What WDTPRS is aiming at

I just wrote this for my weekly column, WDTPRS, for The Wanderer.

After an explanation of the theological difference between aeterne and sempiterne Deus, which involved Augustine and Boethius, I paused for a moment and said…

Indulge me, dear readers.  Occasionally one of you will write saying that I lose you in what seem to be nitpicking digressions.  Let me be clear: I’m not trying to be a psilological doryphore.  I drill into these texts to help people understand, after decades of banal prayers purged of content and color, that our language of liturgical prayer is rooted deeply in ancient pondering, man’s great questions before God and the cosmos.  The words themselves are treasures, carefully weighed and finely polished, handed down with centuries of love by our forefathers… to you.  

Every syllable belongs to you

Each exquisite term is your millennial patrimony. 


This blog ranges far wider than the weekly newspaper column. 

But what I wrote for the paper applies here as well.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Which gives me the chance to say, Father Z, that your July 24 Wanderer column — on the Collect for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost — was a fine example of the type of WDPRS column that I both appreciate and enjoy the most. One in which you drill fairly deeply into the Latin to uncover different levels of meaning. For most of this, only this kind of detailed analysis can reveal fully and bring to life the classical Roman spirituality of these ancient gems.

  2. Cliff says:

    I couldn’t agree more Fr Z! No two words ever mean exactly the same thing. Thank you for preserving the heritage.

  3. TJM says:

    You mean “person’s great questions” don’t you , Father Z? Just kidding. I couldn’t agree with your comments anymore than if I had written
    them myself. Regards, Tom

  4. bryan says:

    I ponder sometimes, when stuck in the interminable traffic on I-95, about the effect of the net (and I’ve been a denizen on the wire since, oh, 1980 or so…) and the wide distribution capabilities of the web…both for good and evil.

    In a larger sphere such as the world-wide readership of this blog, true faithful leaders such as Fr. Z serve as the necessary touchstone of sanity in a non-stop flood of (dis)information and spin doctoring that happens in both the secular and clerical worlds. We have the same of pabulum shoveled down our throats every instant of every day. We hear bland, tapioca-consistency homilies (the one last weekend at my parish had NO mention of anything other than the same old self-actualization and self-congratulations for minimal accomplishments…not even a whif of ‘hey, it’s the 40th anniversary of HV…have any of you pondered what it REALLY means?’.

    We get that here. All the nuances, all the parsing of phrases, all the sometimes contentious debate.

    While I don’t agree with many things posted (as in “how the heck can anyone even think that’s a real truth”), it is necessary, as Peter Maurin once pointed out, necessary to ‘clarify your thoughts’ so as to come to a greater understanding (not just knowledge, but visceral understanding) of the meaning of this patrimony and Faith we’ve been given.

    While I would never presume to get on Fr. Z’s bad side by suggesting that he be raised to the dignity of bishop (a good friend, a well-known Monsignor, a titan in catechetics and tradition, once said, when I made that comment to him, that he though I was a better friend than to suggest he be sentenced to something like that…), his work here is most valuable in helping us all to ‘clarify our thoughts’, which is what any good teacher and leader does.


  5. Seminarian says:

    Well said Father!

  6. Bill Haley says:

    I used to read your column in the Wanderer only for liturgical news. But no longer, your Wanderer column has become my preparation for Sunday Mass. In my opinion, it is one of the best (the Pope does takes precedence) regular features found in that mighty fine paper.

    Personally, your column has value beyond simply demonstrating the historical refinement of our liturgical patrimony, as great as that is. Your drilling into the prayers helps me understand what the Church is begging from God on the specific Sunday throughout the year. When the particular prayer is prayed at Mass, and I join my prayers to it, I am able to enter more deeply into that mystery of God’s penetration into this world and our interaction with Him by encountering Him with my intellect well prepared and my will always thirsting for more. It is not simply the understanding of the greatness of our Catholic patrimony, but encountering the Lord in time and space (in AZ of all places!) by expressing our longings and needs to Him and knowing He is present to hear them. From the drilling into the words you provide, I am able to enter into the unspeakable mystery to which the beautiful words point. Please keep it up the great work!

    I would love to see a compilation of the various prayers of the particular Sundays in a volume which would allow us to cover all the prayers of a single Sunday.

  7. Daniel Latinus says:

    “I’m not trying to be a psilological doryphore.”

    Father, you ought to read that sentence on your next poscast…

  8. mpm says:

    “psilological doryphore”

    Just googled the phrase, and you have the distinction of receiving
    exactly one “hit”: your own page.

    Congratulations, Fr. Z, another first!

  9. mpm says:

    Fr. Z,

    On a serious note, I thank you for all the work you put into your
    linguistic/liturgical posts. I always find food there for thought
    and prayer.

    And regarding your podcazt’s, I’m always touched by the professionalism
    with which you fade in and out, the combination of various genres of
    music, not to mention the notion that “our guest today is our old
    friend…” The interviews and Don Camillo tales also add something
    to the whole.

    It takes a lot of talent, thought, work — and, most divinus of all —
    a good sense of humor. Thanks again.

  10. Line says:

    Fr. Z
    Thank you and God bless you

  11. Piers-the-Ploughman says:

    I would 2nd the poster above who said the wdtprs columns serve as a preparation for Sunday mass.

  12. Geoffrey says:

    “psilological doryphore”?

    Forget the Lewis and Short… someone hand me the Webster’s! ;-)

  13. Maureen says:

    psilology: the love of empty noise

    doryphore: 1. Spearcarrier. 2. The Colorado beetle, a pest. 3. Tourists in France, to the French. 4. Nitpicker, pedantic critic.

    I do love me Interweb.

  14. pelerin says:

    ‘Psilological doryphore’ – not only are we all learning so much more about the Faith from Fr Z, but we are extending our vocabulary too – way beyond the ineffable gibbet!

  15. John V Turner says:

    Beautifully stated, Father!

  16. Christopher says:

    Peace be with you.

    This happens to be contained in some spiritual reading that I am doing, currently, and I thought that it would be pointful to this article:

    For all these wild beasts, and more than these, are bred upon that rock of which I have spoken, and those whom they have once captured are inevitably dragged down into such a depth of servitude that even to please women they often do many things which it is well not to mention. The divine law indeed has excluded women from the ministry, but they endeavor to thrust themselves into it; and since they can effect nothing of themselves, they do all through the agency of others; and they have become invested with so much power that they can appoint oreject priests at their will: things in fact are turned upside down, and the proverbial saying may be seen realized— The ruled lead the rulers: and would that it were men who do this instead of women, who have not received a commission to teach. Why do I say teach? for the blessed Paul did not suffer them even to speak in the Church. But I have heard some one say that they have obtained such a large privilege of free speech, as even to rebuke the prelates of the Churches, and censure them more severely than masters do their own domestics.

    On the Priesthood: Book III- St. John Crysostom

    May God bless you.
    Holy Mary protect you.
    In ICXC,

Comments are closed.