“Catholic” MSM pundits and getting things dead wrong

TIME is at it again, this time with the help of Tim Padgett.

Padgett is typical of so many self-professed "Catholic" MSM pundits.  Twitter

Keeping in mind that some of Padgett’s assertions are by now cliché, use this as a workshop for clarifying your own future discussions and have a patient look with my emphases and comments:

The Vatican and Women: Casting the First Stone

By Tim Padgett

What a rich coincidence we Roman Catholics got to experience at Mass on Sunday, July 18. The scheduled Gospel passage was Luke’s story about Jesus visiting the sisters Martha and Mary of Bethany (who Catholic tradition says was Mary Magdalene). Many biblical scholars believe the narrative shows Jesus encouraging Mary to assume the role of a disciple, [That's okay.  She is sitting at the Lord's feet in the manner of a disciple.] like Peter and the guys. [Nooo... he goes to the zoo on that.  But move along.] That notion lent some cable-news significance to the reading — coming as it did just days after the Vatican issued an avowal, as obtuse as it was malicious, [Could be a self-description.] that ordaining women into the priesthood was a sin on par with pedophilia. [Again, anyone who actually read and understood what the Holy See did by issuing the new norms, and who is honest about them, knows that that is not what happened.]

Rome’s misogynous declaration, tossed into its new guidelines on reporting clerical sexual abuse, did more than just highlight the church’s hoary horror at the idea of female priests — or its penchant of late for sticking its papal slippers in its mouth every chance it gets. [Blah blah blah... keep reading...]  It also pointed up an increasingly spiteful rhetoric of bigotry. [Look in the mirror, Padgett... but keep reading...] When Argentina in mid-July legalized gay marriage, the country’s Catholic bishops weren’t content to simply denounce the legislation; they used the occasion to argue for the subhumanity of homosexual men and lesbians, the way many white Southern preachers weren’t ashamed to degrade African Americans during the civil rights movement. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio not only called the new law "a scheme to destroy God’s plan"; he termed it "a real and dire anthropological throwback," as if homosexuality were evolutionarily inferior to heterosexuality. [I don't think many people would consider it a dire anthropological throwback to say that homosexuality is actually evolutionarily inferior to normal sexuality.  Think about it.]

U.S. bishops haven’t been much kinder on this issue, [Here he is starting to reveal the deeper flaws.  We know every verse of the tired mantra by now: Homophobia! Blah Blah... Misogyny!  Blah Blah....  Here the writer starts showing a more fundamental problem with his views.] which is all t he more regrettable since they were among the civil rights movement’s champions. But that was a half-century ago, when the church’s tone was influenced by humane thinkers like the Jesuit theologian John Courtney Murray. Bergoglio and many American prelates today are simply parroting their new Pope, Benedict XVI, who in 2008 said saving humanity from homosexuality was as crucial as rescuing rain forests from lumberjacks. [?] And did we mention this papacy’s disastrous p.r. with Jews and Muslims? [NB: "P.R." There is another hint at his fundamental error.]

How did it come to this? The answer lies in why the Vatican felt compelled to throw its antifemale jab into the sexual-abuse directives. [Remember: On this point he is working from a flawed premise.  The new norms are not in fact what he says they are.  He is simply wrong.] When any institution is as convinced of its own moral infallibility as the Catholic Church is, it tends to lash out at criticism — especially charges as serious as the priestly rape of children — with Dostoyevskian paranoia. [Doesn't that sound a bit hysterical to you?] And the church then fortifies its less popular stances, like an all-male priesthood or the condemnation of gays, [The Church doesn't condemn
homosexuals.  The Church condemns sin.  Again, the writer is either poorly informed or mendacious.  But this is all very tiresome.  We still have to get to the real flaw.]
in the process becoming even more uncompromising. [And HERE WE GO!  Read more carefully now... ] Most Catholics, according to polls in the U.S. and abroad, support women’s ordination, but the church peevishly views that trend as an insidious subagenda of its sexual-abuse accusers. Hence last week’s astonishing aside from Rome that both the ordination of female priests and pedophilia are graviora delicta, or grave crimes. [Padgett does not understand what it is to be Catholic.  He thinks that the Church, like a political party with a platform, is to be guided by polls or votes or the majority view, etc.  Leave aside the other stupidity is what he is saying, which is just factually wrong.  Padgett doesn't get what it means to be Catholic.]

The real offense is the church’s theological sophistry. Its argument for keeping women out of the priesthood — Jesus had no female apostles — is as shamefully bogus as it is unjust. [And Padgett thinks this.... why?  Is is just so because he says it is?] The hierarchy, threatened by claims of Mary Magdalene’s ministerial status, [ROFL! Okay... he has staggered into the DaVinci Code crowd here... but don't lose sight of his more fundamental error.  This is all a sideshow to his real problem.] has long tried to identify her with the unnamed "woman caught in adultery" in the Gospel of St. John. When that woman was dragged before Jesus for judgment — death by stoning, the men demanded — Christ famously said, "He who is without sin, cast the first stone." The church wants us to embrace that compassionate teaching when it comes to pedophile priests, and yet it is deaf enough to cast stones at the "crime" of female priests.  [See how this is all just wasted effort?  Keep going and be patient.]

What’s at stake is the Catholic Church’s ability to salvage any moral authority from the sexual-abuse tragedy. The fact is, it can still do that without ordaining women. But it can’t do it while digging itself a deeper hole like a defendant hurling insults at a judge. It can’t do it by excommunicating a hospital nun, as an Arizona bishop recently did, because she signed off on an abortion that saved a mother’s life. It can’t do it by losing sight of the difference between dogged traditionalism and mean-spirited obscurantism, as it so often does these days. [How are we going to do it?  Hurray! Tell us!]

