The Conservative Francis-Bashing Anti-Charism of Discernment Marches On

The Conservative Francis-Bashing Anti-Charism of Discernment Marches On November 12, 2013

Francis continues to do good things, in this case bringing people back to Mass in Italy.

Reactionaries continue to see only bad, working hand in glove with the NY Times to portray him as the enemy of the Church.  They only thing they disagree about is whether that’s good or bad.

Just a reminder: contrary to what the article says, the only ones throwing people under the bus are certain conservatives (not all of us) who are upset that the pope is reaching out to people who aren’t them.  He has said and done *nothing* heterodox, nor anything morally wrong, and he has said and done nothing that his predecessors haven’t done.  These people are doing everything they can think of to complain and accuse an innocent man–and then whining that they feel alienated. Yes, it is true that if you treat a man with perpetual disdain you will feel alienated from him.  But that’s your fault, not his. Sorry, but when you declare that you could just tell from his cold dead eyes that he is “dangerously close” to heresy within seconds of his appearance on the balcony on the night of his election you don’t get a break for your precious tender feelings.  Your pre-emptive claim to a magical gift of discernment calls for the rest of the Church to discern your discernment.  And so far, you’re not batting a thousand. The is not “dangerously close” to heresy.  He’s speaking from the heart of the Tradition.  You are speaking from massive and quite silly hubris.  And you are assisting the enemies of the faith at the NY Times to drive a wedge between the Church and the pope.  Smart.

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  • Brennan

    “just tell from his cold dead eyes”

    This link is broken.

  • jeff

    Well he’s said that he will leave the TLM alone and that the FFI intervention was only due to the internal harmony of the order and that there will be no more on the horizon. I’m happy with this.

  • Dan C

    The NYTimes gets grief for saying what Archbishop Chaput said this summer.

  • Andy

    The lack of understanding of what the church teaches boggles the mind. For a person who says he has studied the Catholic faith all his life he seems to have a very selective knowledge base. I don’t claim to be a scholar of the Catholic faith and what the church teaches, but i am able to see how Francis has said nothing that the church has not always said.
    A larger problem for me though deals with attitude. When Benedict was elected pope the “liberal wing” of the church was apoplectic – the response from the “conservative wing” was suck it up 0 he is the pope. Accept him or you are a protestant. Obviously I am exaggerating for effect. However, that was the tenor of many interactions. Shouldn’t these same now apoplectic Catholics follow their own advice?

    • Dan C

      I do not think you were exagerating for effect. In April 2005, any perusal of say, Amy Welborn’s postings would see in the comments (especially touchy posts riding up to over one hundred comments) a sense of jubilation and a rising tide of comeuppance an one arm of American Catholicism eagerly awaited which the other arm braced for. An over-exalted libertarian (whose “orthodoxy” was never challenged until he embraced gay marriage) started the much ballyhooed blog “the cafeteria is closed.”

      Benedict was a huge disappoint for so so many of these folks (I suggest a review of Weigel’s First Things essays on Benedict and the overall change in tone, and how he refuses to attribute to Benedict those things which are politically uncomfortable for Weigel to attribute to the pope).

      The reach of this approach-ignore what one does not fit our economic model- reached to many of the self-proclaimed orthodox-one can see this in the recent essay of Michael Orsi, in which he embraces the Weigel exegesis on Caritas in Veritate, proclaiming himself confused. (I am sure he is.)

  • $2346491

    Wow… saying that Francis has “cold dead eyes” is off the deep end. This might be why it is hard for me to take people like Steve Skojec seriously.

  • S7

    Mr. Shea, sometimes you are a rhetorical bull in a china shop. For someone who writes, A LOT, you sometimes seem utterly incapable of finding the words for careful distinctions.

    First: lots of people are “conservative” and traditional who don’t bash the pope, but who do have concerns.

    Second: is there some rule or law, hitherto unknown, that says the lay faithful cannot have qualms or concerns about statements and decisions made by the bishops and the pope?

