A recipe for falling away from the Catholic Church

From Insight Scoop:

brought to you by National "Catholic" Reporter:

1 cup of growing disenchantment
1/2 cup of some pronounced unease
3/4 cup of rotting historical illiteracy
1 cup of disillusioned with dogmatic bans
3 teaspoons of outgrown child childhood fantasies about the Real Presence, purgatory, and guardian angels (note: can be substituted with a 1/4 cup of ripe theological ignorance)
4 cups of stale, bitter skepticism

Mix all well in a bowl of ambiguity. Pour into a pan of uncertainly. Heat stove of 150 degrees, the preferred temperature for lukewarm spirituality. Cook for whatever length of time feels good to you. Coat with thin layer of sugary, neo-pantheistic frosting. Serve to readers of National "Catholic" Reporter while in a natural state of discomfort, chanting, "I am Catholic. I am Catholic."

Doesn’t this apply here as well?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. What’s the nutritional content? ;-)

  2. little gal says:

    Re: Ms. Murphy’s piece, I wish Charles Krauthammer(columnist & psychiatrist) were Catholic so he could marshall his powerful skills in assessing what ails this woman…I suspect she has many issues; one concrete issue is poor formation in the Faith.

  3. LRThunder says:

    Perfect recipe for spiritual food poisoning.

  4. TNCath says:

    Is best served dimly lit with mood music from Marty Haugen, David Haas, Cary Landry, and the St. Louis Jesuits.

  5. AJP says:

    Usually essays by heterodox folks bragging about how heterodox they are make
    me angry. Such essays almost always are arrogant and ignorant, an obnoxious
    combination. While Ms. Murphy’s essay contained elements of both ignorance
    and pride, I didn’t find myself angry at her at all, but rather profoundly
    saddened. Her essay is just plain sad. She doesn’t sound like a very
    happy person. It’s a compelling example of how ultimately empty and cold
    “progressive” Catholicism is. At the end of the day, there’s no hope and no

    I think it is important, however, to treat people like Ms. Murphy with a fair
    amount of gentleness. She and other heterodox folk share a view of orthodox
    people as mean, mindless, immature, etc. Some of the more orthodox, yet
    strident, responses to her column will only reinforce that stereotype and do
    no one any good. I think the responses that encouraged her to stay close to
    the sacraments (including confession) prayer, adoration, etc were the best.
    People like this woman are in a very vulnerable place. How to speak the truth
    to them, but to speak it in love and in a way that won’t drive them away further,
    is a delicate balancing act indeed.

  6. I read that essay, and posted a couple of comments over there. It just makes me sad–someone who, in the words of another commenter there, has made a shipwreck of her faith, and is nailing shut the door through which she might enter heaven: it is truly frightening to see someone write that a personal relationship with God is “impossible.”

  7. Aelric says:

    Not to be forgotten is the most important ingredient of all:

    A pinch of pride.

  8. TNCath says:

    I just read the article myself and, once again, we have a situation where someone thinks that they know more than the Church. I have yet to meet anyone who has ever left the Church and bettered themselves. As for disagreeing with Church teaching, as Archbishop Chaput once said, “If you’re Catholic and you disagree with your Church. What do you do? You change your mind.” I hope and pray Ms. Murphy does so.

  9. Alan says:

    If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.

    Sir Francis Bacon

  10. Chris says:

    Are you sure Hell is only 150 degrees? :)

  11. JPSonnen says:

    Hilarious! Mi fa riddere ad infinitum!

  12. E. Osodemo says:

    We have to pray for her.Perhaps there is out there,a good and well prepared priest who knows her and her spiritual situation.I think he should try to come along her way, and with lots of patience and charity bring her back home.I think she is craying for help

  13. The author forgot the “two cups of nuance.” It’s not nearly so effective a recipe without that!

  14. magdalene says:

    Is she an ex- or current ‘nun’? I have heard some of this from them. But also from some clergy, sad to say.

    That woman has lost her faith and gets to publicize it like it is just fine and isn’t everyone else losing their religion too? The National “Catholic’ Distorter is the rag for disseminating this rubbish to the detriment of many. That woman is no longer a Catholic and maybe not even a Christian. Yet she remains ‘a cultural catholic’ out of sentiment.

