The Catholic Blogosphere: Q&A with Father John Zuhlsdorf

Father John Zuhlsdorf("Father Z") is an American-born priest of the Suburbicarian Diocese of Velletri-Segni in Italy and a Catholic media figure. A convert from Lutheranism in college, he was ordained by Saint John Paul II in 1991.  He worked in Rome as a collaborator in the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” and is now in Madison, Wisconsin, where he serves with full diocesan faculties and functions also as president of the Tridentine Mass Society of Madison. He is working on a doctoral dissertation for the Patristic Institute “Augustinianum” in Rome on the figure of King David as an exemplar of civic virtues shared by Saints Augustine and Ambrose.

Father Zuhlsdorf’s website, “Father Z’s Blog,” has been listed by the British magazine New Statesman, and other metric sites, as one of the top ten Christian blogs in the world. He had a column for many years on liturgical translation in the Catholic weekly The Wanderer, and has been involved in internet ministry since 1992. He now writes for the British Catholic weekly The Catholic Herald. He has appeared as a commentator on EWTN, Fox News and various radio stations. On August 1, I interviewed Father Zuhlsdorf by email on his work in Catholic media.

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Your Catholic blog consistently draws more readers from around the world than many Catholic print publications. How have you been so successful?

I write about things people care about and I try to have a little something for everyone. If some posts, for example about liturgical translations, go into the philological weeds, I then also bring out points anyone can get.  Mixing things up probably helps, too.  I have posts on cooking or movies or birds I see out the window, books and oddities, both amusing and irritating.  Perhaps most importantly, I provide something to push people or for people to push against.  Finally, I try to “leave a tip,” that is, offer something that is mine, personal.

You also contribute to television and radio programs in addition to working on your dissertation and serving in a parish. Where do you spend most of your time?

In Madison, though I endure quite a bit of travel for conferences and pilgrimages.

Do you expect to continue blogging after you finish your doctoral dissertation and go back to full-time ministry?

I don't accept your premise.  Work in the blogosphere is ministry. Nearly every day I get an email from someone who says that, because of something he read on my blog, he went to confession for the first time in years, or that she and her husband are getting their marriage straightened out.  I can't say how many notes I have had from people about how their experience of Holy Mass has changed because of the liturgical issues we have covered. Seminarians and priests have written that they have learned, or unlearned, many things by reading both the entries and the comments in the combox.  There are some smart and well-informed commentators who really contribute. 

People have formed friendships through this form of contact. I know of couples who met and married through the various internet initiatives I've been involved with.  It is remarkable how much like a parish my corner of the blogosphere is.  There are all the same characters and many of the same dynamics.  It is a lot of work.  And, Deo volente, yes, I’ll keep at it.  As you touched on in your earlier question, the blog has more regular readers than the circulation of some Catholic publications. The blog has vastly more readers than the number of congregants who would hear a Sunday sermon, even repeated, in a single church, even a big one.  When we proclaim the Word from the roof tops, as the Lord asked, we use technology, the house and its height, to amplify the message.  When huge crowds followed Our Lord along the shore, He asked to be let out onto the water in a boat on the end of a line.  He used technology to increase the number of people to whom he could speak at once.  That was, by the way, the first instance of “online ministry."  Will I keep going?  You bet.  I’m but one little priest.  My blog is my force multiplier.

What positive contributions do Catholic blogs make to the life of the church?

Firstly, there are many people who, for one reason or another, have a hard time finding contact with others, either because they are shut in, or reclusive or shy, or ... whatever.  This is one mode of building community which could lead to other, deeper forms.  Also, just as the rise of talk radio, and then cable news, provided an alternative to the mainstream media, so too the blogosphere serves in much the same role.  Catholic media, at least in the Anglophone world, was dominated by one view until Mother Angelica came along.  Like her or not, bless her.  She did amazing things. Then the blogosphere arose.  Nowadays, news sources don't get a pass if they write something which is skewed or false or heterodox.  While it's true that fact-checking isn't even and that a slick-looking blog can give the false impression that the author knows what she is talking about, having lots of eyes and voices can be helpful.  I believe in a kind of reverse Gresham's Law.  Gresham's Law describes how, as coins are made less pure with base metals, the purer coins drop out of circulation. Since debased coins have the same buying power as those which are pure, people hoard the pure coins because they have greater actual value. Thus, bad money drives good money out of circulation.

Conversely, I think good information drives out bad information, misinformation and even, what is more dangerous by far, disinformation. Sure, the internet can be the vehicle of false narratives and lies, but, in time, people ferret out the truth and post it. The gold of truth is put back into circulation to drive out errors and disinformation. On another point, there are countless Catholics out there who, for decades, have endured dreadful sermons, frightful liturgy, and worse catechesis. They are languishing, starving, drowning... pick your image.  For these, the blogosphere offers encouragement, nourishment, a life line... pick your image. We can work many spiritual works of mercy through the use of these tools: instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubting, admonish the sinner, console those who mourn. When others are in need we can marshal prayers, and sometimes material aid, from tens or even hundreds of thousands of people.

Some Catholics avoid reading blogs because the content often appears sharp and divisive. What would you say to them?

Yes, this is a thorn.  As I have posted on the side bar of the blog, my place is a fusion of the Baroque “salon” with its well-tuned harpsichord around which polite society gathers for entertainment and edification and, on the other hand, a Wild West “saloon” with its out-of-tune piano and swinging doors, where everyone has a drink, a gun and something to say.  Nevertheless, I try to point our discussions back to what it is to be Catholic in this increasingly difficult age, to love God, and how to get to heaven.  I suppose the first thing we have to remember is that there will always be sinners. I also admit that I sometimes fail in charity. Not only, we have to face the facts, some people are jerks.  Who knows what made them that way.  I fear that, at times, the anonymity offered by the internet is a serious occasion of sin for some people. We will also always have cowards with us, who hide behind false names and say nasty things. 

Next, we have to toughen up a little. No one forces anyone else to get involved online.  If we are going to descend onto the sands of the arena, we had better buckle it on.  In addition, the notion that everyone has to play verbal patty cake all the time is a rather new idea, both in the church and in the public square.  These days, someone might squawk that you hurt their feelings and we then run in circles, even watering down the church’s teachings lest anyone be offended.  As St. Paul says, we must correct, rebuke and encourage, with patience and correct doctrine.  As far as sharp and divisive is concerned, sometimes sharp is what is needed to punch through the veil of falsehood, or the veil of dumb.  Division is necessary, especially when we are dividing ourselves from heresy or wickedness or lawlessness in the church. The doctor doesn’t stop cutting just because the patient is screaming for him to stop.  But you are surely asking about the sheer nastiness and ad hominem attacks that appear on blogs and in the comboxes. That's pretty sad.  But, as I said before, we will always have sinners and cowards in our midst.  We have to soldier on and, over time, hopefully, try to bring some of these poor people around. That's a spiritual work of mercy too. That said, at times I do weary of the knuckle-headed stuff.  More and more often these days I turn on the moderation queue for discussions or for specific individuals.