    Third: does it really not occur to you that two things can both be true: a pope can say or do things that cause concern, without him uttering anything heretical or immoral? I.e., your reply: “He has said and done *nothing* heterodox, nor anything morally wrong,” isn’t really a rebuttal to those whose concerns you are waving away.

    Talk about a charism of driving people away. Do you really intend to alienate all those who consider themselves faithful Catholics, who love the pope–BUT, who don’t like or understand some of his moves? Really? (And, hint: we don’t object to him hugging disfigured people.)

    • BillyT92679

      Honestly, all you are doing is literally hammering the nail home with this comment here. I mean you’re exactly defining, in writing, what Mark is writing about. There’s no discernment at all.

      • S7

        Really? The charge Mark makes is that conservatives are calling Pope Francis the “enemy” and saying he’s close to heresy.

        When did I say either of those things?

        Or is your point that no one is allowed to say the pope might be making some wrong moves? Or is your point that you can’t imagine the possibility of the pope–who is doing many good things–might also be doing some unwise things?

        I said that I and others who are concerned “love the pope.” What more do you want?

        • $2346491

          Some of them are actually accusing Francis of heresy and saying he is the enemy. The blog that Mark linked to mentions Francis’ “cold dead eyes,” which strikes me as going far beyond gentle corrections about the Pope’s language. I’ve also read quite a few posts hoping that this would be a short papacy.. which given the nature of the papacy is troubling.

          • S7

            Yes, some have. Rorate Coeli comes to mind. I’m not defending or denying that, just objecting to the broad-brush.

            • chezami

              What broad brush? I don’t say all conservatives do this. I do say that all this “Francis is vehemently suspect of heresy and I feel alienated from the man I keep accusing and defaming” nonsense is emanating from one and only one sector of the Church: self-described “conservative Catholics”. Not all conservatives are doing this crap. But when this crap is done, it’s “conservatives” doing it.

    • Sometimes?

    • Gail Finke

      I liked this piece and I think there’s a place for this kind of plain brash writing. Not all the time, not in all places. But why come to Mark Shea’s blog and expect something else? Other people are saying the same thing but in a more nuanced way and with less rhetorical bluster. Perhaps — and I do NOT mean this as an attack — you would be happier reading one of those blogs. We all need to work together and that means talking to different people in different ways. We need to appreciate each other’s talents at addressing different types of people, and put our energy into doing so, if we want to successfully evangelize others and ourselves.

      • S7

        “But why come to Mark Shea’s blog and expect something else?”

        Well, hope springs eternal!

    • Sam Schmitt

      S7 – I have the same concerns you have, but don’t hold your breath having them addressed here. Other people on the web are dealing with them, for instance Larry Chapp:

      and this recent article:

      • S7

        Thanks. I agree that my concerns are not welcome here.

  • ivan_the_mad

    A man who so champions the dignity of the family and the worth of humanity in the face of the insidious ideologies of materialism and devaluation of life alienates conservatives? The question to be asked of any conservative ought to be: and what is it that you are conserving? What is it that you nurture with great care, that you acclimate to modern exigencies? If it is not the cultivation of virtue and the soul, the primacy of the family and the necessity of community, then what? This pope is a fierce champion of these things, and to me is the ne plus ultra of conservatism.

    • $2346491

      I think that conservative Catholics are disturbed by Francis’ popularity. They have a bunker mentality and think that because Francis is popular, he must be against them. This isn’t the case. As you mentioned, the fact that the “top of the ticket” is popular makes Catholicism popular. It also shows people working on cultural issues how they can engage others in a way that wins converts.

      • Sister S

        Liberal Catholics are also waiting for him to push their sexual politics. Opportunists on both sides are missing the point. Francis is not taking sides in their dog-fight.

  • “This isn’t Denzinger!” – a sort of rallying cry for the people Mark’s talking about

    Thank God for that.

  • Why conservatives would feel “thrown under a bus” when the pope places the beautiful and invaluable work they do within a context that gives the world the slightest fighting chance of understanding that work, is beyond me.

