Father Z

The Church Militant


 My children, we are here to conquer or die. In death or in victory, you will win immortality.

Don Juan of Austria to his sailors and troops prior to the battle of Lepanto



One of the more distressing aspects of contemporary Catholicism is the transformation from the Church Militant to the Church Mushy.  Catholicism did not survive for twenty tumultuous centuries by being a religion for lukewarm cowards.  Father Z explains what the Church Militant is for the benefit of poorly educated, in the Faith, Catholics who probably comprise a majority of the members of the Church these days:


I post this because our dear Michael Sean Winters had a little nutty about my use of this term over at the Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter).

All of you Catholics who are reading this, even if you mostly identify with the dissenters at the Fishwrap, are members of the Church Militant, the Ecclesia Militans.

“Militant” is a scary word for libs (keep that paper bag handy) because it looks like the English word “military” (which must be a bad thing to belong to).

Militant comes from Latin milito, “to be a soldier, to perform military service”.  Note, “service”.

As a Catholic who is militans, “militant”, that means that we dedicate ourselves with obedience and zeal to the role we are given in life through our calling and through our talents and good inclinations, our vocations in life.  It means that we are also prepared to fight the enemy wherever and whenever threats to the salvation of our own souls and our neighbor’s souls present themselves.  It means working together as units and not as individuals merely.   It means good conditioning and through drills in knowing well our Catholic Faith and practicing virtues and discipline in the use of the Sacraments.  It means submission to the Church’s teaching authority and her duly ordaining pastors.  It means fidelity, loyalty and even a willingness to die.

I now urge the Fishwrap types to have at hand a paper bag they can breathe into.

The Church Militant is made up of the living, we who are still on pilgrimage through this vale of tears, as the Salve Regina describes our earthly life.  The whole Church can be described as having three main kinds of membership, namely, those who are still alive here on Earth, those who are in an earthly sense dead but who live in Heaven (the Church Triumphant) and those who have died but who are, during their time of purification in Purgatory, awaiting their entrance into Heaven (the Church Suffering or Penitent).  These three are united, in one Holy Church, in a common “communion of saints”, even though we of the Church Militant often aren’t very saintly.

Church Militant is a common and traditional way to describe the living members of the Church.  For example, find it used as a hinge pin in the Catholic Encyclopedia.  Even though the Catechism of the Catholic Church 954 doesn’t explicitly use the terms Militant, Suffering and Triumphant, the concepts are clearly there when it describes the membership of the Church:

The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is”‘

That paragraph in the CCC quotes Lumen gentium 49; Mt 25:31 (which describes the separation of the blessed from the damned); 1 Cor 15:26-27 (which describes the ultimate triumph of God at the end of things); and the Council of Florence (1439) in DS 1305.  I will add that LG 43, on religious institutes, uses the phrase “militia Christi” to describe the support given by religious families to Church.

The old Catechism of St. Pius X uses the tripartite division, describing the Church Militant as the Church to which we actually belong.  Of course, you have to know that “actually” means “now”, and not loose English “really”.

In the Baltimore Catechism, in its explanation of the articles of the Creed, we find a great description

“The communion of saints:”

There are three parts in the Church. We have, first, the Church Militant, i.e., the fighting Church, made up of all the faithful upon earth, who are still fighting for their salvation. [The catholic Left, the Fishwrap types, are going to hate that description because of the implication that not everyone is saved (except for those meanies who don’t want to redistribute wealth or approve of sex with just about any carbon-based life form] The Holy Scripture tells us our life upon earth is a warfare. [Get that bag if you need it!  Then check 1 Tim 6:12: “Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”  Then check 2 Cor 10: 3-5: “For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”  Yes.  We have enemies.] We have three enemies to fight. First, the devil, who by every means wishes to keep us out of Heaven-the place he once enjoyed himself The devil knows well the happiness of Heaven, and does not wish us to have what he cannot have himself; just as you sometimes see persons who, through their own fault, have lost their situation trying to keep others out of it. [The devil has earthly agents, even within the Church.  Think of, for example, the horrid example of priests who harm children and also writers in the catholic media who consistently deceive souls and undermine the faith and good discipline of the Church by promoting dissent.]