You often take strong liturgical positions on your blog which draw criticism from various segments of the American church, including progressives and traditionalists. How do you respond to those criticisms?

If extremists weren’t on my case, I’d have to examine my conscience. I try to stick with the documents and our Catholic Tradition, in the best sense. What I regret is that there are points of contact, good points, where we Catholics across the board could be so much more effective in the public square, helping both to shape public policy and also to bring more people to Christ and salvation.  Sometimes division is real and must not be glossed over, especially when the doctrine of the Faith is involved. I, however, would prefer less conflict and more collaboration on important issues.  Alas, I have found that, when I have extended olive branches in either direction, they have either been ignored (as is the case with the liberal left) or viciously slapped away (as is the case with the fringe of traditionalists). That notwithstanding, I still sleep well at night.  And I’ll keep trying, too, with the caveat that at times I also fail in charity.  When I recite the Confiteor in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite every day, I mean it.  It says “mea culpa,” not “tua.”

What are some positive things in the Catholic media these days?

We have a great variety of and growing sophistication with the uses of new tools. For example, I see that the Holy See is getting its act together. We Catholics have a lot of catching up to do, but I think we are at last starting to lace up our boots.  Also, I have a sense that the mainstream media is watching the Catholic blogosphere and their reportage is being shaped by it, and not always in a bad way. 

What are the current challenges for Catholic media?

The principle challenge comes back to the overarching challenge for the church in our day. We have to be clear about who we are as Catholics and what we believe.  If we are sure about these things, and if we don’t have the courage of our convictions, then we are just wasting our time. Why should anyone listen to us, ad intra or ad extra, within the church or outward to the world, if we don’t have anything clear to say?  We have to, as the letter of Peter says, be prepared to give reasons for the hope that is in us, and do so with respect.  First, however, Peter says we have to sanctify the Lord Christ in our hearts.  Years ago, I heard Cardinal George of Chicago give an address to the Catholic Press Association.  It was my first and last time at one of those meetings, by the way. He told the journalists that they should be less concerned with writing about the doings of churchmen, bishops and priests and their ilk – my word, “ilk” – and focus instead on how grace works in people’s lives.  But, he added, to recognize the work of and the life of grace, they had to be in the state of grace. They laughed. He was serious. I will unite all of what I said before with the conviction that, these days, we must get our house in order when it comes to our sacred liturgical worship. 

For us Catholics, everything we do and all that we are goes back to our sacred liturgical worship of God as a church. If that isn’t in order, nothing else will be well-ordered. All our attempts at a New Evangelization will be too shaky and ephemeral to stand. Our attempts to communicate the good news will be so much vapor. Our sacred liturgy is Christ’s Communication to us. An early document of the Pontifical Council for the Social Communication, Communio et progressio, pointed out that Christ is the “perfect Communicator”.  Liturgy is our most perfect form of Communication, ad intra and ad extra, within the church or outward to the world.  So, we need to renew our liturgical worship along the lines Pope Benedict laid out so thoughtfully, and we need to deepen a theology of communication.  When we get those squared away, we will be more effective.

What are your hopes for the future of Catholic media?

That those who serve the perfect Communicator, the Eternal Word, will have courage in the face of what surely is on our doorstep within our life spans. We have to have the intestinal fortitude to stand for something, even if people don’t like what we say. We can’t make everyone happy. Attempts to pontificate astride the Olympian middle are doomed to failure. It’s not all a matter of money or cleverness.  Mother Angelica, when she started out, stood for something and said it, like her or not.  Others have thrown millions of dollars at technology and various clever innovations.  They wasted their time and people’s wealth.  Why? They didn’t offer anything that was clear, that pierced through to the mind or to the heart or stirred any reaction other than another yawn.  I once asked an American bishop of the Midwest, a man of direct speech, what the state of things were in the church in these United States right now and what we had to do to address it.  “The first thing we have to do,” he growled, “is stop blowing happy gas at everyone.” Let me be clear: we must promote our messages with genuine joy.  Joy is attractive and infectious. In our media work, we need joy and a sense of humor. That doesn’t mean we have to be mealy-mouthed, perpetually grinning. Risus abundant in ore stultorum as they say.

If you could say one thing to Pope Francis in person, what would it be?

If you are not going to live in the Apostolic Palace, could I? Seriously, I have had the opportunity to speak with him quite a few times, before his election. But now, I don’t know what I would have to say. I knew Pope Benedict before his election too, and could chat often with him. It is, perhaps, odd, but once Benedict was elected as Supreme Pontiff, I didn’t feel the need to tell him anything.  He was the one with the ten thousand foot high overview of things. Now that he is retired… that’s another matter. But to Pope Francis? To tell him… what?  Of my respect and my dedication daily to pray for him? He would know that, for all Catholics love their popes, and for priests it is our duty and pleasure. To tell him of my hope that he will not run from the wolves?  He doesn’t seem the type. 

Pretty much everything that comes immediately to mind is cliché. I suppose there is one thing. I might ask him to celebrate a Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form, or at least be present at its celebration by someone whom he would designate. Catholics who have what St. John Paul II called “legitimate aspirations” and for whom he commanded by his Apostolic Authority that respect must be shown, have over many decades experienced great suffering and disrespect and even persecution, even by priests and bishops.  They have suffered because they are faithful, and at the hands of their shepherds, which is shameful.  Quod Deus averruncet!  They can, at times, admittedly be a challenge to work with, but these good people love Christ and their church and their popes as much as any Catholics ever have throughout the millennia. They would go to the wall for Pope Francis, even though sometimes he does things that make them scratch their heads.  These people need some TLC.  A little love in their direction could bring about great healing.  It’s the next step.  And were he to do it, this pope rather than the more obvious Benedict … imagine what a magnificent healing moment it would be.

Any final thoughts?

Yes.  We are all obliged to confess our sins in both number and kind, that is, what we did or failed to do and how many times or at least a sense of frequency.  Examine your consciences every day and go to confession regularly.  The salvation of your soul depends on it.  The Sacrament of Penance is Christ’s own gift.  He gave it to us so that we can be reconciled with Him and obtain forgiveness.  Pastors of souls, please work to revive the Sacrament of Penance, or Reconciliation if you prefer.  Call it what you want, just do it. Please, for the love of God, teach about and preach about and hear confessions.  It’s your work, Fathers, to keep as many people out of Hell as possible.  We will all be judged one day.  Let it be a moment of joy rather than, you know, the other thing.  So… was that too sharp and divisive?  I’ll sleep alright tonight.

