Author of “one of the dumbest things I have ever read” is back again!

From time to time… well… pretty often actually, readers send me blurbs written by their parish priest and published in their Sunday bulletin.

Let’s have a look at this, from Fr. Patrick Wissman, pastor of Sacred Heart in Bolivar MO. 

We have seen this fellow before on WDTPRS.  He wrote one of the dumbest things I have ever read.

He doesn’t confine himself to writing dumb things.  He is also nasty.

The reader wrote: "I thought you might like to hear his latest opinions.  I especially like how he compares them to parasites and fleas."

My emphases and comments.

February 8, 2009   Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Dear Parishioners,
February (meaning ‘cleansing’) is for us a time of winter’s cold and weather. I suppose the intent is to say that the very cold temperatures will kill the’ bugs’ that are outside. [Watch the parallel is is setting up.] The fleas, ticks and parasites that can’t take the extreme cold will be done away with. The warm-up that is occurring is typical of Missouri weather. The changeability is a sign that there is some struggle in nature to get us ready for springtime. Perhaps there is some global climate change showing itself.

Britain had the biggest snow it has had for some 18 years. The pictures of London blanketed with 6 inches of snow was reminiscent of-the age of Dickens.

The news this week of Pope Benedict lifting the excommunication on four bishops that were ordained without any legitimacy was strange. The previous Popes have dealt in different ways with the St. Pius X Society (a heretical group that refused to accept Vatican II and it’s documents of change) [I think Father doesn’t understand what heresy is… rather… the definition of heresy.] . Their leader was a certain Archbishop Lefevre [sic] of Switzerland. It is our belief [the royal we?] that the changes of Vatican II are the works of the Holy Spirit. That Archbishop refused to accept the changes and was especially recalcitrant concerning the Liturgical renewal and an ecumenical approach to the Protestant denominations. [It would be accurate to say a false ecumenical approach.] The Holy Father in a desire to bring wondering sheep back to the fold, lifted excommunication of four Bish­ops. That excommunication had been put in place by Pope John Paul II. The news that caught the world by surprise was that one of those Bishops held anti-Semite views and de­clared that there were no gassing of Jews under Hitler’s Third Reich. Evidently the Pope was unaware of  his position. Pope Benedict has reconsidered and in today’s (Wednesday) noon address in Rome he said that the lifting of the excommunication for that Bishop was dependent on him recanting his anti-Semite position. The shame of this is that the Pope was unaware concerning this rebellious and disobedient cleric! The Jewish leaders loudly questioned the Pope’s first action and said that Catholic-Jewish Dialogue was now seriously jeopardized. Today the leader of Germany Angela Merkel voiced her opinion on the matter. I think this is what made the Pope reconsider. [Reconsiderrrrr …. what exactly?]  In Ger­many anyone who denies the Holocaust in any significant way is considered a criminal and subject to a jail term.

What happened here? I am afraid it is the old problem that has been around for ever! The Ivory Tower syndrome. The Pope is so isolated from ordinary life that he is very much out of touch with the reality of the world. He is surrounded by people who feel they need to agree with him.   [He is parroting the likes of Reese and his blather on WaPo.]

The allowing of Latin liturgies (Mass and sacraments) by choice of priests is the same thing. [Remember: the libs are terrified of worship which is manifestly God-centered.] These people that the Pope is trying to bring back into the fold are lacking in faith and are self seeking and above all disobedient. I think they are the hypocrites in the church of today.  [And yet look at this attitude toward the Pope.  In front of his whole parish, he is running down the Pope.  In his bulletin.  If he does this in his bulletin, imagine what he says "off the record" to his parishioners.  This priest demonstrates little spirit of obedience toward the Holy Father’s determinations about the SSPX or Summorum Pontificum. Who is the hypocrite?]