Our second enemy is the world. This does not mean the earth with all its beauty and riches, but the bad people in the world with their false doctrines; [See above.] some telling us there is no God, Heaven, or Hell, others that we should pay no attention to the teaching of the Church or the laws of God, and advising us by word and example to resist our lawful superiors in Church or State and give free indulgence to our sinful passions. [I have the impression that the catholic Left’s agenda is mainly focused on sex. When they perceive that something is a threat to their own desires, they attack it.  Of course they will attack any traditional expression of the Faith, because worship and doctrine are inextricably intertwined.]

The third enemy is our own flesh. [See above] By this we mean our concupiscence, that is, our passions, evil inclinations, and propensity to do wrong. When God first created man, the soul was always master over the body, and the body obedient to the soul. After Adam sinned, the body rebelled against the soul and tried to lead it into sin. The body is the part of our nature that makes us like the brute animals, while the soul makes us like to God and the angels.

When we sin, it is generally to satisfy the body craving for what it has not, or for that which is forbidden. Why did God leave this concupiscence in us? He left it, first, to keep us humble, by reminding us of our former sins, and, secondly, that we might overcome it and have a reward for the victory. [Yes, its a war and, as Christians, we are soldiers on the march.]

The Devil is not a myth, friends, and Hell is real. Continue reading

Gator’s Back on the Menu




Father Z advises us of this taste treat for our Lenten repasts:



I have posted on this in the past, but repetita iuvant as we say in Latin.


Someone sent me a copy of a letter written by the Archbishop of New Orleans to a member of his flock about eating alligator during Lent.  The answer is “yes”.  You may eat alligator during Lent.

This is old news to readers of this blog, of course.  Last year I posted this, which ought to have settled the whole thing:

QUAERITUR: Abstinentia de carne lacertina aut crocodrillina

Ex lectoris e-pistulis extractum:

Reverendo patro Ioanni Zuhlsdorfo discipulus C. salutem et commemorationem in precibus suis. Gratias meas, sivis, ob opum tuam tibi agere volo. [Acceptae.] Mihi, catholico iuveni et discipulo in collegio liberalum artis et liberalum (aut impudicarum) mentum, scripturae tuae magnam auxilium fuerunt. Mox Ludovicianam meabo. Quaeritur: Sineturne corpus alligatoris feria VI in Quadregesima sine violando abstinentiam Quadragesimae edere?

Ossificatus manualista impoenitens respondeo de paginis Compendii Theologiae Moralis (Sabetti-Barrett) n. 331, :

Nomine carnis veniunt omnia animalia in terra viventia ac respirantia, ut communiter admittunt theologi ex regula tradita a S. Thoma vel, ut S. Alphonsus innuit, n. 1011, animalia quae sanguinem habent calidum; vel illud quod consuetudo regionis ut carnem habet; vel, si nec consuetudo praesto sit, dubium solvi potest considerando mentem Ecclesiae in sanciendo delectu ciborum, ut comprimendae ac minuendae carnis concupiscentiae per salutarem abstinetiam consuleret; examinetur, an huiusmodi animal simile sit aut dissimile iis quorum esus interdictus est et an illius carnes humano corpori validius nutriendo et roborando idoneae dignoscantur; et si ita appareat, ista caro inter vetitas est ponenda. Benedict XIV., De syn. dioec., lib.11, c. 5, n. 12. Haec quatuor multum deservient omni dubitationi solvendae.

Ergo, crocodrilli et lacertae inter reptilia sunt et amphibia.

Edi ergo possunt feriis sextis et tempore Quadragesimae

Omnibus tamen diebus ab eis edimur!

So, there you have it.

You can eat alligator and crocodile on Fridays of Lent.

Continue reading

Father Z’s Internet Prayer




Some years ago Father Z wrote an internet prayer:

A prayer before logging onto the internet:

Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord.   Amen.