Sean Salai, S.J., is a summer editorial intern at America.

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Frank Gibbons
3 years 2 months ago
Father Z on "America"? As Ethan Edwards would say "That'll be the Day!" Richard Rohr and Father Z. Again, kudos on promoting unity in our Church! We need so much to see the common ground that we all stand on in Christ.
William deHaas
3 years 2 months ago
It would be helpful if commentors had the full and complete story of Fr. Z, hypocrite par excellence. http://www.catholica.com.au/gc4/dt/001_dt_030614.php Make sure you read all five parts. Some highlights: John Todd Zuhlsdorf has made an art form of trumpeting his clerical status and humanity ontologically higher than that of those not ordained to the priesthood. He leaves no one in doubt that beneath the thin veneer of charity, he actually despises and regards as intrinsically inferior those who do not belong to the clerical caste system. It is not just those who are non-ordained he despises, his blog betrays a breathtaking contempt for women and especially those religious women who belong to the LCWR. He's terrified of all emotionally and intellectually independent females but he is thoroughly intimidated by religious women who not only do not live by his restrictive code of compliance but who are educated to a level beyond his wildest dreams and competence. Half of all North American female religious hold MAs in various disciplines and one quarter of these women has earned doctorates. Any one of them has probably forgotten more than Zuhlsdorf will ever learn! Interestingly, he hates being quizzed about his credentials to claim the level of authority and clout he exercises. With good reason! (he fits perfectly definition of *clericalism* that Pope Francis uses) Zuhlsdorf, by his own admission, has not lived in Rome for about a decade. He now resides permanently in the United States and well away from the Italian diocese of incardination. Up until very recently, it appears that he did not have any kind of Canonical relationship with a diocese in the USA. He claims now that this has changed and that he has been granted faculties by the bishop of Madison, Wisconsin. I am not engaged in any official external apostolate where I live. I have no assignment. I haven't sought anything on top of what I now do. I can barely make headway on my thesis as it is! [That would be right. He is not studying at all; he's running a business full time.] Since I am not functioning publicly in any way as a priest within the diocese where I live, I do not need the faculties of the diocese and therefore I have not sought them. I have been in the diocese with the knowledge of the last two bishops of the place. I don't know what the present bishop knows. I haven't been in touch.[2] This strange account of his canonical status plus the mysterious ten year absence from a permanent academic commitment at the Patristicum is all very odd. Zuhlsdorf, whether consciously or not, has also mastered the art of projecting his own psycho-spiritual pathologies onto his fragile-minded followers. The clinicians would be fascinated with the heavy transference and counter transference of psychoses, neuroses, fixations and fantasies going on in this rather bizarre and unhealthy relationship between Zuhlsdorf and his followers. There is nothing adult to be said about the dynamic. Zuhlsdorf is also the complete Pelagian. He has recently vented very petulantly about Francis' categorization of Trads by proclaiming: "I am a Self-Absorbed Promethean Neopelagian"[3] Despite his own disinformation, Zuhlsdorf is not a professional theologian, liturgist or canon lawyer. Regardless of that, he has made a cottage industry out of conveniently distorting and reinterpreting Church Councils, doctrines and disciplines to his own ends. He describes this as his divine destiny, an essential ministry and the work of orthodoxy. As long as he can argue that he is an authority his naive disciples will believe him and pay him handsomely for the deception. Zuhlsdorf's script and behaviour betray him as a snob, a name dropper, a brown-noser of epic proportions, a gossip, an indolent, pampered sook and a coward. He has become lost in the fog of his own self-confected mystique and mythos. Zuhlsdorf continues to do what he does best and the only thing he is qualified to be. He is the quintessential clerical gossip, nag, pedant, dilettante, manipulative entrepreneur and, above all, an enormous bore. It is precisely these things, among others, which is of interest here. It is clear that Zuhlsdorf watches the blogosphere closely and especially to those that place him under close scrutiny. Two things are a giveaway on his website: he has abandoned the old graphic depicting Francis being deconstructed and deciphered by the Papal Emeritus and he has taken to acknowledging his benefactors. Despite this it continues to be just as obvious that Zuhlsdorf: harbours deep resentment, anger and even hatred for Benedict for resigning the papacy. He and many of his disciples regarded the abdication as a kind of apostasy. Now his displaced anger and rage are directed at Francis. It is manifestly obvious that he utterly despises Francis, dismissing him with the ad hominem peasant routine. ryan 5 months ago: "When you have a blog constantly asking for gifts, money, donations, not to mention sales of coffee mugs, bumper stickers, prayers for "benefactors" (is a greedy priest really the one you want praying for you?), etc., it might bother you to have a superior who embraces poverty and humility. Just a thought." Martin Kelly 5 months ago: "Mark, I stopped reading Zuhlsdorf years ago. It was the photographs of the nice meals that finally did it for me. He is a priest of the diocese of Rome, and might perhaps show a little more respect for his bishop. On the other hand, I have heard that that diocese has a saying about its own – that 'Rome is full of odd priests'." A consequence for Zuhlsdorf is that, precisely because he is making constant carping, subversive and erosive comments about Pope Francis, many of his most loyal followers are distancing themselves from him and, disastrously for him, from the Donate button! Chances are that eventually he will implode upon himself under the sheer weight of his own hubris, dissemblance and greed. Postscript - the editorial decision to post on this *guy* is embarrassing. Did America Magazine ever post one of Coghlin's diatribes in the 1930s? Why give an audience to hate masquerading as the *loyal priest*? From the America Magazine archives: Box: 12 Fold: 39 America Magazine General Correspondence-re: Charles Coughlin (1940-41) DATE SPAN: [01/01/1940]? - [12/31/1941]? DESCRIPTION: This folder consists of general corrrespondence from, but mostly pertaining to Rev. Charles Coughlin, covering the period 1940-1941. Enclosed in the green envelope are four printed items of interest. Of particular note among them are: 1) pamphlet entitled "The Real Father Coughlin" by A.B. Magil and 2) pamphlet entitled "Father Coughlin on the Air" by Msgr. John A. Ryan. OR Box: 12 Fold: 34 America Magazine General Correspondence-re: Charles Coughlin (1936) DATE SPAN: [01/01/1936]? - [12/31/1936]? DESCRIPTION: This folder consists of general correspondence of Rev. Charles Coughlin for the year 1935. This correspondence is in response to an article criticizing Coughlin, authored by Father Wilfrid Parsons, Editor of America Magazine (1925-1936). Too bad that the editors chose to not follow the tradition of this magazine.
Elizabeth Durack
3 years 2 months ago
