My take on Sunday at Notre Dame

On Sunday we heard resound from Notre Dame well-crafted speeches well-delivered. 

They were designed to shift the present controversies from the basis of reason to that of emotion and they succeeded.

The backdrop was perfect. 

Controversy insured high reportage.  Thousands of cheering young fans, products of the education they just received, blithely drank up their obviously deserved praise. Gray-haired veteran liberals whose skills were honed by a real education and decades of progressivist trench warfare provided the spear-carriers of a more authentic ecclesiastical establishment, a Church establishment as it truly ought to be if we lived in a more just world.  A few pathetic court-jesters shouted incoherently during the President’s speech. They provided the students with some entertainment and gave the Doctoratus in Chief his chance to reveal his patient benevolence by means of a prepared one liner. 

Who needs The Tudors?  This was like watching Henry suborn the English Church away from the interference of Rome.

Neither President, Jenkins nor Obama, needed to say much of substance.  And they didn’t.  All they had to do to vindicate the inevitable rightness of their agendas was to sound reasonable. 

Fr. Jenkins, throbbing with emotion after these weeks of persecution, cuddled the students and their adorers, inviting them into his sufferings.  

President Obama, wise realist, offered astonishing insight.  For example, you surely noted his stunning admission that the two sides in the abortion debate – wait for it – have irreconcilable differences!

In the final analysis we heard various expressions of "can’t we all just get along" even as we were being told to "shut up".

A great goal has been held up for us.  Gaze with wonder upon the new calf.  Our new goal is dialogue.  Common ground is our promised land.   There we will find healing from divisions and lots more talk.  Endless dialogue and then more dialogue.  Our side might not be able to say very much, but that is neither here nor there.  It’s the goal of dialogue which is important.

But this dialogue must not be allowed to become mean-spirited. Forefend!  We must not "demonize" – a favorite new word – anyone with their past records or the Church’s clear principles about the sanctity of human life. 

In an era when emotion trumps reason, facts are just plain mean. 

The progressivist side knows they will not win by arguments.  They win by projecting the image of deep-caring, of brow-furrowed nuance, of struggling with those hard decisions.

Remember: If you will have first "struggled" you are thereafter justified in anything you chose.

So, Sunday was pretty black for Catholics who are waking up to a clearer Catholic identity in continuity with our Tradition.  It was a great day for adherents of Catholic-lite, especially in the many long-subverted institutions of higher learning.  They are sure to be revitalized. 

It is hard to imagine, they will surely assume, that Ex corde Ecclesiae will ever be implemented now. 

Frankly, I agree.

After all, who would implement it?

Unless we see, soon, some concrete gesture on the part of either the local bishop where Notre Dame is (and other bishops where there are other universities) or the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome, then a battle will have been lost and won in this ever more closely joined culture war over the Church’s role in the modern world.

Among the reactions I gathered from the smart people I talk with about pivotal events – and we witnessed something pivotal on Sunday – I heard grim assessments and forecasts.

One person said, "America has a new pope".

Therefore, after pondering this for a day, my response is finally to return to a basic premise of this blog.

More than ever, we must have what the Church really says, what Holy Church really has to offer. 

We are not getting the fullness of the Church’s teachings from Notre Dame or other, now lesser, water carriers of the secularist agenda.  We are not getting it from very many of our leaders in the Church.  

And so…

I urge all priests and bishops who read this blog with any slight quaver of resonance or benevolence, to consider this with care:

If you sense that something quite serious and important is going on right now, for the love of God rethink your approach to how you foster Holy Church’s proper public worship.

Do all in your power and through your influence to foster a worship of God which conforms not to worldly goals – as praiseworthy as they may be in a world still dominated by its dire prince – but rather to the real point of religion: an encounter with mystery

Our worship must become more and more focused on the one who is Other.  Seek what is truly above in your rites and raise people to encounter mystery.

You will be challenged and reviled, blocked and attacked as you do.  You will be worn down and afraid under the weight of resistance.

But I think that to save the world we must save the liturgy.

Sunday reaffirmed this for me. 

They can’t compete with the fullness of Catholic liturgy and sound preaching.

Reforming the liturgy along the lines Pope Benedict has proposed may be the most loving and effective option we have in these ever hotter times.

People will have to keep working very much in the sphere of the secular.  Of course!  Our inward Catholic Christian identity must find outward expression and bring concrete fruits.

But I think the real work now – where we will make some effective headway – must be done at the level of our public worship.

In the present circumstances, we are not going to argue most people out of danger or error.  But together we can draw them in and along and back through worship.

So long as we remain doctrinally faithful and active in works of mercy both spiritual and especially temporal, if we get our public worship together we will have a strong bastion against error. 

Holy Catholic worship will be an attractive force for conversion.

We need to foster worship which stuns, which leaves the newcomer, long-time practicing Catholic, above all the fallen-away simply thunder stuck.  Worship must at some point leave people speechless in awe.  We need language and music and gesture which in its beauty floods the mind with light even while it swells the heart to bursting.

The more people encounter mystery through liturgy, the more hollow will clang the false or incomplete messages of those who have strayed from the good path, either to the left or to the right.  

Our goal must be that which is good and beautiful because it is true, that which reflects what is of God, not man’s image merely.  Give us mystery, not fabrications smacking of the world, fallen and transitory.

Fathers, and you Reverend Bishops, if anything of alarm has sounded in your hearts and minds of late, rethink your approach to our worship.  Examine your approach with an eye on the signs of the times.  Take a new approach. 

The approach we have had least last few decades isn’t getting it done.  Really … it isn’t

Going neither left nor right along the road toward the Lord, even as He comes to us, take the flock now deeper, now higher on that path, but always to encounter the mystery which distinguishes truly Catholic liturgy… and therefore true Catholics.

Lines are being drawn, sides taken, choices made.

More than ever we need what Christ, the true Actor of our liturgy, desires to offer us through Holy Church’s worship.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, Classic Posts, SESSIUNCULA, The future and our choices. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Al says:

    Thanks Father Z…your comments are going to everyone in my Theology on Tap Group and a great many Priests in my diocese.

    Notre Dame has proclaimed “Relativism” to be the “Gold Standard”.

    Not on my watch

  2. Noah Moerbeek says:

    The church militant will rise again in great numbers. The kingdom of God will have its defenders here on earth.

    The devil will hold no victory in my heart. For this Notre Dame scandal has only encouraged greater devotion, greater discipline and a much greater love of Christ and his church as we see it rejected.

    As much as St Longinus had his eye healed when he pierced the side of Christ by his blood. These great sins only shine a greater light upon the darkness that surrounds us.

    Brothers, Iron and fire now our hellfire later.

  3. RJSciurus says:

    Thank you Father for this and all you do.

  4. Racjax says:

    I have been literally sickened after watching the stagecraft and the public humiliation of our Faith yesterday. I try to cling to the belief that NOTHING can triumph over God and Jesus Christ. But it is so hard to find any peace in my soul at this moment. I have been holding out that Pope Benedict would bring a hammer down after this weekend but I must admit that I now do not hold my breath.

    But I must remember that for many years I did not comprehensively understand my faith. I knew something was wrong but did not have the concrete knowledge to reconcile my discomfort. It has only been in the last decade I have come to understand the real Church. May all those who mocked the Faith yesterday have the scales removed from their eyes. They do not know that they hunger.

  5. Sandy says:

    I hope Noah is correct. We who are older are feeling a bit tired and need the “youngsters” to take up the battle. None of this is any surprise, considering what we have seen in the last few decades. My wonderful Catholic alma mater of 40 yrs ago is a distant dream – now they have a “pride” club on campus. Forgive me if I plead with the Holy Spirit to show up in power and rescue this world from its blindness. May the Lord bring good out of this and awaken those who have been asleep.

  6. eyeclinic says:

    Jeers,jeers for old Notre Dame
    Silence the echoes cheering her name
    Squelch the volley cheers on high
    Bring down the lightning from the sky

    What though the odds be great or small
    Old Notre Dame will lose after all
    While disloyal sons are marching
    Downward in infamy

  7. Jeff says:

    All I can say is, well said Father.

  8. Noah Moerbeek says:

    Sandy Im 21. There is a tremendous hunger amongst youth.

  9. RBrown says:

    One person said, “America has a new pope”.

    Well, the post has been open since the death of Cardinal Bernardin in 1996.

    Seriously, it’s nice to be civil, but Obama has to realize that it took a wild-eyed extremist (John Brown) and the death of 600,000 Americans to end slavery and make it possible for him to be President.

  10. EDG says:

    “One person said, “America has a new pope”.”

    That is exactly what I have been saying, and people have been accusing me of overreacting; but yesterday, he effectively nationalized the Catholic Church, taking it over just the way he has taken over every other industry. With the help of traitors on the inside, such as Jenkins and the herd of dumbos chanting “yes we can” at the graduation, he stripped it away from its legitimate directors, who are the bishops and Rome, and essentially made himself its central figure. That picture of Obama with his scornful smirk in the ND academic gown is foul.

    Poor bishops. Even the good ones were too weak and too late in their protests, and those who could have done something said all the right things but never followed through with any action. And now as a result they’ve lost their authority and seem to be well on the way to losing their church.

    Maybe the answer is the liturgy; after all, one of the first things Henry VIII did was destroy Catholic worship in his time, so you know that means it’s important. But I just wonder how we’re going to do it. Yesterday, to add to the agony, my pastor gave a homily in which he mocked two “old men” going to the bishop to complain about how things had changed since Vatican II and asking the bishop to bring back Catholic teaching and the pre-Vatican II “old ways;” to this, the anecdotal bishop supposedly responded that this could not happen, because what Vatican II really brought was what Jesus had meant all along, “love” (which apparently had been unknown in the Church for 1965 years). The congregation even snickered knowingly at the mention of “the pre-Vatican II Church.”

    This isn’t meant as a criticism or even discussion of Vatican II, but simply with reference to the liturgy, it indicates that among many people there is already a before and after, there are already two churches, and they will not be receptive to any liturgical changes. This includes both the folks in the pews and the clergy, particularly the higher clergy. Lines are definitely being drawn.

    I wish we had more guidance and support from Rome in all of this. Maybe that wouldn’t help, of course, since these people have neither love nor respect for Rome and the current Pope. And maybe Rome, being far away, hasn’t quite understood the impact and true meaning of all that happened on Sunday. I don’t know.

  11. Sacerdos ignotus says:

    Well said, Father. The most depressing thing about yesterday was that it took place in America’s premier Catholic University.

    I almost got sick during the valedictory.

    The whole thing was nauseating.


  12. Thank you, Father. All that makes this bearable is that the Blessed Mother foretold this in the Third Secret of Fatima. She foretold terrible times and they certainly are. On July 13th, 1917, She showed three children, the oldest of which was ten, a vision of Hell and She said: “You have seen Hell where poor souls go who have no one to pray for them”.
    However, She promised that in the end,”MY Immaculate Heart will prevail.” Let us pray on our knees for the end to come quickly.

  13. Denise says:

    Let me tell you how powerful the liturgy can be. My son began dating a non-Catholic young lady. She had no exposure to the Church and had been raised without much religious training though she considered herself a Christian. She was hesitant to attend Mass with my son, unsure of what Catholics really do at Mass. When she came out of the Mass at St. Mary’s in College Station, TX she was moved to tears, in awe of what she had experienced. She has attended Mass at least weekly ever since. She completed RCIA and and entered the Church this past Easter. She and my son will be married in a few months. St. Mary’s had 14 members enter either the seminary or religious formation this past fall. 75 members have entered the seminary or religious formation in the past 9 years. Just more evidence that a strong liturgy supports a strong faith.

  14. meg says:

    of course liturgy is primary..necessary but i do not think sufficient. we cannot have a siege mentality..we need to articulate the argument for the gospel of life tirelessly.

  15. Kevin V. says:

    Father, with all due respect, I’m not sure what there is to “mull”. [Given how many people read what I write, and who they are, I like to weigh my words and pick the points carefully rather than just heave the kitchen sink into the muck.] This is a result of the “diabolical disorientation” that has been in the Church since 1965. When will neo-conservatives quit supporting the root of the problem while resisting the consequences?
    If you want the theology of Vatican II, this is what happens. The modern Church, in America and Europe is the natural result. If you don’t want it, repudiate it.
    You can’t go halfway and want the mass but not the theology (or vice versa). The NO mass teaches what you see before you. It’s a completely different religion, a religion of man / humanism – everything that the great saints and popes of the last couple of centuries fought against has come to be.
    Consecrate Russia as Our Blessed Lady asked, follow the instruction of our Blessed Mother at Fatima and Akita – REPENT!. The Father’s anger grows daily, how many will escape the chastisement She promised?

  16. tertullian says:

    Sunday was all about Theodore Hesburgh. Mr Jenkins is a useful tool. The introduction of the President belonged at the Democrat National Convention.

    Cut Notre Dame loose. Let it slip away to it’s natural home. GOODBYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE.