  • Gail Finke

    Mark you get carried away sometimes but this isn’t one of them. We Catholics need to be united. And if this pope is showing many of us that we weren’t as perfect Catholics as we thought we were, that’s a good thing, if not a pleasant one to have to endure. Older brother, prodigal son, etc. It’s really not good to find ourselves saying, “But I always did exactly what you wanted, where’s MY fatted calf???” And if that’s what people are finding themselves saying, they need to reorient themselves. Or, as a friend of mine I frequently disagree with used to say, “take off that big Pharisee hat.” At the end of one of my favorite Flannery O’Connor stories, a fat happy farmer’s wife who has been called names by a crazy woman screams at God because she knows the crazy woman was right. She has been thanking God for making her soooooo good, and has had a very rude awakening to the fact that God loves people who are not so good. “If that’s who you love, why didn’t you make me one of them?” she screams. And then she has a vision of everyone going up to heaven, the good sensible people who keep the world running smoothly going last. It’s a vision we should all have.

  • capaxdei

    Re “certain conservatives… who are upset that the pope is reaching out to people who aren’t them”:

    I think it’s more complicated than that. The Pope is not only reaching out to the wrong sort, he is *not* reaching out to the right sort (which gets to Archbishop Chaput’s comment). And on top of that, he is cracking down on a subset of the right sort, which some others of the right sort wrongly interpret as cracking down on them as well.

    • Dan C

      “cracking down?”

      I see little to think that Morley and his economics fits anything close to Tagle or the former Cardinal of Manilla Jaime Sin or to Cardinal Turkson or even Bergoglio. Yet he has had little “crack down.” And he is unlikely to experience any retribution.

      Archbishop Chaput, a speaker at the Hoover Foundation and clear friend of libertarians over the years (professing a “lack of competence” on matters economic) is not likely to be shut out of much authority due to crack downs.

      American Catholics, in what appears to be an attempt to avoid offending certain conservative sensibilities, have had a limited diet of how the global Church sits on matters of war and peace and, now with a third world pope in the Seat of Peter, have some opportunity to see this.

      The outsized influence in the Vatican of folks like Weigel and Novak may be a bygone era for the present. How the global Church views matters and its pragmatics on these matters may impress itself strongly on American Catholicism.

      While under-represented in the Cardinalate, the third world Catholicism and conservative Catholicism have clashed, with one blogger venerated in conservative circles as reasonable calling Cardinal Maradiago a “social worker in red.”

      I expect more of this response. I do not expect however much in the way of retribution from the Vatican about this. No crack downs.

      • Dale Price

        Argentina is not the “Third World.” Its nominal per capita income is double or even triple that of several Eastern European countries–e.g., Bulgaria, Belarus, Ukraine.

        And, frankly, calling Maradiaga a “social worker in red” does him too much credit. His speech was self-congratulatory modernism, with his by-now trademark leavening of conspiracy theorizing.

        • Dan C

          You are correct. I mistook the recent historic presence of caudillos, existence as an American client state, and the disappearance of what 10,000 (20? 30 thousand?- they were communists, so who cares?) as evidence of being a Third World country. I was wrong.

          Maradiago’s speech was not modernism, but it will be more of what is acceptable speech in Catholicism. If such frankly incompatible-with-Catholicism comments like “I am a classical liberal” exists on the Catholic right (which is true), the next few years will be hard to stomach for those of you avoiding the writings of Turkson or Tagle.

          The avoidance of what Benedict actually taught will be catching up to the American Church.

      • capaxdei

        I use “cracking down” in the headlinese sense of “criticizing.”

  • Thinkling

    I have seen worse articles about the Pope, but the issue I have with it is that it makes no attempt to contextualize how popular such sentiment is, even among conservative [sic] catholics. Ross Douthat recently commented on this piece, gently lauding it but improving some distinctions that were not done well. His piece is worth reading (as always).

    I will say quoting the Skojec piece is in the ballpark of culling up a Fred Phelps quote … so far out of the mainstream to be laughable. But I bet it helps the NYT sell a lot of beer and shampoo.