This is thoroughly ridiculous. What hysteria. I live in Madison, WI and know Fr Z--I know him fairly well and vice-versa! I am a woman and I assure you he is very respectful of me and of other women. I suppose you can say practically anything about Fr Z to your readers in Australia since he is on the other side of the globe and no one has met him and know one knows firsthand the gravity of the problems in the USA with some of the religious sisters (there are others who are Wonderful and whom Fr Z praises highly), and make of him an ogre and a monstrous caricature of, I presume, a certain kind of priest you do not like in your own country. He has been respectful and generous to me and great to talk with. You make wrongful attacks on Fr Zuhlsdorf's character and baseless accusation apparently of heresy ("complete Pelagian"). You have dug into everything about Fr Z and your lack of any serious information justifying your jihad against him amounts to a vindication: he stands guilty of nice meals. Well, so do the best of us from time to time. "There's a time for penance, and a time for partridge." --St Teresa of Avila.
George D
3 years 2 months ago
Bottom line is that this ministry is not "just like a parish". Where is the spouse dying of cancer, the woman with her fourth pregnancy and no health care, the child who just died, weeping with families, celebrating baptisms, being involved with the real life of the community? One thing to read about it and even pray about. Much different about actually being present.It is that kind of solidarity that softens and sensitizes and from what I see he requires it. Also, a heavy emphasis on "masculinity" is odd. As they saying goes, the only definition of an alpha male, if you have to try to be one, you're not one. And then he says this, "as far as sharp and divisive is concerned, sometimes sharp is what is needed to punch through the veil of falsehood, or the veil of dumb." It is dumb, not to mention unpriestly, to try to put together an M 16 or whatever kind of firearm he is working on now when you are not in the military and certainly not under any direct threat. The fascination with guns, at his age, and given his station, and what he proports to be is off putting to say the least.
Helen Smith
3 years 2 months ago
The question I have is: Where did Fr. Z learn how to be a priest? In the seminary? We do not know, at least he has not revealed what seminary he attended. or Did he acquire his definition of priestly ministry when he worked the Vatican? Seems to me that he thinks being a priest means I can do my own thing, That is not the way that priests I admire live their lives.
George D
3 years 2 months ago
There are people with all these sorts of serious problems who comment on Fr Z's blog, read the prayer postings, I am also aware of other similarly serious problems people have, known also to Fr Z, that don't necessarily get aired on the blog publicly. Yes, Elizabeth....virtually.... and that is my point. My point is a larger one. He said that his work on the blog is a ministry. Ministry is done in the name of the Church or in the name of some kind of corporate body. It is not done in the name of charismatic individuals creating blogs and who are unaccountable to the people of God in any meaningful way. In the context of the Catholic church, clergy are related differently to the church; a change in relationship to the church, not change in existential status although, of course, I know Fr. Z will disagree with that but obviously his blog will not go into long dialogue around the theology of the priesthood and different interpretations. And that is a further point. He misrepresents the breadth of Catholic theology that exists in the church and presents a very narrow view. As far as masculinity, I mean hyper-masculinity and an over affect of it. You would not suggest that women batting their eyes, giggling, slightly flirting, demurring, slight cleavage, is a model of femininity would you? I think you would call it a caricature and a woman affecting in that manner in middle ages would signal a crisis of identity. Same for men. That is my point. As a man, as a Catholic, and a Christian, I decry violence against women which is why when I read him refer to them "humorously" as "cows" , I recoil as should every person of good will.
http://wdtprs.com/blog/2014/06/action-item-still-time-to-sign-up-for-wom...
That is inappropriate, wrong, disrespectful, misogynist and he should be called on it by every "real" man particularly his bishop and you, his friend. Finally, on guns. The priest that was killed in Phoenix by the attacker was killed by a gun owned by his colleague Fr. Terra. The assailant was able to tear the gun away from the one priest and ended up shooting Fr. Walker. So here is a case where the presence of a handgun contributed directly to a priest's death. The assailant did not have one but got it away from the priest. Had there not been a gun in the rectory, Fr. Walker would likely be alive today. But Fr. Z not only supports priests having guns, he promotes it including wearing guns in the sanctuary (oh sorry I don’t want to misrepresent him – he is neutral)! http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/06/quaeritur-are-priests-allowed-to-carry-handguns/
Elizabeth Durack
3 years 2 months ago
I know this priest in person and he is a normal, cheerful, healthy priest whose bearing and demeanor is that of a normal man. He has an unusual ministry, though which he makes a substantial positive contribution to the mission of the Church. He is close with other truly fine priests. Rather breathtakingly callous that you want to criticize a victim of an absolutely brutal near-fatal beating (with a tire iron) for having a weapon in a rough neighborhood, do you really want to blame Fr Terra (who suffered badly broken hands in the attack) for the death of his parochial vicar? Look, don't go there. There is nothing unchristian about self-defense, or defense of other innocent people. This is a well established moral principle. I don't have a gun and I recommend to others to freely choose not to arm themselves, but you have chosen a particularly unreasonable line of argument to advance your position, and you've lost me. It is dreadful to criticize Fr Terra about this. Have you an anticlerical antagonism? I am trying to understand the ferocity and uncharitableness of your criticisms.
George D
3 years 2 months ago
I have no antagonism and I am certainly not blaming the victim. I am, however, pointing out that people, particularly priests, who have public platforms should be arguing positions based on reason and evidence; not emotion. There is documented and clear evidence of "the weapon effect". The presence of weapons increases aggression in people. That has been tested time and time again. As this article states, "A review of 56 published studies confirmed that the mere sight of weapons increases aggression in both angry and nonangry individuals." . I don't know the details of this case but I do know that the presence of weapons escalates and does not de-escalate the situation. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-psyched/201301/the-weapons-effect I will not engage any further as I don't want to be interpreted as being ferocious and uncharitable. But I stand by my statement that referring to women as cows is inappropriate.
Elizabeth Durack
3 years 2 months ago
"Where is the spouse dying of cancer, the woman with her fourth pregnancy and no health care, the child who just died," There are people with all these sorts of serious problems who comment on Fr Z's blog, read the prayer postings, I am also aware of other similarly serious problems people have, known also to Fr Z, that don't necessarily get aired on the blog publicly. Is it for your consumption? I am aware sometimes he does things to materially help people in serious difficulty--and in Christian fashion his personal charity is usually not public knowledge. A man's emphasis on masculinity is odd? Why? Am I not allowed to emphasize enjoying being a woman and what is good about women, either? Let us be reasonable--and let us appreciate men and women and their complementarity. I am content with Fr Z and other men being happy about being men and having male sensibilities. I am not a gun person. Fr Z knows what I think. You are really so worried about that... from Australia?
Beth Cioffoletti
3 years 2 months ago
