Wherein Fr. Z considers doing something questionable

I am – horribile scriptu – considering subscribing to the online New York Times (aka Hell’s Bible) for the duration of all the papal stuff going on. Know your enemy, after all.

Even as I think about this, I keep in mind the quote of St. John Chrysostom about 2 Cor 19,3:

“Do you see not how much others give to prostitutes? Give at any rate the half to Christ of what they give to prostitutes.”

Hell’s Bible wants $8.75 per week.

I need to think about a charity to which I can give $4.38.


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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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63 Responses to Wherein Fr. Z considers doing something questionable

  1. VexillaRegis says:

    Not pleasant having to do that! Perhaps you could donate money to WWF or to the organisation that takes care of poor priests?

  2. Colm says:

    How about Opus Bono Sacerdotii? [They are very good. I have donated to them.]

  3. Animadversor says:

    I seem to remember seeing very recently an offer of 99¢ for the first four weeks.

  4. Supertradmum says:

    Good luck. Maybe one of your readers can pay for this…..know the enemy. Yes, I force myself to read the English horrid mag of no mention…

    As to your server, do you have someone who can backup for you so that you do not go down-like a secondary one? God bless you on that.

  5. RichardT says:

    Counteract your Hell’s Bible sub with a donation to the Media Research Center to help fund TimesWatch.
    http://www.mrc.org/static/about-us

  6. Charivari Rob says:

    Mother Teresa’s Order operates some soup kitchen & pantry programs in NYC and the tri-state area. I’m sure they could use $4.38

  7. JonPatrick says:

    How about the Washington Post instead? Their online edition still seems to be free, plus besides keeping track of the libs, when it becomes too much for you, you can compensate by reading the Op-Eds of Charles Krauthammer, Jennifer Rubin, and George Will :)

  8. De Tribulis says:

    This Catholic mother raising 11 children alone after her husband deserted here would be a more than worthy recipient of your $4.38: http://11onmyown.com/

  9. disco says:

    You’d be using the NYT to follow the coverage of the papal election so why not give the offering to Peter’s Pence?

  10. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Don’t do it. Chrysostom’s advice was not to pay prostitutes $ X, and then pay the Church $ 1/2 X. The NYT has sold its–well, it doesn’t have a body but–its soul. Don’t encourage them. They just aren’t any good anymore.

  11. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    ps: I read the “other side” often; but they don’t publish their darkness with my financial help. And I’d be happy if they ceased all together.

  12. Andrew says:

    Quae participatio iustitiae cum iniquitate?
    Lucis cum tenebris?

  13. acardnal says:

    I recommend against your proposal, too.

    I may read books from anti-Catholics but I do NOT purchase their books! I will not give them any money so they can continue spreading their poison.

  14. wmeyer says:

    Giving aid and comfort to the enemy? There are many alternative sources, both friend and foe. And without giving sustenance to the evildoers.

  15. Christine says:

    I agree with Dr. Peters. I would not give the NYT one penny. There are lots of other resources to check up on liberal coverage of the conclave.

  16. WGS says:

    I used to read the Sunday NYT every Sunday morning at breakfast after I had served as lector in my own parish and before I sang with a choir in a town about 30 miles away. This was until the NYT started printing “Celebrations” (I think that was the expression.) instead of “Weddings”. … Disgusting!

  17. KristinLA says:

    My husband’s college roommate had a “cuss jar” for Lent — whenever he used profanity he’d put a dollar in the jar. In your case, every time you get the urge to read Hell’s bible you could add money and donate it to a worthy charity after Lent.

  18. future_sister says:

    I could just tell you if there’s anything interesting. My college gets paper copies free for everyone. I’ve made the mistake of looking at it a few times *shudder*. Only mildly interesting story I found this morning was a priest from Bridgeport Connecticut on the front cover who is in jail for drug trafficking. Because of course priests make the front over when they do something wrong but regular people don’t. I don’t remember his name, but I think he could use all our prayers that he pulls out of his addictions and such. But yeah, nothing about anything to do with the Pope that I saw this morning.

  19. vox borealis says:

    Off topic comment/question. Our parish has a young assistant priest who has expressed (privately, of course) a sincere interest in learning the Extraordinary Form. I was going to get him one of the how-to guides for priests sold by the Canons of St John Cantius, but I am not sure which one is the “best.” Any recommendations?