  17. TNCath says:

    I am still not over it, and don’t think I ever will be. The substance of the speech (or lack thereof) was immaterial to me, for I already knew what President Obama was and wasn’t going to say. What bothered me the most was that here was the president of the University of Notre Dame (a priest of Jesus Christ), along with hundreds of faculty and thousands of students, parents, and friends of the university, cheering for someone who is fundamentally opposed to the basic teachings of the Catholic Church. Notre Dame, in effect, thumbed its nose at the Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend and the Universal Church. However, the Church will nonetheless survive this as it has dungeon, fire, and sword. The question is, however, will Notre Dame survive as a Catholic university? That, of course, is for Notre Dame and the bishops to decide. My biggest fear is that after Sunday nothing will happen. Dear Bishops who might read this blog, I beg that you not take this insult to the Church sitting down. Please act quickly and effectively to insure that something like this never happens again.

    Secondarily, as I was watching the coverage on CNN, I found it quite ironic that it took Raymond Arroyo, a Catholic layman and commentator from EWTN, to defend Church teaching to a Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest from America magazine. Not that Mr. Arroyo isn’t a good Catholic, but here was a layman defending the very Faith that Father Martin had taken vows to uphold and protect!

    What a sad, sad day it was for the Catholic Church in the United States.

  18. Phil Onochie says:

    Does anybody know if the media covered the ND Response event? There were over 3,500 people gathered. Despite the abomination that was taking place we still had cause to hope. Thanks to the ND Responders who took time out of their schedules to give us hope that all is not lost.

    We will continue to fight this battle and as long as there is always a sign of hope, we will be encouraged in realizing that good will always triumph over evil.

    In case anybody wants to read my account of the impromptu trip I made to Notre Dame from DC, feel free to visit:

  19. Tradster says:

    Dear Father,

    Bravo!! Thank you and may God bless you, as always, for saying what desperately needs to be said.

    Sadly, my first battle needs to be against my own pessimism which insists if the shepherds of the Faith were willing to act they would have done so already. I believe the vast majority of the Church hierarchy are social justice liberals themselves and not inclined to act. For them, their words – many strong, too many reluctant and tepid – are sufficient to soothe their relativistic consciences.

  20. LCB says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z.

  21. I agree, of course, on the dire need to restore a sense of the sacred through traditional liturgy. That’s why I read this blog.

    However, I don’t think that will solve the problems you identify, Father. In retrospect, one of the “highest” liturgies I attended (aside from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom) before the Traditional Latin Mass was an Anglican liturgy. Do I need to say more?

    President Obama’s general political strategy is to marginalize the Fox News and talk radio crowd. I’ve said this recently in several other comments: it does NOT HELP the Church when prominent members identify themselves with such media outlets, for two reasons: (1) they excuse truly immoral actions on the part of Republican administrations; and (2) their tone is uncharitable.

    Father, I esteem you and appreciate your knowledge and your love for the Church and Her liturgy, but I respectfully include you in this criticism.

  22. Thank you so much for your thoughts, Father. I support you and our faithful priests and bishops 100%!

    I did not see what happened at Notre Dame because I was at my local priory making my first profession as a Lay Dominican and receiving my white scapular. I can already tell what a powerful piece of armor it is, and am ready to do my part for the Church!

    But of course, I don’t know how much I or any of us can do without our bishops and priests being in solidarity 1) with the Holy Father, 2) with each other, and 3) with the laity.

    I am going to offer a Rosary right now for the strength and courage of our priests and bishops, for the building up and unity of the Church Militant, for the sincere repentance of those who have turned against and wounded us, and for the conversion of Pres. Obama and our civil leaders!

    And yes, for the widespread restoration of the liturgy! Save the liturgy, save the world!

  23. Matthew says:

    Well said Father.

    To Sandy,

    I believe that some of us youngsters are already starting to stir(for myself age 20). Leave it up to the inevitable restless soul of the male youth to question and fight. The only thing we lack is knowledge and Identity, but God and time will supply both of those.

    Thank God that Benedict started a ripple that will hopefully become a roaring wave.

  24. JPG says:

    The only consolation I heard anywhere is the fact that Obama supports a conscience clause for healthcare providers. For all the
    comments about the Tudors this is not the same. The institutions have not been closed. My Pastor is not being appointed by Governor Rell. My local Catholic Hospital is not yet compelled to offer abortion on demand although they knuckled under with the post rape meds. We still have a constitution to protect us. The issue with regards to authentic Catholic worship( not in the silly seventies sense ) is imperative. One notes that dissent and deviation from Church teaching begins first and foremost with deformation of the Liturgy. It is often accompanied by personal deviations in morality.
    I know of a case of a popular priest whose views political and religious were about as diametrically opposed to the readers and author of this blog and myself as well. He achieved a degree of notoriety. Although I had issues with how he celebrated Mass, one could see he was quite engaging. It seems however that he was involved in an inappropriate relationship; a fact which is not widely known but once one learns that this person had soiled himself with this behavior it explained EVERYTHING , right down to failing to pray for the Pope and the Bishop at Mass. One sees that the subtle or not so subtle undermining of discipline and Ecclesiology was driven by this persons own behaviour. To this day I do not see some sort of dissenter advocating women’s ordination , gay rights , married priesthood I wonder what is in this man’s closet. I am 49 soon to be 50. I recall many of such dissenters yet even at the Jesuit school I attended my Theology and Philosophy profs were as orthodox as they come. It was clear in 1981 when I graduated that not only was abortion wrong but so was artificial insemination , in vitro fertilization, and any destruction of Embryos absolutely forbidden. Aside from the gallant prolife efforts with abortion I have heard nary a peep on the local level about these other issues which are the evil spawn of the same mindset ie the contraceptive mentality and the belief that a child is a product to be acquired.
    Do not in that sense condemn Obama he is, unlike Henry, not the author of our current misery. His appearence is only the latest evidence the captitulation of the Intellectual elites at any Catholic University. On many levels we have acquiesced as a people.
    Lokk at the divorce rate. People do not see that their actions have consequences possibly eternal. No one thinks they are capable of Hell. But I digress. Father is right. Thus the old aphorism Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi is proven before our eyes.

  25. Richard says:

    When one of the sides in this “dialogue” can’t have their voice heard without getting arrested, then we know what sort of “dialogue” in which the University and the President are interested.

    With whom was the President to be engaging in dialogue? A Catholic institution? If such were the case, we would have heard such things from the Catholic institution as “from the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person” (CCC 2270). If the “Catholic” institution failed to deliver such a message to a vehemently pro-abortion politician, but instead just sucked up to him while the President delivered generalized one-liners about relativism and tolerance, we really didn’t see any two sides engaging in dialogue. We simply saw the President pooh-pooh anyone who would hold as solid a conviction as that efforts must actually be made to protect innocent beings deserving the rights of persons from being murdered, and the University’s assurance that not only were they not going to offer any alternate position, but that they would also go ahead and reward him with an honorary doctorate in LAW, to boot.

  26. Francesco B. says:

    Notre Dame must be stripped of its Catholic status. That is only way that the Church will avoid further and lasting damage from this. Yes, that would probably mean that the Church would lose forever the university which had been her greatest in this country, but so be it. The alternative is worse; if Notre Dame is allowed to continue to exist as a Catholic institution, then it will continue to suck the life out of the Church. The same goes for other “Catholic” universities like Georgetown. For the sake of our Catholic identity and for the souls of all Catholics and others in this country, IT IS TIME TO REMOVE THIS CANCER. NOW.

  27. AuroraChristina says:

    We have been silent witnesses of evil
    deeds: we have been drenched by many
    storms; we have learnt the arts of
    equivocation and pretence; experience has
    made us suspicious of others and kept us
    from being truthful and open; intolerable
    conflicts have worn us down and even
    made us cynical. Are we still of any use?

    -Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  28. Obama spoke as if we should all be “reasonable” about embryonic stem cell research. And to my sadness, thousands of badly catechized Catholic young people and their families at Notre Dame cheered. Obama compared Catholics who believe that it is wrong to kill a human being for research purposes with parents who have been propagandized into thinking that stem cell research may be their only hope for a child suffering from a disease such as diabetes.

    His statement is yet another indication that embryonic stem cell research has been hyped so much that it is protected from accountability. The fact that only adult stem cells have actually proven useful is ignored. As is the fact that embryonic stem cells have already been proven to be too undifferentiated, so that they change unpredictably when injected into another person, not changing into the desired sort of cells but often becoming cancer cells.

    Obama spoke of one of his campaign slogans that convinced at least one Catholic niece of mine that he had good will, that we should work to reduce the “need” for abortion. And to my sadness, thousands of badly catechized Catholic young people and their families at Notre Dame cheered. Obama didn’t talk about the means he would pursue to meet that goal: contraception. Contraception is a root cause behind the abortive mentality. Contraception supports the mindset that sexual freedom is a great good that should be defended at all costs, even when it costs the lives of children who are conceived when they aren’t wanted, and it often costs the heartbreak of the mother, the father, the grandparents. He doesn’t realize the fallacy of free sex and the fallacious idea that we cannot control ourselves outside of marriage have led to accepting abortion as a price a woman has to pay for her “freedom.” As a journalist friend recently wrote me, it is a sad thing that women have been convinced that their freedom depends on their right to kill their own children. There is never any “need” for abortion, no matter what the circumstances are of the child’s conception. It is always and everywhere true that two wrongs (rape and abortion, incest and abortion, a child’s deformity and abortion, a woman’s inability to carry a child to term without risk to her life and abortion) do not make a right. Two wrongs never make a right.

  29. I know the guy with the golf hat who shouted at Obama. The guy won’t listen to reason as he is deep in the counsel of Randall Terry at this time.

    No amount of telling him about the platform he actually handed to Obama on a golden platter will make one wit of difference.

    Please do pray for him. I have been deeply worried about him for some time now.

  30. Irene says:

    I don’t know if I can articulate my feelings on what occurred Sunday at Notre
    Dame but I will try. To say I am heartbroken does not do it justice. I
    remember when the the priest scandals came out. I could defend the Church
    because it involved such a small number and any research will point out that
    pedophilia is not just a problem in the Catholic Church. Children being
    abused in much more rampant in the schools. Also, careful study will show
    that the scandals were more of homosexual problem rather than
    abuse of children. Not that it excused it. It is and was a heinous crime.
    I considered leaving the Church but where would I go? This thing with Notre
    dame is in my mind more insidious. The other scandal was like black/white – no
    way to say it was okay. Who in their right mind would defend it. But this –
    so many have defended honoring the most pro-abortion (in my mind, the most
    pro-murder) president in histroy. What makes it so much worse for me is the
    Vatican’s newspaper being on Obama’s side. Does that mean the Pope thinks
    it is okay to just talk about reducing abortions. Of course not, who would
    think that. But that is precisely what seems to be the message coming from
    the Vatican’s newspaper. Two-thirds of the bishops are silent. The ones
    that offered words against it are impotent to do anything. Words – words. Words – empy words just like Obama’s, empty words. Words that mean nothing if
    nothing is done. I agree – we must get back to our Catholic identity but
    how if we have such impotent leadership. Father, your words are great, please
    do not misunderstand. I just see no consequences to what Father Jenkins did
    and I fear what this will do to our faith. We have always told our children
    that actions have consequences. Is that the biggest lie!? My heart breaks.
    I cry and my heart bleeds. My love has been hurt and I am having a hard time dealing with it.
    Please pray for me. For the record – thank God for priests like you.

  31. SophiaGrace says:

    Thank you, Father, for giving voice to the truth.

  32. Romulus says:

    There is a tremendous hunger amongst youth.

    I know that, Noah. And the hunger is for authenticity and clarity and vocation. The hunger is to know the meaning of life, including one’s own life. Until they’re corrupted by the world, most of the young share a natural nobility: a longing for greatness and a contempt for sham. They are open to the possibility that can rock the world. They want to know if they can have all this and love too. The hunger of the young can be fed by orthodoxy: truthful doctrine and truthful worship.

    “Be not afraid” isn’t just encouragement to keep the downhearted plodding along. It’s Good News in the form of an existential exhortation. In the victory of Jesus Christ, our God-willed mode of being is restored to that which obtained before the Fall: “Not Afraid”.

  33. Maureen says:

    You know what the Anchoress would say about people who mess with the Blessed Mother. :)

    If the Gospel is spread like it should be, if the Sacraments are celebrated like they should be, and if we pray and fast and give alms and speak out the way we should, God will work wonders. Heck, even if we just show willingness, I’m sure the results will be something special.

    Admittedly we have some catching up to do. But the situation is not hopeless, because God is our hope.

  34. AlwaysCatholic says:

    Reverend Father,

    Today was interesting in the blogosphere. Most of the bloggers/writers jumped on the Notre Dame story with the blowback we thought it would incite.

    However, in some circles, there were those waiting for your response. This is true for my circle of colleagues and associations. I was called and emailed throughout the day asking me, “Why do you think Z is taking so long to post?”

    Well, of course I told them the obvious answer that look, this is not a person who jumps on a topic to have the scoop. After all, he is first a priest and his contribution through the blog is not his first responsibility.

    Secondly, he told us–he needed time to think, time to ponder. He needed the text of Father Jenkins speech. He needed to clearly focus on something that would impact the Church for a long time.