I looked at Fr. Z's blog awhile back, attempting to keep an open mind and see what more traditional Catholics were thinking and talking about. The few time I attempted to offer a comment from a perhaps different perspective, I was harshly ridiculed by both the followers of Fr. Z, and Fr. Z himself. I thought that my comments were kind and fair, and added to the conversation. Evidently Fr. Z did not like what I had to say and I have been permanently blocked from the site since then. No warning whatsoever. Only a certain color of sheep are allowed in his barnyard. I don't know that his calling to minister to others via the Internet is genuine. His writing is clearly political,he regularly bashes the President and non-capitalist ideology. Though he supports gun rights (and brags about his own gun), I have never heard him utter a word in protest of the Death Penalty. If he is educating Catholics about Catholic tradition and teaching, it is according to his own agenda. His criticisms of Catholic nuns is especially caustic, divisive and hard to read. Though these interviews have been interesting, Sean, and I've gotten some unique views into the thinking of Catholics that I clearly disagree with, I'm glad this is the last one. Something about seeing Fr. Z on the pages of America magazine does not feel right to me.
Beth Cioffoletti
3 years 2 months ago
PS. When I commented on Z's blog I was not "anonymous" - I used my real name, as here, with a link to my website. I did not consider my comments to be offensive in any way, but, if I recall, the one that caused Z to permanently cut me off was regarding the psychological wounding of the young men and women in the military who are trained to kill on our behalf.
Wayne Lee
3 years 2 months ago
Beth, To ease your concerns, I have used my real first and last names. A couple of observations: I found the interview to include a nice balance of spirituality, humor, and scholarliness. These are the features I like about Fr Z's blog. Second, for someone who cannot read his blog, you seem to have extensive knowledge of its content! Third, referring to our troops as "trained to kill on our behalf" is as insulting and inflammatory as anything Fr Z has ever written.
Beth Cioffoletti
3 years 2 months ago
I'm sorry that you found "trained to kill on our behalf" insulting and inflammatory, Wayne. I'm also sorry that it is true. How would you word it?
Tito Edwards
3 years 2 months ago
Bravo to America Magazine for interviewing Father John Zuhlsdorf. Good job Fr. Sean Salai, SJ! In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph, Tito
Rocco B.
3 years 2 months ago
Where to begin? Fr. Wiley's sermon's concepts get the (inter)national attention they deserve, Confession, Sacred Liturgy as a founding of our authentic Catholic life, Mother Angelica references, and well-ordered digital New Evangelization. Very good piece, many thanks to America Magazine for interviewing Father Z. Prayers for the entire Jesuit Order on their 200th anniversary of restoration. Also excellent interview with Fr. Mitch Pacwa, SJ, this past July.
Beth Cioffoletti
3 years 2 months ago
I hope that the editors of America will continue to require real names (first and last) and identities in order to comment on this article. I would love to see a substantive discussion of the nature of Fr. Z;s writing and following and how we all fit in to the mission and spirit of the Catholic Church, especially as it is exemplified by Francis. Fr. Z's followers and cheer leaders tend to show up everywhere to turn sincere dialogue into a mud fest and skew poll results. I hope that does not happen here.
Anne Chapman
3 years 2 months ago
Beth, I join you in your concerns. Fr. Z and his followers tend to be among the most disruptive and, let's be honest, hateful, commenters in the Catholic blogosphere. His own comments very often cross the lines of respectful comment - beyond snark or sarcasm - and he does not have any desire for legitimate disagreement and different views to appear on his blog. Your point about interesting discussions being disrupted when Fr. Z's readers are sent to comment on articles on websites that most don't usually frequent is an appalling example of bullying tactics to stifle discussion. The readers of his site who go to other sites at his not-so-veiled suggestion to disrupt discussions are usually more than rude - they are all too frequently ugly in their comments - un-christian. Your experience with being banned at his site has occurred to others I know - respectful comments, but not echoing this man's sentiments are enough to be the subject of his scorn and to be banned. The commercialization of his site for personal gain - his Amazon wish list- is a highly questionable tactic also. America has long been a respected voice in the world of Catholic publishing. Fr. Z is not and it's unfortunate in more than one way that America has chosen to highlight this man. It was a very bad choice. With a couple of exceptions, I personally was not very interested in most of those interviewed for this series. However, all who were interviewed could be deemed as "reasonable" voices within the church, even if one disagrees with some of their views. However, inviting Fr. Z seems to be closer to giving voice to those who seek to destroy - especially to destroy bridges, rather than to build them. One hopes that America will be more careful in its choices in the future.
Glendon Cheshire
3 years 2 months ago
The problem is that many Catholics want their beliefs to be recognized as "legitimate" when they are not. As for the comments of readers of his blog, apparently you've never read the com-boxes of dissenting websites and forums around the internet. Leftists are some of the most hateful, disrespectful, screaming ideologues on the internet, and have the dubious distinction of advocating dissent and error instead of upholding the traditional teachings and practices of the Church they claim to be members of. The comments I see from many liberal and mainstream Catholic websites and forums make me want to bleach my eyeballs, how disdainful and bitter are the liberal commentators.
Frank Gibbons
3 years 2 months ago
Brother Sean Salai and "America" are doing a work of unity and reconciliation. The work of reconciliation begins with reaching out to those whom we find repulsive. Jesus reached out to the despised Zacchaeus before he repented.
Beth Cioffoletti
3 years 2 months ago
I don't find Fr. Z (or his followers) repulsive. Just misguided. Brother Sean certainly reached out. I hope we can sort it all out. Do you suppose Fr. Z will "repent"???
C Chase
3 years 2 months ago
I find Fr. Z's analogy of 'salon' most telling. Whilst some historians (Elias) might put forward salons as promotors of 'politesse, civilité and honnête', others (Pekacz et al.) claim that this was mere affectation, that there was nothing sincere in this posture of openness. I applaud the willingness of America to dia-logue with all persons. However, a cursory visit to the blog's website [confer, post by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf 'Mickens attacks Müller for The Fishwrap', 2 June 2014 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf] explicitly demonstrates his overt lack of 'politesse, civilité and honnête'. In the very first sentence of the 2 June post, the father chooses to denigrate two purveyors of journalism: The Tablet (launched in 1840) is called 'The Pill,' and the National Catholic Reporter (founded in 1964, and winner of the 'General Excellence' Award from the Catholic Press Association 13 times between 2000 and 2014) is called 'The Fishwrap (aka National Schizmatic Reporter)'. This denigration is how the man you interviewed chooses to begin what he claims to be the reporting of truths. In your interview, Fr. Z states: 'We will also always have cowards with us, who hide behind false names and say nasty things'. I am left wondering if signing one's name to 'nasty things' somehow legitimizes the nastiness.
Glendon Cheshire
3 years 2 months ago
