dispute whether he was right or wrong, but simply what, exactly, he did in his now redacted blog post.

      • John Lillis

        He was right to compare them to the Nazis…. They are, by definition: National Socialists and they are destroying the Church from within. It is without dispute that the Bishops here in the US and around the world, by and large, have subscribed to some form of Socialism. The only saving grace for Pope Francis is his dogged pursuit of doctrine…Nevertheless, I have a hunch, it is a ruse… He’s a Marxist, through and through…. Until proven otherwise.

        • SamRocha

          Well there you go. You win. If you’re the sort of person who would defend Fr. Z, then I rest my case on your most capable shoulders. With enemies like you, who needs friends!

          • John Lillis

            Wow Sam….That’s not much of a counter-punch… It’s hard to be faithful when presented with such evil, I know… The Holy Father plays a good part though…Humble, lives in the guest house…Denounces B16′s intellectualism…All in the name of “love” POPPYCOCK!… You should view the documentary on WYD 2000 from Rome; where, all that remained were the used condoms and the beer cans… That’s the legacy of WYD…And the same is true with the Heterodoxical WYD Rio… They’ll say: “Blame it on Rio,” as Michael Cane did in the 80′s… As long as you “love” they’ll say….As long as you “fed the hungry and “clothed the naked…” Who’s standing-up for Our Blessed Lord in the Sacraments? Oh, that’s right… that’s for another time… Some other place…a time/place where Bishops actually witness the Faith, which is NOT Marxist

          • SamRocha

            It was not a counterpunch at all. You are at this point my greatest ally. I mean that sincerely. With an enemy like you, there is no need for friends. Thanks and feel free to keep it coming, I’m loving it.

          • John Lillis

            Tactically speaking, it is easy to watch you roil in your own bath… Which is cool, since this is your forum… Strategically, however, you and your ilk are going the way of the dinosaurs and that is okay too. The Church will be much smaller and more faithful….and your dancing Bishops won’t be a part of it, of that you can rest assured. For now…Fair thee well… I will pray for your conversion and that of your misguided flock… Remember Waco….

          • SamRocha

            Thanks for the irony, John. You are really, really good. If you don’t mind too much, by all means, keep going and going.

          • Steve Pålsson

            “Keep going and going?” Why? Because you think it will help John to get to heaven?

            Mr. Lillis, please don’t. Sam is ridiculing you. Today he isn’t a very nice person. Usually he is a better person than he is today, I think. I read his articles religiously and frankly I’m shocked and surprised.

          • SamRocha

            I would only disagree in one respect: John is ridiculing himself. In the process he is also helping my case. I let anyone post anything here for a reason: so that nuttery looks like nuttery. If someone would like to continue to indict themselves, I will only encourage them so that they can, eventually, see their own recorded thoughts for what they are.

  • AnneG

    Speaking as an old person, I find old people doing silly stuff like that, unless entertaining small children, silly. The whole thing in Rio, though, is pretty much in line with the culture, loose, fun, a little over the top and definitely not German, like Fr Zuhlsdorf. And I don’t mean that in a pejorative way, he’s just not a Latino!
    The Church is big, people. It is very diverse without all the dumb OCP songs. There are lots and lots of strange customs. Lots of good Catholics think our Anglo parishes are boring while others think they are chaotic. We should loosen up and let God work, even if we don’t prefer how He does it.
    I agree with most of your comments, Sam.

  • rshorton

    I agree with Anne. The Church is BIG people. These clerics – and, for that matter, all the Catholics who blindly follow ones like Fr. Z – need to put on their big girl panties and deal with the fact that they are not God. They take offense at things that are so minor. Dancing … big deal. I think God would like a little more joy from the Catholics. Good gravy.

  • Steven Schloeder
    • SamRocha

      Thanks, Steven. I’ve posted a brief reply to the effect of asking for analytic clarification for your accusation of erring against reason.

      • Steven Schloeder

        Dear Sam: I have responded.
        http://thesacredlandscape.blogspot.com/2013/07/fr-z-needs-no-defense-or-why-i-like.html

        If you wish, you can reply to the more important (in my estimation) moral question on my blog.

        You’ve written quite a bit on this – -the first part was a lot of
        qualification, acknowledging the validity of some of his concerns,
        quibbles, statements about what you are not saying, etc. It seems rather
        circumlocutory.

        For the propositional truth claim you are making and defending, perhaps it would clarify the discussion for everyone if you put your argument into the form of a syllogism.