    • $2346491

      The blogger in question seems on the extreme right. However, Father Z is more mainstream, correct? I am detecting greater sarcasm from him. For instance, his quip about having to fly “Bergoglio class” struck me as passive aggressively rude.

      • Thinkling

        i would describe him as more mainstream, yes. I have always measured Fr. Z to be more of the “trust but verify” crowd like Douthat talks about, similar to Fr. Longenaker or Kevin Tierney, and those types of comments just throwing red meat to his comboxers, especially the new transplants from Rorate.

        But that is not to say I am a fan of that either, it is being an occasion of sin for all his readers, thus scandalous in its own right.

        • $2346491

          I think that it has gotten more personal than that. I don’t think that Francis would approve of a priest taking lavish trips, purchasing lavish gifts, etc. through reader donations. Father Z might not be the brightest bulb in the room, but he has to know that his current lifestyle doesn’t really jive with Francis’ vision of the priesthood. He has gotten angrier and more sarcastic because it is getting harder to continue misreading Francis through Benedict through Zuseldorf. What if his readers started questioning his spending? Then he would have to actually work as a priest.

          • Stu

            And you are throughly familiar with his lifestyle?

            • $2346491

              You can learn all about his lifestyle by reading his blog..

              Here is the post where he complains about having to fly “Bergoglio class.”


              Also, look at all the delicious food and wine he had in Italy. He was on a “pilgrimage” using his reader and readerettes’ money. Of course, I think that he sold it that he was attending the stuffy Latin Mass pilgrimage over there and left before that started.

              And there is lots more where that came from.. All paid for by his incredibly gullible readers.

              • Stu

                No, you can’t learn ALL about his lifestyle by his blog. You have but a glimpse.

                “delicious food and wine.”

                Next time I have my priest over for dinner, I be sure he only gets oatmeal while I eat steak. Will that suit your sensibilities? Heck, he had my wife and I over for dinner once and cooked an exquisite meal for us? Is that okay?

                • $2346491

                  I’m also sure that your pastor works as a priest and puts in long hours. I’m also sure that he doesn’t use parish funds for his vacation or take up a special collection at Mass to fund his overseas trips or print his Amazon wishlist in the back of the bulletin. Father Z has never worked as an actual priest in his life and makes a killing using his clerical collar to get gullible people to donate for his personal trips. I’d love to be able to go to Europe on a regular basis as well as nice cities in the U.S. like New York and Boston using other people’s donations and never spend my life actually doing any work outside writing a few blog posts mocking perceived enemies and misreading Francis and Benedict to fit inside a narrow ultraconservative Tea Party view. I’m a caveat emptor sort of lady; if people are gullible enough to fall for Father Z’s scam, then so be it. However, it is opposite of Pope Francis’ desire that priests live modest lifestyles.

                  • Stu

                    Father Z is working as a priest. Not everyone is called to be a parish priest or live up to your personal ideal of how their vocation is best employed. Is he “making a killing?” Do you know this personally? Do you know where he lives? Do you know why he travels?

                    I think it prudent to not speak of thing of which we have no knowledge, especially when passing judgment from afar.

                    • me

                      Fr Z’s amazon wishlist. nuff said.

                    • Stu

                      Big deal.

                    • me

                      Um, it is a big deal. It’s scandelous. Sounds like you’re too close to him to see the big picture anymore.

                    • Stu

                      It’s no bigger a deal than Mark’s periodic tin cup rattle. Same thing, different approach. Sounds like you haven’t really thought this out.

                    • me

                      Eh, money for food and antibiotics vs money for VERY pricey designer sunglasses etc etc. You are kidding right?

                    • Stu

                      Oh, so you know what Mark spends all his money on? I didn’t know you were his accountant. If anything, a gift list is completely transparent. You know where your money is going. Again, big deal.

                    • me

                      a treadmill for $1500. a transceiver for $1169. luggage for $469.ridiculous. keep doing mental gymnastics there ma’ friend to justify this absurdity.