The Tablet and the National Catholic Reporter have been known, for years upon years, as purveyors of leftist journalism and heretical dissent, giving a voice to virtually anyone and everyone who meets two qualifications: one, they call themselves Catholic, and two, they have virtually no intention to actually follow the teachings of the Church, except when it is ideologically convenient. Father referring to the two publications as what they are, a bitter pill, and a reporter of all things theologically schismatic, should be considered quite the civil manner of addressing what they are - unceremonious liberals and ideological heretics and schismatics. For this comment I will no doubt be branded a typical, retrograde, hateful ideologue. That will be unfortunate, but sadly, typical. Dialogue and discussion are fine, and a moral good, but there has to be a basis of agreement, otherwise it isn't dialogue - it's debate.
Jim McCrea
3 years 2 months ago
Ooooooooooo .... heretics! I think that both publications will consider that to be a compliment from a devotee of "Fr." Zzzzzzzzzzz.
Elizabeth Durack
3 years 2 months ago
National "Catholic" Reporter and the similarly dissident UK publication The Tablet are publications editorially opposed to various non negotiable Catholic beliefs, and are not legitimately Catholic, as several local bishops in NCR's home of Kansas City have made clear (NCR is afoul of canon law in multiple ways, including for calling itself "Catholic"). Mickens clearly received Fr Z's attention because he's a case of a notorious dissident writer who wound up actually fired by the Tablet for a vile facebook comment about the funeral of "the Rat" (Ratzinger), after which he was soon brought on by the US equivalent publication NCR, this article being his first for the latter. Beyond these soap opera type circumstances, it is preposterous to criticize a Catholic priest for being impolite about an editorial based on the premise that the prefect of the CDF needs to be more "open" to those who reject and undermine Catholic doctrine. It is senseless to bother to try a reasoned debate with an editorial that is little more than tendentious progressive "framing" akin to Lakoff's strict father/nurturant parent models which fundamentally oppose the Catholic worldview... Mickens wanted to frame and broadly demonize the work Muller is commissioned with as prefect of the CDF as a pitiless and unjust "strict father-ism" opposed to Pope Francis' good "nuturant parenting"--and the correct reply is to reject and justly mock Mickens' effort to do that and set the Pope and the Prefect against each other. Father Z can often be found defending prelates smeared in the press by those who basically disagree with Catholic beliefs and therefore oppose them doing their jobs. I know Fr Z locally and have frequently attended his Masses, he is a real priest, kind, generous, has been respectful and good to me. His blog is opinionated and not boring, and is great as a sort of news service particularly targeted to the interests and needs of his large number of priest readers, besides all us lay readers. Those who were formed by the question everything/change everything era of the 60s and 70s, as typified in its extreme form today by NCR and The Tablet, will not like Fr Z. On his blog orthodoxy is a basic premise and with the number of extremely well informed commenters he has, this makes for a very educational and faith-encouraging read since the discussion is not bogged down in debating whether to accept Catholic beliefs and discipline. Publications like "The Pill" and "The Fishwrap" continually attack the Church and her leaders basically for being Catholic and standing up for the Faith do not form people in a Catholic faith and worldview, but undermine it and do a huge disservice, and we do not have to be real nice to these publications.
sHAWN MARSHALL
3 years 2 months ago
A recent visit to the Reporter turned my hair gray. That site is nothing but a repository of heretical modernism. The posters there were all rooting for Obama to bash the Catholic bishops and they vehemently support homosexuality, homosexual marriage and abortion. They shut the thread down soon after my post about the heresy. The article was written by a Jesuit about the conflict between US bishops and Obama. Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth but he sure had his crowd of posters fired up. Our poor Church is suffering mightily. Those people over there are frightening and their words are demonic. Frank speech in comment areas is often attacked by Leftists as 'angry'. They do not seem to comprehend that some faithful people are appalled at their behavior.
Paul Schultz
3 years 2 months ago
As a fellow convert from Lutheranism, I enjoyed this article by Sean Salai, S.J., regarding Fr. Zuhlsdorf and am glad that America has published it. Among other things, I haven't previously seen such a succinct write-up of the official ministry that Fr. Z performs in the church in Wisconsin. As far as recent Fr. Z posts go, I thought the one of 2Cellos was entertaining and that the one on being shot down for LCWR Assembly press credentials was hilarious. If America readers were not already readers of Fr. Z, I hope they will have an interesting perusal of his writings, after this introduction.
Beth Cioffoletti
3 years 2 months ago
I would love to read those posts, Paul, but unfortunately I am blocked from viewing Fr. Z's site. It would be one thing if I were just banned from commenting, but I am not allowed to view his site. Totally excommunicated.
Robert Bledsaw III
3 years 2 months ago
It may just be the way his WordPress site is set up. His addon for moderation probably only does IP bans.
Beth Cioffoletti
3 years 2 months ago
Perhaps, Robert. But I know that some people say that they can read his website, but are not allowed to comment. I cannot access his webpage if I try from my home. However if I am at a local coffee shop (different IP), I can see the site, but I cannot comment. It's a hell of a drastic move to monitor his audience. I don't consider myself a particularly hostile commenter, and I've never been banned from any other site, even those that I don't agree with. I can only think that Z has to keep this flock that he ministers to exclusive to the outsider/stranger, one who sees things differently. Very tribal, even cultish. Their main message is bent on bashing "librul" and "leftist" thinking more than anything else - "we're right, you're wrong". No welcome, no love your enemies, no community, no transformation. They feed on their single minded righteousness. Z's biggest obsession is Confession, which I admire. If only I could see the faintest hint of self awareness in his own writing, rather than so much aggressive defensiveness. Celibate priests are terribly handicapped by not having to work their way through long term marriages. They sorely need close families, communities and friends who see and live things differently and challenge them out of their myopia.
Beth Cioffoletti
3 years 2 months ago
There is room for all of us at this table. I believe that Z has something of importance to bring to the table, and I welcome him. But I'm not giving up my seat on the other side.
Michael Thoma
3 years 2 months ago
Beth, You may have been spoofed. A google search reveals your commentary on a fakeFrD site called "http://wdtprdad.blogspot.com/".. it's motto is a spoof of Fr. Z "What Does The Priest Really Do All Day?Slavishly accurate commentary on Catholic issues & frank liturgical transliterations – by Fr. Juan Duzuhldorf o{]=o)"
Beth Cioffoletti
3 years 2 months ago
I have commented on both sites, Michael. The spoof site is silly, but I am not blocked from it. I am blocked from Fr. Z's real site and have been for months. Though I am miffed about being blocked, I do not want to make this conversation about that. Reading over Fr. Z's comments in the interview above, I find that he does have some good things to say - and things that I agree with. He is getting at the heart of the Catholic message: salvation for our immortal souls. (Others might call this "awakening", but that would probably be discounted as too new age for Z). I, personally, find his way of approaching this message - with the fear of hell and damnation - akin to more fundamental approaches to religion. As Fr. Richard Rohr would probably say, stuck in a dualistic, black/white view of reality. I would love to hear what those with more theological training than me have to say about Fr. Z's interpretation of Catholicism.