        That way, we could test the validity of your premises (not your presuppositions, but your actual premises) and the coherency of your logic to arrive at the conclusion that Fr Z did truly and unequivocally “equate” the bishops to Nazis.

        It would also help us to know what you precisely mean by “equate”, and in what senses we are meant to understand that term in respect to what you claim Fr Z did, especially since he did not use that word or obviously equate the bishops to Nazis.

        Pax et bonum.

        Steve

        • SamRocha

          Here are two replies to Steve P., above, which address your points:

          You might not believe me, Steve, but I wrote it this way (which is, as you noted, uncharacteristic of my style) to try and avoid being seen as vitriolic or overextending myself or being unclear. I don’t usually try and make strict analytic points, and if I wanted to, I could have created some shorthand for it and laid it out in a tighter way, using shorthand notation, but I didn’t want to be seen as being overly technical for no good reason.

          All that being said, I appreciate that Fr. Z removed the post, and think that my argument here is very limited one, that has little reach into most of the matters being discussed here in comments.

          If you can see that, leaving out what we mean by “wrongdoing,” Fr. Z equated between the rather absolute “wrongdoing” of the Nazi image and his opinion about the “wrongdoing” of the bishops, then, that is the only relationship that my argument needs to survive. He does this in two ways (pts 1 and 2). That’s all, really.

          The question of the degree of the equation is debatable and might disprove this as being inconsequential. However, the fact of there being an equation, albeit a perhaps weak one, seems to not be an option. In other words I agree that he didn’t equate them IN TOTO, but I think there is still a weaker equation made, nonetheless. The fact that he wisely chose to remove it also seems to weigh in favor of there being at least an apparent equation, too. His language is very relevant: “so I took down the photo I originally associated with this post.” See? He made an ASSOCIATION. In other words, he equated.

          • Steven Schloeder

            You might well study more about analogy, Sam, esp the limits of analogy (you might find Aquinas informative on this — Dorothy Sayers’ “Mind of the Maker” is perhaps more accessible). Equating is not the same as drawing analogous inferences — *all we can do* is think by way of analogy — one thing is somewhat like another, yet we understand them to be different by their differences. That is the very essence of rational thinking — we construct ratios between things that are different from one another, but similar enough to draw some sort of relationship. If they were exactly the same we would have no way of knowing them apart. If they were too different we would need a whole series of intermediating images to construct a workable understanding to be able to predicate one thing of another.

            Which is why I ask what you intended by “equate”. That is a strong word, much stronger than your now modified “weaker equation” first suggested. If all you meant by “equate” was some vague parallel that you now admit might be entirely inconsequential, then you are certainly liable to the accusation of being hyperbolic, inflammatory, uncharitable, and reckless.

            >>”very limited analytical point and you have failed to provide an analytic counter-argument”

            Hitler was a vegetarian. To equate vegetarians to Hitler is simply unjust, but by the same logic that you insist was Fr Z’s intent, that suffices to sustain “a very limited analytical point” that vegetarians can be likened to Nazis, and insist that “it must follow that the truth-value of that proposition can and ought to render serious, truth-based implications.”

            Simply swapping out out the terms shows the problem of your original claim, and the problem that in your claim to be using “simile” (which Fr Z did not use — that was your own construct) or “analogy” you do a massive disservice to Fr Z by not understanding the limits of analogy.

            I trust I’ve made my point. God bless you in your continued work.

            Steve

            PS: and to your last point, you might consider that Fr Z removed the image not out of shame or any admission of wrong, but perhaps simply out of charity that some are too easily scandalized and liable to sin.

          • SamRocha

            To equate in the sense you mean it would require a strict tautology. To “equate” X with X, seems to be what you are trying to strive for. This is a very idiosyncratic sense of what the word ‘equate’ refers to. I am not making *that* sort of accusation, and I say as much in the post. I am quite clear about this in the following passage —

            One might quibble that the details of what, exactly, is “wrong” could differ from one case to the other, and that would be true. It certainly does not follow from the proposition I am defending to claim that Fr. Z is accusing the Catholic Bishops at WYD 2013 of genocide — or of being Nazi themselves. It is a simile. In Fr. Z’s post, the Bishops are *like* Nazsi in the respect that they are doing something “that is just plain wrong.”

          • Steven Schloeder

            “Equate” was your word — it connotes something like “to make or treat as equal”. Which raises the immediate question of “equal in what respect?”.