[Here we go!] And it’s sounding that way to Catholics as much as it is to non-Catholics. Many if not most of us Catholics remain Catholics today not because of the church’s leadership but in spite of it. [That was a key phrase and we will return to it when we are done with this wearying slog.] In a new Gallup poll, 62% of U.S. Catholics say gay relationships are morally acceptable. [That doesn't surprise me in the least.  I wouldn't be surprised if a poll said 90% say that.  The response must be "So what."] Which means we’re not thrilled to have our religion represented by a bunch of homophobes wearing miters. [THERE.  Another point.  Leave aside the stupid cliches.  He is focused on leadership.  His idea of leadership has more to do with personality and popularity than anything else.] Even those of us who sharply disagree with the church on a number of doctrinal issues still want to believe it can be a helpful, contemplative guide in matters spiritual and social. [The Church is less a divinely instituted means of salvation than it is an man-guided instrument of social change.] But if it keeps up the hateful discourse, it will lose whatever modicum of attention my generation of Catholics still pays it [There it is again.] — and it can forget about my children’s generation.

My daughter happened to be serving as an altar girl at Mass on Sunday. [That was a mistake from the beginning... but go one.] She was smart enough to sense that in the gospel reading, Jesus was relating to Mary as if she were a disciple. [Surrrre she was.  I'll give you odds that at the end of Mass she, like most of the people in the congregation, couldn't remember what the reading was.] And she’ll learn that the New Testament is full of other passages that indicate Jesus believed women could be alteri Christi, or "other Christs," [Theology is obviously not this guy's strong point.] as priests often call themselves. Real Catholicism encourages that kind of enlightened thinking — and it certainly doesn’t call it, as the Catholic Church does, a crime. [Women's ordination = enlightened thinking.  That's what he thinks is important.  But his thought is so sloppy I am not sure that he actually knows what he is doing here.]

The writer doesn’t understand what it means to be a Catholic.

Look at the claim that, "most of us Catholics remain Catholics today not because of the church’s leadership but in spite of it".

Every one of us must respond with a resounding:


You are not supposed to remain Catholic because of the Church’s leadership!

Who says the "leadership" merits anything in the end?  (And note that "leadership" reflects the lens of party politics through which he interprets the Church – e.g., "Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a devout Catholic, and other members of the House leadership today asserted that…").

We are not a political party.  We are not caught up in the trap of personality or popularity that "Catholics" like this have slowly fallen into.

Catholics belong to the Holy Church of Jesus.  He saved us.  He is the only one who merits anything.  We belong to Holy Church because we are sinners and because the Church was Christ’s gift to us, and because the Church teaches the truth with Christ’s authority and dispenses the sacraments, the ordinary means of our salvation.

Through history we have had to choose to be Catholics in spite of our leadership, which is now and always has been made up of flawed sinners in need of a Savior.

Leave aside that our Catholic "leadership" is not nearly as bad as Padgett wants you to believe. 

But look what this fellow has done.  Look at his dependence on polling.

If polling says that 62% of Catholics think that an active homosexual lifestyle is acceptable, all that proves – even if we accept the accuracy of the poll – is that 62% of Catholics are wrong.

Catholic don’t do faith and morals by polls.

I wouldn’t be surprised if more than 62% believe that homosexuality is okay… or that abortion is okay.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a majority of people think women should be ordained.

Why? I believe in Original Sin.  People getting important things dead wrong doesn’t surprise me at all. We are good at that all by ourselves.

This is why we have a Church founded by Christ with a hierarchy and Magisterium.

To Padgett’s point that we have lost a lot of people.  Sure, we have!  We have lost a lot of people.  Cf. John 6:67.  It’s right there in the New Testament.

Our the answer is not to become a cafeteria, as Padgett and his enlightened crowd suggest. 

That has been tried, and it is called the Anglican Church, the Lutheran Church, etc.

Saying that homosexual actions are acceptable in anyway is not going to get the younger generation back to church.  Saying that women should be ordained is not going to get young people back to church.  Saying that majorities should guide doctrine is not going to fix anything. 

Returning to Padgett’s problem with our "leadership", consider the shocking things you can find in the New Testament if you really look:

  • Jesus ordained Judas knowing that Judas would betray Him.
  • Jesus knew Peter would deny Him and ordained him anyway.
  • Two traitors in one ordination!

Should Jesus resign His ministry?

Padgett’s reasoning ends in rejection the very "leadership" of Christ Jesus Himself and replaces Him with a populist figure, probably of ambiguous sexual identity, whose message is guided by weekly polling. 

Holy Church is not a political party, to be guided by polls.  Her members are not perfect.  It is our lack of perfect that requires us to belong to the Church, which teaches the truth in spite of her membership’s and leadership’s mistakes.

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73 Responses to “Catholic” MSM pundits and getting things dead wrong

  1. Magpie says:

    As someone said recently ”What did Jesus know and when did He know it???”

    Good commentary Fr Z. I wonder do these people read your blog once they’ve written their articles?

  2. Rob Cartusciello says:

    As I have said before, you need a “Catholic Facepalm” logo for these articles.

  3. Sorry if I’m not crying “crocodile tears”, here.
    Great commentary, as usual, Fr. Z.
    It’s just a re-hash of the “same old, “same old”.
    Thanks be to God the Church does NOT rely on polls to teach authentic faith and morals.

  4. revs96 says:

    80% of Catholics don’t think they have to go to Mass every week, so his sources have no credibility and understand Catholicism as little as he does.

    Second the “Catholic Facepalm” idea.