And we know how Jesus dealt with the hypocrites. He called them ‘whitened sepulchers’ and false leaders. I think the Pope has fallen into on indefensible position and for all the good will he has, he is out of touch. It is interesting that the Pope makes mistakes. This can only remind us of what infallibility means. In the Catholic Church it is the Church that is infallible, not the Pope alone. It is only in unity and with consultation that the Pope shares any infallibility. [He accuses the SSPX of being "heretical" and says they don’t accept Vatican II.  Fine.  Father should actually read the Council documents and discover what the Church actually says about the teaching office of the Church.  The Pope can teach infallibly without consulting anyone.  He can do so entirely on his own.  What Father suggested veers rather close to heresy… unless he is simply uninformed.]  A good learning moment for all of us. As of yet, I don’t know if this Bishop will recant. If he doesn’t, then it should be clear that he does not live by the Holy Spirit. [And now he is judging the soul of another because of he expressed something which is an historical error, not a doctrinal error.]

Let us pray for the Church!   

Fr Pat   
Pastor: Rev. J. Patrick

He started with fleas and ticks, and how the cold is supposed to kill them.

He is trying to get people to turn on the freeze.

What a guy.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Scott W. says:

    At least it wasn’t typed in all caps. ;)

  2. Woody Jones says:

    Who is the bishop there? Poor father seems a little tired and may need a sabbatical.

  3. Prof. Basto says:

    Heretical proposition by Fr \”Pat\”: \”In the Catholic Church it is the Church that is infallible, not the Pope alone. It is only in unity and with consultation that the Pope shares any infallibility\”


    Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, of the First Vatican Ecumenical Council:

    \”…Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.

    So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.

  4. Patrick A says:

    “Pope Benedict has reconsidered and in today’s (Wednesday) noon address in Rome he said that the lifting of the excommunication for that Bishop was dependent on him recanting his anti-Semite position.”

    Of course the Pope is not reconsidering the ex-communication. The statement said that if Williamson ever wants to exercise the office of Bishop, he must recant. Something very different.

    The Church does not excommunicate for the sin of stupidity. A fact for which Fr. Pat should be eternally grateful

  5. Cathy says:

    Could you help me understand something (I’m not a Catholic)? Although this bishop
    denying the holocaust is rather scary, I’m not aware that it would be heresy? Do you
    have to believe in the Holocaust to be a Catholic? What doctrines is this guy breaking?
    I’m sure there are many Catholics in foreign countries with much less education than
    anyone’s who know little if anything regarding WWII. Are they somehow lacking because the
    Church hasn’t taught them secular history?
    Does this bishop have to be perfect to be let back in? It seems part of all this is
    to bring this group back in line with the Vatican, and this is the first of many steps.
    Again, shocking he’d deny it, but is it heresy or something? What does a secular event
    have to do with the Church?

  6. Christian says:

    He’s the Anti-Z

  7. Sal says:

    You know, back in the day (like in the day of Pius XI) no priest would even have THOUGHT of writing something like this, let alone actually putting it in print. The disrespect toward the Pope is a scandal to the faithful. Who is the bishop in these parts and why has he not acted to correct this priest?

  8. TJM says:

    I checked this priest’s parish website and its quite eery. He really likes pictures of himself! He kind of reminds me of the priest in Australia
    who also believes it’s all about him. I noticed this priest was born in 1938 so he won’t be active too much longer and then perhaps his parish
    will get someone more in the mainstream. Tom

  9. PaulJason says:

    Sadly again I am not surprised. My whole family is from Southeast Missouri and has been poisoned by this kind of silliness for who knows how long. Fr. Pat is the type of priest that I owe my early poor catecheses to. The sooner these folks are retired the better.

    The term \”pray 4 priest\” is my anti-spam word it is also something I will gladly do for Fr. Pat.

  10. John Enright says:

    He isn’t tired and he doesn’t need a sabbatical. He needs to learn Latin and use it.

  11. Jack says:

    When I read garbage like this from Wissman, I know why the Society exists.