  20. ocleirbj says:

    I think it’s a good idea to read publications promoting a different position than your own. It’s so frustrating to hear someone vigorously bash a principle they disagree with, then equally vigorously refuse to read what its supporters are saying about it in their own words. Dialogue, understanding and charity should all be informed to the fullest extent, even if it means reading unsavoury material. Then, one can point intelligently to flaws and inconsistencies in an opponent’s argument, a useful response when someone is just shouting at you because they don’t like you. Kudos, Fr. Z., for this good example. As for a worthy recipient of your $4.38, you could support a good Catholic news source in your area, though I think a food pantry donation is also a very good idea.

  21. Liz says:

    I agree about the Catholic mother raising 11 children alone. She has had a bad time for a number of years and she works so hard for her family. Yesterday’s post is typical of what happens when she tries to get a little help for her large family. It must be so frustrating. http://11onmyown.com/

  22. The Masked Chicken says:

    Are there no libraries nearby? Good grief!

    The Chicken

  23. Liz says:

    p.s. Opus Bono IS an excellent organization too for anyone else looking for some place else to give their lenten alms.

  24. Fr AJ says:

    Why give an anti-Catholic paper such as the NYT any financial support? I wouldn’t give a penny to them under any circumstance.

  25. Shamrock says:

    DON’T SUBSCRIBE! to this Hell’s Bible…go to the library rather than support this dying
    newspaper that is kept alive by periodic infusions from the Mexican drug lords. Good heavens
    it is NOT that difficult to know what the enemy is saying ..one does not need to support them
    with a single nickel. Don’t you know any CINO’S who will send you all the *dirt* from the NYT
    without your even asking? I do….like just today one sent me stuff you would cringe to read about
    a priest in deep trouble in Ct…as if I *needed* to know it is a fallen world we live in. Your time
    Father would be better spent in prayer and your money given to legitimate charity. [I'll take that as a "no" vote. Keep in mind, I am not putting this to a vote. The entry at the top was more tongue in cheek than not, a point lost on some.]

  26. teomatteo says:

    Seems to me that i already know what they (NYT) will say, spin, propose, and expect. Maybe the most predictable read around.

  27. Supertradmum says:

    Well, I read the Tablet sometimes, as it is important to know how to argue some points for the sake of souls. As to libraries, Masked Chicken, there are hundreds of towns and cities which do not have libraries……Father Z, read what you need to read.

  28. Shamrock says:

    @future_sister….Interesting that your college receives *free* copies of the NYT…Maybe
    it is not so *free* but rather costly in terms of souls *converted* by this Hell’s Bible. Could
    you not make this *disappear* from time to time such as when offensive articles, meant to
    denigrate the Faith, appear above the fold? Like *hiding* it in the deepest darkest corners
    of the library or buried in the circular files? Even if only the front section? A little personal
    ministry?

  29. wolfeken says:

    I think we all need to do a better job hearing what the mainstream or leftist take is, then blowing it to pieces with traditionalism. But that can only happen if we read the mainstream and left’s articles, columns and op-eds. My opinion, not very popular on conservative blogs, is that Catholics who simply watch FOX News and learn about what’s going on in the world from World Net Daily and EWTN are never going to sound smart. Know your enemy indeed. Then use the knowledge for good.

  30. maryh says:

    I’m not sure a print copy would be good enough. I imagine part of the reason to go with the online version is to get the most recent coverage that isn’t in print yet. A lot can happen online before the hard copy comes out.

  31. PghCath says:

    I read the NYT regularly (forgive me, I like their business and economics coverage), and there are a few tricks one can use to circumvent the paywall. Clearing one’s browser history generally allows one to read more than 10 articles per month free of charge. (This works on my laptop, but my wife has trouble doing it on her Kindle.) Also, even after one has read 10 articles, it’s possible to read additional articles by accessing them from a search engine. I frequently copy the title of an article from the NYT homepage and paste it into Google – and voila! That said, they have been getting sneaky of late and titling an article “x” but calling it “y” on the homepage. When that happens, I can usually find the article I want by putting “New York Times,” the author’s name, and a few generic terms into Google.

    All of this is somewhat of a hassle, but it’s allowed me to stay full up on news without supporting the NYT financially.

  32. The Egyptian says:

    will you not be involved in media coverage this time, hoped to see you on TV being interviewed

  33. Andy Lucy says:

    Father, as a former intel type, sometimes you just have to get your eyes dirty and read what the bad guys have to say. Having spent many, many an hour poring over Pravda, Izvestia, Krasnaya Zvezda and Neues Deutschland, I can well sympathize with your need to gather actionable intelligence that conflicts with your base desire to simply ignore Hell’s Bible and wish it away. However, as Edmund, Lord Blackadder, so succinctly put it, “Needs must when the devil vomits into your kettle.” You gotta do what you gotta to do.