  5. Magpie says:

    Rob: Like this?

  6. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Mr. Padgett is not only wrong in his doctrine, (divine institution of a male priesthood, male hierarchy, invincibility of the true Church, doctrine based on Revelation and not popularity polls, Jesus possessing a consciousness of His messianic dignity, the sacrilege of simmulating the sacraments, the charism of the Pope to teach authoritatively what must be believed and obeyed by the faithful, etc.), but he is a very angry man.

    The anti-clericalism is a form of bigotry. If he wants to crusade against bigotry in the Church, he should start with himself.

  7. Two other commentaries on the same piece:



  8. GirlCanChant says:

    And she’ll learn that the New Testament is full of other passages that indicate Jesus believed women could be alteri Christi, or “other Christs,” [Theology is obviously not this guy’s strong point.] as priests often call themselves.

    What is this nonsense? I don’t know any priests who walk around referring to themselves as an “alter Christus;” that is simpley what they are by virtue of their ordination. Someone get this guy to a TLM, STAT.

  9. Dave N. says:

    “…most of us Catholics remain Catholics today not because of the church’s leadership but in spite of it.”

    That’s pretty much it in a nutshell as I see it. But I don’t think the answer is for us to simply throw up our hands and say, “Oh well, same as it ever was.” Forming good leadership is extremely important.

    At numerous points in the church’s history the hierarchy has realized the need for internal reform and has heartily embraced reforms both rhetorically and practically (e.g., the 11th and 12th centuries–read through the first part of the Carmina Burana for some pretty scathing internal critique).

    Today, we are sadly not yet at this realization, which even the press senses(!) but will never have a clue as to how to articulate. On the other side, the message from the bishops we keep hearing is “everything’s fine NOW…move along…nothing to see here.” Everything is far, far from fine. It’s not even “just ok” in many places.

    One step towards reform would be a radical strengthening of the educational system for priests and bishops, something which has yielded a great deal of fruit in the past. Most priests and bishops couldn’t translate a line of simple Latin if their lives depended on it–much less Greek or (gasp!) Hebrew. Pontifical degrees in some places (I’m not here to name names) are a total joke. Many clergy don’t have a basic understanding of the Bible or of the faith in general, for that matter. This MUST be fixed, but first a whole bunch of someones in power will need to get over themselves and begin to grasp the problem.

  10. spesalvi23 says:

    - Sorry for the cap-lock. I can’t help it!! –




    OH MAN! I JUST WANT TO SCREAM!!!! [Ummm... no more CAP lock. Ev.Er.]

  11. Martial Artist says:


    I don’t think a TLM will be adequate to rectify the problem with Mr. Padgett. I would suspect that two to three years of mandatory, intensive RCIA at a strongly orthodox parish (perhaps Dominican) might help, but even that seems like a tall order for someone whose foundational understanding of Holy Mother Church is so breathtakingly deficient.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  12. Eric says:

    as if homosexuality were evolutionarily inferior to heterosexuality

    That’s REALLY funny.
    Do people bother to think anymore?

  13. GordonB says:

    Just want to say, when it comes to politics, I think as much as the liberal agenda attacks the Church’s teaching and moral authority; conservatives exploit its members. I think the Church can get marginalized if those in Catholic media seem to strongly associate with the GOP. I think, that the GOP at least has the right stand on the key moral issues (which of course ends up making most GOP candidates more worthy of a Catholic’s vote), but the Church’s independence from the GOP needs to be more openly and strongly asserted.

  14. GordonB says:

    My priest (and I hope and assume he was just actually sloppy when he said this) used the word “Apostle” to describe Mary during his homily…. am I being too forgiving, or should I maybe tactfully ask about this statement????

  15. Tom in NY says:

    The war against “modernism” is old stuff. Lamentabili sane reached its 103rd anniversary two weeks back.Quod mutatur?.
    Can one consider that the article says more about the writer than the Church? And don’t forget there’s been a heresy “with legs” about every hundred years.
    Salutationes omnibus et oremus pro pontifice.

  16. Tradster says:

    Ho hum, just more liberal pandering to females to keep them happy because most females tend to support liberal agendas.

  17. shadowlands says:

    If Catholics who are at odds with fundamental Catholic beliefs prayed their Rosaries regularly, a lot of their heretical thinking would be dispelled (that’s one of the rosaries fruits by the way, for anyone struggling with Church teaching). As a woman, I began to feel more empowered and affirmed than any person, place or thing had ever afforded me, once I developed a relationship with Mary. As I have commented on blogs before, I wouldn’t swap what I have found since allowing Jesus to introduce me to His Mother, at a deeper level, for all the tea in China. I know my worth now, and in discovering it, I discover the value of all other human beings. I have no desire to be a priest or hold any position of power within the Church. I do own secret treasure though, and it’s priceless. Ask God to reveal your secret store, we’ve all got one, waiting. Earthly ambition loses it’s appeal once you begin to see yourself in Him. That’s my experience anyway.I also discovered that Our Lady loves all her children, be they Christian, Moslem or Hindhu etc. Her heart is so full.

  18. Henry Edwards says:

    Gordon: but the Church’s independence from the GOP needs to be more openly and strongly asserted.

    So long as the USCCB in Washington continues to function as a special interest group within the Democratic party, this is probably not a real big worry.

    Among hundreds of such anecdotes, I recall a congressional Republican staffer remarking that, whereas everyone in Washington knew that the USCCB staff was in constant daily contact with congressional Democratic staffers about pending legislation, he did not recall in his 20 years in Washington ever hearing of a single instance of such a staff-level USCCB-Republican contact. He said he himself certainly had never had a phone call to the USCCB returned.