  12. Rob says:

    One fictional character I can think of who also “turned on the freeze”–the white witch in Narnia…

  13. MargaretMN says:

    Wow, just wow. I am stunned over the poverty of logic and charity here. Orthodoxy and politics do not have to go together but somehow lately they really seem to. How can he possibly be a pastor and equate hypocrisy to a particular set of beliefs? Surely he must possess the experience to know that hypocrites exist all over the spectrum. To suggest otherwise is a bit…may I say? ..hypocritical. No, this “wisdom” is emanating from his lower order brain functions, not his reason.

  14. Christa says:

    Father Pat wrote, “The Holy Father in a desire to bring wondering sheep…”

    I am pretty sure he meant WANDERING. Wondering sheep are standing in a pasture pondering over what’s happening. Wandering sheep have gone astray.

    I do so love it when self-appointed intellectuals can’t even get basic spelling correct.

  15. Neal Meyer says:

    check out the website and his glamor shots of himself therein…..

    what a prima donna

  16. Paul says:

    Cor blimey! I just read his previous rantings aswell.

    Father Z,

    Surely you are being polite when you describe Fr. Patrick Wissman’s comments as being dumb? It’s an understatement.

  17. paul says:

    This is all so sad, shocking to see such statements coming from the mouth of a Catholic clergyman.

  18. IvoDeNorthfield says:

    I had a hunch that this was not a young priest, and the parish web site confirmed that hunch. The vast majority of these problematic priests were ordained at a time when heterodoxy and alternative lifestyle choices (if you catch my drift) were encouraged in the seminaries. It’s going to be rough for another few years, but then most of these folks will disappear from the scene. In a decade, God willing, we’ll see a very different Church. I feel sorry for this foolish man’s parishioners.

  19. adabolendam says:

    As a newer reader of your blog, I just read what Fr. Wissman wrote back in 2007. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. That any thinking person could try to equate the Latin language with the rise of Hitler makes my head want to explode. I hope that his parishioners openly question him about his screeds and report his fallacious and mendacious rants to the local bishop. I will remember him and his parishioners in my prayers tonight.

  20. Brian Day says:

    For Cathy:
    Although this bishop denying the holocaust is rather scary, I’m not aware that it would be heresy? It isn’t. This is all a version of guilt by association.

    Do you have to believe in the Holocaust to be a Catholic? No.

    What doctrines is this guy breaking? None. This is what is so frustrating. As Fr Z said, this is an error of history, not an error of doctrine.

    I’m sure there are many Catholics in foreign countries with much less education than
    anyone’s who know little if anything regarding WWII. Are they somehow lacking because the
    Church hasn’t taught them secular history?
    No. See above. History and doctrine are two different things.

    Does this bishop have to be perfect to be let back in? No. Remember, no human is perfect. Revoking an ex-communication means that the person can now receive the Sacraments. This Bishop can receive the Sacraments, but cannot perform them. He is still suspended.

    It seems part of all this is to bring this group back in line with the Vatican, and this is the first of many steps. Correct.

  21. Kyle says:

    The Bishop really needs to do something about this.

  22. RosieC says:

    His ending was ok (“Let us pray for the Church”)

  23. dcs says:

    If Pope Benedict XVI could make a mistake in nullifying the excommunications, well, then, his predecessor could have made a mistake in declaring them. And, therefore, Bl. John XXIII could have made a mistake in calling the Second Vatican Council and Paul VI could have made a mistake in continuing it, promulgating its documents, and imposing the Novus Ordo on the Church. [sarcasm]It is the Church that is infallible at all, not the College of Bishops[/sarcasm].

  24. Vox Cantoris says:

    Yes, but have you seen his photo spread?

    Check out his mid-life crisis at 42.

    Sad…really, really sad.

  25. Henry Edwards says:

    Woody: Who is the bishop there? Poor father seems a little tired and may need a sabbatical.</b?