  34. future_sister says:

    @Shamrock I’m sure the university pays for them, it’s more we as the students don’t… actually, now that I think about it our tuition probably pays for them. It pays for everything else in this public, secular, liberal… IDK what to call my school. And I could hide them, but for the large stacks in the doorways of every building on campus. Hence the reason I noticed the priest on the front page this morning on my way to breakfast.

  35. Shamrock says:

    @future_sister…WOW! “Large stacks in the doorways of every building on campus”? You can
    be sure your tuition pays for such large distribution. You can also be sure that given that widespread distribution you are attending a liberal college/university supporting the ideas
    promoted in the NYT. IF you have some conservative, Christian friends might you be able to
    start a campaign with the Administration for a more fair and balanced approach to the news by a
    more recognizable conservative paper to be equally available to students, such as National Review or even the Washington Times? Good luck and will pray for your success at trying to achieve a more equitible situation on your campus.

  36. Shamrock says:

    @Supertradum…I believe you live in Britain? Here in the USA libraries exist within reach of almost all citizens, some too small perhaps to carry an expensive newspaper but anyone can
    find access to the NYT pretty much everywhere. But I believe Father’s point was not so much
    access to the Times but rather monetary support. At least I thought that was his point but given
    his recent comment all this was “tongue in cheek”. …and so quess our comments are quite moot.
    Father surely knows what he is doing.

  37. Supertradmum says:

    Shamrock, of course Fr. Z knows what he is doing. And, there are many towns in the Midwest which do not have libraries….rural areas are not so well-stocked.

  38. Supertradmum says:

    Shamrock, ps. I only live in England six months out of the year, as that is all I am allowed to do, just to clarify, in case their is some immigration guru looking at this blog…..

  39. StJude says:

    Don’t give them a dime, Father Z.

  40. chonak says:

    Well, at least reading the NYT would count as a Lenten penance.

    The $4.38? How ’bout Aid to the Church in Need?

  41. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    Dr. Peters beat me to it. I didn’t think there was a similarity between what Chrysostom was trying to teach, and buying a subscription.

    They are going to say what they will and the only thing that could correct poor journalism is to hit them in the pocket book, not pad it. They are already on their way out.

  42. saghughes says:

    A donation to an organization which digs wells in areas without access to clean water?

  43. Giuseppe says:

    I would not be surprised if Shamrock’s school’s NYTimes is actually free (or sold to the school at a substantially reduced rate). It’s hard to stop reading the NYTimes once you get used to it, and it would be a very smart business decision to hook readers young. Plus, they can claim a larger print distribution and a lower average reader age – both are bonuses to advertisers. I’ve gotten free subscriptions of magazines sent to me for what I think is that very purpose – to claim wider distribution and lower average age.

    Re. the NY Times, I agree that their business coverage is superb, and I actually like their sports articles (I’m in NY). (Not happy they are in the same section though.) Foreign affairs are very good, and the theater, film, opera, and concert reviews are worth reading if you want an interesting take on the subject or event. Local news is less sensationalistic than the Post or the Daily News. Sunday’s Book Review usually has some excellent writers. Tuesday’s Science Times is a great summary of current topics and usually have a fun in-depth article or two about something. Plus, the puzzle is a nice bonus. I then read the Wall Street Journal as a counterweight.

    Re. Father Z’s dilemma, though — I suggest logging onto CNN for up-to-date papal coverage. They update pretty regularly and it’s free. (And there are often written versions of the video clips.)

  44. aurora says:

    I quit even the free subscriptions. Let it go, no matter who pays for it. I agree with Ed Peters.

  45. Andy Lucy says:

    At the risk of putting words in Fr’s word processor… his reasoning behind reading the NYT is not because he particularly wants to. However, if one is going to accurately and intelligently rebut the arguments and statements of the liberal elite, one must read and analyze the “paper of record” for the liberal intelligentsia. Much the same way Soviet and Eastern Bloc newspapers were read by the intelligence agencies in the West during the Cold War to give a sense of the political climate in those countries, reading the NYT is essential if one is to adequately understand the statements of the liberal elite in an effort to refute them.