    We must always pray for souls that have lost the faith! And in a special way for those who lead others astray. It is a travesty that many have positions of responsibility within the Church. The spirit of Judas has always been with us. Christ allowed it then and allows it now.

    The recipe is not one for heaven! But maybe a dash of prayer, of hope, of penance and of sacrifice for them can make things more palatable.

  15. Karen says:

    I wish people like her would have the intellectual integrity at the very least to stop calling themselves “Catholic” and to stay away from Holy Communion when she doesn’t believe in the Real Presence. But this would presume she had intellect or integrity.

  16. Cathy says:

    (Sorry if half a comment comes up. I’m all worked up. Anyway, as I was saying…)

    How it galls me when someone has the audacity to say that the Church is anti-woman because She dares recognize the sacredness of ALL women and forbid the use of contraception, which allows men to have consequence-free sex and treat women’s bodies as a dumping ground for their bodily fluids. Nothing will indicate sheer ignorance faster than saying, “The Church is anti-woman.”

    No other Church elevates a woman to a higher throne than the Catholic Church.
    No other Church loves any woman more than the Catholic Church loves her Mother.
    NO other church recognizes that ALL WOMEN are sacred beings and are to be treated as such, partly because our Lord and Savior got every single iota of His holy humanity through a woman.
    NO OTHER CHURCH showers so much respect and admiration on the mothers, sisters, and daughters within.
    The Church recognizes that it is a woman who has been leading people to Christ since the Manger.

  17. REF says:

    What’s an NCR recipe without a heaping helping of anger stirred in?

  18. Brian says:

    It looks and smells like spoiled, selfish, stale, modernism to me.

  19. JPG says:

    This modernist dissent stems not only from the times in which we live but also from appalling catechesis,with often modernist takes on the New Liturgy. Long before this women’s faith took a hit she was likewise preached to by a similarly thinking priest in the typical 80’s left wing liberal liturgy. The Real Presence cannot be beleived if one does not act it.

  20. Maureen says:

    Re: Murphy’s essay — Unless you’re going with paganism and animal sacrifice, I don’t really see how anybody could be simultaneously both into Irish stuff and totally ignoring Catholicism as some kind of superficial pretty veneer over Irishness. So I think she should go on a pilgrimage to St. Patrick’s Purgatory. Let’s see if she can maintain her fashionable detachment while going without sleep, fasting, and walking barefoot in damp weather among shuffling crowds of pilgrims…. Boot camp for penitence. :)

  21. fra paolo says:

    I don’t see anything essentially liberal/left in poor Ms Murphy’s cry for help. I do, however, see materialism. She makes the same confusion as most people who plead with God for earthly blessings.

    In this life, our task is to show compassion and charity in spite of any hardships we may experience, in order to gain entry into the next. No work done here can be perfect, because of Original Sin. Isn’t that the kind of understanding that St Augustine would preach to us to pray for?

  22. “But slowly, I am becoming more comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity.”

  23. Michael says:

    Actually contraception allows women to have consequence-free sex. Some, by no means all, men are allowed to join in.

  24. Matt says:

    Can I somehow get back the time I wasted reading this?

    Wow. Some people actually write such rubbish? As a Catholic who only attends the EF now if I can help it, this type of post would smack me squarely as the devil speaking as sure as I was watching the exocist and I was Father Damien trying to drive out the devil.

  25. Dear Michael,

    You write, “Actually contraception allows women to have consequence-free sex. Some, by no means all, men are allowed to join in.”

    I am very sorry to have to disagree with you. At most, you could claim that contraception creates the illusion of the possibility for women to engage in consequence-free sex.

    Since somehwere between many and most chemical “contraceptives” are not contraceptive, at all, but abortifacent, the claim as you have made it must fail utterly; the same fact speaks to the very special kind of evil “artifical contraception” really is.

    What “contraceptives” really do is make it possible for men to use women as receptacles.

  26. sub axe australi says:

    This is indeed Modernism: reinterpreting the forms of the faith.

    Whosoever revolteth and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son. If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you. For he that saith unto him: God speed you, communicateth with his wicked works (2 Jn 9-11).

  27. Fr. Angel says:

    Matt said, “Can I somehow get back the time I wasted reading this?” My sentiments exactly.