    Until less than a year ago, his bishop was my pastor, and the most influential supporter of the traditional Latin Mass in our then bishop-less diocese. I have never known personally a priest whom I felt better qualified to be a bishop, nor for whom I have greater respect in every way.

  26. Jillian says:

    I hope the Bishop has a little chat with his priest. I will keep Fr. Wissman (and all priests) in my prayers.

    One telling sign of parish life at Sacred Heart: they only offer Confession for 15 minutes.

  27. Aelric says:

    Well, Professor Basto beat me to it (even had the same text pasted!). What are the requirements to file a formal heresy charge against this person?

  28. Genna says:

    Wow! Some of his photos look like internet dating site mugshots. . . no shrinking violet he. The moody, open-shirted number is hilarious. Judging by his website it looks as though he assumes his parishioners are dumber than he is.

  29. Prof. Basto says:

    Aelric (I don’t know exactly — I’m not a Canon Lawyer), but I suppose you could write to the CDF.

  30. Son of Trypho says:

    Ironic and strange that he specifically brings up anti-semitism in the Nazi context, and then uses similar dehumanising language (fleas, parasites etc) to refer to his opponents.

    A very unfortunate piece of correspondence.

  31. Allena says:

    We don’t know what the Bishop will do. I’m pretty sure he’s aware. Last time we had another Bishop who probably agreed with him. Now? I don’t know.

    I do know that this priest hates the Society, so this is a really painful blow for him. This is the priest who refused to say the Gospel at mass because it “was contrary to modern thoughts”. It was the one about wives obeying their husbands. So we had mass, with NO gospel! He has also talked about the “she spirit” and many other ridiculous notions.

    He’s either senile, uninformed or just plain heretical, I don’t know.

    Don’t even get me started on his discussion with my son on why he can’t kneel for communion. I’m so glad we have Latin mass an hour away. It’s worth the drive. Totally.

  32. variously curious says:

    Did he really mean to write “wondering sheep” instead of “wandering sheep”?

  33. Herman Yootik says:

    One telling sign of parish life at Sacred Heart: they only offer Confession for 15 minutes.

    Don\’t fret about this, Jillian. His parish bulletin says there will be a communal penance service soon./s


  34. Simon-Peter says:

    what a wally

  35. Bruce T. says:

    His most recent bulletin is about St. Valentine’s Day. I find this odd since I thought he was a Vatican II priest. What about Sts. Cyril and Methodius? Why is he so attached to the old calendar!!! I hope he sees the light and soon embraces the reform!!!
    Oh, and I also notice he mentions the frost again.

  36. Dan says:

    I let my Sicilian temper get the best of me and sent Fr. Wissman a personal note via e-mail and wasn’t so kind. [And that helps us and your concerns… how?] I find it more and more difficult to swallow liberal catholic agenda. I returned to the Church after 18 years of a dissolute lifestyle. I basically read my way back into the Church and found that what I was taught in CCD was basically nothing but fluff. Now that I know what the Church officially teaches for the most part, I just cannot tolerate the likes of priests like Wissman and their anti-Catholic, anti-Church rhetoric. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. [It seems to me you should be apologizing to Fr. Wissman.]

  37. MargaretMN says:

    I took a look at the pages that were linked and see that Fr. Wissman spent a couple of years in Brazil in the late 60s. No doubt he drank deep from the well of liberation theology.

  38. Dan says:

    Well how long shall we go and just let priests like him say what they want to say and destroy what vestiges of hope and faith some people have left? I will apologize to him but some people just need to be told, don’t they? [When you damage your cause and that of others by getting up in someone’s face – a tactic that never works with priests – you set everyone back several paces in the pursuit of your own impulsive gratification.]

  39. Dan says:

    Then perhaps you should also send him an apology for basically calling him dumb on your blog. I realize I made a mistake but fess yourself.

  40. Dan says:

    i meant fess-up

  41. Son of Trypho says:

    Remember that humility is a virtue. Control your pride and accept the gentle rebuke as an act of charity.