Here it is in the original Latin:

Oratio ante colligationem in interrete:

Omni­potens aeterne Deus, qui secundum imaginem Tuam nos plasmasti et omnia bona, vera, et pulchra, praesertim in divi­na persona Unigeniti Fi­lii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussi­sti, praesta, quaesumus, ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Epi­scopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete, et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos conveni­mus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Go here to read how Father Z came to write the prayer. Continue reading


Jesuit Inquisition



Father Z bring us a disturbing development from across the pond:


I want everyone to know about this.

This was posted at the blog Protect The Pope, which was run by Deacon Nick Donnelly.

Diocese of Lancaster’s statement about Deacon Nick Donnelly BY M DONNELLY, ON MARCH 13TH, 2014 The Bishop’s office of the Diocese of Lancaster has kindly sent Nick the statement they issued to the press about him and Protect the Pope which is copied below.

“After learning that a notice had been placed upon the Protect the Pope website on 7 March saying: ‘Deacon Nick stands down from Protect the Pope for a period of prayer and reflection’ the Bishop’s Office at the Diocese of Lancaster was able to confirm that Bishop Campbell had recently requested Deacon Nick Donnelly to voluntarily pause from placing new posts on the Protect the Pope site.

Meanwhile, it was also confirmed that the Bishop asked Deacon Nick to use this pause to enter into a period of prayer and reflection on the duties involved for ordained bloggers/website administrators to truth, charity and unity in the Church.

Deacon Nick has agreed to the Bishop’s request at this time”.

I, for one, can imagine that a lot of pressure was exerted on the Bishop of Lancaster to have gone to such an extreme as to command a cleric under his charge not to think aloud in public.

I see now, however, that “M Donnelly” is posting at the blog.  I take it that this is Missus Deacon.  Good for her.

Go get ‘em. Continue reading

Persecution of Friars of the Immaculate Continues

Friars of the Immaculate

The persecution, I do not think that is too strong a word for it, of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate continues apace.  Go here to Rorate Caeli to read the infuriating details.  Here are Father Z’s thoughts:




The Commissar appointed by the Prefect of the Congregation for Religious, has imposed seemingly draconian restrictions and changes on the Friars.

I can’t say I know the inner dynamics of this controversy.  My sense is that the Friars had some serious internal problems.  By the time this all escalated to the point of intervention by the Holy See, I suspect an intervention was needed: they couldn’t handle it on their own, which is not unsurprising for young institute.

That said, having read a little about the interventions made by the Holy See’s Commissar, Fr. Volpi, I must say I find them disturbing.

Fr. Finigan has made some good comments.  He has his own blog but he has closed his combox.  My emphases and comments™:

The Franciscans of the Immaculate have been going through a trying time recently. This seems to be getting worse. Rorate Caeli posted yesterday several documents relating the Franciscans of the Immaculate, including correspondence from Fr Volpi, the appointed Commissioner for the Institute. [I don’t see that “Commissar” is too far off the mark.]

[NB] We could all think of Orders, Congregations and Institutes where members have written against magisterial teaching. [Ohhhh, yes.] Occasionally [read: rarely] there has been some intervention from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in rare cases an individual has been suspended from teaching in the name of the Church. We all remember the furore over the polite and carefully worded report on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The negotiations with the SSPX broke down over the nuance of an expression concerning the level of acceptance of Vatican II.

In the case of the Franciscans of the Immaculate (who have not contradicted magisterial teaching on faith or morals) [Unlike countless weirdos of one religious order after another who have plagued the Church with their heresy and destroyed the faith and vocations of who know how many…] their superior has been removed, their seminary has been closed, and their members [get this…] are now to be asked to take an oath agreeing that the modern Roman rite is an “authentic expression of the liturgical tradition of the Church.[The first thing that popped into my mind as I read this was “Oath of Supremacy”.] I hope that I am not being intemperate in describing this as rather harsh. [as opposed to … draconian, cruel, drastic, oppressive, severe, brutal, extreme?] I certainly don’t recall others, whether liberal or traditionalist [Oh, Father!  Never a liberal!] being asked to swear to such a specific question of fact. [Let’s imagine the Congregation imposing an oath on the Jesuits not to challenge the legitimacy of the Extraordinary Form or the legitimacy of what Bl. John Paul II called the “legitimate aspirations” of the faithful.] There are after all library shelves full of books by liturgical radicals arguing precisely the opposite: that the Novus Ordo was a a liberation from the encrusted barnacles of tradition and the opening of a bright new future for creative liturgy. Will they be administered an oath in which they must swear that it is an authentic expression of the liturgical tradition? [Rem acu.]