            So it does not require a strict tautology, but it suggests that you are accusing Fr Z of treating the bishops as moral equals of the Nazis. There is nothing idiosyncratic about this reading — if you had intended something else, then another term might have avoided the confusion.

            Which is why I ask you to explain what you intend by “equate”. Without stable definitions the shifting ground is hopeless to navigate. Also, you’ve suggested that your title is propositionally valid, and you challenge others to show by analytical counterargument that it is not. Which is why I’ve asked you to provide an actual syllogism by which you arrive at your conclusion, with real premises and not relying on presuppositions. Can you do that?

          • SamRocha

            MP: To equate it to treat two things as being equal in at least one respect.

            mP: Fr. Z describe BOTH the Bishops at WYD 2013 AND the Nazi photo as being an “image of non-conformity within a large, uniformed crowd doing something that is just plain wrong.”

            C: Father Z Equates Catholic Bishops at WYD 2013 with Nazis

          • Steven Schloeder

            OK, first that does not really follow the form of a syllogism. Your major premiss is actually a definition, which is immediately suspect and is actually the cause of controversy. In fact it creates a tautology since you are defining the conclusion in the premiss.

            E.g, you cannot reasonably equate your mother to a flea simply because they share the same carbon base biolife. That is truistic, and is required for your syllogism to work, but does not address the controversy.

            By that you can be equated to Hitler since you are a male homo sapiens. Therefore it is just and truthful to insist and publicly broadcast that Sam Rocha is like Hitler:

            MP: To equate it to treat two things as being equal in at least one respect.

            mP: Both Adolph Hitler and Sam Rocha are male homo sapiens, which shows they are equal in at least one respect.

            C: Therefore, Sam Rocha is like Adolph Hitler.

            To me that “respect” is so trivial that it is unjust, hyperbolic,
            inflammatory, reckless and libelous to make such a claim in a public forum. Which calls into question your definition of “equate” — one aspect seem woefully insufficient, and as you admit might well be inconsequential.

            To test your conclusion, I am asking you to put it into true syllogistic form:

            The standard form of syllogism is
            A=B
            C=A
            therefore C=B

            What is the term for A? What is the term for B? What is the term for C? In order to avoid fallacies of equivocation you need to be consistent in your use, and to avoid the fallacy of circular reasoning you cannot embed a definition in the premiss.

            __________________
            The other obvious logical problem is what was said earlier about the image itself — it is not obvious that the bishops are being likened to the Nazis themselves, but rather they are simply NOT LIKE the person who is not going along with the crowd. To really analyze your premiss, you need to make sure it is valid, and to apply one of the standard forms, A, E, I or O. Something like (feel free to edit):

            Universal Affirmative: All people saluting in the image are Nazis.

            Universal Negative: No people saluting in the image are (not) Nazis.

            Particular Affirmative: Some people saluting in the image are Nazis.

            Particular Negative: Some people saluting in the image are not Nazis.

            Once you derive two valid premisses, you can test.

          • SamRocha

            The problem with your request is that it, too, begs the question of whether one can “equate” in one respect or whether to equate must involve all respects. Since mine is a scalar, non universal sense of the term, I do not think the form you’re looking for is “there.” In other words, our dispute is a question of ordinary language. After thinking about it, I should have used a different word, to ensure clarity. Association, which is the term Fr. Z used, is a better term. I’ve admitted as much in the follow-up. Furthermore, I think the overall drive to nail down the analytic truth of the proposition was overstated, because there is obviously more to something being true than merely being *analytically* true. Although it may not stand the test of atomic properties of language, I think the simple question that are disagreeing is a matter of ordinary language, not logic. Which is another mistake I made earlier in trying to use THAT as the principle area of dispute.

          • Steven Schloeder

            Yes, I agree that it is a matter of ordinary language, which is why from the start I asked about your use of “equate”. Though “equate” has a certain mathematical and moral overtone (esp in regard to “Nazi”) that really does present the controversy. But in respect to my post above about analogy in general (Aquinas and Sayer), I don’t think you need to be so binary about “equate” — you need merely to have enough to “equate” and define what you are really equating, respecting the differentia, which you did certainly try to do.

            I appreciate your working through this, and allowing your readers to work through this.

            Pax,

            S

          • Steve Pålsson

            Did Fr Z really say something about genocide?? If that’s true I suspect you are right and I think I have an idea why you were talking about apologies and discipline and penance. Whatever he said is gone now. Can you summarize it?