  42. Dan says:

    Me thinks the good Father can also use a good dose of humility. We are all human after all, no?

  43. boredoftheworld says:

    I dunno, if we think about the harm, the spiritual mass-murder, committed by priests like Fr. Wissman it is especially difficult for me to argue that his victims (and the victims of the priests like him) should be discouraged from letting him have it.

    As it is whenever I reflect on it I become somewhat angry that my protestant upbringing denied me the fullness of the Catholic Faith for the first 20+ years of my life, the only way I am able to avoid going into a full blown fury about it is the knowledge that being raised as a protestant probably saved me from being spiritually clobbered by the likes of Fr. Wissman. Isn’t that weird? If it isn’t is should be.

    He’s either butchering souls or he isn’t, if he is he needs to be whipped out of his parish and if he isn’t slaughtering the sheep entrusted to him then who cares what he (or anyone else, ever) says?

    Point being, do we believe a priest can lead souls to hell? If the answer is yes… what should a reasonable man do, say “please dear and reverend father, if you can see your way fit not to annihilate any more of Christ’s lambs we certainly would appreciate it”?

  44. Gail F says:

    From the headline, I thought you were talking about Dan Brown.

  45. magdalene says:

    I actually feel a little pity for some priests of this age group; they are having a difficult time accepting that dogma and doctrine never changes. But even my basic theology course taught that the Holy Father can be infallible by himself!

    He should be retiring soon. And there is a new bishop. I have two sisters in this part of Missouri, one is no longer Catholic. And sometimes when I would attend a ‘Catholic’ church–well first of all was to discover which of the ugly buildings in a row was, in fact, even a CAtholic church (hmm–one a library? one a medical office? one a church?)–and there was not that strong essence of CAtholicism there for her to latch on to. In fact my sister told me that a local priest said that as long as she went to a church, it is not have to be CAtholic! When you have that sort of thing going, it is very difficult.

    If I had a pastor like this–well, I would have to pray for him for the rest of my life as I do some of my former less than orthodox (shall we say) pastors–I would leave the parish. I would drive a distance if I had to where things were more in line with Catholicism.

    So many priests of this era had poor formation. And they bought that ‘liberal’ mindset, hook , line and sinker and never got past it. We have a couple of priests in my hometown rather like this (but not so blatently critical) and I hope they go on to a happy retirement very soon. May they be replaced with holy , orhtodox, and enthusiastic young priests who love the Holy Father, the Church, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady and etc.

  46. John 6:54 says:

    So if we shouldn’t comment to Fr. Pat then why post his email? Here was my comment. Is this over the line or appropriate?

    Dear Fr. Pat,

    While I am not a member of your parish (thankfully) or even your diocese I am a Roman Catholic and I take offense at comments made by you in your Feb 8th pastoral comments toward’s the Pope. I am not a “traditionalist” and I do not attend the TLM, but I do consider your comments towards Pope’s recent actions as dispicable. To speak to your flock as you did in regards of the Pope and his decision to lift the excommunications is shameful. You speak as if you know the intracies of the situation or the inner workings of the Vatican, which we both know you do not. If you cannot speak of the Pope with charity, towards a decision that is obviously his to make, then you should not speak at all.

    John 6:54
    Overland Park, KS

  47. Methinks, Fr. Z will soon close the combox on this one…

  48. Athelstane says:

    As you like to say, Fr. Z – Fr. Pat appears to be a “one change” priest.

    Really, this is astonishing – virtually a caricature of the “Spirit of Vatican II” mindset. I am at a loss for words – but not, I hope, prayers. For him and his parishioners.

    I’m struck by the fact that – like more than a few similarly minded priests – most of his religious formation (ordained 1964) came before the conclusion of the Council. It’s a reminder that not all was peaches and cream before John XXIII – whatever debacles ensued later.

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