  19. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Yes, Magpie. We need something exactly like that.

  20. Athelstan says:

    Hello Fr. Z,

    Saying that homosexual actions are acceptable in anyway is not going to get the younger generation back to church. Saying that women should be ordained is not going to get young people back to church.

    Certainly not if the demographics of the Episcopal Church – rapidly shrinking and aging – are anything to go by.

  21. teomatteo says:

    Mr. Padgett,
    Its SAINT Mary Magdalene! Please give her the respect that our Church has asked us to.

  22. Jack Hughes says:

    How does the fact that St. Mary Magdalene listened to Our Lord suggest she had some sort of ‘ministerial status?; I listen attentively to the Sunday sermon and that doesn’t imply that I’m ‘ministerinig to Father’.

    The root of the problem is that so many ‘Catholics’ have been influenced by the frankfert school of marxism that sees everything as a power struggle- next they’ll be claiming that laymen have the power to confect the Eucharist give asbsolution and claim that the Church ‘made up’ the sacrament of Holy Orders in order to keep people in their place – all backed up by so called scholars.

    Solution to the problem – READ St. Thomas and pray like crazy

  23. colospgs says:

    What a great way for Padgett to sum up his article in his last sentence: ” Real Catholicism encourages that kind of enlightened thinking — and it certainly doesn’t call it, as the Catholic Church does, a crime.” You see, the Catholic Church is not real Catholicism, the whole point of the article right?

  24. yatzer says:

    “My priest (and I hope and assume he was just actually sloppy when he said this) used the word “Apostle” to describe Mary during his homily…. am I being too forgiving, or should I maybe tactfully ask about this statement???”

    He may have been thinking about M. Magdalene being called “the apostle to the apostles” because she told them about seeing Christ resurrected. I a curious myself about whether the Mary of Mary and Martha was really supposed to have been M. Magdalene. There is so much just wrong about what he is saying in this that it is easy for me to get distracted by just about anything, even a point that is minor in this instance. I have heard this stuff over and over, tho, even among those I would think would know better.

  25. ALL: The DanBrownian Mary Magdalene thing is a rabbit hole.

  26. This is a matter of category error. (Albeit, people not trying hard to avoid category error.) Everyone who’s a body part of the Body of Christ is a chrismed hand. Everyone who’s like Christ is an alter Christus. Everyone who’s a human being child of God is the same as a baptized child of God. Every way that Christ is present is the same (or better) than the Real Presence. Etc., ad nauseam.

    It’s really annoying that the standard story about the active vs. contemplative life (ie, that women have the right to _be_ contemplative) is now being misused to prove that women can live the active life or the even more active priestly life. As usual in modern circles, you’re not allowed to just be with God. To heck with nuns; they’re no good unless they’re priests. To heck with the diverse forms of Christian life; you have to eke out some power or you’re nobody.

    Nothing like trampling on real women’s liberation in the name of phantom vampiric versions of it….

  27. Gary Page says:

    “Most Catholics, according to polls in the U.S. and abroad, support women’s ordination”…

    “In a new Gallup poll, 62% of U.S. Catholics say gay relationships are morally acceptable.”

    So, if Jesus conducted His ministry on earth the way Mr. Padgett wants the Pope and Bishops to conduct their ministry today, then Jesus would have affirmed the crowd in their stoning of the woman caught in adultery!

  28. irishgirl says:

    Articles like this is one reason I don’t subscribe to, much less read, Time Magazine.

    I am really tired of so-called ‘pollsters’. I am really tired of the homosexual lobby and the womens’ ordination lobby. I wish they’d go away-there are ‘churches’ that they can join. If they don’t like being in the Catholic Church….then don’t let the door slam them in the behind going out!

    And I am tired of so-called ‘catholics’ who are continually on a power/ego trip and write crap in crappy journals like Time.

    But I’m glad that you picked this guy apart, Father Z!

  29. Mike says:

    “My priest (and I hope and assume he was just actually sloppy when he said this) used the word “Apostle” to describe Mary during his homily…. am I being too forgiving, or should I maybe tactfully ask about this statement????”

    Hey Gordon…actually, Regina Apostolorum would have been better!

  30. ckdexterhaven says:

    62% of American Catholics believe homosexuality is ok, and probably more agree with abortion. That’s a point that American priests and bishops can instruct the faithful. Admonish the sinner, and what a place to start.

    I don’t think Padgett would agree….

  31. Brian Day says:

    …as if homosexuality were evolutionarily inferior to heterosexuality.

    I like this example my brother uses:
    Take two groups of 100 people each and strand them on different remote islands. Each group does not have access to the other group or to outside civilization. Both islands are equipped as equally as possible. Water, food, medicine,and shelter should not be an issue.
    The only difference between the groups is one group is heterosexual and the other is homosexual (no mixing of the sexes.) The experiment is to place each group on their respective island and then leave them to own devices. After 50 years, come back check on each group. See what the population is for each group.
    Did the homosexual group propagate the species? No? Then I think that would tend to reinforce the belief the they are evolutionarily inferior.

  32. PostCatholic says:

    The writer doesn’t understand what it means to be a Catholic.

    I agree. And I wonder why people who cannot conform themselves to Catholic dogma and doctrine don’t just leave. Why do you think they stay, go to Mass, give the Catholic church money and participate in parish activities? What’s to be done about hard cases like Tim Padgett (clearly a regular Mass-goer) who aren’t going to change their views, despite an unchanging Church? Do they really hold hope that Rome will roll back its teachings? Padgett is an intelligent guy who must see that his commentary isn’t going to change any minds at the Vatican–but I bet it echoes the sentiments of a lot of American “Catholics.”