Elizabeth Durack
3 years 2 months ago
I want to recommend the Gospels. That is a theological source accessible to regular people like us. St John the Baptist lets us know "the Lord will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire." Responsible priests today continue to make this known. Jesus wants us to know it; he is black and white about it. In Matthew 25 for instance, the sheep and the goats, Jesus explains that when the Son of Man comes in His glory, He will judge whether we acted justly. To those who failed to serve Him in the person of the needy, He will say "'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels'... 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." Fr Z accurately put it, "We will all be judged one day." Pope Francis, another black-and-white Catholic who likes to warn that Satan is real, warned the mafia a while back, "There is still time to avoid ending up in hell. That is what is waiting for you if you continue on this path."
Beth Cioffoletti
3 years 2 months ago
Thank you for your reply, Elizabeth, and for giving me some insight into your faith. I do not see heaven and hell as geographic places, but as states of consciousness. Most Catholics would be surprised to learn that St. John Paul II said this. As a Christian, I believe in eternal life, and that I can partake of that life now in my earthly existence.The goal of life now, not later, is union with God - living in conscious union or friendship with God. This is salvation. God is not someone to be afraid of. In the Gospels, when people enter into a vulnerable trust with him and with the moment, Jesus will say again and again, “Your faith has saved you.” I think that the Eastern word would be “enlightenment” or “awareness” or “you are awakened or aware of the big truth.” I want to find and live life at a deeper level than just glib theologies, explanation and certitudes. I want to love the concrete rather than the ideological. I want my faith to be alive and on fire HERE AND NOW. This requires me to get out of my head and out of my house and out of my comfort zone and actually MEET the other. Jesus points me toward the underclass - the prisoners, the poor. I want to stop judging and categorizing and SERVE - become the broken bread that Jesus is. I need teachers who can guide me in this direction. Pope Francis, St. Francis, Dorothy Day, St. Ignatius, St. Therese of Lisieux ... I've had enough of religion that judges and condemns and makes me afraid of my own God. However, all that being said, I still respect dogma as the protector of Mystery (as Flannery O'Connor said). But it is not the whole story. My own personal opinion is that Fr. Z has some of the story, but not the whole thing. His blind spot is not being open to the other side. The one us "liberals" or "leftists" or whatever you want to call us, can see more clearly.
Elizabeth Durack
3 years 2 months ago
Hell is separation from God. Mortal sin separates us from God and after our death we can't go back and make a different choice. Since we're made for union with God, this is great suffering. The resurrection of the body hasn't happened yet so those souls now suffering in hell evidently suffer spiritually. What will happen after the second coming and the resurrection of the dead, God knows. One need never fear to turn to God, but only fear offending God and failing to repent and seek His mercy. St Therese says the greatest sinner has the MOST reason for confidence in turning to God for mercy. All the saints say to turn to God with great confidence for mercy. "A humble, contrite heart He will not spurn," as psalm 51 says. "Be not afraid," says the risen Lord. But just thinking you're in friendship with God and doing His work is not salvation. Check out Matthew 7:21-23, at the beginning of the chapter is where "judge not, lest ye be judged" appears, but reading it in context one sees the rest of the chapter is TOUGH, He gives us plenty of reason to be concerned about being judged ourselves. "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’ Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’" Eastern religions' ideas of enlightenment refer to different and incompatible religious beliefs. In zen buddhism, my understanding is the idea is that you would come to a realization of nonduality of being/nonbeing, in hinduism you would come to a pantheistic realization that you are a manifestation of "Brahman" the overarching pantheistic divine principle (in hinduism any distinction between Creator and creature would be considered illusion). Christianity is NOT about coming to a gnosis that saves you. It is the person of Jesus Christ, a love relationship initiated by Him that saves you. We understand God as the Creator, and ourselves as His creatures (we are NOT GOD) who through free will have sinned and and need the atonement God has brought about through Our Savior Jesus Christ which has brought to us a greater good than the original unfallen state of Adam and Eve at the Creation. Without relationship with Jesus Christ through His Catholic Church no one can be saved. With it, we enter by participation into the very love life of the Trinity (yes already in one sense though in a fuller sense we await the fulfillment of that in heaven). If you like St Therese of Lisieux, a book came to my mind that was one she considered one of the greatest graces in her life to have read and that she recommended highly, called The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life by Fr Arminjon (you can get it on Amazon or many other booksellers). Basically it is about heaven, hell, purgatory and the Second Coming. Therese is a Doctor of the Church with profound teaching about God's Mercy being especially toward the greatest sinners, and her teaching is founded on this solid Catholic understanding reflected in Arminjon's book. For the Saints, this Catholic understanding that our moral choices matter and that our need for salvation through Jesus Christ is an absolutely serious matter, is actually what drives their zeal and heroic efforts in the works of mercy and spreading the Gospel. For St Teresa of Avila, it was a terrifying vision of what she deserved in hell if Jesus hadn't saved her, that led to her definitive conversion and her tireless efforts as a reformer and foundress which were profoundly oriented toward being prayer warriors in support of the apostolate and salvation of souls. You can read about that in St Teresa of Avila's "Life" (her Autobiography). Francis of Assisi was no different in his beliefs, among his writings, for instance we find this: "Pause and reflect, for the day of death is approaching. I beg you, therefore, with all possible respect, not to forget the Lord or turn away from His commandments by reason of the cares and preoccupations of this world, for all those who are oblivious of Him and turn away from His commands are cursed and will be totally forgotten by Him. And when the day of death does come, everything which they think they have will be taken from them. And the wiser and more powerful they may have been in this world, so much greater will be the punishments they will endure in hell." He chose a truly radical penitential life following Jesus in a radical living of the Gospel, in order to lead others to conversion and heal the Church. It is impossible to claim that Francis of Assisi saw himself as being about waking up to a gnosis or awareness of the truth, he was all about the person of Jesus Christ and His presence in the Eucharist and the Church.
Elizabeth Durack
3 years 2 months ago