It would be reasonable to require those in communion with the Church to accept that the modern rite is, in itself, a valid rite for the celebration of the Eucharist. (Otherwise you would have to say that the Masses of Blessed John Paul, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis were all invalid.) [Pay attention…] The question of whether it is an authentic expression of the liturgical tradition of the Church is surely a legitimate matter for debate within the wider discussion of the hermeneutic of continuity or rupture. Famously, Cardinal Ratzinger described it as a “banal on the spot product”: are we not allowed any longer to agree with him?  [Oh, dear Father.  You are now veering close to official bad-think.  You are making… and I can barely bring myself to say it… distinctions.  There! See what you’ve done?]

Actually, I think that the oath could be taken in good conscience anyway – the expression is capable of a range of interpretations without even the need for any mental reservation. Certainly the modern rite has many elements that have always been in the Roman liturgy, and has, broadly speaking, a traditional Roman structure with readings, offertory, canon, and communion in the traditional order. It is authentic in being valid for the celebration of the Eucharist, in being promulgated by a Pope and in being legitimate to use. [A person could still say that the Novus Ordo is valid, and even a legitimate expression of the Roman Rite, without ceding that it is as expressive as the older form.]

Please pray for the Franciscans of the Immaculate at this time of trial. Pray especially to Our Lady, Mediatrix, Auxiliatrix, Advocatrix and Co-redemptrix. Pray also to St Maximilian Kolbe.

I will say what I have said before.  Some of you won’t like this.

Right now liberals think they have the big mo.  They will – even in an antinomian way – work to oppress those who simply want to make use of the lawful, universal legislation in Summorum Pontificum.  They will seek to forbid anyone from making reference to the vision Benedict XVI provided and then established with provisions that have juridical force.  They will try to build a wall between Francis and Benedict, as repress those who want the older forms in the name of some new “spirit of Francis”.

Therefore, I urge you to three things.

First, tread carefully.  When you seek the implementation of, or continuation of, or expansion of the use the provisions of Summorum Pontificum, put your most cheerful and happiest foot forward.  You can lose what you have gained.

Second, do not give up.  This is the time to press forward.  Keep working for your legitimate aspirations.  What Benedict set down is not any less needed today than it was a year ago.  It is even more needed.

Third, when there is an opportunity in the parish to get involved with some project involving corporal works of mercy, be the first to volunteer and get involved. Continue reading

Evangelii Gaudium: Ordination of Women



Father Z points out how disappointing for the Catholic Left Evangelii Gaudium is in regard to one of their top priority issues:  Ordination of women:


I have written before that the ordination of women is the flagship issue for liberals.

So long as Pope Francis won’t change Church “policy”, he will remain in their dog house.

Some conservatives frown when the Pope gets out over his skiis in matters of economics, but liberals attack Francis when he upholds defined faith and morals.

Jamie Manson at the Fishwrap, lesbian activist, tutored at Yale by Margaret Farley (of the CDF Notification), favored speaker of the LCWR, attacks Francis for editors this time.

The good thing about Miss Mansons’ piece is that she totalizes her analysis of Pope Francis: Francis can’t be wrong about gender and right about anything else. Obviously NSR disagrees with that judgment!

On lack of vocations, Francis’ diagnosis comes up short

Like many who care passionately about a fully inclusive priesthood in the Catholic church, I read paragraph 104 of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium with deep sadness, though not surprise.  [Remember when I wrote that Francis had created a split on the left?  Remember also that Sr. Maureen Fiedler already attacked Francis on this point … as the surrogate for the NSR.  The editors work thought surrogates.]

“The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion,” Francis wrote, “but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general.” [For true liberals, priesthood is about power, nothing less.  That is one reason why the ordination of women is a liberal flagship issue.]