    So, what was my response? I told everyone the same story. I am a member of Mater Ecclesiae in Berlin, NJ. I have had the pleasure and honor on two occasions to be part of Masses and Devotions where Father was invited by our Pastor, Father Robert C. Pasley KHS.

    I was at the Assumption Mass in Camden, NJ where Fr.Z was the homilist and was at every moment of the Forty Hours Devotion at Mater Ecclesiae where he was invited by Fr. Pasley.

    What I saw was a priest, a man who does not do ANYTHING without clear thought, reason, discipline and charity. Fr. Z even made sure he helped to take photos at the Assumption Mass. He never once made anything about him–it was about the worship.

    I told my colleagues and assoc. today that for everything there is a reason. Today we see a disciplined, thoughtful mind respond to our breaking hearts. We see a priest who has left a worldly secular life to embrace Catholicism, answer a call to a vocation and to be thrown into the middle of the quagmire–whether he wanted it or not.

    Interestingly enough, I felt a compassionate, almost nurturing action in Fr’s decision to comment late in the day. I can only compare it, (please indulge me) to a time when my heart was breaking over a decision I had to make, that my mother waited before comforting me. When I asked her, “Why did you not help me when you saw me weeping?” She said, I needed to think and to pray, I did not want to make it worse, I wanted to make sure I could help you heal.

    Today Father, as our heart breaks and some of us weep, I thank you for waiting to tell us how we win this war. You didn’t just pat us on the back and tell us everything will be ok, that you will lead the fight alone. You waited Father to comfort us, but you made clear what needs to be done and how to do it.

    I am going to be a sponsor for a strong, quiet young lady who will be confirmed next year at Mater Ecclesiae in the Traditional Rite. She reads your blog, your column in the Wanderer among other orthodox writings and she gets it. When she read your blog today she said to me, “Father Z is teaching us and the clergy to honor our Confirmation by being soldiers for Christ–he’s cool. By the way, he’s right about the Mass, my friends ask me every week, what was Mater Ecclesiae like?”

    As tears came to my eyes I thought, Lord, Your Grace is endless– a convert who becomes a priest and a young lady yet to be Confirmed…healing for my breaking heart…
    my cup runneth over.

    Ad Iesum per Mariam

    PS. This is not a fan letter, it is a thank you to you. It is also a hope that those that visit WDTPRS really listen to the words written here.

  35. Bravo, Father, for this trenchant observation on the way the Left is now winning hearts and minds (many conservatives among them):

    “In an era when emotion trumps reason, facts are just plain mean.

    The progressivist side knows they will not win by arguments. They win by projecting the image of deep-caring, of brow-furrowed nuance, of struggling with those hard decisions.”

  36. Ricky Vines says:

    You’re absolutely right Fr. Z, it is in the liturgy where we get spiritual nourishment.
    Good worship and sound preaching is what the Lord has given vocations for. Your appeal
    to the bishops, priests & religious to focus on that is just what we need.

    And the chants of Obama’s mantra is a clarion call to fidelity and holiness from the bishops to
    the lowly layman. For it is better to have a few good men, than a lot of pied-pipers leading
    the flock astray. It is better to have a few consolidated dioceses, than to have politician-bishops
    giving communion to those who promote abortion or celebrity-priests who seek prestige even at
    the cost of disobeying 70+ bishops and disregarding the sensibilities of 350,000+ who may not
    have Ph. D. and may be weak in the faith, but are still scandalized.

    It only takes one Mother Teresa to ignite fervour of an entire continent. I hope priests
    take the initiative to say their brievary in the Confessional every evening, in case one poor
    soul wants to go back to the Lord. I hope priests do an Adoration and Benediction on Thursdays
    even for the same few retirees who happen to support the parish with their prayers. I hope
    a priest can start a solemn Latin Mass to give the faithful an experience of worship that is
    focused on God and not on the community. I hope they listen Fr. Z. And I see your premise
    that if we save the act of worship from being diminished into whatever, then we can pave the
    way to a brief encounter with the Lord where for one hour one can make that time and place
    just for God and God alone.

  37. Vincenza says:

    Thank you Father for your beautiful commentary…Sunday was indeed a discouraging day–watching the Notre Dame seniors cheer wildly the empty rethoric of a corrupted President sent shivers down my spine.The spectacle of clergy betraying the Catholic Church so openly and unashamedly was painful. But after much reflection I think that what God is doing is,in a way, already separating the sheep from the goats.
    Now we know that the enemy is not only without but also within the Catholic Church…Our Lord’s crucifixion sent His followers into despair but we all know what happened next.
    All this pain will energize true Catholicism–it will help us hold on even tighter to the truth.
    I take comfort in that handful of seniors who refused to participate in this charade and did not compromise their faith. Their maturity and courage should inspire and comfort all of us.
    Please do continue,Father, to incourage clergy to be courageous in this battle–we laity need it desperately.

  38. Bruce says:

    CCC 1124 The Church’s faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it. When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles – whence the ancient saying: lex orandi, lex credendi.The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays. Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition.

  39. Bill in Texas says:

    Save the Catholics first! The rest will take care of itself.

    Don’t waste your time trying to convert the abortion hard-liners. Work on your fellow Catholics, the most lukewarm ones first.

    Don’t buy the argument that some make, which is to drive out and turn our backs on the “bad Catholics,” thereby making the Church smaller. No!

    Here is the dialogue we truly need: We need all Catholics, every one of them, with consciences awakened to Christ and His Truth, faithful to the teachings of His Church. Jesus said He did not lose a single soul that the Father gave Him, how can we dare to let a single soul go to the wolves, let alone drive souls there?

    Save the Catholics first! The wolves are more afraid of a united Body of Christ than of anything else.

  40. JPG says:

    Do not strip ND of its Catholic Status , instead compel the President of ND to resign. He is bound by a vow of obedience is he not?
    Both as a priest of his order and to the local bishop I would think.
    Go to the good old days impose interdict, refuse strip him of his title and forbid his celebrating Mass publicly. A nice not so gentle reprimand is in order. The cancer is not the institution but those who run it. Over at NLM one sees the EF celebrated with regularity along with Eucharistic adoration at ND. One does not see this at any Jesuit College nor have I heard of it happening at CUA! Nice orthodox place CUA by the way , I was really impressed on the College tours. The problem is not the institution but those who run it.

  41. Andreas says:

    Dear Father Z:

    What little my opinion is worth, I am in complete agreement with you. And I thank God for priests like yourself. Many other suggestions might come to mind but sound liturgy is the indispensable foundation.

  42. FSB says:

    A Jesuit member of my seminary’s faculty is going on sabbatical this coming academic year. The last conference he gave this year was on just this topic: Save the Liturgy, Save the World. He passionately exhorted us to love the Mass and love Jesus in the Mass. God’s people are crying out for a sense of mystery and the transcendent which is sadly lacking in too many places. Don’t anyone here despair. I have another six years to go, God willing. But I can assure you that the coming generation of priests and seminarians will do everything in our power with the help of God’s grace to restore what has been lost.

  43. birdfeeder says:

    Father Z

    I get the sense that you are mourning for the state of affairs of the world. Reflecting on mourning brought me to the beautiful passages in Matthew Chap 5 “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

    Keep up the good work, thank you for helping me in my journey, and “Peace be with you.” John chap 20.

  44. jennifer eva says:

    I’m not quite young and not quite old. But I do have little ones! Knowing Fr Z is here with a clear head and powerful prayer helps me take the next step. Get to the Liturgy! Time to teach myself my DH and the young ones the EF mass. And go!
    Thank you Fr Z.

  45. Geoffrey says:

    “But I think that to save the world we must save the liturgy.”

    Easier said than done. I went to daily Mass today and a visiting Franciscan said Mass without a Missal (Sacramentary). And no, he did not have a good memory! He made up his own presidential prayers and preface, and mish-mashed Eucharistic Prayers II and III into some sort of mutant combination. He also messed up the words of consecration, but I hope it was still valid. And the final blessing consisted of the words “Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier…”

    So, what can we do? We want good liturgy. We need good liturgy. But priests need to just “say the black and do the red” and that would go a long way to saving the liturgy. But, how do we get that across?

  46. Michael says:


    You have one thing you have to deal with. You have to examine why Catholic women have 27% of the abortions, but they only represent 22% of the population.

    I read an article this week on the subject and the author(I cannot remember who)was saying he talked to lots of catholic women as to why. He also discovered that this is in the unmarried young group, not the 30% who have abortions just because they have finished having their families.

    The stories were legion, they have sex, but they didn’t use contraception, they didn’t want to compound the sin, they cannot tell their family, they would be so ashamed, they cannot tell their priest because he just yells fire and brimstone at Mass, and they are afraid of him.

    YOU……all of you, have to do something if you want to change that statistic. If you just pray, you are going to make these girls more afraid.

  47. Jim says:

    The unstated message from Fr. Jenkins and his applauding minions was that those who protest the giving of honors to Obama are just a bunch of party poopers. In other words, get out of our way so that truly reasonable folks like me and Obama can be heard.

    This is truly a time of reckoning for the American Church. This scandalous outrage cannot be left unanswered. A line must be drawn in the sand, with those who choose to cross it severed from the Church by their own actions. The way things now stand, there are really two churches under one umbrella: (1) Catholics who are faithful to Apostolic tradition, and (2) those who pick and choose what to believe.

    It is time for action by faithful Çatholics. This must not be allowed to occur again.

  48. shadrach says:

    What Sunday revealed was the fruit of decades of insufficient cathechesis, diluted Catholic identity and the chronic self-regarding idolatry that institutions, especially Catholic orders and educational establishments, have for a concept called ‘community’ above all else – even (one might write ‘especially’) the sacraments and the REALITY that they present us with.

    The students in Notre Dame and many other Catholic institutions have been raised through this thinking and terminology. Part of its propagation from at least the 1980s stems from its appeal to priests, who have often been starved of company and human warmth (as many so cruelly are), and they, dazed by the constant attacks that contemporary culture makes on reality and on all vows or promises, seek solace in meaningless constructs like the ‘Ignatian family’, the ‘Notre Dame family’ etc and give liturgical expression of this longing by encouraging or beaming beatifically at the holding of hands at the Pater noster, the impromptu chipping in of bidding prayers, and mass hugging during the sign of peace : this appears to wipe away the sting of suffering (which is unfortunately is real) and replaces it with a fuzzy glow.

    Sunday was the result of many individual’s weaknesses and petty infractions, just as the crucifixion of Our Lord was. That’s all the Adversary needs to work with. But the Church is best when it appears defeated, and is best when it’s persecuted. The Word incarnate is the sign that is to be contradicted by the World, that’s how we know where to stand: Crux stans dum volvitur orbis.

    Two things: 1, Insofar as possible we must be joyful happy people, we must by our appearance and an attractive manner show that adhering to the Faith is having life to the full. LITURGY IS KEY TO THIS. The confidence that true reverend Liturgy done by the book would give us would aid all Catholics in their struggle to stand firm and be happy and content. The Obama nation tries to sell us the chaff of ‘common ground’ and some of them are sincerely of the belief that this is all they deserve, but we must tempt them with the Truth; the best and most unequivocal signs of the Truth are the sacraments performed solemnly and correctly. With this all the drivel about ‘spiritualities’ can be consigned to the dustbin of history… each of us should be able to point and say ‘I don’t have a “spiritual life” WHAT I BELIEVE IS REAL’

    2, there’s an atavistic apocalyptic demographic addicted to angst that seems to be particularly perceptible on Catholic comboxes and at protests, especially in America. While their sincerity is not in doubt, their capacity to convert their opponents and build up God’s kingdom is severely mitigated by their combination of metaphorical tin-hat-wearing and an ugly carbon-copy MacCarthyite hysteria (with much of the same demonisation of opponents) which, while probably explicable (‘too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart’, as Yeats said), is attractive to nobody but themselves. Perhaps they are symptomatic of nostalgia turning in on itself and souring. But the Faith and the Liturgy is eternal and not about bamboozling ‘leftists’ or feeling nostalgic for a supposedly more innocent era, that, believe me, never existed.

    Remember, we have been assured that the Faith will win, while Obama, like Bush, (more pertinently) Blair, and every politician and revolution (yes, even the American) and secular human political consensus (yes, even the USA) since the Tower of Babel will fail. Thank God for that. Our Lord, please God, will take us to him to share in the victory banquet that never flags and lasts for all eternity. And we will laugh.

  49. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Brick by Brick, Father.

  50. KJC says:

    The assault is only going to get worse, but revel in the suffering. The glory of God is greater than anything Obama can provide.

  51. Francesco B. says:


    The reason why those statistics are the way they are has more to do with race than anything. Planned Parenthood and other demonic abortion groups target minorities and have always done so. That means blacks and hispanics today. Most hispanics are Catholics. That is why the numbers are the way they are.

  52. KJC says:

    BTW, a good starting point would be Cdl. George and his group of so-called “Catholic” institution’s of higher learning, i.e. Loyola, DePaul, Dominican, etc. Will he be a leader or another limp-wristed prelate?