          • Steven Schloeder

            Indeed, Steve– I did not see the original post of Fr Z, and am a bit late to the game, but from what I’ve seen I do not see the argument that Fr Z “equated” the bishops to Nazis. It seems to have been entirely inferential from the mere “Be this guy” meme.

  • Bruce

    Liturgical dance is forbidden by the Western Rite. What a terrible scandal. The Church cannot compete with MTV and the like. If you want entertainment, go elsewhere, not to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    • Peg Drebena Demetris

      This wasn’t during Holy Mass…

    • Martlet

      But it wasn’t liturgical dance. It was a rehearsal for a dance BEFORE Mass, in order to greet the Pope on his arrival.

  • ElizD

    I think this is a considerably unfair interpretation of Fr Z’s intention. Who could believe that Fr Z really intended to compare bishops to nazis in any regard except doing stupid gestures together en masse (or not)? He should have stuck with his first instinct that some readers would not be able to deal with it. I know Fr Z, I attended his Mass this very morning at my parish in Madison, WI, and he has always been good and kind.

    • Steve Pålsson

      I think it’s safe to say that no one believes that. That’s why the article Sam wrote is so puzzling. But I read all of Sam’s articles and I think Sam is also good and kind. I bet he’ll be back to normal tomorrow.

  • Peg Drebena Demetris

    Wedding at Cana… Seriously. Don’t you think our Lord danced with Mama Mary at least one time? No one but out Lord had two natures and we always overlook the fact He was like us in the human way. I’m not saying dance during the Holy Mass, because we are well aware He didn’t dance then. There is a time and place for all things. If our beloved Bishops dance, GOOD! Then we all should at the proper times as we have a lot to be joyful for because of Him.

  • Steve Pålsson

    “However, the only reason why this Nazi photograph is such a powerful description of something that is “just plain wrong” is precisely because they are Nazis.”

    We know that it is wrong because it is obviously a Nazi rally. No explanatory description is needed because we are familiar with the event.

    “In other words, Fr. Z effectively equates the “wrongdoing” of Nazi’s with the, in his view, “wrongdoing” of the Bishops.”

    “In other words” my aunt Fannie. You connected two sentences that say different things with the transition phrase “in other words.” No, you knew it was a non-sequitur and your “other words” was bluster.

    “However, he can — and must — be held accountable for making a very direct, logical analogy between the wrongdoing of Nazi complicity with Hitler and the Shoah and…”

    That’s ridiculous. He didn’t mention the Shoah and throwing the word “logical” about isn’t logic. Don’t assert that it’s logical, show the logic.

    “Plus, if you are resorting to letting Fr. Z off the hook for calling our Bishops a “mob,”

    Obviously he was referring to the “mob mentality”: going along with the crowd when one shouldn’t. Did you think he meant something else? Did you think he was calling them mobsters? Why did you think that? You aren’t stupid–you’re smarter than I and I got it right away.

  • Petro

    They can dance if they want to. They can leave their friends behind. ‘Cause their friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance they’re no friends of mine.

  • Steve Pålsson

    ““That guy,” of course, is the lone person, circled in the photo (above), who refuses to heil Hitler. In other words, Fr. Z asks our (and his) Bishops that, next time, they should not act like Nazis in the one respect noted earlier: ”non-conformity within a large, uniformed crowd doing something that is just plain wrong.”

    Right, and that is not “other words” for:

    “what some of the bishops refrained from participating in is just as gravely wrong as what the German officer refrained from participating in.”

    There is no magic verbal formula that will turn a non-sequitur into an argument.

    “By making a direct analogy between the “wrongdoing” that makes the photo of a Nazi rally relevant to the YouTube video of the Bishops at WYD 2013.”

    An analogically relationship is one where the two things are similar at least in the senses needed to support the point (in this case that there is a minority refusing to participate in group peer pressure to do something that the others shouldn’t participate in either), but not the same in every way. The act that the minority didn’t participate in is different in the two cases and probably not as gravely wrong, but that’s beside the point.

    “In addition to points 1 and 2, Fr. Z also refers to the Bishops gathered as a “mob” which, while being a rather stupid remark, does not add or detract from the proposition I am defending”

    I guess you are right about that, but as far as I can tell nothing you’ve said adds to the proposition, in the sense of proving it. I am really trying. It is frustrating to me that I cannot find your argument. A different blogger also called it “logical” but I don’t see the logic. You wouldn’t call free association a sort of logic, would you?