    If this does not adequately explain your intent, Father, please forgive me.

  46. disco says:

    BTW, Father Z. I’ve not researched it myself but it may actually be cheaper to order the print edition of the times daily, which comes with free online access, than to merely purchase the online subscription. I don’t know if that is true for the Midwest as it is for the northeast. That way you at least would get some kindling delivered to the farm daily, in addition to the spittle flecked nutties of the dying liberal quislings.

  47. DavidR says:

    You could donate that $4.38 to Christian Foundation for Children and Aging; they’re out of Kansas City and do good work supporting folks in 3rd world countries. My wife and I have 7 ‘adoptees’ between us.

  48. acricketchirps says:

    Fr. I sent you the first week by Paypal, so it’s my soul at risk. But I’m trusting the NYT to supply the raw ingredients for some delicious wdtprs/blog posts.

  49. The Masked Chicken says:

    Ah, the New York Times… They have one from:

    All the news that’s fit to print

    to:

    All the news that gives you fits when printed.

    The Chicken

  50. Bea says:

    Yes, It’s good to “know thy enemy”
    and
    You could donate to the FSSP

  51. MAJ Tony says:

    I’m with Andy: you have to treat “Hell’s Bible” as an intel source. How you acquire that source is a different matter entirely.

  52. acardnal says:

    Yes, know thy enemy. Absolutely! Read the NYT if you must. But don’t give them a penny to do so.

  53. Animadversor says:

    Here, if you are still interested, is the link through which you may get the first four weeks for 99¢.

    Many here seem to have a real aversion to paying the Times any money, even if something of genuine value is received in return. Although there is much in that paper that boils my blood, or just makes me sigh, there is also much that is unobjectionable, or even of real public utility. Now, we perhaps may all agree that to donate money to, say, Planned Parenthood, would be wrong; indeed, considering everything, many, myself included, would say that purchasing some completely morally neutral or, in itself, good service from PP would be wrong. On the other hand, it would not be sinful, it seems, at least not always, to purchase innocuous items from the drug strore that is most convenient to where I live, even though it sells contraceptives and abortifacients, makes contributions to causes that are morally defective, etc., and that would be so even if a merchant that didn’t do those things were available. It would be good to hear from persons learned in moral theology, preferably from unreconstructed ossified manualists, on this topic in genere and also on how to apply the correct principles to the case at hand.

  54. Animadversor says:

    Sorry, drug store, not drug strore.

  55. sunbreak says:

    Hmmm. I suggest checking the local public library to see if there is an online version of the New York Times available. Some libraries do have it online and up to date. That way, no additional money has to be spent to read it and all the funds can be given to a charity of choice.

  56. Shamrock says:

    @animadversor…” unreconstructed ossified manualists’???? Sticks and stones will break……
    AND to add injury to insult you have given false info …regarding that 99 cent deal for
    first four weeks….AFTER that you are in for a full price subscription out of which you
    cannot get as you contracted to do that once the 99 cent deal expires. Tell it like it really
    is !
    And for your drug store analogy, that is mostly swiss cheese too! You have no control what
    the drug store supplies ..only what you buy. You don’t have to buy those items but in order to
    get what you need you must shop that store ( assuming said items like prescription drugs
    can be found nowhere lese ) But in the case of NYT, there are other competing newspapers
    that give you the news without attacking your personal faith on a regular basis. Wise up! You
    don’t need a room full of theologians to figure out what common sense should tell you.

  57. I think that the idea of knowing one’s enemy has much to recommend it. However, at some point, one knows all he needs to know. I stopped buying Newsday many years ago because the only way to kill weeds is to choke them off, cut off their nourishment, and put them out of their misery. If they want to publish pro-abortion editorials, they can do it on their own dime, not mine. I won’t even click on a link to the New York Times (though occasionally I crack and look at something from Newsday. I want pro-abortion anything to be as irrelevant as possible. I don’t even want to add one to the click totals that matter to someone somewhere. If all Catholics boycotted pro-abortion publications, there would be lots fewer of them. There would also be lots less anti-Catholic bigotry.

    I’ll also second the suggestion of visiting the public library– that could be a reasonable accomodation to knowing one’s enemy. If I were a priest, though, I might want to wear dark glasses, a false mustache, and a wig so as not to give scandal. Alternatively, one could perhaps put the Times inside a copy of a less scandalous publication– maybe the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition or the National Enquirer.