  53. ED2 says:

    Father, you are amazing. Why do you love us that much?

  54. shadrach says:

    Oh, I forgot to congratulate you on your profound post. Fr Z, you are a treasure.

  55. Dave DeCleene says:

    From the bottom of my heart, I say: Thank you, Father Z.

    We have had the wind taken from our sails. But I believe you point us in the direction we are to go. May the Holy Spirit fill our sails to bursting. Onward!

  56. Kelly says:

    Father, I appreciate your commentary about the Notre Dame scandal. I must admit, I have not thought that Notre Dame was truly a Catholic college for many years and was frankly surprised that so many believed it was. Quite some time ago, while planning for our son’s college education, we scratched Notre Dame off the list. It saddens me deeply that the University still carries the name of Our Lady. It also was very unnerving to see so many gray-haired men in attendance clapping until one would think their hands would sting — and they clearly were ordained priests. Our son knows that he will attend a school with a Catholic identity and not a catholic one. The difference is a stark contrast between ad honorem and ad absurdo. This is the list we are considering and know that more will be added each year.

    God bless you, Father.


  57. Jason Keener says:

    When the Church’s public worship has been demolished like it has been and STILL is in the typical suburban American parish, it is not difficult to see why Catholic leadership, Catholic identity, and Catholic culture have fallen apart. The Sacred Liturgy is the primary expression of our Catholic Faith. If we get the Liturgy wrong, we get everything wrong.

    It is also troubling to note that the Leader of the Free World would rather bow down to the idols of dialouge and diversity than to the actual truth about what abortion really is. Biological science and the natural moral law have taught us that abortion is the killing of an innocent human person. The Catholic Church has confirmed this over and over again. Why does our President continue to slither around and refuse to acknowledge what abortion is? If the President supports the so-called right of a woman to have something as serious as an abortion, why can the President not even give a cogent defense of his position? The leadership in our country has sunk to new lows. The leadership at Notre Dame has also sunk to new lows.

  58. Maryanna says:

    “Christ has promised his Church infallible and unfailing help, but he has not guaranteed the fidelity of the men who compose it. They will never be short of grace, abundant and generous grace, if they do the little God asks of them: if they strive with the help of God’s grace to remove the obstacles which get in the way of holiness. If that effort is missing, even he who seems to be very high up, may be very low in God’s eyes. “………. “I know your works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead. Awake, and strengthen what remains of your flock, which is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you have received and heard; keep that and repent.” 1 CHRIST IS PASSING BY, St. Josemaria Escriva, 2 Rev3, 1-3.

  59. Ann says:

    Fr. Z, thank you for this profound and well worded commentary on the mess at ND.

    I shall continue to pray for our bishops that they get it together and start acting like bishops in ways that are conducive to a renewal of Catholic life. I am so disappointed with the leaders in the Catholic church. They talk a lot but then let this go by with no more than a letter stating their disappointment.

    It is rather a sad thing that merely writing letters saying they are disappointed in ND was enough to gain our praise for their leadership–but on further consideration–if that is the best they can do, I fear that we in this country have no effective Church leadership.

  60. paul says:

    Thankyou Father for your thoughts on what happened at Notre Dame. I think one thing which needs to be emphasized is the effects of original sin which remain with us EVEN AFTER BAPTISM. I always thought that baptism took away that tendency we all have to do evil- it does not. The unfortunate part of yesterday’s fiasco is that Catholics walk away with doubt about the moral evil of abortion. Lastly the other side is anything but tolerant- witness the arrests of a Catholic priest and many other Catholics- not for violence but for praying.

  61. Warren says:

    This “moment” can be understood to clarify allegiances (e.g., goats from sheep). We are experiencing a call to arms.

    By standing against the Church, Fr. Jenkins has (unwittingly) distinguished the Church’s mission of truth and life from that of the State’s agenda which is deceitful and utterly entangled with the culture of death.

    Future generations of faithful Catholics can look to this day for the truth. This day faithful Catholics stood up for what is right while catholics-in-name-only surrendered their dignity for worldly recognition. It takes events like this to provoke the faithful to wake up, overcome complacency and defend the Faith by being better christians and risking reputation in the public square.

    St. Matthew 12:30: “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” Fr. Jenkins has sided with Caesar. His support may land him an advisory role in the Obama administration, but at what cost? As for all the dissenting Catholics who voted for Obama and cheered him – you’re getting exactly what you deserve. And, when your civil rights dry up and it’s too late to complain about the persecution, the hope and solace you could have had, i.e., having stood on the side of Christ and His Church, will become your shame and despair.

  62. Bruce says:

    “And that gives us our third necessary thing to know—the weapon that will win the war and defeat our enemy. All it takes is saints.
    Can you imagine what 12 more Mother Teresas would do for this poor old world? Can you imagine what would happen if just 12 people in this room did it? Gave Christ 100 percent of their hearts with 100 percent of their hearts 100 percent of the time and held back nothing, absolutely nothing?
    No, you can’t imagine it—any more than anyone could have imagined how 12 nice Jewish boys could conquer the Roman Empire.
    You can’t imagine it, but you can do it. You can become a saint. Absolutely no one and nothing can stop you. It’s your free choice.

    …Last year, an American Catholic bishop asked one of the priests of his diocese for recommendations for ways to increase vocations to the priesthood. The priest replied in his report, ‘The best way to attract men in this diocese to the priesthood, Your Excellency, would be your canonization.’

    Why not yours?

    …Back when there were more communists in Russia than in American universities, Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to say that the difference between Russia and America was that Russia was the cross without Christ, and America was Christ without the cross.
    Neither will win. Neither will work. Neither sacrifice without love nor love without sacrifice. But the Blood of Christ will work. For that blood flows from His Sacred Heart, and the heart of that Heart is agape, divine love. That is why it will work—because love never gives up.
    And that is why we will never give up and why we will win. Why we whose food is this Blood are invincible.
    The hard-nosed, successful, secular lawyer Gerry Spence writes: ‘A small boy and a bully meet. When the small boy is knocked down, he gets up and attacks again, over and over, until at last he will win. For nothing in the world is as fearsome as a bloody, battered opponent who will never surrender.’ Never.
    Winston Churchill delivered the shortest and most memorable commencement speech of all time at his alma mater during World War II: ‘Never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never give up.’ That’s all.
    We will win the war, because no matter how many times we fall down, no matter how many times we fail at being saints, no matter how many times we fail at love, we will never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never give up.”

    Peter Kreeft

  63. michigancatholic says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z.

  64. Rose says:

    Father Z, THANK YOU. And please let the editor at the Vatican newspaper know that what they write matters to us poor laity struggling to hold the fort….

  65. mrsmontoya says:

    I am still reading and consider all of this post, but here put in my own considered response to May 17, 2009. I choose to remember first the students who chose not to participate in the common Commencement, and became leaders of an alternative, most truly Catholic ceremony. These young, unwitting,leaders inspired others, INCLUDING Bishop D’Arcy, to participate in a truly Catholic ceremony. THESE young people are the rocks that are forming a stronger, if smaller, foundation for Our Lord’s Church. THIS is an answer: a positive and visible presentation of what true Catholicism is. Gold has been proven by fire.

  66. mrsmontoya says:

    I am still reading and consider all of this post, but here put in my own considered response to May 17, 2009. I choose to remember first the students who chose not to participate in the common Commencement, and became leaders of an alternative, most truly Catholic ceremony. These young, unwitting,leaders inspired others, INCLUDING Bishop D\’Arcy, to participate in a truly Catholic ceremony. THESE young people are the rocks that are forming a stronger, if smaller, foundation for Our Lord\’s Church. THIS is an answer: a positive and visible presentation of what true Catholicism is. Gold has been proven by fire.

  67. memoriadei says:

    Father, Please tell us this because we are trying to understand….

    1) Can the bishop tell the Holy Cross order to leave the diocese which would include Notre Dame.


    2) Can the bishop pull the Catholic identity from Notre Dame.

    Thanking you in advance.

  68. Trisha says:

    Today is the first of the Rogation days.
    Let each of us, and all of us, make them Reparation days.

  69. memoriadei says:

    Sorry, Father, I didn’t mean that Notre Dame would have to leave but rather Fr. Jenkins as a Holy Cross priest.

  70. Neal says:

    Fr. Jenkins is a man subject to other men. The fact that the proposed solution is a grassroots movement can only be understood as an indictment of the heirarchy.

    Also, the “dilution of Catholic identity” is a euphemism, I think. One might rather say that the vast majority of Catholics don’t know or understand the faith, and thus are unable to behave ike Catholics. They were not taught the faith, not by their families, and not by their Church. There isn’t some secret formula that churchmen need to discover; they need to teach the catechism. When Catholics understand and believe, the fight will be all but over.

  71. Jim of Bowie says:

    I could not bear to watch any of the activities this weekend from Notre Dame. I suspected it would be bad. But if Father’s assessment is correct, and I’m sure it is, it’s worse than I thought.

    I think Benedict XVI is the greatest Pope of my lifetime (which goes back to Pius XII), however he must act more boldly in enforcing a reform of the reform. Nothing will happen unless it starts with the Holy See. He can start by stopping these horrible outdoor masses which I know he doesn’t like and lifting the indult for communion in the hand.

  72. I agree, of course, on the dire need to restore a sense of the sacred through traditional liturgy. That’s why I read this blog. However, I don’t think that will solve the problems you identify, Father.

    Well, yes, it will. For one thing — and a very big thing it is, too — it is the means by which we will finally return to giving God His due. Have we not, in recent decades, been reaping the consequences of not giving God His due?

    For another thing, it will get Catholics back to the primary mission of the Church: to spread the Gospel. For too long, too many of us Catholics have become preoccupied with politics and political activism as a substitute for spreading the Gospel. This is something that has led many priests and religious astray. The liturgy is key to reorienting us. Spread the Gospel, making disciples of all nations, and all the rest will fall into place.

  73. Marion says:

    Notre Dame as everyone knows is Our Lady in the French language.

    Notre Dame. I believe the historically Catholic institution at South Bend is no longer worthy of that name, and I refuse to refer to it by that name.

    Another French phrase: Leur Veau d’Or, which in English means Their Golden Calf, would I think, suit the school to a t.

    (“Lurvo dor” would be a pretty plausible way for non-French-speaking English speakers to to pronounce Leur Veau d’Or.)

  74. Most Excellent Sledgehammer says:

    I respect those who would like to see Jenkins removed. I would like to see it too. But we must consider what it would truly do. It would be merely a symbolic victory, with very little, if any, true victory involved. The true problem is the Board of Fellows and the Board of Trustees. Until they are reformed, Notre Dame will not be. That would take the movement of heaven and earth.

    I wish there was another way…I really do…However, I just don’t see any other way than to remove Notre Dame’s (and many others’) Catholicity.

    It will be interesting to see who the next Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend will be. Bishop D’Arcy is 74 years old.

  75. Houghton G. says:


    I speak as a twenty-year veteran of another major “Catholic” university. The reason that l’affaire Notre Dame matters is that there was a real discussion going on at Notre Dame about Catholic identity. There still is a determined core of faculty, in the Law School, in the Theology and Philosophy and other departments who are faithful and truly intelligent Catholic thinkers and who kept raising the issues of the school’s unfaithfulness. Such a discussion does not exist to that degree in the other major Catholic universities, with one or two exceptions (and they tend to be the second-tier “major” Catholic schools).

    Most “conservative” Catholics saw Richard McBrien interviewed in them MSM and took him to be the only true face of Notre Dame. They assumed ND was as far gone as the other schools. In mnay ways indeed, Notre Dame was. But not quite. There was a vigor of discussion about what it means to be a Catholic university there that does not exist in the other schools.

    Those people are still there. They organized the alternate-commencement at the Grotto on Sunday, the one the MSM did not cover. The outsiders who came in and got themselves arrested (and the image of an 80-year-old priest being arrested by ND security staff does speak volumes) in MSM terms overshadowed these lonely defenders of Our Lady who met at the Grotto.

    They are still there and they will be there and they will speak up. But if, after being warned explicitly, Fr. Jenkins chose to do what he did, some sort of threshold has been crossed and everyone at Notre Dame knows it and is saddened by it. The fight will go on but it’s now more like the situation of the Narnian defenders in the Last Battle after the Dwarfs (who, having been fooled once by a fake Aslan decide they will never again really throw themselves into fighting for anyone) have turned on the Narnian soldiers just as they seemed to be winning and thereby turned the tide of the battle. At that point the Narnians know that they cannot win this battle militarily anymore. They don’t stop fighting. They know that the only way out of the battle now is through giving their own lives in defeat, bearing witness to Truth, being faithful, brandishing Fidelity even in defeat.

    Something like that happened yesterday at Our Lady’s former university. The fight goes on. But the tide of battle turned. It is a metaphor, I am afraid, for what the entire Church faces. Christ will prevail. That is not in doubt. But the victory will be achieved by faithful witness, not by turning around these institutions. They are lost. The new ones will flourish, though not by outward signs of prestige and wealth. The whole Church is entering upon a period of victory by being faithful in poverty. And faithfulness to the Spirit of the Liturgy–whether it’s accompanied by glorious art and music or not (as circumstances permit), to the Truth about the Holy Sacrifice–that’s what really matters.