    It is no wonder St. Pius X called Modernism the “synthesis of all heresies.” It reinterprets the explicit teachings of Divine Revelation into metaphor so that truth is what you want to read into the words. When you are finished saying that nothing in Scripture and Tradition is to be taken literally, there actually is no Divine Revelation but, like the old song says, “feelings, nothing more than feelings.”

    Of course she is getting comfortable with ambiguity and doubt. It is cozy and comfortable to slip into your self-absorbed world, where God gives you no imperatives, and where you go to church and receive Communion when you “feel” the need and some metaphor pulls you away from the Sunday jog and the cup of coffee.

    How interesting that the historical nature of the Gospel teachings and the divine institution of the Church can so conveniently fall before doubt, but she is quite certain and dogmatic about the cruelties of the Inquisition; she has no doubts that Catholic teaching on contraception is harmful and false. Me thinks the lady doth protest too much. Her problem is not with dogma as long as she is the one who gets to make the ex cathedra statements.

  28. I recall years ago hearing Fr. John Hardon, of blessed memory, comment about how his faith in the mystery of Christ and the Church was deepening as he “(got) closer to eternity.” I was deeply moved by that phrase. It reveals a “supernatural perspective” on life.

    This poor woman seems to be quickly heading down the path of spiritual delusion and despair – the soft blindness of demons. It reminds me of the state of King Theoden of Rohan who is under the influence of Grima Wormtongue. Shame on NCR for giving her a platform to herald her growing disbelief and disillusionment. I pray that other readers of NCR (most of whom inhabit nursing homes now – or will so soon) are not influenced by her.

  29. Michael says:

    Dear Chris,
    I do not understand the nature of your disagreement with my statement which was a response to Cathy’s assertion. In no way do I or did I imply that contraceptive/abortifacent use is moral or licit. I do however sincerely believe that women themselves can be prone to fall for the illusion of consequence free sex and of their own free wills and can and do secure birth control to liberate their desires from their natural consequences. Last I checked, women do indeed have sex drives of their own and are not simple automatons who yield to the dominance of random males who appear in their lives with always evil intentions. Does any of this bear on the apostasy of Rose Murphy? We can only suppose.

  30. Cornelius says:

    Rose Murphy’s spiritual trajectory is a sad one, and calls for our prayers.

    By the grace of God, my own trajectory has been the opposite: starting out in youthful uncertainty and (typical) relativism, as I get older I find myself more certain than ever as to where the Truth lies – in the perennial teachings of the Catholic Church. As I slowly plod towards eternity, the goal is becoming clearer to me, and uncertainties fall away like scales from my eyes.

    Would that Rose Murphy be given this grace!

    Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis!

  31. Repentant Sinner says:

    A few months ago I posted a comment, and someone replied saying they would pray for me every day until I returned to the Sacraments. I can’t find that old thread, so I am posting here in the hopes that person will see this and know his prayers helped. I did return this Christmas to the Sacraments. Deo Gratias!

  32. HGB says:

    Sounds like she has a bad case of californiaitis.

  33. chironomo says:

    Until the Catholic Church has the #@$%^’s to answer their question for them (Can I call myself Catholic?) with a resounding and public “No, you are not”, these self-proclaimed Catholics will continue to be a part of the Church and have their views included in the public image of the Catholic Church. Strangely, the only tie she has to the church is her insistence on being allowed to be a part of it. It is self-absorption at it’s best…

  34. Dave DeCleene says:

    Father Regis Scanlan has stated that, as a person, not in the state of grace through either the mortal sin of heresy/disbelief in doctrine, or through immoral action, continues to receive the Real Presence in Communion, faith gradually disappears.

    He compares it to Judas entering the house where Jesus met him with a morsel of bread, and from that moment Satan entered him.

  35. magdalene says:

    few months ago I posted a comment, and someone replied saying they would pray for me every day until I returned to the Sacraments. I can’t find that old thread, so I am posting here in the hopes that person will see this and know his prayers helped. I did return this Christmas to the Sacraments. Deo Gratias!

    Comment by Repentant Sinner


  36. Derik says:

    I will remember Rose Murphy in my prayers, so that God will illuminate her in this “dark night of the soul”.