                    • Stu

                      Why are those things absurd? Is he not allowed to work out and keep healthy (especially in the very north of the country where it is cold and a treadmill can be useful)? Can’t have a solid piece of luggage for travel? Or have a hobby? Again, no big deal.

                    • me

                      you are defending a Priest whose Vocation is secondary to his blogging/hobbies and whose luxury item amazon wish list sounds like a little kid asking for a pony at Christmas. You are the one who is stretching.

                    • Stu

                      You are slandering a person that you don’t even know personally.

                    • me

                      I’m not slandering. This is all public info. He is scandelous to the priesthood.

                    • Stu

                      It’s public info that he considers his vocation secondary to his blogging/hobbies? Really? When did he say that?

                      How about this? Why not go ask your parish priest what’s wrong with you making such claims?

                    • Me

                      He has no discernible vocational responsibilities. With the shortage of priests, this is atrocious. But hey, he had you over for dinner so it’s all good.

                    • Stu

                      He didn’t have me over for dinner. Yet another untruth from you.

                      And you lack of knowledge of how he and his Bishop have decided to employ him (which is none of your business), does not equate in the wild accusations you are making.

                      You are willfully slandering this man and that is not good.

                    • me

                      My bad, I thought he really did have you over for dinner, not an untruth but an honest mistake;) however, if Fr Z ever decides to stop typin and wishin on amazon, we sure could use his help here in Michigan, ya know as a PRIEST. That IS his vocation after all, cut out for it or not, we need more Priests. I can’t back out of my vocation of motherhood:)

                    • Stu

                      An honest mistake is still and untruth.

                      As to your situation in Michigan, if your Bishop is challenged with vocations then I fail to see how another Bishop chooses to employ his priests to be of concern.

                      Father Z is part of the Diocese of Velletri-Segni in Italy. His titular Bishop is Cardinal Arinze and his Diocesan Bishop is Archbishop Vincenzo Apicella. You could certainly write them about your challenge in Michigan but as of now, Father Z’s tasking and employment is their decision, not yours.

                      As it is now, Father Z’s Bishop deems it worthy for Father Z b be working on a dissertation for his doctorate. Again, if you take issue with the Bishop’s decision on this, perhaps write him a letter and explain to him the error of his ways. Father Z also supports himself while completing this task. Accordingly, he has benefactors and people willing to support him through other gifts. I’m sure you give gifts to priests who are important to you as well. Rather than receive many gifts from people who mean well but instead buy him things that aren’t useful, Father Z has simply chosen to put up a list of things he could use so that money will not go to waste. That’s a good thing. Personally, I’m happy to see priests who want to exercise and take care of themselves. I also think him having a CB is a good thing in case of a disaster situation. After all, that’s when priests are often really in demand. Having a radio would surely help.

                      Lastly, the local Bishop where Father Z resides has also seen fit to give him faculties to say Mass and hear confession in the local area which he does on a regular basis.

                      So, I would cease with your practice of rash judgment and sincerely recommend some reflection on what you have said in these pages. Detraction isn’t very nice.

                    • Me

                      You saying that I’m judging rashly is a rash judgment in itself. My
                      conclusions are all easy deduced from Fr Z’s very public profile–this is what
                      he *wants* us to see and know about him. Honestly if he *did* ask for a pony,
                      you’d probably find a way to justify that too. Bottom line is we need more
                      priests, everywhere, getting knee deep and dirty in their vocation–saving
                      souls at the parish level. Less time online, on themselves, dragging out a
                      dissertation or “suffering” by flying “Bergolio style”. He is on quite a looong
                      leash from his Bishop, this does not bode well historically, several examples
                      come to mind. Perhaps you should do some reflecting as well…..

                    • Stu

                      Well, no.

                      I say you are judging rashly because you don’t know Father Z, don’t have firsthand knowledge of his life outside of some snippets from the web and have quite frankly demonstrated that you don’t know what you are talking about in terms of his situation or how priests are assigned. And then to wrap up your detraction of him, you begin to slander me as well for pointing this out.

                      Perhaps read my last post again and address the points I provided, That would be a good start in the right direction.