  76. momoften says:

    I agree with you on all points. It is rather ironic that our 1ST BLACK president can sit there and tell US we must meet on middle ground. I believe that the Civil War was because there was not middle ground on slavery. If the Abolitionists would have settled for having Slavery allowed in the Southern States only, maybe, OBAMA would be a slave today BUT thank God people FOUGHT and DIED so that all people would be free regardless of the color of their skin. We are fighting a battle today, and many innocent are dying. Who will be their voice? We can never give up the battle of abortion. We should not give in to the world in ANYTHING that is wrong.

  77. michigancatholic says:


    1. Bishop D’Arcy agreed with the protest to ND’s silly rebellion. Fr. Whatsisface (oh yeah, jenkins) is the miscreant here along with whoever helped him make this stupid decision at ND. Don’t make it out to be different than it is.

    2. The “dilution of Catholic identity” is NOT a euphemism. It’s a fact. The faith consists of more than a book. OR don’t you know any St. Augustine EITHER?

  78. mark (New Zealand) says:

    “The church and the world have a great need of Eucharistic adoration. Jesus awaits us in this Sacrament of Love. Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Him in Adoration and in Contemplation that is full of Faith and ready to make Reparation for the great Crimes of the world. May our adoration never cease”. John Paul II – April 1982

  79. Chris H. says:

    ‘Lex orandi, lex credendi.’ and in your words Fr. Z, ‘Save the Liturgy, save the world.’

  80. Supertradmom says:

    I am both terribly saddened and angry at the acceptance of deceit and mockery in the words of the president. I work at an
    Catholic institution of higher learning. All of the lay members of the staff who spoke with me today applauded Obama and stated how nice he was and how charitable. My goodness! All I could see was a field of dead babies at his feet, miles long, with the Golden Dome in the center. As some know from this blog, I am a graduate of ND. This fact does not bring me any pride or honor.

    What I do not understand about my Catholic confreres at work and many other Catholics with whom I come in contact daily is how they missed the lies. I do not understand.

    Thank you, Father Z for your beautiful and hopeful comments concerning the Mass. Today, I need real hope.

  81. Mike says:

    “America has a new Pope”.

    As American Catholic institutions and the faithful ignore, again and again, church teaching and authority, one has to wonder if the church in America will end like the church in China.

  82. anon for this says:

    Houghton is absolutely right. We are one of those faculty families who were recruited to ND as part of its goal to increase Catholic faculty and strengthen Catholic identity. There are solid and faithful Catholics all over campus who are dismayed and saddened by recent events but who are not giving up, because Notre Dame is the last best hope of those who believe that a top-ranked university can also be faithful to its Catholic mission. We are energized by the small but growing number of well-formed students at this university, and the faithful witness of the younger CSC priests. The ND Response Mass was prayerful and powerful, even though (sadly) the music was dominated by Haugen and Haas. Please continue to pray for us.

  83. TJB says:

    This post has really convicted me to get more serious about the possible vocation to the Priesthood that I may have. Thanks Father.

  84. First off, Amen Father! Well said and well prayed over. I think it is important for us to remember that Vatican II is not the root of the problem, the sin from the Garden of Eden was the root. It is always rooted in the human error that man is in charge and not the one who created him. Sometimes ultraconservative Catholics confuse Vatican II as the problem in the secularization of our Nation and World, but it is the “Spirit of Vatican II” that kidnapped the true beauty of what the Church Father’s actually taught in the documents. What was written and what was said by liberal dissenting theologians and the media are two very different things. Yes, we need to return to authentic public worship, but I also think we need to answer the personal call to holiness and really know our faith well. Not elite’s ideas and opinions but the purity of the Catholic faith found in our rich deposit of the Faith that has been protected and guarded for over 2,000 years. It is not time for us to retreat though, but to engage our world with truth, beauty, and goodness empowered by the divine grace received through authentic public worship and strengthened through authentic moral living which provides the true witness. We must not be afraid to proclaim the “joy and the hope that is within us.” God Bless everyone and pray, pray, pray!

  85. Rancher says:

    Take NO solice in BO’s statement that he supports a conscience clause for medical pratitioners opposed to abortion. He has an unwaivering record of saying what he thinks his audience wants to hear–and then he goes back on his word time after time after time. He is an evil, manipulative liar who unless the Blessed Mother and St Michael lead us will neutralize the U S Catholic Church in short order. That’s his agenda and he typically stops at nothing to accomplsh it.

  86. michigancatholic says:

    “America has a new pope.”

    Oh nonsense. Typical American hyperbole. When you looked at ND and saw what was going on you didn’t see the church or any reflection of it, you saw the general culture. That’s what ND is. It’s lost to the culture and it’s been lost to it for a long time. I don’t know how many times I’ve said that in comment boxes on this very blog. Oh yes, there are a few people who are still Catholic there, but there are a few Catholics everywhere. That doesn’t make it anything but a run-of-the-mill ex-Catholic school like many other run-of-the-mill ex-Catholic places.

    I’ve been to Holland, where most of the churches are now government buildings, and they charge admission for the public entertainment on Sundays. We’re going there, just like Europe did. That doesn’t make Queen Beatrix the BVM. It only makes her the queen of a screwed-up country. Calm down.

  87. Fabricio says:

    Pretty well said Father. I have to agree with Kevin in an earlier post, though. We need to look at the pre-Vatican II standards. Strict rules, roles, teaching, and so on. Ambiguity is madness. The bishops response now is simply “too little, too late.”

    Obama is the god of this land. I have just heard former NFL player Trent Dilfer on ESPN saying “amen” (in a discussion about a Steelers player that refused to meet Obama in the White House) when the commentator said that “we must respect the office”. “Amen” to the presidency??
    Maybe this does not make sense to most here but I thought the U.S.A. had a PRESIDENT not a demi-god.

    The Church will be MUCH BETTER off if all these dissenters (clergy and lay people) simply join the Episcopalians.

    Courage is a virtue. These universities CANNOT present themselves as Catholics any longer

  88. Supertradmom says:

    By the way, hope is in the younger members who organized the Notre Dame Response. I was especially moved by the photo of the young man in his PhD gown at the grotto instead of at his graduation. He was holding a baby. He is the “poster man” for those rightly formed young people who hold the future of American Catholic higher education in their hands. I hope that the TLM is rooted in the hearts and minds of those young people, as that is what will sustain them in the even more difficult times to come.

  89. vincemtius says:

    Rancher: he’s taken a twist on his predecessor TR:

    speak sweetly and carry an evil stick

    let’s not give him any more forums

  90. Mark VA says:

    Without doubt now, what we’ve witnessed this past Sunday was the unashamedly public voice of the alternate magisterium. We could see how it sways the young minds that have received its schooling. We could also see how brazenly it threw out the clear guidelines of the USCCB, which rightly forbade bestowing honors on those who disagree with core teachings of the true Magisterium.

    Much depends now on those Bishops who remain faithful and courageous. The challenge to their teaching authority is real, it will not go away, and is likely to get stronger and more sophisticated. This is the time of their trial. If they fail, we’ve already seen what “magisterium” will replace them.

    I completely agree that doctrinally sound liturgy is one of the key elements here – it has the power to create a truly Catholic culture, which, in turn, will support the true Magisterium.

  91. Patrick says:

    Religious communities are only in particular dioceses at the pleasure of the Bishop. I (as a Jesuit) would suggest that the current Bishop of South Bend consider removing the Congregation of Holy Cross from his diocese by simply withdrawing his welcome. The university may continue to hobble along, but it would send a powerful message to the Holy Cross priests that the Bishop is still in charge of the Catholic activities in his geographic area.

  92. Angelica says:

    “I thank God that I live in a day when the enemy is outside the Church, and
    I know where he is, and what he is up to. But, I foresee a day when the
    enemy will be both outside and inside the Church … and, I pray for the
    poor faithful who will be caught in the crossfire.” -Cardinal Newman

  93. eyeclinic says:

    I chose not to watch the ND show because it was the Lord’s day and I wasn’t going to let the “Messiah” ruin it!

  94. Subvet says:

    Bravo Father Z.

    Let’s take comfort in Christ’s promise to be with His Church until the end of time. Then let’s work our butts off bringing in more believers.

    The persections are coming, they won’t be pretty.

  95. Thank you, Father, for this call to arms. Here is one small soldier who stands with you!

  96. Paul Haley says:

    All I could think of when watching these actors in their academic robes was the phrase “useful idiots” and we all know, I think, to whom they were being useful. My grade school teachers in the 40s and 50s, traditional nuns of…get this – Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur had more wisdom and grace in their little fingers then any of those I saw yesterday, especially those two presidents. But, I am a product of a bygone era and the Church is not recognizable to me anymore, at least not the church that presented herself in South Bend yesterday. May God have Mercy on us all.

  97. Pseudo-Dionysius says:

    I think this post and the one at the Archdiocese of DC blog: are the best I’ve read on this unfortunate situation.

  98. Barnabas says:

    Fr. Z,

    Your words gave me hope after a discouraging Sunday. Keep up what you’re doing. God has truly blessed you in your ministry.

  99. Jakub says:

    From Ways of Participating in Anothers Sin…

    > By silence

    > By defense of the sin committed

    > By praise or flattery

  100. Romanrevert says:

    “A great goal has been held up for us. Gaze with wonder upon the new calf. Our new goal is dialogue. Common ground is our promised land. There we will find healing from divisions and lots more talk. Endless dialogue and then more dialogue. Our side might not be able to say very much, but that is neither here nor there. It’s the goal of dialogue which is important.”

    A very good observation .. Perhaps we should have “dialoged” with Hitler and the Nazis instead of acting as we did. What about all of the good things Hitler did? He made the trains run on time, restored German pride, and numerous other things that improved life in post WWI Germany. So, we didn’t agree with him on that one issue, we should have TALKED about it, right? Because it is the talking that is important, not the acting… right? and it was really only one issue.

    Hitler was a choir boy compared to the modern day butchers we have around us. Yes, we should demonize them … they are demons.

  101. Carol says:

    Thank you for the thoughtful commentary.
    I was able to be at ND, not only to protest for the voiceless but to show my support for the faithful graduates whos ceremony was held in the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.
    It was the most beautiful graduation I ever witnessed,
    Frankly, I don’t care what O had to say, it is meaningless.

  102. michigancatholic says:

    Mark VA,

    There is no “alternate magisterium.” That’s a modern notion with no real meaning–a euphemism. To the degree that they’re not in operating & theological union with THE Magisterium, which means THE Church in Rome, they’re simply a manifestation of the culture. The Vatican allows a lot–both the authentic OF style and the authentic EF style–but this hankypanky is outside all of that. They’ve left. Vamoosed. Gone apostate. Period. They just haven’t changed their address cards yet–or their clothes.

    The so-called “alternate magisterium” is really only a part of the general culture, doing what this culture does–tell people it’s all about emotion, tell people it’s all about what they want it to be about. How are they different than any other facet of this nagging culture, except for the topic they harp on? Does their subject matter make them any better than people who harp on say, health food or ergonomic shoes or exercise machine advertisements on the late show?

    The Catholic church needs a terrific housecleaning, but it has to be done on an individual basis. People have to be given the choice to be Catholic or to remove themselves. It’s time we got serious & thoughtful about what being Catholic is supposed to be. IF the bishops won’t do what needs to be done, then just like in many other periods of the Church’s history, I expect it falls to the laypeople to do it–not by being harsh but by being really Catholic ourselves, keeping our faith intact, finding each other, and ignoring the rest of the noise that goes on around us because we can’t force anyone to do anything. It’s not our place but God will do it. It will happen.

    There are many fewer Catholics than most Catholics think. It’s been that way for a long time now. My stomach wouldn’t take watching it, but I hear many ND graduates cheered like mad for Obama and the whole honorary law degree for the baby killer thing. Doesn’t surprise me one bit. In a church whose members have abortion, birth control & divorce statistics that are nearly exactly the same as the general culture, why would you expect to see anything different? Why?

  103. Mark says:


    You made a one point in your response that were factually inaccurate.

    #1 You used an analogy comparing abortion with slavery and made the statement that Obama would be a slave today, but for…

    Mr. Obama is the offspring of an American mother of European descent (i.e., white) and a Kenyan father, who was not the descendant of slaves.

    While in a society that permitted slavery, it is HIGHLY unlikely that his parents would have ever met (and thus for him to have been born), it’s simply not factually correct that he, himself, would have been a slave had the civil war not have been fought.

    This one factual error was the one detractor from an otherwise powerful post. And I agree, compromise with evil is nothing short of surrender, if only on some points.

  104. Samuel says:

    Fr. Z,

    Your blog is a ministry. A voice in the wilderness of our culture screaming against the wind that blows from places like Notre Dame. Remember that when you wonder if you should keep it up. This blog has value & meaning.

    I pray for you!

    – Sam

  105. Irenaeus says:

    “In an era when emotion trumps reason, facts are just plain mean.”

    That is one of the best, pithiest pieces of writing I’ve seen in months. Good work.