And I forgot this (how could I!), the ending to Saint Francis of Assisi's Canticle of Brother Sun, which many people have not actually seen his own genuine and full version of: "Praised be to You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whom no living man can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin. Blessed are those whom death will find doing Your most holy will, for the second death [ie hell, unending torment] shall do them no harm. Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks and serve Him with great humility."
Beth Cioffoletti
3 years 2 months ago
Elizabeth, having carefully read your responses, I find that I have no quibble at all with your views. We're on the same page! (but I'm still a "liberal" :-)) (PS. I have been walking closely with Sister Death for these last months, and relate very much to St. Francis' words.)
Beth Cioffoletti
3 years 2 months ago
"It is impossible to claim that Francis of Assisi saw himself as being about waking up to a gnosis or awareness of the truth, he was all about the person of Jesus Christ and His presence in the Eucharist and the Church." Same thing, in my way of seeing and saying things.
ron chandonia
3 years 2 months ago
Sean Salai works another summertime miracle: he makes the redoubtable Fr. Z sound like an actual CHRISTIAN! Still, I have to think the most serious of these less-than-curmudgeonly comments is Zuhlsdorf's proposed question to Pope Francis: "If you are not going to live in the Apostolic Palace, could I?"
Helen Smith
3 years 2 months ago
I came across Fr. Z’s blog a few years ago when it was called “What Does The Prayer Really Say?” Quite frankly, I was and still am appalled by the mean-spirited rants that he presents and allows on his blog. In addition, I have issues with how he has chosen to define his priesthood and ministry. I know priests who minister in inner city parishes 24/7. They ask their parishioners and donors to help them support their ministries. They do not ask for donations to support their lifestyle or post wish lists on Amazon that include items that subsidize their leisure activities (specifically, accumulating gun paraphernalia). They do not attend upscale conferences (e.g. the Napa Institute) and boast about the people they met and the meals and after dinner drinking of “adult” beverages and smoking cigars that they indulged in. (Yet, Fr. Z cannot find the time to complete his doctoral degree that he has been working on from the Augustinianum in Rome for at least a decade.) Fr. Z has been a priest for over 20 years. Granted that he has a following especially among those who find spiritual nourishment in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Liturgy, but where did he get the idea that he can use his priesthood to satisfy his own needs and wants? (Obviously, he has some approval from the diocese in which he now currently resides.) Perhaps, Fr. Z might consider going on a month long retreat, namely the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, to discern better his priestly ministry.
Delaine K
3 years 2 months ago
Helen, Father Z doesn't receive financial support from his diocese, so the donations he receives covers his modest living costs.
Tom Heckel
3 years 2 months ago
I applaud America for the interview with Fr. Z. I find his maniacal focus on the salvation of souls very, very refreshing. Salus animarum suprema lex. Having just completed the Ignatian spiritual exercises two weekends ago I would point out, in support of Fr. Z, St. Ignatius' fundamental principle...."Man is created to praise, reverence and serve God, Our Lord, and by this means to save his soul." It is wonderful to read and listen to clergy and laity who are aligned with St. Ignatius.
David Reed
3 years 2 months ago
And for America's next trick... an interview with NewCatholic from the Rorate Caeli blog!!!! RFLMAO Thank you Fr. Salai for the great interview and for giving everyone the chance to see all the liberal crybabies grind and gnash their teeth as evidenced by their comments in the combox! Seeing this hysterical reaction made my day!
Donal Mahoney
3 years 2 months ago
America is going to ruin its reputation interviewing an orthodox priest like Father Z. Wonderful so long as you don't follow it with an interview of Sr. Suzanne Campbell.
Stephen Kusterer
3 years 2 months ago
I peruse his site with some regularity, but I am far from a fan. Fr. Z very specifically comes to mind when I hear Pope Francis' various cautions about priests and the priesthood. When a blogger continually resorts to over-generalizations, projection, name-calling and belittling, they lose their credibility.
Linda Clerkin
3 years 2 months ago
One of Fr. Z.'s, here. :) Thank you, America, for a fair and edifying interview with Fr. Z. It is appreciated. :)
Delaine K
3 years 2 months ago
I am so happy Fr. Z added that last bit reminding people to go to Confession and for priests to foster this wonderful sacrament. Confession is such a wonderful gift that was given to the Church. I stumbled upon Fr. Z's blog about four years ago at the age of 24 when I wasn't a practicing Catholic and I hadn't been to confession in 10 years, something which he significantly helped me with. If it wasn't for Fr. Z, I likely would have never heard of the Traditional Latin Mass or, most importantly, known the need to go to confession since my catechism lessons were seriously lacking in teaching me the Catholic faith. Since then, I have started attending the TLM daily and am discerning a vocation with a very solid and traditional Carmelite order. Thank you, Fr. Z!
Carlo Johnson
3 years 2 months ago
It's quite funny that a person who boasts of running a site a bit like a wild-west saloon, and who admonishes people to "toughen up", completely bans anyone who criticizes him in a comment from even viewing his saloon. Methinks someone is mighty thin-skinned...
Frank Gibbons
3 years 2 months ago
Carlo, Trust me, Father Z isn't the only person who blocks commenters in the Catholic blogosphere for comments that are non-profane.
Bridget O'Donnell
3 years 2 months ago
Fr. Z basically makes his living through blogging and speaking engagements, and hawking coffee on his website. He lists items he wants on his blog and his devoted fans purchase them for him. This priest should take careful heed of what the Holy Father has recently advised young people: Put down your cellphones, stop surfing the internet, get out and actually LIVE the Gospel. Has Fr. Z never heard that we are in the midst of a huge priest shortage? He has been "working on his doctorate" for well over a decade. Where does he offer public daily Mass? Does he assist weekly with administering the Sacraments? Is he out there participating in parish life, working with the people? How is it that he is living thousands of miles from the diocese where he is incardinated - and from the Italian bishop whom he serves - in a private house, (when he is not globe trotting documenting in detail the gourmet food he is indulging in along the way)? I work a 50 hour work week while trying to raise truly Catholic children and tend to a husband, AND I am very active in parish life. All I can think of when I read Fr. Z's blog is, "Must be nice!" and "Where the heck is this priest's bishop and does this bishop actually know what his priest is doing?" It is apparent that Fr. Z is a totally free agent, not reporting in to any Church authority on a regular basis. He is able to do this because of the Internet, which he uses as justification for his own personal self determined "mission." Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture? Some people refer to Fr. Z as an "orthodox" Catholic priest. It seems to me that his conversion from Protestantism was more than somewhat lacking. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of Catholic priests in this same position today - incardinated in some distant diocese, while they just live on their own and do their own thing, fending for themselves. Isn't there some accountability demanded of bishops for the priests who are supposedly reporting to them? Hello, Rome - anybody home????

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