    One answer I’ve heard before here is wait until these cafeteria Catholics die off; there’s a liberal generation that stands in the way of orthodoxy. To a degree that might be true. But you know, this problem is always going to dog Catholicism because it’s not unique to it. I know every-Sunday-Morning Lutherans who do not believe in Calvinism’s “Total Depravity.” I had a Mormon co-worker once tell me over a long lunch in no uncertain terms what he thought of the “golden plates” story of their Scripture and devotions like the special underwear, who nevertheless goes to his church regularly. It is very common for a wide gulf between the devotional belief of church adherents and the professed doctrinal belief of church leaders to exist. Such people have a real faith in their religion, but it doesn’t resemble that religion very much on the intellectual plane.

    So short of waiting for them to go away in pine boxes, and knowing you probably can’t educate them out of their doctrinal errors, what are you going to do about these heretics?

  33. MikeM says:

    From Sunday’s epistle in the Novus Ordo:

    “It is [Christ] whom we proclaim,
    admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
    that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.”

    If the Church isn’t admonishing, it’s not doing its job.

  34. momravet says:

    Funny, listened to the same gospel and didn’t get all that new age muck from it. Padgett isn’t doing his daughter any favors by “interpreting” the gospel for her. He must be a disciple of Saul Alinsky (the keep on telling the lie until the sheeple believe it guy).

    Hearing the gospel made me think that Our Lord was telling Martha to quit whining about serving since she had chosen to serve dinner and not make Mary miserable because she chose the part that was important to her. The neat thing to remember is that they are both saints now.

  35. tour86rocker says:

    “most of us Catholics remain Catholics today not because of the church’s leadership but in spite of it”.

    I was amused because I’m the same way, but for a totally different reason: why do liberal bishops still have dioceses? Why do liberal priests still have parishes? Why do liberal catechists have jobs? Even if they lead a formal schism, how is that really worse than an informal schism?

  36. tour86rocker says:

    I meant to state that giving them the boot could cause a schism. That said, even if they lead a formal schism, how is that really worse than an informal schism?

    Sometimes it’s easier to convert non-Catholics than all these 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. generation lapsed Catholics.

  37. teomatteo says:

    it is perplexing why people with the kind of thinking illustrated in the Time piece would stay with the Catholic Church. As my granny used to say: “I’m all puzzled up!” If they’re ‘cultural catholics’ then the all male priesthood would send them to the door. If they are drawn to the ‘smells and bells’ of our faith then they’d be at the Extraordinary Form of the mass and not “Father so and so’s mass”. So why? My thought is this: his daughter. He wants what’s best for her. right? As we all do. And i think that deep down inside he wants her to have a faith tradition that is going to be around for another 2000 years. And he knows that Christ founded the Catholic Church. But the ironic part is that the Magisterium i.e. leadership ,is what has steadied the ship for 2000 years of turmoil. And he’s against the leadership… like i said … i’m all puzzled up.

  38. PostCatholic: Thank you.
    And to answer your question: there is something called Canon Law; and if bishops would just use it, we might be spared all kinds of everything in this regard.
    well, you know why…bishops are “escared”, don’t want to cause any kind of problem, or just don’t believe themselves.
    That pretty much covers it.

  39. Thomas S says:

    Certainly the bishops can be frustrating at times, but I’m rather sick of the “us vs. them, we are the Church (independent of them), bad bishops” refrain from Modernists.

    What’s so great about the laity? As a layman of 28 years I can assure you, we’re not that !$@#*&% great either. Why one would trust the laity when he doesn’t trust the bishops is a mystery to me. Actually, no, it’s not a mystery to me. Because these people are at least nominally lay Catholics, and it’s not the laity they trust to get it right, but themselves alone.

    Arrogant pride.

  40. And as an addendum:
    In the recent “Wanderer”, retired Bishop Francis Quinn (Sacramento) is calling for a Vatican III to deal with human sexuality…including non-Catholics…because the whole phenomenon of pre-marital sex, homosexual unions, etc., need to be addressed. (And not to condemn this, mind you…we need “pastoral provisions”–my words).
    Like we need another hole in the head!
    Jesus, mercy! Mary, help us!

  41. GordonB says:

    Henry Edwards “So long as the USCCB in Washington continues to function as a special interest group within the Democratic party, this is probably not a real big worry.”

    Henry – I’m concerned that popular Catholic media outlets come across this way. Not to say I want to see more votes for anti-life Democrats, but watching, for instance The World Over, its at times, almost as if it is an extension of GOP talk radio. I don’t think that’s the intent, but its just the impression I get.

  42. Thomas S: You are correct.
    When bishops do not act like bishops, guardians and shepherds of the flock, these nutcases take over.
    And I include priests and religious in this nutcase category.
    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing; I grew up in a medical family…I know a lot about a little but I would surely not diagnose any illness; I would send someone to a doctor.
    Our bishops need to grow a spine and get with it. There are some wonderful examples today; we are in better shape, believe it not, then, say in the ’80s.

  43. Jordanes says:

    Gary Page said: “Most Catholics, according to polls in the U.S. and abroad, support women’s ordination”… “In a new Gallup poll, 62% of U.S. Catholics say gay relationships are morally acceptable.” So, if Jesus conducted His ministry on earth the way Mr. Padgett wants the Pope and Bishops to conduct their ministry today, then Jesus would have affirmed the crowd in their stoning of the woman caught in adultery!

    Indeed, following Mr. Padgett’s logic, we would have to conclude that most U.S. Catholics would be among those disciples who abandoned His discipleship when He taught about the Real Presence, or in the mob who shouted, “Crucify Him!” on Good Friday. Most U.S. Catholics, including Mr. Padgett, are as happy to listen to Christ’s teachings today as were those who rejected Him 2,000 years ago.