                    • me

                      Oh Stuart ma’ boy! I don’t want to pop your bubble regarding your folk hero, but bottom line is he is a secular priest who is blogging all day. the end.

                    • Stu

                      Folk hero? No.

                      I’m just a bit more discerning and thorough in study than you (to put it lightly) and certainly not into your rash judgment and slander of others based upon a shallow depth of knowledge.

                      If anything, you’ve lost the bubble. But do go on making your mud pies.

                    • me

                      oooo mud pies! No thanks, I don’t have PICA:)and as you apparently have WAY more free time than I do, and I don’t suffer from lastworditis, have a nice day Stuart.

                    • Me

                      He doesn’t have to say it, actions speak louder than words. It looks bad. Deal with it.

                    • Stu

                      What actions? You don’t know him or what he does outside of what you see on a blog.

                      You are making a rash judgment.

                    • $2346491

                      So he is working as a priest by posting sarcastic and nasty posts about those with whom he disagrees or “misreading” both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis and trying to make both into Tea Party Patriots?

                      And he is more than happy to post pictures of his numerous vacations.

                    • Stu

                      Well, that is your personal characterization now isn’t it. And again, you assume he is on vacation.

                      I think you Pharisee glasses are broken.

                    • $2346491

                      No.. Those are “Father” Z’s.. After all, he is always condemning the perceived liturgical abuses of others.

                    • Stu

                      You are reaching, now.

                    • chezami

                      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.

                    • Stu

                      Define “priestly” duties. Saying Mass? Hearing confessions? He does those things. Did Father Lemaitre live up to your personal standards for a priest? How about priests who have a talent for administration and are thus used in that capacity? Not everyone is called to be a parish priest or work directly with the poor nor do they answer to the personal tastes of Mark Shea.

                      Further, do you know what he does in total? Are you aware of what other things he does outside of blogging?

                      Does your blog paint a complete picture of you? Wonder what people think of you every time they hear of you?

                    • chezami

                      If he is celebrating the sacraments that’s more than I know. I’m told (by a deacon) it’s not even clear he has faculties to do so in this country. Maybe the deacon is wrong. If he’s not, then no, I’m not particularly impressed with a priest who doesn’t exercise his priesthood. That’s supposed to be his main vocation. Do you have documentation to refute the deacon? I’m happy to give credit where it’s due if he is, in fact, living his priesthood.

                      Update: I’m told by a reader he has been to a Mass he celebrated. So it appears he has faculties. I’m also told (by my deacon friend): “The red flag for me: he spent all day one Sunday RECORDING AN AUDIO of Francis’s encyclical, which he then illegally uploaded onto his site. He only took it down grudgingly. How many other priests do you know who can spend a full Sunday doing something like that? Seriously. Shouldn’t he be hearing confessions, saying Mass, serving donuts in a church hall”

                      A reasonable question. If you tell me “He’s doing God’s work blogging instead” I’m afraid that doesn’t pass the laugh test for me.

                    • Stu

                      So you get busted on your smear based on hearsay and then you pivot to taking an issue about how he supposedly spent his time on a particular Sunday? And you want to talk about the anti-charism of discernment? Really? And no-one claimed he was doing God’s work simply by blogging. In fact, I won’t even make the same claim about you.

                      Reply to me when you have something serious to offer.

                    • chezami

                      I said he appears to have no priestly duties. I corrected that. He now appears to do some priestly things. But mostly the picture is still accurate. He spends his time blogging, asking for money, larking off to Rome and cruises and doing some kind of study. And giving advice on pastoring while doing none of it himself. As critics of Francis are so fond of pointing out, priests are not infallible. I remain dubious about the healthiness of a priesthood that finds lots of time for the above activities and none for pastoral work.

                    • Stu

                      I remain dubious of your ability to pass judgment on someone without even knowing them. This isn’t about him being “infallible”. It’s about you and other smearing him without having any knowledge of all the facts. The man who used to be Mark Shea would have been against such tactics.