    Don’t think the libs have necessarily won this one; 70+ bishops have spoken out, and I found the following from Chaput today interesting:

    “The May 17 events do have some fitting irony, though. Almost exactly 25 years ago, Notre Dame provided the forum for Gov. Mario Cuomo to outline the “Catholic” case for “pro-choice” public service. At the time, Cuomo’s speech was hailed in the media as a masterpiece of American Catholic legal and moral reasoning. In retrospect, it’s clearly adroit. It’s also, just as clearly, an illogical and intellectually shabby exercise in the manufacture of excuses. Father Jenkins’ explanations, and President Obama’s honorary degree, are a fitting national bookend to a quarter century of softening Catholic witness in Catholic higher education. Together, they’ve given the next generation of Catholic leadership all the excuses they need to baptize their personal conveniences and ignore what it really demands to be “Catholic” in the public square.”

    A bookend…I’m wondering if the ND imbroglio is not the end of ex corde ecclesia, but rather the event that causes its practical, if eventual, implementation.

  106. Matt says:

    “The only consolation I heard anywhere is the fact that Obama supports a conscience clause for healthcare providers…”

    I am not similarly consoled. Mr. Obama’s “conscience clause” is like his “Pro-life” politics. He redefines them beyond any reasonable or just measure. Expect to see Physicians and especially Pharmacists lose their jobs, licenses and livelihoods this year over “Plan B.”

  107. catholicmom3 says:

    Fr. Z, you must realize the impact that your teachings have on us, the wounded laity. We resist despair with what we see and hear on a weekly basis at our own parishes and schools.

    I am currently witnessing that my own “rising” priest will only venture so far against the pressures of the lukewarm laity before he recoils. Our parochial schools are rife with secular humanist textbooks and teachers. Our high schools and universities are infested. Do not blindly hand over your children to “catholic schools.” It already appears that American vocations are coming disproportionately from catholic homeschool families. Seek the few faithful schools that we have in the US.

    Praise God for your leadership as the faithful flock is left wandering in the wilderness.We must not give into despair. Despair is the victory of the enemy.

  108. John Polhamus says:

    Hasten the split. The unity of the church in America, Unity itself being one of the great Marks of the Church, is – as if it hasn’t been utterly obvious for the entire last forty years – is sundered, rendered farcical. Who will maintain now that the fruits of Vatican II are of the Holy Spirit? Who, with a strait face or a clean conscience?

    So this is how the church will be taken in the present age, with the complicity of the Universities? Could Jenkins have acted with any greater impugnity? He is the Cranmer of our age, and no doubt he would be proud of the analogy. Well, I must say, the sooner the modernists declare their own church, the sooner Catholics get theirs back. Exile from Babylonian capvity is looking sweeter and sweeter.

    I didn’t watch the thing, didn’t need to. And all of your observations Father, are exactly what I expected you to have to write. You declare them well. But the most hopeful thing I hear coming from that speech is the quote – the one thing besides basketball jokes that I did hear – is that the moral differences between Catholicism and International Socialism are irreconcilable. Bravo, Barry, you did indeed face the reality, even if your reprehensible ethics permitted you to happily help someone else to violate theirs. I have liberal friends, one in particular for whom I pray. He doesn’t know enough about history, much less about Catholicism to understand that this isn’t a political argument, it’s a moral one, and one that was decided centuries ago, and won’t be resolved today or tomorrow, short of the capitulation and conversion of International Socialism to Roman Catholicism.

    I’ll be marching this summer. I know what the risks are. My eyes remain on Christ.

  109. Jason C. Petty says:

    Religious communities are only in particular dioceses at the pleasure of the Bishop. I (as a Jesuit) would suggest that the current Bishop of South Bend consider removing the Congregation of Holy Cross from his diocese . . .

    Impossible. These men staff a large number of the bishop’s parishes. This is also a reason any action by the bishop against ND itself is to be most delicately taken. I think individual action against Father Jenkins is the only course. I wish a prominent canonist would build a good case so that His Excellency could have some assistance in this matter.

  110. little gal says:

    I also felt discouraged after yesterday’s events. But, I went to Mass and literally felt myself rest in the liturgy. Afterwards, I felt strengthened. Think of the early Church and how difficult things were–this is nothing compared to what our forebears experienced. Stay strong and remember, Truth will always win…on God’s timetable. He has something to teach us all, so let us learn.

  111. Bob K. says:

    Thanks for the good commentary Fr.

    What will always stick in my mind, is what happened to Fr. Norman Weslin on the grounds of a so called Catholic University. That just did it for me!. Brother against brother. A priest allowing another priest of the same faith, defending not his own or some heretical views. But the views of the church of which he is apart of, the Catholic Church. Arrested for trespassing!. Like going to church on Sunday and being arrested on church grounds for praying to God. Many said, “He was trespassing”. How can a Catholic priest be carrying a cross, singing Immaculate Mary, on a property which is suppose to be Catholic and be trespassing. Boggles my mind!. But then again, you are right when you made the analogy of the Tudors. Fr Jenkins, glorifying President Obama, laughing and joking, while a fellow priest, a brother sits in jail. Who defended the faith for which that University was suppose to uphold. We lost Canterbury, and York. and many other establishments that were Catholic, over a sexual issue. Now we may have lost another over a sexual issue. But this issue also involves the life of a child as well. Sure abortion isn’t the only issue, but it a very important one to Catholics, and other christians as well. The battle lines have been drawn. Not just in this country but all over the world. Remember, the Devil will come as an angel of light. Do not be deceived by his spiritual presence.

  112. momoften says:

    Yes, I realize that…but remember American Blacks consider him Black. Doesn’t he relate to their cause? No, because he really isn’t black American. He could NOT relate to this argument like the real BLACK American who may have ancestors or family that were slaves. That is what makes the analogy a double edged sword.

  113. James A. says:

    Dear Father,
    I expected you to write something profound about this fiasco, and you delivered– as always. Thank you and your fellow priests who are LiturgyWarriors for doing all you do to save the world.

    Gratia vobis et Pax ~

  114. ustalumnus says:

    “Lines are being drawn, sides taken, choices made.”

    Very well put, Father Z. Obama is such a tool and so is Father Jenkins.

    There is such an air of cunning evil as of late.

    Instead of watching that drivel, I went to a Holy Hour instead.

    We may not agree on some things Father Z., but you are in my prayers.

  115. Ed the Roman says:

    There are so many times when I think myself lucky to have no religious instruction at university but the Mass. I certainly had nobody trying to teach me something that wasn’t the faith under color of the authority of Mother Church.

    I ran in to plenty of atheists, sceptics, and anti-Catholics, to be sure. But they sailed under their own colors.

  116. William says:

    An immedidiate response by Bishop D’Arcy is needed to yesterday’s events at Notre Dame. Here are three actions that should be the minimum:

    Removal of Father Jenkins’ faculties.

    Excommunication of Father Jenkins.

    Expulsion of the Holy Cross order from that diocese.

    When will we hear anything from the Vatican?

    Regarding the liturgy, all priests who say the ordinary form should only use the first Eucharistic Prayer.

    Sancte Edmundus Campianus, ora pro nobis.

  117. Kate M. says:


    Thank you for all you do. You bring up an important point when you state,
    “Remember: If you will have first “struggled” you are thereafter justified in anything you chose.”

    Have any of you considered Obama’s use of “heart wrenching decision”? It seems that whenever Obama addresses pro-lifers on abortion, he refers to it as a “heart wrenching decision”. This terminology seems to paralyze all the well-intentioned, sit-on-the-sideline individuals who can’t face the horror of what abortion actually is.

    As long as Obama paralyzes the masses with the idea that every woman agonizes over her decision to kill her child, he will have the upper hand. We should let it happen because, hey, she struggled, didn’t she?

    I certainly do not mean to belittle anyone; I spent yesterday at a benefit Mother’s Dinner (for St. Gerard’s Center in Hartford, CT) for moms who chose life for their babies. (They agonized, and then they chose LIFE!)The tears of joy those mothers shed as they shared their testimonies with us were the perfect antidote to Obama’s liberal, pro-abortion rhetoric.

  118. ckdexterhaven says:

    Watching Fr. Jenkins’ sycophancy and the students cheering and clapping for a guy they KNOW is in favor of killing babies… was disheartening. It wasn’t just one part, it was all of it, all demoralizing. I’m no biblical scholar, but I know that God doesn’t want us to despair, he wants us to HOPE. I refuse to let Obama and Satan make me give up hope. Father Z just gave us a road map. We have to follow it, and encourage our courageous priests out there. Let’s pray for our priests, let’s say the Rosary, let’s go to Adoration. These three things are all given to us because we ARE Catholic.

  119. Colleen says:

    I spent yesterday at the TLM, then attended a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Vespers at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Pittsburgh. Both the TLM and the Vespers were at or near capacity, which did my heart good. I was thus spared the spectacle of seeing the ND atrocity broadcast, and did not watch any video clips of the spectacle, nor read any transcripts of what the creature-in-chief or his lackey had to say.Jenkins’in-your-face defiance of the bishops and contempt for the hundreds of thousands of people who signed the petition and wrote to him pretty much told me in advance that the school’s commencement exercise would make a mockery of the Church. So, I am not surprised by that. What causes me great angst and even fear, though, is the possibility that the bishops won’t do anything about this. I agree with those who’ve written in and said that the school needs to be officially stripped of its Catholic label and the Congregation of the Holy Cross “disinvited” from the diocese. I was hopeful that the bishops WOULD act, and that they were just waiting for the event to occur in order not to have the punishment precede the crime. If the bishops can’t or won’t respond to this with action rather than words, what help will they be to faithful Catholics when we need guidance in the tribulations to come? We NEED the bishops to back up their documents with their actions. We don’t need paper tigers. And, of course, Fr. Z is correct in saying that we need to restore the liturgy to a proper expression of the sacred. But, I think the stage has been set for a persecution of the Church, and some leadership from the bishops — and Rome — would help to keep the flock from scattering when the wolves make their move.

  120. michigancatholic says:

    Don’t hold your breath re the bishops riding in on white horses.

    On the other hand, listen, Obama’s probably getting quite a kick out of all this, but the general population is probably oblivious–in one ear and out the other, you know. Our dissidents probably think it’s cool too, except for the fact that even some dissidents have a problem with abortion because it’s the ONLY thing Catholics can seem to agree on. (Or did seem to agree on as of last Saturday, anyway.)

    Expect him to tamper with the church some more, because he thinks it has electoral votes attached to it in 2012. What almost nobody understands is that there is no such thing as a catholic bloc vote anymore. Politicians keep hoping…..but Catholics vote as emotional dummies like the general population (because some “catholics” really are only the general population–a lot of “catholics,” in fact). “Nice” is the name of the game. Hopefully, he won’t realize that and tamper with us much for other, more grave reasons. The fact that we can vote is good for us as long as it looks like we’re different and it’s a game of winning over our votes. And since Obama clearly doesn’t know anything about the Catholic Church……..

  121. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    There are several things to unpack here:

    (1) Though I support Fr. Z’s efforts on behalf of devout, rubrically-correct, and (especially) beautiful Catholic liturgy, the problem at NDU is not really about good liturgy vs. bad liturgy. Sorry, Fr. Z, it simply ain’t.

    (2) The real question is about the Church’s vacuum of authority: Bishops may bluster; bishops may complain; some Vatican official may make a negative comment in the Press. But, in the end, whatever offense is intended to be committed is committed . . . with no consequences.

    So, Bishop D’Arcy wrote a letter to ND’s President. So, he decided to not come to graduation. Big deal. Been done before.

    As shepherd of the diocese, since Fr. Jenkins has exposed himself as the hireling that he is, what will Bishop D’Arcy do?

    (3) Does anyone really think NDU’s donations from alumni will dry up over this?

    C’mon. Most people at the graduation were clapping for Pres. Obama.

    (4) Perhaps, the saddest thing of all is this:

    At Vatican II, the Church decided She wanted a new, non-confrontational relationship with the “modern world.” And, our bishops dutifully went about implementing what (they thought) was this positive vision: compromising here; being nice there; looking away; nodding and winking; getting what they could get; being sensitive.

    Except, in the process, they forgot who the world’s Master was . . . and, with whom they were making their deals.

    I don’t crave the pre-Vatican II Church; I think Vatican II was God’s work. However, I do crave the fact that there used to be a time when people knew where the Catholic Church stood on issues. With the pre-Vatican II Church, at least, you knew what to expect. You knew what the answer would be before you even asked the question . . . and, She was unyielding, zealous for Her Lord.

    I miss that.

  122. Mark VA says:


    In God’s objective reality there is no “alternative magisterium”, as you so righty noted. At the same time, our human mind is so prone to self deception that it can easily follow piped pipers to the foggy realm of an “alternate magisterium”, where pretenders sell their euphemisms. In my mind, that is the essence of the spectacle we’ve witnessed this past Sunday. Thus, I’m in complete agreement with your post.