  44. Jordanes: Yes.
    Sadly, yes.
    Will the Son of God find faith on the earth when He returns?
    Yeah, in huddled masses amidst the cornfields of Wisconsin (my take on this) and elsewhere.
    With the EF, traditional devotions, regular confession, traditional morality, loyalty to the Holy Father in Rome.
    As for the rest, who knows? They’re digging deeper graves each day.
    Monsieur Padgett better get a Catechism, read it, and live it. Otherwise…well…Jesus, mercy!

  45. PostCatholic says:

    [N]azareth_priest, when you say “there is something called Canon Law; and if bishops would just use it, we might be spared all kinds of everything in this regard,” I’m wondering what you specifically mean.

  46. PostCatholic: There are norms in Canon Law that deal with heresy, apostasy and schism.
    The recent “grave crimes” document/legislation also deals with this. If bishops would enforce this, especially in serious cases where the teachings of the Catholic Faith are being derided, denied, etc. it could set some folks straight that need a good shaking up.

  47. PostCatholic says:

    Okay, so in serious cases. But I wasn’t talking about schism or apostasy. I was pointing out the bulk of regular church-goers whose faith takes them to church every Sunday, who participate in the doings of the parish, and give their churches money and listen to sermons, doctrine and dogmas with which they do not agree and will never accept. Such people are not likely to write articles in Time or even discuss their viewpoints with their priest, preferring just to ignore what they do not like. What should be done about those heretics?

  48. Supertradmum says:

    Wow, and this guy gets paid for such irrational writing? Sounds like the old heresy of “Americanism”, condemned by several Popes, which stated that the American Catholic Church had some sort of “right” to determine its own policies and that the Church should be based on a democracy.

    Tedious and I thank you, Father Z, for your patience in going through what most of us would throw away in disgust and weariness.

    nazareth priest,

    The present Pope as Cardinal Ratzinger had your view of the remnant Church, as little peasants in isolated areas, hanging on to the true Faith. If I remember correctly, this was in an interview with a German journalist in the late 1990s.

  49. Penguins Fan says:

    Time Magazine is a joke. It is obsolete. Why subscribe to a magazine that rehashes news that is a week old?

    I don-t listen to Rush much these days, or any other political commentator because I end up angry, but Rush had a great point. Whether it is the New York Slimes, the Washington Compost, Time, Newsweek, CNN, MessNBC, etc,. etc., the message is the same. There is no mainstream media. These people all received the same “education” regardless of the university they graduated from and they all talk and act alike. They are the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party and all of its leftwing extremism.

    The Catholic Church will always be in its crosshairs because of Church teaching on homosexuality, abortion and ordination of women, no matter how much some USCCB bureaucrat blowhard favors another Democrat Party program or initiative.

    Padgett is not worth my time and neither are the readers who believe him.

  50. Supertradmum says:

    By the way, have any of us ever been asked a Catholic question in a poll? I haven’t in all my long years with phone connections. Who and where are these people constantly quoted in polls? Just wondering….

  51. PostCatholic: It’s the “weeds amongst the wheat”; the parable of our Lord. He sorts it all out.
    That’s a very good distinction you’ve made; the “pundits” and dissenters, not to mention what most folks hear from the pulpit these last 45 years, are going to be more responsible for leading the flock astray. But every Catholic has a responsibility to know the teachings and practices of their Faith; that is going to be everyone’s responsibility.
    As to what to do with the “guy/gal in the pew”?
    That’s the responsibility of their pastor and of they, themselves.

  52. PostCatholic says:

    I’ve certainly heard that parable. And I’ve also observed devotional “Catholic” practices (e.g. instructions for the “No-Fail Novena” that you’ll sometimes find littering the pews) which contradict the catechism. And I know many “devout” Catholics who never miss Mass and won’t eat meat on the Fridays of Lent who use birth control or who are content to live and let live with regards to homosexuality despite the teaching of the Church. The gulf between Catholic doctrine and the positions of the Magesterium and much of the Catholic faith as it is practiced is often pretty wide.

    For the most part, this fact doesn’t seem to instigate any action until they take pen in hand as Padgett did. I agree with Rev. Zuhlsdorf–he doesn’t know what it means to be Catholic–but other than the soapbox he stands on, he’s a relatively representative specimen, wouldn’t you say? Do you propose to do anything specific about this? If so I probably should warn my parents, because they’re among those devotional Catholics who give much time and money to a church whose views they don’t assent to. Personally, I think they ought to leave, but I don’t think they ever will unless they’re thrown out.

  53. Supertradmum says:


    Have mercy on these lukewarm or confused Catholics. The Church is made up of sinners. For most of us, except the great saints, the process of becoming holy is long and painful. Pray for those you know and that your parents are open to grace and the Truth. I believe all baptized Catholics are on a long rubber band, which God holds in His Hands to bring us back, peacefully or not so peacefully.

  54. PostCatholic: I try to do something about this.
    But God’s grace has to touch hearts, and He can only work with the openness of the soul He is trying to touch. That’s the mystery of sin/grace/free will.
    The irony, if you will, is that God has ultimate patience; He waits for us to respond, even if we’re doing things that are against His Will. That doesn’t make it right; we pay for the consequences of our sins, ultimately, but His Mercy is everlasting. Until we meet Him in our particular judgment, we have to do the best we can. And some people just do as little as possible.