  37. Brian says:

    A “dark night of the soul” occurs to dedicated Catholics who are faithful to the teachings of the Church, the sacraments, and prayer and are holding to their faith and hungering after God, despite dryness. It is a painful, but mystical form of prayer.

    By all means pray for Ms. Murphy; but do not honor her self-absorbed, modernist, pseudo-angst, no doubt, which makes for interesting conversation with friends at Starbucks after a bike ride, with St. John of the Cross’s holy term.

  38. chironomo says:


    A second to your thoughts! I am also fed up with individuals who refer to their eventual abandonment of the faith as their “faith journey”… it is a journey all right, but the destination is not a place of faith.

  39. An “amen” to the idea of praying for Rose. Every moment she has (and the rest of us have) left on earth is a moment of mercy…

  40. Rather Read says:

    Poor lady. It’s all about her and her feeeeeelings. Sigh. I’ll offer Mass for her intentions tomorrow.

  41. I don’t know whether to laugh or to be depressed by this…Maybe a little of both, LOL to the Haas-Haugen, Landry. St. Louis Jesuits, line, LOL!

  42. Mitchell says:

    What a depressing read that was…I am sure many people out there feel like her…I think she needs to find a new way to invigorate herself with the faith…Perhaps a side of it she had not considered before….Surely she can be saved from this self destructive path of thinking. A private prayer including her name may be in order…As for the “men using women as a recepticle” thing I think the last time I heard, women had some say into where trash is deposited…Dept of Sanitation is an equal opportunity employer!

  43. Mary Rose says:

    Rose Murphy will be in my prayers, also. I was saddened by her article for two reasons: 1) That she still thinks of herself as a Catholic and not as an agnostic and 2) That a Catholic newspaper would print such foggy thoughts that fail to encourage anyone in their Catholic faith.

    I wrote a response to her article but not sure if it will be posted. Nevertheless, I posted it on my own and am grateful to you, Fr. Z, for pointing it out. I know I recently returned, but it would seem that years of compromise (for most ‘progressive’ Catholic parishes) have now produced rotten fruit of faith gone bad. If anything, it’s a clarion call to stalwart Catholics to start praying and start witnessing.

  44. Meredith says:

    Rose Murphy’s article made me so sad I could hardly finish it. It’s so obvious that this “doubt” is making her unhappy, but she can’t seem to pull herself out of the downward spiral. I could relate to her experiences. I’m a sensual pagan when left to my own devices, and I am terrified of getting into just the sort of drift that she has. But there are certain things I *know* which she doesn’t seem to have thought of – in particular, that if you skip Mass once (which is a Very Bad Thing), you will find it somehow painful/jarring/alien when you come back to it. Like, if you give one of your friends the cold shoulder and then try and talk to them next week, there will be an awkwardness.

    Anyway, prayers.

  45. Ann says:

    “dark night” – yes
    “of the soul” – no

    Rose’s article cannot be remotely compared to the spiritual journey of St. John of the Cross. His soul was very much alive and seeking, and hers is deadened and she’s not trying to find the light but making more excuses to stay in the dark.

    “Mass today, or a bike ride and latte?” That isn’t a dark night of the soul, the SOUL part is missing entirely.

  46. Dear Michael,

    My disagreement was with your precise formation: “contraception allows women to have consequence-free sex.” You have now revised and extended your remarks, and as a result I see we have no disagreement.

    For the record, I do not now, nor did I ever take your statements to assert, imply or entail the liceity of artificial contraception.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


  47. I’m reminded for some reason of the story the Irish folk singer Tommy Makem told on stage when he sang with the Clancy Brothers. It’s about a Protestant in a mixed marriage who converts to Catholicism and confides to his priest that he can’t get it through his head that he’s now a Catholic. The priest tells the man to repeat to himself, “I’m a Catholic, not a Protestant. I’m a Catholic, not a Protestant.” A few weeks later, the priest pays a visit to the man’s home on a Friday. Upon entering the house, the priest smells meat cooking in the kitchen. He goes into the kitchen, where the convert is standing over the stove saying, “You’re a trout, not a steak. You’re a trout, not a steak.”

  48. RBrown says:

    I’ll take trout over steak any day–especially, with Sauce Bearnaise.

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