    • Petro

      I’m curious. Why are you so upset about this?

      • Steve Pålsson

        I’m not upset, I’m curious and fascinated. I’ve never seen Sam do anything this weird. This article is strange and nothing like what he usually writes. No, it is not like him to string together nonsequiturs and triumphantly announce he’s proven some “proposition,” which makes me wonder if I’m missing something. I’m mostly enjoying this though I don’t like it when we are mean to each other.

        • Petro

          Well. That’s interesting. Thanks.

        • SamRocha

          You might not believe me, Steve, but I wrote it this way (which is, as you noted, uncharacteristic of my style) to try and avoid being seen as vitriolic or overextending myself or being unclear. I don’t usually try and make strict analytic points, and if I wanted to, I could have created some shorthand for it and laid it out in a tighter way, using shorthand notation, but I didn’t want to be seen as being overly technical for no good reason.

          All that being said, I appreciate that Fr. Z removed the post, and think that my argument here is very limited one, that has little reach into most of the matters being discussed here in comments.

          If you can see that, leaving out what we mean by “wrongdoing,” Fr. Z equated between the rather absolute “wrongdoing” of the Nazi image and his opinion about the “wrongdoing” of the bishops, then, that is the only relationship that my argument needs to survive. He does this in two ways (pts 1 and 2). That’s all, really.

          I enjoy this, too, as odd as that might seem and I feel no ill will towards you or Fr. Z. In fact, I revel in this stuff. So thanks.

          • Steve Pålsson

            But he didn’t equate them. He didn’t say they were equally grave. Nothing he said logically or analogically implies they were equally grave. In an analogical illustration, the two things only have to be similar in ways relevant to the point being made. He said the point he is making is about peer pressure to do something wrong, not about the relative gravity of the wrongdoing. Therefore the fact that the hail hitler was far worse than the goofy dance is irrelevant, and it is simply bizarre for you to triumphantly announce that you’ve somehow proven that Fr. Z equated the two wrongdoings. He not only didn’t equate them, he specifically said they aren’t equal.

          • SamRocha

            The question of the degree of the equation is debatable and might disprove this as being inconsequential. However, the fact of there being an equation, albeit a perhaps weak one, seems to not be an option. In other words I agree that he didn’t equate them IN TOTO, but I think there is still a weaker equation made, nonetheless. The fact that he wisely chose to remove it also seems to weigh in favor of there being at least an apparent equation, too. His language is very relevant: “so I took down the photo I originally associated with this post.” See? He made an ASSOCIATION. In other words, he equated.

          • Martlet

            But the connection is made in people’s minds. No words are really needed, are they? Fr Z makes some good points sometimes, but at others, he just gets carried away with himself and is incredibly disrespectful of his superiors. What are non-Catholics supposed to make of it? I say well done Sam.

  • Olga Zurova

    Stupid tempest in a teapot. What a waste of time.

    • SamRocha

      I am beginning to agree with you, Olga!

  • Petro

    I mentioned this on Twitter, but it goes here.

    We are a big Church.

    In South America, everybody dances. At any social function, people dance. Grandpa dances. Little babies dance. Kid’s birthday? Dancing. Family Christmas party? Dancing. Small friendly get-together? Dancing. It’s a way of life.

    In the United States, parties mean drinking and talking. We only dance at weddings as adults. Some of us dance in clubs and concerts as young adults, but most stop at some point.

    In South America, the dancing doesn’t stop. It is a ubiquitous part of life and any celebration.

    I mention this because many commenters here considered bishops dancing to be silly. That is a cultural bias. In other cultures, particularly in a place like Brazil, dancing is a way of life. You may feel uncomfortable seeing it, but there is nothing wrong with them dancing. In fact, it was a beautiful gesture to the culture of the WYD host.

  • Martlet

    I have to wonder if those commenting here actually watched the WYD closing Mass? The video shared by Fr. Z was made the night before, when the young people were rehearsing a dance for next day, to greet the Pope. The bishops were good sports and most did join in with the rehearsal, as we all saw, but on the day, when they were in vestments, they didn’t participate. It’s easy to take video snapshots and post them out of context. From some of the comments I am seeing here, you would have to imagine that Jesus remained seated at Cana, instead of dancing the customary wedding dances with the other men. People need to lighten up. It was a joyful sight to see three million young people gathered in the name of Jesus, expressing their faith before the whole world. And if the bishops acting human for a little while helped them, more power to the bishops.