  55. lizfromFL says:

    Fr. Z, your commentary after the article moved me very much. This should be posted in every church bulletin across America and required reading in every Catholic school. We live in this time where people seem to think if it’s right to them, then it’s right. I don’t know if that is called moral relativism or secular humanism or what it’s called; but it’s very sad. A million people can believe a lie and it won’t make it true. I love so much what you wrote here. Thank you.

  56. jm says:

    “I believe all baptized Catholics are on a long rubber band…”

    If so, SNAP!

  57. AnAmericanMother says:

    The major difference between Padgett and the folks in the pews who may not believe every aspect of the Faith is that he has a megaphone.

    That’s not a meaningless distinction. John Doubtful Pew-Sitter struggles with his belief in private, hopefully with the assistance of prayer, study, and the advice of his pastor. Padgett spreads his non-belief with a heavy dose of spite, loudly and in public. That enables Padgett to create scandal and lead others astray all out of proportion to his private life . . . that is, assuming anybody is still reading Time outside the dentist’s office . . . .

  58. kelleyb says:

    ALL: The DanBrownian Mary Magdalene thing is a rabbit hole.

    Sadly, my sisters are chasing that rabbit down the hole.

  59. PghCath says:

    From: Catholic Church
    To: MSM
    Re: Points of Confusion

    To allay any confusion in the future, please note the following points:

    1. The Pope is interested in truth, not PR.
    2. The Catholic Church is organized around said truth, not public opinion.
    3. Sexual abuse by priests and religious is a tragedy. That said, the failure of some to live Catholic doctrine does not diminish the veracity of that doctrine.
    4. Fr. Richard McBrien speaks for himself, not the Catholic church.

    (I couldn’t help it with the last one. . . )

  60. Servant of the Liturgy says:

    Excellent commentary as usual. One thing in particular struck a chord with me: “Though history we have had to choose to be Catholics in spite of our leadership, which is now and always has been made up of flawed sinners in need of a Savior.”

    How is it that we forget this? So many people (Catholic and non) believe our leadership is infallible and perfect in all things. We are sinners and we must all remember that whether it is ourselves or others leading or serving, we-are-not-worthy!

    Each time before I serve or MC, I say a small prayer asking Almighty God for the strength and humility to serve at His Altar.

  61. A recent Giddyup poll suggests that 63.5 percent of all self-identified Catholics in the U.S. are Protestant. A sampling of detailed demographic data concerning the percentage of self-identified Catholics who are actually Protestant follows:

    Priest theologians who wear neckties: 100%
    DNC members: 91%
    Whole Foods shoppers: 84%
    Men who wear crocs: 82%
    Oprah viewers: 80%
    NCReporter subscribers:78%
    Public office holders: 74%
    Toyota Prius Hybrid Drivers: 67%
    Clergy over the age of 78: 58%
    Parishioners who use the kneeler as a footstool: 53%

  62. Louie V: This is not good news.
    Maybe our community should reinstate the discipline on a regular basis! As well as more prayer and reparation.
    I’m not encouraged by this; it doesn’t surprise me…but heaven help us all!

  63. kittenchan says:

    tangential, but something that made me go WHAT??:
    Is Mary the sister of Martha REALLY supposed to be the same person as Mary Magdalene?? I thought the only “women who are actually possibly the same woman” was Mary Magdalene/woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair/the woman caught in adultery.

    The same Mary that had a respectable brother and sister, and sat mildly at Jesus’ feet, is the same person as the penitent/adulterer/impetuous gardener-questioner Mary Magdalene? Isn’t the first Mary from Bethany and the second from Magdala? (looks at a map) Those two places are almost all the way across the Holy Land from each other.

    Biblical scholars. Always thinking up new things to mess with my head.

  64. PostCatholic says:


    Have mercy on these lukewarm or confused Catholics. The Church is made up of sinners. For most of us, except the great saints, the process of becoming holy is long and painful. Pray for those you know and that your parents are open to grace and the Truth. I believe all baptized Catholics are on a long rubber band, which God holds in His Hands to bring us back, peacefully or not so peacefully.

    I think you misunderstood me, supertradmom. My parents, now in their 70′s, have been hearing the gender and sexual orientation instruction from the church all their lives, they’ve never agreed with it yet, and aren’t likely to ever in the future. To them it’s not important that they do agree with it; they consider themselves “Catholic.”

    For my part, I support them in what they reject about Catholic teaching, and personally think they’re wrong to give their support and not a small amount of their money to an institution which actively fights against loving families like that of their gay married daughter with two children. I’m also not a believer in deities–but if I were to pray, it would be for them to leave.

  65. Magpie says:

    “From today’s crisis, a Church will emerge tomorrow that will have lost a great deal. She will be small and, to a large extent, will have to start from the beginning. She will no longer be able to fill many of the buildings created in her period of great splendor. Because of the smaller number of her followers, she will lose many of her privileges in society. Contrary to what has happened until now, she will present herself much more as a community of volunteers… As a small community, she will demand much more from the initiative of each of her members and she will certainly also acknowledge new forms of ministry and will raise up to the priesthood proven Christians who have other jobs… There will be an interiorized Church, which neither takes advantage of its political mandate nor flirts with the left or the right. This will be achieved with effort because the process of crystallization and clarification will demand great exertion. It will make her poor and a Church of the little people… All this will require time. The process will be slow and painful.”

    In 1969, that, in a series of radio lectures, broadcast in Bavaria, was Cardinal Ratzinger’s own prophecy.

  66. Luke says:

    PghCath: I have to disagree on one small point, Father McBrien doesn’t really speak FOR himself, but AGAINST himself. . . You get the idea.

    The mystery about people like Padgett going to the zoo is that they all seem to show up at the same zoo! I think the answer to Supertradmum’s question lies in the location of that zoo: that’s where the polling must be done.