                    • chezami

                      You do get, right?, that I “busted” myself by checking up to make sure that my (admittedly tentative) impression of the guy was not quite accurate and made the correction myself? You get that, right? So do you also get that it’s not “judging” somebody to say that “based on what I can see of their words and actions, things look somewhat amiss to me”? Because if you don’t, then you will have to forego making any remarks on any human being’ actions ever for all time.

                    • Stu

                      Yes, I get that. And then to attempt to save some face you affirmed your impression by attempting to extrapolate one statement he made about a Sunday into some sort of indicator of what he does as a priest. You do get that such is weak, right? You do get that your only impression of him is through the Internet, right? You do get that when people make assumptions about you being a “professional Catholic” and insinuating how wealthy you are that you get really upset about it, right? You do get all of that, right?

                      You can make judgment on observations but when they are scant and you jump to large conclusions, you are not showing proper discernment.

                    • chezami

                      I haven’t jumped to any conclusions. I’ve said, “Here’s what he appears to do all day. I don’t think that looks too healthy.” You want me to pretend I think it does look healthy?

                    • freddy

                      Here’s me; I don’t know nuthin’, but gee whiz! If nothing else, Fr. Z. has been a beautiful voice for the importance of confession, and I’m grateful to him for that, among other writings. Mark, one of the best things you do here is post prayer requests, and I’m grateful to you for that, among many other things you write. But this? It reminds me a bit a while back when folks were raggin’ on y’all “rich” “influential” Catholic writers. And aren’t you planning on some kind of foreign adventure for Catholics? I’d pay more attention if I had a passport or money I didn’t need for, you know, food, but I’m pretty sure I read something about it. Ahem. Anyway, this stuff just gets me down. If you’ve got a problem with Fr. Z. send him one of your books, with a note in it. I’ll even foot the bill. Prayers.

                    • Stu

                      I want you to realize that you have but a tiny bit of the picture and accordingly should be wise enough not to comment. You know, give the same courtesy to someone that you would want especially given that you appear to be just a guy that blogs all day, solicit others to give you money on your website and to some appear as though you really have no other discernible responsibilities.

              • Talk about rash judgment!

                Look, can you just leave it at “I don’t like Fr. Z” and make that the end of it?

                • $2346491

                  I think that he is conning people out of money and think that he is giving priests in general a really bad name.

        • “Trust but verify”

          Do I overcome the verify part often? I’m half trolling, but half serious. 🙂

          • Thinkling

            As I meant it, I do not think it is something that needs to be overcome. More specifically, you seem to be aware of the risks when a pontiff has the tendencies ours does, and what that means for faithful catholics in our own witness. Nothing to be overcome there! But of course this is a good thing only if you also have the Trust part, which you do, as opposed to seeing his tendencies as evidence for the Holy Spirit being AWOL, or Pope Can Haz Librul!

            Actually I really appreciated how you handled this issue in the past. Your fisking of someone like Skojec (was it him?) took courage.

            • A soldier is courageous. A data center operator with no financial interest criticizing an insurance agent with no financial interest in their writing doesn’t take that much courage.

              Personally I think Skojec has just spent too much time on blogs and in his own circles and has become jaded. Me taking a break from blogging during almost all of Benedict’s pontificate really helped. I was able to focus on helping to grow the latin mass, but most importantly, I was able to deal with people who were either ignorant or sometimes hostile to it. Rather than argue, it gave me the chance to listen to their concerns and learn a few things, then move forward accordingly.

              • Stu

                Increasingly, I wish Canon Law required all Catholic bloggers to take a hiatus from blogging. I think too much bath water is being consumed.

                • About Fr. Z, I know from reading his blog that after his ordination he worked for a time at the Vatican at the Ecclesia Dei Commission (for the rehabilitation of former SSPXer’s among other things). Nowadays, he is working on his doctoral dissertation (presumably on Latin in the Mass or something similar). My dissertation took me close to three years to write. Fr. Z has probably been working on his for around five years or more now, so it must be a doozy.

                  He is incardinated in some diocese in Italy – I cant recall the name right off. He does celebrate Mass in the EF quite a lot at various venues.