  • Truaha

    ‘Fr’ Z would be better suited to more time praying and less on the internet posting garbage. Shameful creature.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I have come to the conclusion that it is best to never use the Hitler/Nazi analogy unless one really really means it. It will always be misconstrued. And rightly so.

  • ahermit

    He could have made the point using penguins instead of Nazis…http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/files/2011/02/i-gotta-be-me.jpg

    or does that only work if we’re talking about nuns?

    • Petro

      This guy gets it.

    • bonaventure

      One of the points that Fr. Z. was drilling with his choice of image, is that both gatherings actually did something wrong. Fr. Z’s message was not only about non-conformism…

      • ahermit

        You don’t what those penguins are up to…think of the poor fish…!o.O

        Father Z wanted an image of non-conformity; I think that’s a good one.

  • Andy

    Father Z’s comments vs. the Dancing Bishops. Father Z’s comments at least as I read them were a reaction to the bishops attempting to find a semblance of solidarity with the young people at WYD. You know the young people who are at the core of WYD. I feel that these comments were not directed at the bishops, at least I pray so. The comments were directed at WYD which I have seen ridiculed and attacked on many conservative leaning Catholic websites.
    My concern about the dancing by the way – where was the choreographer for the bishops? Although dancing in good fun, I recall what one of my daughters told me when she went to WYD in Toronto. One of the bishops when walking by saw my daughter and her friends sitting in a chapel in prayer with another kid playing guitar. He stopped in to chat with the kids, lead them in prayer and then asked if he could play the guitar. He launched in a blues riff that blew the kids away. He then really could talk to them. Sometimes, just sometimes you gotta meet people where they are at. The dancing bishops, a new show EWTN maybe, could have been trying to show the youth at WYD we are with you.

  • Jacob

    I recommend a course on logic. Suggesting that someone should dissent from group B just as another did from group A is in this case a statement about the nature of dissent, not a comparison of the groups.

    While I do not always agree with Fr. Z, I think your post here to be a bit libelous.

    • SamRocha

      You are missing the fact that groups A and B share a common property in Fr. Z’s formulation: both are “a large, uniformed crowd doing something that is just plain wrong.”

      • bonaventure

        And Fr. Z. was absolutely right.

        Both crowds were doing something wrong: one crowd was saluting HitIer; while the other crowd was saluting the culture of death,* which in the Church often manifests itself with such clownish liturgical abuses.

        The greater tragedy is that while at least one person in the first crowd refused to go along with the Nazi salute, none in the other crowd refused to go along with saluting the culture of death.

        ———————————–

        (*) Remember Pope Paul VI’s “smoke of Satan” comment? That was primarily directed at liturgical abuses.

  • jasper

    Let’s all prance around now! patty cake patty cake… You guts at Patheos must be thrilled. You have one of own at the helm….tip toe… thru the tulips…

    • SamRocha

      My guts feel pretty good, actually, now that you mention it.

  • David_Naas

    I have stopped paying attention to Father Z (save only when someone else notes his antics), having long ago decided that he seems to think Saint Pius X is a dangerous radical.

  • Patrick Joseph Wells Jr

    We don’t need dancing bishops. We need bishops who get after the work their forefathers since the 1960s have screwed up royally. Looks like its going to be another couple of wasted generations.

    • SamRocha

      And exactly where did I say that we need dancing Bishops?

  • Pelagian

    It’s not dignified. They are not serious men. They should be serious as a heart-attack with all the rot and ruin around them. Show me the photos of saints since the advent of photography dancing in public. Or even smiling in public. Rocha is wrong. No, they are not mindless. But they are mindless and lemming-like right now. As shell-shocked by the gay-priest scandals as the German populace was by the collapse of the German economy.

  • bonaventure

    You totally missed the point, Sam Rocha.

    You wrote (in your misguided criticism of Father Z): “However, the only reason why this Nazi photograph is such a powerful description of something that is “just plain wrong” is precisely because they are Nazis.”

    That’s false, and you should be smart enough to make the distinction.

    This photograph is a powerful description of something that is “just plain wrong” because so many people in this crowd are actually NOT Nazis, and yet they have been pressured (by fear, force, and other factors) to participate in something which is evil.