“It must be remembered that when we speak of sacramental power ‘we are in the realm of function, not that of dignity or holiness,’ ” the document continues. “The ministerial priesthood is one means employed by Jesus for the service of his people, yet our great dignity derives from baptism, which is accessible to all.

“The configuration of the priest to Christ the head — namely, as the principal source of grace — does not imply an exaltation which would set him above others.”

[And now the Popette speaketh…] Much as Francis would like to erase the dynamic of domination from the priesthood, his teaching will remain unrealistic if he continues to reinforce an unjust power structure [DING!  Say da magic woid, win a hundred dahlahs!] in which only celibate males are permitted to consecrate the Eucharist.


Even as Francis perpetuates the same rigid restrictions on who may and may not answer God’s calling to the priesthood, just three paragraphs later, in section 107, he goes on to blame the “dearth of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life” on “a lack of contagious apostolic fervour in communities which results in a cooling of enthusiasm and attractiveness.” []

Apparently for the pope, “vocations” are limited to the number of people in Roman Catholic seminaries or novitiate programs. He seems unaware that if he were to look into divinity schools and graduate programs in theology and ministerial formation, he would find no lack of Catholic young adults with a fervent desire to devote themselves fully to serving the church. [They can’t do so as priests.  Too bad, Jamie.]


Read the rest there, if you can stand it.  You’ll find a lot of whining about unfairness and an exaltation of lesbianism. Continue reading

PopeWatch: Keep Smiling!



Father Z, here, links to an interesting story at The Eponymous Flower blog:

Magister Effected Polite but Harsh Criticism of Decisions in the Liturgy by Pope Francis

Finally, Sandro Magister gave his contribution as a lecture on which  Katholisches.info already reported (see separate report Pope Francis and the Liturgy – “Pure Functional Access” Reservations to Tradition, weakness in the knees before the Lord ). Master analyzed in a critical manner, the previous decisions of Pope Francis in the Liturgy: The ban for celebration in the old rite by the Franciscans of the Immaculate, the dismissal of all five consultants for the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, who were close to the liturgical understanding of Benedict XVI., the refusal to genuflect in the Holy Mass at the words of consecration, although from papal Mass to papal Mass always newly   master of ceremonies Guido Marini always included the two relevant points and finally the halting by CDF, that they no longer check the bizarre special forms in the Mass of the Neocatechumenal Way, as Benedict XVI. had ordered. Magister has also expressed the opinion that the Pope is “friendly” to everyone, “except with the traditionalists.”

“Scandal Currently The Dominant Characteristic of Climate in Rome”

The lecture finally came to a scandal. Magister so openly expressed his criticism of Pope Francis, that Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Pozzo had to  leave the room. “The response of Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Pozzo is indicative of the currently prevailing climate in Rome,” the website Chiesa e Postconcilio (Church and Post-Conciliar). “Was it because of the  time for both of them or was it simply a precaution, because of the polite but harsh criticism by Magister of Pope Francis? The withdrawal of a Cardinal during a major event is something glaring. All interpretations are allowed, “said the Spanish Catholic blogger Francisco de la Cigoña. Continue reading

Various & Sundry, 8/29/13

The Misery of Being Merely Upper Middle Class

Allison Lynn has written a book called The Exiles that just has to be satire. Sadly, it is not.

As it happens, the book is entirely serious about the dire fate of the merely wealthy, the most pressing social issue of our time. The Exiles is littered with references to how impoverished Emily and Nate are—“who cared if Nate was financially undesirable, as economically impaired as she was?” (Emily is an advertising executive before taking maternity leave and deciding not to go back, because she realizes that she has turned into “a potato chip marketer, pregnant by the only pauper on Wall Street.”)

When their Jeep Grand Cherokee—a six-year-old car they have to park in a discount lot in Manhattan, can you imagine!—is stolen with, tragically, Emily’s new pair of TOD’s loafers inside on their first day in Newport, the family’s lives spiral out of control. Without credit cards, they’re forced to live on room service and the mini-fridge of their three-star hotel. Now they are “officially the have-nots”—a status that Emily is terrified of, having grown up as the child of a professor and been forced to eat sandwiches made with generic peanut butter.