                  His true useful work seems to have been keeping various traditionalist followers of his away from the rooftops and bridges since Pope Francis was elected. You must admit that is useful work.

                  I would say that Illinidiva is wrong in her attempts to make him a Tea-Partier. He just doesn’t mention this at all. He does apparently believe that all Democrats /leftists are Marxists, especially Obama, but he isn’t interested in politics strictly speaking.

                  So he does have a peculiar fetish about photographing all his meals. He cooks many of those meals himself. Interest in good food doesn’t have to be an expensive taste. It’s just a matter of using the right fresh ingredients in the right way. Hey, I read that Papa Bergoglio himself loves to cook and probably sympathizes.

                  I’m saying all this as someone who doesn’t share many of Fr. Z’s interests, viewpoints or proclivities. I just enjoy his blog now and then. . . Okay, almost every day.

                  (However, I do think it really weird and disturbing that he always photographs his airplane seat on every trip. ???)

  • Stu

    I put as much credence and belief in this article by the NYT representing reality as I do their articles reporting on the Pope in general. None of them are worth getting worked up over.

    • I think think its rather sad that some traditionalists are willing to play useful idiot for the NYT if it means getting their 15 seconds of fame. Get worked up over it? Nah. Disappointed at people who really should know better? You bet.

      • Stu

        Yes. NYT has an agenda and this sort of thing just fuels their desire to paint the Pope as going to change Catholic teaching. But honestly, it’s not too hard to find anyone to go along with such motivations.

  • Dan C

    The troubles of acceptance of this pope from Argentina is just what you get when the third world Church rises.

    • Stu

      Really? Would it be the same if Cardinal Arinze or Ranjith were elected? Or are they not sufficiently “third world”?

      • Dan C

        Arinze would be likely very disappointing to conservatives on matters of peace and justice. He has spoken on such matters extensively recently. Sold as a right wing economist by the right wing of American Catholic blogdom (but weren’t all those in the Vatcian sold as such), he has backed away from such language recently, and begun discussing charity and justice. He is likely highly influenced, as much of the Church is, by Benedict. This should frighten conservatives economically.

        Ranjith is struggling in Sri Lanka (who wouldn’t ?) with a very minority Church. Sinhalese Catholics alone are weaker and smaller in number than a combined Tamil/Sinhalese Church, but much division remains for this Church, and it is not clear how well these divisions are healing within this Church after a 30 year civil war between Tamils and Sinhalese. The Church has been challenged with this, and Ranjith has tried to strike a balance, but it has been hard for him, and the Church because of the civil war, war crimes, and ethnic discrimination.

        In general, Arinze would sound like Benedict, and that is poorly embraced by conservatives. I confess Ranjith would be unlikely to be close to Tagle or Maradiago.

        • Dan C

          To clarify what I mean by “sounds like Bendict,” I mean on those matters of justice and peace, such as praising and celebrating Pope Paul 6th’s encyclical PP, so much, by timing his own encyclical that expands and furthers Paul 6ths ideas (and not really JP2’s).

        • Stu

          Not convincing. I think the notion that people have trouble with the Pope just because he is from South America to be just too simplistic not that I even subscribe to the narrative that “conservatives” are all against him based upon the words of a few bloggers or an article from the NYT which routinely demonstrates the inability to report on the Church.

  • Sam Schmitt

    Isn’t this the NY Times article that far-out reactionary Phil Lawler called “balanced and insightful”?

  • Brian

    His comment about the eyes reminded me of your post about Michele Bachmann’s eyes. Can’t seem to find it, though. Did you pull it down, or write an apology?

  • Jordan Miller

    This post is unfair to Steve Skojec, to say the least. You don’t mention him by name, but he is obviously the target of this ridiculous caricature. Steve is a friend of mine. I do not agree with his position on Pope Francis, and I believe strongly that Francis is a good Pope. But Steve has raised some very important questions about the papacy in general, and moreover he has done so with tact, charity, and caution. He deserves better than this from an established Catholic online writer like yourself. Steve is not a reactionary, and the hubris is on your part.