    The Nazi leadership was very good at organizing this kind of rallies and pressuring entire populations of cities and villages to attend them. People were intimidated, bullied, etc.

    We see the same today, at, say, homosexual prancing parades, whereby so many Catholics and other Christians have been pressured to accept a lie… and they consciously participate in its promotion. In other words, they have allowed themselves to be intimidated and bullied… tho the point that they actually believe in the lie.

    And the bishops in the video are not much better, when it comes to liturgical abuses, that is.

    For although many of them wouldn’t allow such abuses in their dioceses (or maybe they would, which makes it so much more tragic), those silly clergymen engage in the very liturgical heterodoxy which is a shame and an embarrassment to every right-believing Catholic. These bishops have allowed themselves to be bullied and intimidated by the liturgical abusers to the point that, yes, they even participate at such perversion with a smile.

    I just checked Fr. Z’s blog, and I am sorry that your pressuring him (as well as others) led him to remove that picture. It was SO MUCH TO THE POINT.

    Are you happy now, Sam Rocha?

    • SamRocha

      “I do appreciate his prudent decision in censoring his imagery and commentary.”

      • bonaventure

        Thanks for answering, although it is unfortunate that you do not answer my main point:

        “This photograph is a powerful description of something that is “just plain wrong” because so many people in this crowd are actually NOT Nazis, and yet they have been pressured (by fear, force, and other factors) to participate in something which is evil.”

        Father Z should have never taken down the photograph. Its imagery is too powerful and symbolic (an fits our times) to just run away from it…

        • SamRocha

          Surely you would not argue that this is *not* a Nazi rally? I think it follows that those present at a Nazi Rally, who are saluting Hitler, could at least in a weak sense be described as “Nazis,” all questions of intent and more notwithstanding. And I think it is to Fr. Z’s credit that he removed it. All that being said, I never defended the Bishops in this post, I only critiqued the association between them (the Bishops) and “Nazis” (in the sense I described above).

          • bonaventure

            I just did a quick research on that picture, but I cannot find information about its origin.

            For all I know, this may be a photo from Nazi-occupied Austria, or the Sudetenlands, where people certainly were not in majority Nazis, and yet they felt forced/compelled (by fear, etc) to participate at Nazi-organized rallies (organized for the sole purpose of mass control and propaganda).

            So yes, there is room to argue that many people in that picture may have been forced to attend that rally… that they were not card-carrying members of the Nazi party, nor even Nazi sympathizers (even if the picture had been taken in Germany). But the man in the middle was the only one with the courage not to raise his arm.

            And that was Father Z’s point: where was the Brazilian bishops’ courage? Why are they toeing the line of the culture destroyers? (In this case, the liturgical abusers). I really wonder how many of these bishops jigged against their own will? Or how many have been forced to believe that such abuses are “the future of the Church”… while knowing in their hearts that it is a lie?

            And yes, I do understand that you do not defend the action of these bishops.

        • bonaventure

          .

  • bonaventure

    Looks like some bishops need to re-read Liturgiam Authenticam.
    And yes, I know. This was no a liturgy properly so called. But what message about liturgy are these bishops sending?

  • Erick Chastain

    Smells like Postmodernism. This is a “proof” along the lines of Derrida’s Of Grammatology or a Lacanian analysis. It is more a deconstruction than a proof. I don’t think it follows any logic I know, at least not classical or constructive logic. I find it puzzling that you claim you are arguing “analytically” and assert the truth of the proposition without proving it in any way formally. This looks to my eyes like hand-waving (as a mathematician/logician).

  • Jessica Nelson

    Also on Fr. Z’s update, he says he has no problem with the youth attending WYD participating in this dance. “But, hey! I have different regard, on the other hand for clergy doing this when wearing vestments for Mass. FAIL. That’s just wrong. Is this what we want for preparation before Mass? Leaving aside the fact that this is not exactly in the confines of a church, is this what we want to do to be properly disposed for Mass?”

    Well…he started the blog post by saying that he has no idea what the rehearsal is for, and it turns out it wasn’t in preparation for Mass at all, right? And thanks to this handy-dandy PDF, I can confirm that they weren’t even “in vestments for Mass.” http://www.dioceseofgreensburg.org/bishopbrandt/Documents/Whatabishopwearsgraphi%20fullview.pdf

    I say, let’s clap our hands with the Bishops and fight bigger battles. :)

  • willie

    What troubles me the most about Sam’s post is that it is the most popular.


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