Throughout the book, the pair bemoans their minor misfortunes, like the fact that they had to purchase a used Bugaboo from their friends and “the shame they’d shared after the transaction.” Nate and Emily nickname the stroller Ollie, “for Oliver Twist, the haggard little orphan boy. Since then, whenever Emily saw an industrial Stokke on the street—a Norwegian import far more technical than even a new Bugaboo—she’d glance pleadingly at Nate and joke, in her best cockney accent, ‘Please, sir, may I have some more.’ ”

I’m A Bad, Bad Boy

Speaking of satire that isn’t but sure sounds like it, Donald has already written about the ridiculous Slate article implying that all of us who send our kids to private school are eeeeeeevil. Ken at Popehat has a great takedown of her idiocy. Jeff Goldstein has more.

Ten Reasons to Get Thee to a Confessional

Simcha Fisher lays out the reasons why you need to get to Confession.

I Resemble that Remark

Fr. Z on the same theme. The Holy Spirit has said the same thing to me as his reader.

North Korea Still Being Run by an Evil Tyrant

Isn’t it precious to see a son follow in his father’s footsteps.

Hyon Song-wol, a singer, rumoured to be a former lover of the North Korean leader, is said to have been arrested on Aug 17 with 11 others for violating laws against pornography.

The reports in South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper indicate that Hyon, a singer with the Unhasu Orchestra, was among those arrested on August 17 for violating domestic laws on pornography.

All 12 were machine-gunned three days later, with other members of North Korea’s most famous pop groups and their immediate families forced to watch. The onlookers were then sent to prison camps, victims of the regime’s assumption of guilt by association, the reports stated.


Occasionally I take a glance at the website of the National Catholic Distorter Fishwrap Reporter for the purpose of amusement.  Yesterday I wandered over there to see their reaction to the Vatican’s attempt to reform The Leadership Conference of Women Religious.  The reactions were both hysterical and hysterically funny.  Father Z, who I have designated the Master of the Fisk, had one of his patented devastating takes on one of the reactions:

[Sr. Joan] Chittister said she was deeply distraught at news of Sartain’s appointment and the order for LCWR to revise itself. [What a surprise!]

“When you set out to reform a people, a group, who have done nothing wrong, [You mean, other than purposely embrace heresies and all sorts of strange things, criticize and defy the Holy See and bishops, abandon their habits and the charisms of their communities… ] you have to have an intention, a motivation that is not only not morally based, but actually immoral,” she said.  [Keeping in mind that this new project comes from the CDF and that this is approved by the Holy Father, I rest my case.]

“Because you are attempting to control people [Note the word “attempt”.  I look forward to many more statements of defiance from women religious, speeches at conferences, articles in NCR.] for one thing and one thing only — and that is for thinking, for being willing to discuss the issues of the age … If we stop thinking, if we stop demanding the divine right to think, [She pretty much side-steps the problems, no?  This “think” thing is misdirection.] and to see that as a Catholic gift, then we are betraying the church no matter what [NB] the powers of the church see as an inconvenient truth in their own times.”  [Sr. Joan must be for the Magisterium of Nuns what Al Gore is to the climate change crowd.]

In attempting to take such control of people’s thinking, [She must think most of her readers are pretty stupid, since she keeps repeating the point.] she said, “You make a mockery of the search for God, of the whole notion of keeping eyes on the signs of the times and of providing the people with the best possible spiritual guidance and presence you can give.  [More Enneagrams, please!]

“When I was a child in this town, I was taught that it was a sin to go into a Protestant church.

In my lifetime, the church, to its eternal credit, admitted that it was wrong. [!?!  About entering Protestant churches?  – Would that some of them would… but I digress. ] The scandal and the sin is that it took 400 years to do that.” Continue reading

Father Z on the Latest Folly From Justice and Peace


My co-blogger Christopher Blosser has done his usual yeoman work in pulling together reactions from around the Catholic blogosphere to “TOWARDS REFORMING THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL AND MONETARY SYSTEMS IN THE CONTEXT OF GLOBAL PUBLIC AUTHORITY” from the pontifical counsel on justice and peace.  One of my favorite blog authors Father Z, who I have designated Master of the Fisk, has some memorable comments on it:


I have a few things to digest yet, and it takes me a while, since this isn’t exactly my bailiwick.  However, I can say this: thanks be to God this “white paper” doesn’t form part of the Holy Father’s Ordinary Magisterium.