  67. SimonDodd says:

    AnAmericanMother’s 9:26 pm comment above is right on the money. Private and silent disagreement, whether temporary or intractable, is a purely personal matter. Whether it’s right or wrong, it affects only the individual. But public dissent, a fortiori when coupled with mendacity and malice, is a far graver problem, because it may corrupt others.

  68. Luke says:

    It seems that public dissent serves foremost as a means to keep the lukewarms comfortable where they are. A lack of zeal for an active faith is already a serious corruptor of the soul.

  69. Jack Hughes says:

    @Louis V

    Methinks alot of Catholics in the US & west for that matter are going to hell; I remember reading St Lenoard of Port Maurice (OFM)”the little number that are saved” quoting St. John Crystostom who told a crowd of a thousand that he thought that only 100 would make it to heaven and that he feared even for that hundred- and that was in the GOOD old days!!

  70. DHippolito says:

    You are not supposed to remain Catholic because of the Church’s leadership!

    Really, Fr. Z?

    Well, what if the Church considers moral reform only when its political and economic interests are threatened? I site not only the behavior of the papal nuncios — the Pope’s diplomatic representatives — in the U.S. and Belgium when confronted with evidence of clerical sex-abuse, but also the Reformation? Remember the Council of Trent and the Jesuits?

    What if we become a Church of the clergy, by the clergy and for the clergy, as has happened all too often?

    What if that leadership fosters an attitude of arrogance and a sense of entitlement that not only discourages accountability and transparency, but runs counter to the standard of leadership that Christ demonstrated in John 13, when He showed how those who hold authority in His Father’s Name should behave as servants, not as those who “lord it over others”?

    This has nothing to do with female priests, married priests or the other causes that “progressives” embrace. This has to do with the Church’s divinely appointed mission of obeying Christ — and its refusal to do just that for centuries!

  71. DHippolito says:

    American Mother, if any Christian’s faith (Catholic or otherwise) is adversely affected by what other people say, then that person didn’t really have a strong faith to begin with. Of course, we all endure doubts and questions from time to time, and that’s not a bad thing, in and of itself, as long as those questions eventually lead to spiritual depth and not to spiritual inertia. But refusing to ask questions publicly — especially of leaders who have isolated themselves from all accountability — just for the sake of those who doubt is the worst from of pseudo-intellectual enabling.

  72. shane says:

    But Christ also enjoined upon his followers to give strict obedience and respect for those in authority, even when those authorities are hypocritical or have fallen into worldy influence: The scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses. All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not. Post-Enlightenment western society is deeply individualist, particularly Anglo-American society (a result of their cultures being more infected by corrupt and destructive Protestant influence) and has totally lost sight of the hierarchical and communal nature of human relations. While laymen have a right to petition, and even rebuke, their episcopal superiors, it must be done in a spirit of charity and with all the respect and veneration due to a successor of the apostles and a man who enjoys the confidence of the Vicar of Christ. Personally I think there needs to be much less emphasis on the rights of the laity and much more on the need for holiness on the part of the clergy.

  73. DHippolito says:

    Shane, with all due respect, that is a total, absolute crock! The clergy and the hierarchy don’t give a rip about orthodoxy, let alone holiness. Why do I say this? The current Pope, known as a doctrinal stickler during his days as head of CDF, failed to reprimand publicly the head of the German bishops’ conference (not exactly a podunk organization), who publicly denied (on German television) the doctrine of Christ’s death being expiation for sin. This archbishop said, instead, that it represented “solidarity with mankind.”

    When a (supposedly) doctrinally strict Pope fails or refuses to correct such de facto public apostasy, what hope is there for the Church as a whole, let alone for the hierarchy?

    Besides, when it came to the clerical sex-abuse crisis, many people tried to “petition” and “rebuke” their “episcopal superiors” in a “spirit of charity,” etc. What did it get them?
    Stonewalling, obfuscation, anything but the correction they sought. Go look up the names Leon Podles, Fr. Thomas Doyle, Michael Rose, Jason Berry and Stephen Brady. Read anything they wrote. If the crisis proved anything, it’s that the hierarchy doesn’t even follow the Canon Law to which it’s supposed to adhere!

    Fr. Doyle’s story is particularly noteworthy. He warned the American bishops in 1985 that the festering issue of sexual abuse by priests would explode if they did nothing. Not only did they ignore him, not only was he transferred out of the Nuncio in Washington to a position as a military chaplain…but the Archbishop of the Military Apostolate (now the Archbishop of Baltimore) tried to discharge Fr. Doyle early so he could not collect the retirement benefits to which he was entitled! Only action from principled members of the military thwarted that scheme.

    Shane, the truth of Christ’s subsequent comments about the Religious Establishment of His day (after the quote which you blatantly take out of context) was shown in 70 A.D., when that Establishment was effectively destroyed with the Temple and Jerusalem as God’s judgment against that leadership.

    And don’t think the Church is escaping God’s judgment, either. Read Romans 1:21-32. It fits the Catholic Church to a “T.” In this case, the “idol” is the hierarchy’s aristocratic and pseudo-regal pretensions, sense of arrogance and entitlement that have replaced loyalty and service to God. Pope Paul VI said that “the smoke of Satan has entered the sanctuary,” and Pope Leo XIII had a vision of Christ giving Satan 100 years to destroy the Catholic Church. Now, Pope Leo responded by composing a prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Yet if Christ gave Satan such permission, how would a prayer to an Archangel dissuade Christ, the Heavenly High Priest who is above the angels?

    More to the point, why would Christ even give Satan permission to destroy the Church within a century?