  58. Animadversor says:

    Goodness, Shamrock, I believe you may have misunderstood some things! I like “unreconstructed ossified manualists”; nay, I love them. As for the subscription to the Times, I am afraid you are simply wrong. Here is the cancellation policy as stated on the page to which I linked; perhaps you haven’t read it yet:

    WHAT IS THE CANCELLATION AND REFUND POLICY?
    You can cancel your subscription at any time. When you cancel, we will stop charging your account the following billing cycle. Each billing cycle is four weeks, so your unlimited access will continue for the remainder of the current four-week period. Afterward, you will still be able to view 10 articles a month on NYTimes.com and read Top News on our apps at no charge, just like any other visitor.

    And for further reference, you may consult their full cancellation and refund policy.

    As for your arguments, there are indeed competing newspapers, but the Times offers many things, some good, some indifferent, some bad, that the others do not. One of the things that they offer is regular attacks on my personal faith, attacks which I would like to be familiar with since they reflect and influence the opinions of some, anyway, of my friends and acquaintances, and I shall be better able to defend and even promote my faith if I know well the attacks upon it.
    As for your suggestion that my common sense should be enough here, I do not think that I shall rely on you in this matter any more than others should rely on you to describe accurately the cancellation policies of the Times or to learn anything about my habit of veracity.
    That is how “it really is.”

  59. jflare says:

    ..For that matter, my local Catholic radio station would almost certainly welcome a pledge….

  60. bookworm says:

    My question is: if it’s wrong to subscribe to NYT then is it also wrong to subscribe to any newspaper that has taken an editorial stance in favor of abortion or gay marriage, or that has run editorials critical of the local bishop — though numerous letters to the editor with an opposing view, articles casting the Church in a positive light, and even guest editorials by said bishop, also appear in the same paper? And if it is wrong to subscribe to such a newspaper is it also wrong to WORK for that paper as a correspondent or “stringer”?

  61. wmeyer says:

    My question is: if it’s wrong to subscribe to NYT…

    I think in the case of some papers (NYT, Fishwrap, etc.) we might conclude that it is wrong to subscribe to them, as we are contributing to the war being waged against us.

    My personal approach is that I prefer to prowl online for news sources on my own. First, because I can focus my limited available time on items of interest, and second because some of what is published on certain papers serves only to inflate my blood pressure and challenge my determination to love my neighbor as myself. At some point, chalking up their comments to “invincible ignorance” also seems, to me, to confer an unwarranted sense of noble purpose on these people.

    As to working for such a paper, I suppose you would have to weight for yourself whether or not it is wrong. It might be, or it might also be a noble crusade, if you are able to accomplish a good result and remain untainted by those with whom you work.

  62. Shamrock says:

    @Animadversor…Please accept my humble apologies regarding the NYT special 4 week @ 99 cents offer to digital customers. The cancellation of such policies is as you say. I had placed an order for a similar digital subscription with another newspaper and it turned out the recipient was obligated for another 6 months. According to terms you have entered here this is NOT the case for the NYT’s offer. I apologize to you and to anyone reading here I may have misled.
    I am still in somewhat of a moral quandry about your insistence of justifying monetary support
    of a newspaper *dedicated* to malicious misrepresentation of Holy Mother Church. I do agree
    we cannot fight this *disease* without knowing what it is we need to defend but one can easily google the particular article in question online to satisfy that need w/o lining the NYT’s coffers.
    As for all the other fine articles there you enjoy perusing, it reminds me a bit of the justification
    a friend gave for his subscription to Playboy with the quip he really only purchased this very
    salacious rag for the finely written articles by well known authors as if they could not be found elsewhere! Hah! I am still unimpressed that you *need* the Times. Try giving it up perhaps for
    Lent. Perhaps that will help you break the *habit* while meantime you might find other print material as equally good sources for information without compromising your immortal soul.
    Frankly, just the knowledge that the “Gray Lady” in order to stay alive needs periodic infusions of
    funds from the Mexican drug lords is enough for me to ignore such enticements as 99 cent
    week deals. You have the info; you can decide!

  63. bookworm says:

    “just the knowledge that the “Gray Lady” in order to stay alive needs periodic infusions of
    funds from the Mexican drug lords”

    Where did you hear/read that? When I search the topic online I get a lot of hits about U.S. banks and Federal agents laundering Mexican drug money and about the NYT reporting this, but nothing about the NYT ITSELF receiving any such funds, and I don’t think the NYT yet has the ability to censor every single reference to the topic on the internet.