Every once in a while the Holy See’s smaller offices, Pontifical Councils and so forth, have to put out a paper to justify their budgets and remind everyone that they take up valuable space.  These documents, which do not form part of the Holy Father’s Magisterium, can deal with critical issues like how to be a safe driver.  The dicasteries keep busy by hosting seminars on how to play sport and so forth.

Some of my favorite points in the new “white paper” include the suggestion that there should be global monetary management and a “central world bank” to regulate it and that the United Nations should be involved.  National banks have, after all, done such a good job that we should now make the effort transnational!  And is this the same UN that had nations such as Saudi Arabia and, till recently, Libya on the their human rights commission?  Wasn’t there a UN financial corruption investigation still going on?  Is this the same UN that is pushing contraception pretty much in every poor country on earth?  Was that a different UN?

Another high point in the new “white paper”: “These measures ought to be conceived of as some of the first steps in view of a public Authority with universal jurisdiction; as a first stage in a longer effort by the global community to steer its institutions towards achieving the common good.”

Uh huh. Continue reading

Christ Died For Your Sins? Don’t Be Silly!

Who was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification.

Saint Paul, Romans 4:25

Jamie Manson of the National Catholic Fishwrap Reporter doesn’t think much of the dogma of the Catholic Church that Christ died for our sins, viewing that as a silly pre-Vatican II guilt trip.  Unfortunately for her, two of the finest masters of the art of fisking decided to take notice of her scribblings.

First up, Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal who I have designated Defender of the Faith because of the number of times, he, a non-Catholic, has taken up the blogging cudgels in defense of the Faith:

Here’s another.  At the National Catholic Reporter, Jamie Manson doesn’t want to know what happened on Good Friday as much as she wants to know why it happened:

I’ve had more than one Catholic who grew up either before or on the cusp of Vatican II tell me horror stories of how they were taught that Jesus died because of their sins.

“Horror stories of how they were taught that Jesus died because of their sins.”  I think you already know where Ms. Manson is going with this.

This was a particularly heavy-handed way for priests and nuns to lay an even thicker coat of guilt on impressionable Catholic school children. Because they were sinners, Jesus had to suffer and die to redeem them. It was one rendering of the traditional theological interpretations of the crucifixion — that Jesus had to die to fulfill the Scriptures and that his death atoned for the sins of the world.

Get ready for the customary condescending pat on the head.

I know that countless people throughout the centuries have found profound, life-changing and even comforting meaning in this understanding of the Cross.

Since Ms. Manson has much more important fish to fry(see what I did there?), she’ll let the rest of you have your little legend.

But I’ve often felt that if we immerse ourselves in the accounts of Jesus’ arrest, passion, and death as told by the four Gospels, these texts can broaden and deepen our understanding of the crucifixion.

I don’t know how much deeper one needs to go than getting one’s sins taken care of so that one can go home to the Father.

It can help us make meaning of so much of the anguish that we witness in our world and in our church.

I stand corrected.  Jesus died the most horribly agonizing death that it is possible to imagine in order to “help us make meaning of so much of the anguish that we witness in our world and in our church.”  Got it.

Me, I’ve never ever been able to “make meaning” of diseases, wars, genocides, famines, earthquakes, tsunamis and other tragedies with their attendant human suffering.  I guess I’m not trying hard enough.

When I read the passion narratives of the Gospels, I don’t hear simply that Jesus suffered and died for our sins. Rather, I hear the four evangelists very clearly say that Jesus’ suffering and death was the will of those who conspired against him — those whose political systems he had undermined, those whose religious convictions he had offended.

Glad we’ve finally cleared that up.  Neither Romans nor Jews killed Christ.  It was the Republican Party and the religious Right.

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