  123. John6:54 says:

    Action was taken by Fr. Jenkins to allow Obama a spot on the stage. When will action be taken to show Fr. Jenkins the door? Whos in charge? Why is it taking so long? Correct the wrong now before it gets worse. Don’t think it can’t get worse? It will if no action is taken.

  124. Bob K. says:

    According to a poster on Catholic Answers forum a Secular Franciscan: This is where Fr Jenkins and his Order stands.

    Quote: “I hope everyone here understands that the bishops have no authority over any university except The Catholic University of America and the Josephenum in Chicago, because these are the property of the Church. All other Catholic universities and colleges are run by boards of trustees or by religious congregations, not by the Church. Even the local bishop cannot place Notre Dame under an interdict, because it’s not part of his diocese. It is not a diocesan university. It is a private university that is Catholic. The Brothers of the Holy Cross are not a diocesan congregation. They do not submit to the bishop’s authority unless they work for him. In this case, they work for the Board of Trustees.

    The most the bishops can do is to revoke its Catholic charter. But they cannot stop it from doing whatever the Board allows.

    As to Fr. Jenkins, the bishops have no authority over him. He is a Holy Cross Brother. The Holy Cross Brothers are a congregation of Pontifical Right. Pontifical Right means exactly what it says. Only the pope has authority over its members.

    Pope Benedict chooses to apply the principle of subsidiarity. That is, to allow the major superior to solve the problem. The only solution that the major superior has is to wait for the contract between the Holy Cross Brothers and the university to run out and not allow Fr. Jenkins to be rehired for the presidency, but propose another candidate.

    The issue with that is that the Board can reject any candidate that the Holy Cross Brothers propose. They can choose to put a lay person at the head of the university. You never know what you’re going to get. The Holy Cross Brothers no longer own the university. They are employed by it.

    We need to do our research when speaking about Catholic education and Catholic hospitals. Most are not owned by the Church or by religious. The Church never owned them. The religious who founded them could not afford to run them. They had to give them over to lay boards and turn them into non-profit corproations or NGOs to get funding from outside sources and government sources.

    This is not an easy situation. Pope Benedict rarely intervenes directly in religious communities or secular institutes. Even in the case of the SSPX, he has turned that over to a Vatican Congregation. He prefers to deal with global issues and allow others to deal with specific problems. There is no way that any pope can deal with every specific situation that comes up, especially in a world as large as is today’s world.

    The Bishops’ statement regarding honors to pro-abortion individual is not a law. However, it is a position of the Catholic Church in the USA that every Catholic organization should follow. Even when you do not owe the hierarchy obedience under a vow, you do owe them respect because of their position.”

    Quote: “I walk away with the feeling that everyone wants things done their way and very dramatically. The Church doesn’t function that way. It is a very legal organization. She also tries to be very fair to all parties. In this case, she must try to be fair to the Congregation of the Holy Cross, the faithful students, faculty and parents and the benefactors of the university.

    I understand that some people are so frustrated about this issue that they want the Holy Father to intervene personally. However, as the article clearly sets out, the Congregation of the Holy Cross is protected by the Church, meaning the Holy Father. There are certain religious communities that are what we call exempt religious communities. The pope reserves the authority to intervene in their affairs and institutions for himself.

    They are exempt from the authority of the bishops, the opinion and wishes of the laity and from certain civil authorities. Among them the more popular ones are: Holy Cross, Franciscans, Jesuits, Dominicans, Carmelites, Augustinians, Benedictines, Poor Clares, Opus Dei, and Maryknoll. There are others.

    In this situation, Pope Benedict is going to protect the Holy Cross Brothers and leave Fr. Jenkin’s future and consequences to his Provincial Superior. As to the university, the Holy Father cannot touch it, because it is not the property of the Church. Canon law does not recognize joint ventures between a religious congregation and a lay body. Therefore, as far as the Vatican is concerned, the university is autonomous, since it approved its separation from the Holy Cross Congregation decades ago.

    What is the Vatican’s concern is that any individual who calls himself Catholic comply with the wishes, teachings and laws of the Church. This includes the laity who want to see Notre Dame and Fr. Jenkins punished. That is not the law of the Church or the process. Fr. Jenkins is the responsibility of his Provincial Superior and until the contract is completed, there is little that the Provincial can do.

    We have to be patient and let the process work.”

  125. Brian says:

    “Unless we see, soon, some concrete gesture on the part of either the local bishop where Notre Dame is (and other bishops where there are other universities) or the Congregation for Catholic Education in Rome, then a battle will have been lost and won in this ever more closely joined culture war over the Church’s role in the modern world.”

    Well said.

  126. fortradition says:

    I give praise and thanks to Almighty God for the consolation of kindred spirits on this blog and especially to Fr. Z for inviting us to it. Father, this is a tremendous ministry right here.

    I am greatly saddened by the events of yesterday at ND, though not surprised. I have closely watched the liberal agenda in the Church evolve for 40 years. Our Church seems to have done away with penalties and words of eternal consequences from silent pulpits. There is a hopeless feeling among committed Catholics now due to a severe lack of leadership in our bishops and priests but we always are assured of the light of Christ shining through and the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us. Let us keep praying and especially fast to drive the demons out.

  127. michigancatholic says:

    Bob K is telling the truth. It’s complicated and it should always make you think twice before donating money if you have any doubts whatsoever. It should also make you think three times before you claim ANYTHING is Catholic unless you are certain, regardless of the name over the front door.

    We have this order of sisters around here who do this solstice thing and you wouldn’t believe how difficult it can be to get at something like that legally….it’s similar.

  128. JohnMa says:

    Bob K,

    According to Catholic Answers it is also OK to change the wording of the Agnus Dei. A lot of the posters on that site have good intentions but do not know the facts.


    It is not a surprise at all to see that Msgr. Pope and Fr. Z are the individuals offering the best commentary on this issue, or any other issue for that matter.

    Fr. Z,

    Keep up the good work. I pray that one day you will be entrusted with a Diocese to lead.

  129. Chris says:

    Perhaps Bishop D’Arcy cannot do anything regarding the university except remove the name, but it seems to me the position of the Holy Cross Fathers in his diocese is actually a significant bargaining chip. Could not his excellency write the superior general and simply say, “look, either Jenkins goes and I get to approve which Holy Cross Father is president, or the Order is out of the diocese and for all intents and purposes looses its premier university.” If the superior general counters that he doesn’t have authority to pick the president, then the bishop would simply have to say, “unless the board is willing to choose the candidate the Holy Cross Fathers select, then it looses its Catholic title.”

    Don’t the Holy Cross fathers need Notre Dame more than the diocese does? Doesn’t Notre Dame need the Holy Cross fathers and the name Catholic to keep up their pretenses and fawnings, to which they cling so desperately?

    Sure… this would be ostensibly a huge gamble for the bishop, but as so many have pointed out already: he can only lose what he has already lost.

  130. Mum26 says:

    Read an interesting interpretation: on The Ecclesial Assault.

    There is a little, but very comforting meditation I have on my fridge:

    Hail Mary,
    The heavens bow down,
    The angels rejoice,
    The Earth jubilates,
    Hell trembles,
    and the devils take flight!

    There is a readson why all this happened at Notre Dame, and somehow, I must believe that “the last laugh” will be on us. Our Lady will not be mocked and her name will not be dragged through the mud without consequence.

    Archbishop Burke recently seemed to have pointed in the same direction as you, Fr. Z: let us use our Catholic weapons: Holy Mass, the rosary, fasting, sacrificial giving – I tell my children that the rosary is our modern day sling-shot: When David was up against Goliath he took 5 little rocks. Well, we have 5 decades to the rosary. St. Padre Pio called for his weapon when he wanted his rosary.
    We are up against the principalities of darkness who are succeeding in confusing the Catholic world and driving our church apart. We are up against hell!

    May Our Lord have Mercy on us all,

  131. Girgadis says:

    Rather than bore everyone with my drivel, I would like to say simply that I second
    everything Shadrach and Timothy Mulligan posted. They said what I think much more
    eloquently than I ever could.

  132. Well written Fr. Z! One of the millions of reasons why I’m a die-hard fan of WDTPRS! Why I also started blogging about Catholic life and issues! Huzzah Father!

  133. Don says:

    God bless the 70 plus bishops who spoke out–now the whole lot of them need to step back and say, “how did we get here?” The answer lies within the episcopate itself–in their zeal to be collegial, to be inclusive, too many of them forgot or, worse, ran from what it means to be a true father–which includes correction! Remember Land O’ Lakes? By ignoring it and hoping it would just go away, not only did their flock go astray but they came back and took over the house.

    The bishops need to man up or an ever greater portion of the Church in America will look like the frat in Animal House the morning after the toga party.

    It started and ends with the bishops. Your move.

  134. Mario Mirarchi says:

    “America has a new pope”

    Yes we do; and his name is Benedict XVI.

  135. Mitchell NY says:


    I became so empathic reading your commentary and can only say I wish you were closer and I would take you for a coffee and tell you about how your approach (and the Holy Father’s) is exactly what has drawn me back into the Church. Your blog started me on my way back. It is the correct way and you articulate it perfectly. I am sorry for any pains you may have personally suffered having to delve into this ugly subject. I actually held my breath waiting for your commentary, because I needed your wisdom to guide me and help re enforce my own Catholic conscious. Your vision, no doubt enhanced by Pope Benedict over the years is a source of hope for millions.

  136. TerryC says:

    There are things that the bishops an do against UND whether they are under control of the bishops or not. To start with, many diocese give scholarships to student who attend Catholic colleges and universities. Making UND ineligible for these scholarships would send a strong message to the parents of these students, as well as outright making them an nonviable choice for some. The Knights of Columbus likewise supports scholarships for Catholic education. It is my intention to write their Supreme Council and request that they consider striking UND from their list of eligible Catholic institutions of higher learning.
    We may not be able to prevent UND from pretending to be Catholic, but we can do all that is possible to prevent parents from unwittingly sending their children their expecting it to be Catholic.

  137. RBrown says:

    (1) Though I support Fr. Z’s efforts on behalf of devout, rubrically-correct, and (especially) beautiful Catholic liturgy, the problem at NDU is not really about good liturgy vs. bad liturgy. Sorry, Fr. Z, it simply ain’t.

    Your comment is refuted by the very beginning of Vat II, when SC says that the liturgy is the source and summit of Catholic life. Thus: if there are serious deficiencies in the liturgy, there will also be serious deficiencies in Catholic life.

    (2) The real question is about the Church’s vacuum of authority: Bishops may bluster; bishops may complain; some Vatican official may make a negative comment in the Press. But, in the end, whatever offense is intended to be committed is committed . . . with no consequences.

    The pope realizes that Church authority is not merely legal. That’s why JXXIII in Veterum Sapientia noted the importance of Latin in preserving the link between the Apostolic See and the rest of the Church.

    To put it another way: The Church needs reform not more crisis management.

    (3) Does anyone really think NDU’s donations from alumni will dry up over this? C’mon. Most people at the graduation were clapping for Pres. Obama.

    Does that mean they’ll contribute money? One of the alumni organizations claims that $14,000,000 will be withheld this year from ND alumni contributions.

    (4) Perhaps, the saddest thing of all is this: At Vatican II, the Church decided She wanted a new, non-confrontational relationship with the “modern world.” And, our bishops dutifully went about implementing what (they thought) was this positive vision: compromising here; being nice there; looking away; nodding and winking; getting what they could get; being sensitive.
    Comment by Matthew W. I. Dunn —

    For the most part, that’s not true, except for Gaudium et Spes. And Cardinal Ratzinger warned about using G&S as a hermeneutic for the entire Council. Unfortunately, that is what happened following the Council.

  138. Chris says:

    TerryC, you make an excellent point.

  139. Mike says:

    “America has a new Pope”.

    Or at least, per George Weigel, a new “Primate of American Catholicism”, ready and willing to identify who is and isn’t a real Catholic.

    “Rather like Napoleon taking the diadem out of the hands of Pope Pius VII and crowning himself emperor, President Obama has, wittingly or not, declared himself the Primate of American Catholicism.

    What the bishops of the United States have to say about this usurpation of their authority will be very interesting to see. Whether Obama’s Catholic acolytes will recognize a genuine threat to religious freedom in what they are already celebrating as their Notre Dame victory over the pro-life yahoos and reactionaries will also be instructive.”

  140. Nick says:

    What a continuing mess. There is so much rot in the ineffective hierarchy that the “New American Pope” was bound to eventually appear. The Barbarians tore down the walls decades ago. I honestly hope that improved liturgical worship will make an impact but I would not bet on it if it were a horse.

  141. Matt Q says:

    Dear Father Z:

    Thank you and God bless you so very much for your thoughtful editorial. It was so insightful and telling of the times we are in, and outlined what we have to be prepared for. You outlined the matter point by point in a very straightforward manner and without innuendo or sarcasm. It is something we can read over and over generating more insight and more to meditate on. Thank you again, Father.

    Regarding the dialogue part, I have to wonder if this doesn’t signal the Church to ease off on dialoguing. Commissions for dialoguing with this group and that group, and on and on. Open lines of communication are very important, but ultimately one has to state concretely what one stands for. In all this dialoguing, ultimately, what is there to talk about? At what point does one say “Jesus Christ is Lord, and there is only one way to salvation: Jesus Christ the Lord!”

  142. “Come Israel, thou jade of blue and gold,
    Now laud the common calf of reason’s fire.
    The mind transcends, so scorns the caster’s mold,
    Enlightenment supplants cold Sinai’s sire.

    “Behold thy priest, betrayer of the rood:
    Inverts he Calvary with a turgid jest,
    And Pilate in these bowels of Dante’s wood
    Doth flap expansive wings to say ‘Quid est’?

    “When priest and Pilate bind thy hands and feet,
    When smiles and words and laws call evil good,
    Then shalt thou bleat, and bleat, and bleat, and bleat,
    And cackle I while thou art drowned of blood.”

    So saith the snake; but goes he fore the fall
    Our Lady’s heart will triumph over all.

  143. Michael says:

    Thank you Father for your ministry. Notre Dame has been an embarrassment to the Church for many years. Giving a Doctor of Laws degree to a president committed to using the law to promote abortion is a betrayal of the church. If the university will not accept the discipline of the Bishops and cannot be commanded by the Pope (see above) then another remedy must be sought. It seems to me that the privileges of the Holy Cross Congregation and the university’s special status leave the Church few options. Would it be too medieval to put South Bend under the interdict? Forbid the mass and other sacraments to the university and then all would know that they have placed themselves outside the fold.

  144. Arnold Conrad says:

    I cannot verify it but a woman called Rush Limbaugh today to say she was at the graduation ceremony on Sunday and she estimates about one-third of those present, students and family members, did not stand and applaud for the president and remained silent at other points when others cheered. Does anyone know if this is true?

  145. Tod says:

    My heart sincerely cried over this, as did my eyes. Where is our Papa? Where is Benedicto\’s voice? This week we received a very great hurt, but our shepherd is silent. I don\’t understand.

  146. Andrew, medievalist says:

    The golden calf of “dialogue” and “common ground” over issues of truth and wrong?

    “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” That is, the division between truth and wrong.

  147. John says:

    Thank you Father Z.

    And Constatin called the Bishops together…I would not be surprized if Obama attempted to do the same. He had a beatific expression on his face during the entire graduation ceremony. A facinating spetacle. The Novus Ordo, the new culture, is here.

  148. Charles R. Williams says:

    The headline in the Monday Akron Beacon Journal was “Obama Stands Firm at Notre Dame.” I imagine this is how the general public views what happened. Obama is courageous. He stood up to irrational opponents at ND, etc, etc. Somehow in the mind of the public, Obama became the issue rather than Fr. Jenkins and the trustees at Notre Dame. The Catholic Church, or perhaps pro-life Catholics, got painted as the villains. The President of the United States, a nice, reasonable man, stood up to a howling mob of fanatics and was vindicated by the cheering graduates.

    Of course, the Church needs to deal with Jenkins and the trustees of Notre Dame. But, for Catholics, the bigger issue is Obama. He is the most skilled, powerful and dangerous opponent the Catholic Church in America has ever faced. He has used the divisions within the Church in a masterful way to marginalize us. He seems untouchable at least for now because he has the press and electronic media in his back pocket. Most Catholics, including most of the bishops, seem oblivious to this reality.

  149. Linda says:

    The whole event was shocking on Sunday. But the devil has come out of hiding to level a shot at the Church; and now we see once again what we’re dealing with in this war. Thank you Fr. Z for a great commentary.

  150. David Martin says:

    Thank you Father for these thoughtful words. And for this blog. Do you ever get to sleep? I can’t believe how much you do. And it has great impact. Thank you, thank you.

  151. Of course, there are good priests and bishops who encourage that which is Catholic in every way, as you’ve often pointed out. Keep up the good work. The message is getting through.

  152. Tomas says:

    I’m not so sure this was the watershed event everyone seems to think it is. Notre Dame was lost years ago: the “V_____ Monologues” is proof enough of that. Why does everyone act as though yesterday was the point of no return? As for “dialogue,” that is just a regurgitation of Bernardin. Again, nothing new. As for the students cheering wildly for Obama, how many of you were liberal freaks when you were undergraduates? I was. Stanford, Class of ’72: “Hey, hey, ho, ho: Western Civ has got to go!” Young, impressionable, and above all, fools.

    Yesterday only proved what many of us already knew: Obama and Jenkins are mealy-mouthed, slick liars, and academia is a bastion of liberal arrogance and stupidity.

    If there is any watershed here, it is that some of the bishops have finally roused themselves. I hope they follow through and fire Jenkins, but I won’t hold my breath.

    I have to agree with Kevin V. (5/18, 5:07 pm): the Church can tinker all it wants in the timidity of the brick-by-brick mode, but in the end, it will take the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart to restore all things in Christ.

  153. I am not Spartacus says:

    The only consolation I heard anywhere is the fact that Obama supports a conscience clause for healthcare providers.

    Obama was lying.

    Obama kicked the Church’s butt Saturday. What will the response of The Church be?

    Prolly not much. Since I have been alive, I have yet to see the Church in America identify a hill on which it chooses to fight, and maybe, die.

    Fr. Z. I kept returning here time after time after time after Obama’s speech wondering what your take would be. I think your take is by far the best I have read anywhere. Kudos!!! You are the best.

    I expect nothing of consequence from the AmBishops and the Pope is right to keep as far away from this mess as possible.

    You know what I’d do were I Pope? Fully regularise The SSPX and name Bishop Fellay Papal Legate to America.

  154. Houghton G. says:

    Tomas and others: Jenkins is not the problem. People, listen. University presidents have relatively limited power. They serve at the pleasure of the trustees. If a university president messes up in the eyes of the trustees (which means, creates a PR scandal that truly damages fundraising and/or perceived prestige), he is relatively easily replaced. He falls on his sword. The power rests with faculty and boards of trustees but boards of trustees really are at the mercy of big-time donors, including federal funding agencies. Once a secularized faculty is put in place, over a long time period, it is almost impossible to change because departments control hiring and they are going to hire secularized people like themselves. If the board (or its servant, the president) tries to steer or shift direction, the faculty take umbrage and if they do so in solidarity, the board has to back down because the faculty are the product being marketed: the university’s prestige resides in them and simply to eliminate or wholesale change them destroys your “brand.”

    Still, faculty are largely a power bloc in the sense of an immoveable, difficult to modify, obstacle. The real power rests with funders: the multi-thousand dollar and upward donors. And the key to the donors are the upper and middle management professionals who know how to “sell” the “product” to the donors,including how to get government grants.

    Firing Jenkins means next to nothing. What has happened to Catholic universities simply reflects what has happened to American Catholics in general: wealthy and assimilated American Catholics are socially liberal. Period. Some of them can be won back for the genuine Catholic faith but the rest of them will make common cause with the persecutors of the Church in the end because the Church will be painted as the narrow-minded, party-pooping enemy of science, sexual freedom (license), and of this or that victim class.

    The bishops have a role to play in the battle to win back as many as possible before it’s too late. But they cannot fight this by themselves. Thinking that if only they would do X or Y all would be well is fools gold.

    And finally, Tomas, Notre Dame was not lost years ago to the same degree that other schools were. That’s why this particular incident has affected people so much. Both in terms of faculty and students, Notre Dame had a stronger Catholic core than the major Jesuit schools. It cultivated a certain kind of Catholic dorm piety unknown elsewhere. Granted, some of the cultivation of this was done for PR (donor-persuading) purposes, but not all of it. And it has a higher percentage of faithful Catholic faculty than the other major Catholic universities. Alone among Catholic universities it had actually adopted a “hiring for mission” policy, even if that policy often was ignored when push came to shove. Other schools don’t even have such policies except affirmative action hiring for members of their own religious orders which is on such a miniscule scale as to be meaningless.

    We had some, even if small, hope for Notre Dame that we did not have for other schools. None of us were surprised at the invitation and honorary degree for Obama. But after the bishops began to rouse themselves (building on the slowly dawning awareness among many of them in the election last fall that the Culture of Death has gained another milestone in the election of an infanticide-favorer), we did permit ourselves the faint hope that in this unprecedented confrontation the university (not Fr. Jenkins but the entire power structure of the school) might back down.

    What was different about this was that in the past the bishops remained supine. This time they did not. To dismiss it as “Notre Dame was lost long ago” misses the degree to which the issues were surfaced this time around, the degree to which Notre Dame was in-it-face challenged not to do what it went ahead and did.

    That’s why people are so affected by this. To dismiss their affectedness with world-weary languor suggests, with all respect, Thomas, that you are less acutely aware of the ebb and flow of the battle we’ve been in for decades (for millennia) than you affect yourself to be.

  155. I am not Spartacus says:

    Firing Jenkins means next to nothing.

    I am in favor of doing that sort of nothing.

    BTW, here is what Notre Dame pays its most important people. Fr Jenkins gets over $400K a year (I’ll bet Judas is jealous).

  156. elizabethk says:

    “he effectively nationalized the Catholic Church, taking it over just the way he has taken ”

    No, wrong – he has only embraced a contingent of the (liberal) Catholic church goers – who were already taken over, otherwise they would NOT have been at that commencement address, allowing themselves to be embraced…

    I SO appreciate what you write, Fr. Z. – it is the same for me, that I MUST make a choice in my own little life too. A line has been drawn, and I need to choose to step over to the side of truth. NOT about the issue of Pro-Life, but leading a wholly Catholic life in every thing and person I encounter. I have fallen WAY short…

  157. TonyM says:

    This will remain one of my favourite posts on this blog.

  158. Joe bis says:

    BobK may be telling the truth in that he is accurately quoting someone else, but I wonder if what he is quoting is fully correct. It is true that the Congregation of the Holy Cross is of pontifical right, but the Bishop can refuse faculties to any priest. He can put any interdict (given the other canonical conditions) on any institution in his diocese, if ‘interdict’ means ‘interdiction of celebration of the Sacraments’. I do not believe that a Congregation of pontifical right needs the Bishop’s permission to run a university, but they need his permission to call it Catholic and to celebrate the Sacraments.

    I also wonder if it is true that the CSC Provincial is bound by the contract that Fr Jenkins CSC signed. I understand that different Congregations understand obedience differently, but I would be surprised to learn that they would allow Provincials to be bound in this way. If this were the case then the contract would have no reference to a) the authority of the Provincial, b) the status of the President as a priest in good standing with the Church and his Congregation. And I would doubt if the contract had a severe financial penalty for breaking it. What if the President of UND were made a Bishop, or elected Provincial? Would the Church come to a halt because of his contract?

    The quotation mentions Opus Dei. That is apples and oranges. Opus Dei is not exempt as such, but has its own structure of personal prelature. That is not the same as being of pontifical right.

  159. quiet beginning says:

    Jim of Bowie wrote:

    “I think Benedict XVI is the greatest Pope of my lifetime (which goes back to Pius XII), however he must act more boldly in enforcing a reform of the reform. Nothing will happen unless it starts with the Holy See. He can start by stopping these horrible outdoor masses which I know he doesn’t like and lifting the indult for communion in the hand.”

    It’s not going to happen. The essence of the program that was launched via Vatican II is to eventually meld all religions into one global lovefest, a lovefest which will subsume the Catholic religion into itself. Those who control the official apparatus of what is publicly recognized as the Catholic Church are not about to do anything to restore the pre-Vatican II faith, a faith that they abhore. At best, Benedict XVI will (like his predecessor, John Paul II did when faced with the many crises occurring under his reign) enunciate some saccharine platitudes designed to put the brakes on a bit, but not designed to ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING about it that would begin a returning to what Catholicism actually was prior to Vatican II. The idea is to give the impression that Rome is addressing the problem, when in fact nothing of the kind is occurring–no one is going to be disciplined, and the march to global religion is not to be halted.
    I’m sure that some people are bothered by my dim view of the situation, but I would just say to them that they sit back and watch and what happens. Benedict XVI will NOT do anything substantive about this.

  160. Joseph Kaminsky says:

    The heart of the matter is MONEY. The philosophy of a college president and Board of Trustees is determined by the financially supporting Alumni. Only these Alumni can bring about the removal of Fr. Jenkins. His behavior was not “presidential.” It was that of a starry-eyed teenage girl in the presence of a rock star.


  161. jarhead462 says:

    Heartfelt and well said.
    Thank you for being able to say what we feel, but cannot articulate.

    Semper Fi!

  162. TMG says:

    The fools cheering for Obama in the audience at Notre Dame can hardly be called Catholic. They are modernists worshiping a false god. Unfortunately, liberals will now capitalize on this scandal and become further emboldened – after all, a “premier” Catholic university has not only bestowed honors on the devil’s agent, but thousands of “Catholics” cheered him on!

    I beg all truly Catholic priests to please teach traditional Catholic catechism through your Sunday sermons to the faithful. It is obvious, and has been for a long time, that the majority of people identifying themselves as Catholics have absolutely no clue how to follow the teachings of Catholicism.

    As a former attendee of Catholic school in the ’50s & early ’60s I received a solid understanding of the Catholic Faith. I’m sorry to say that the Novus Ordo church after Vatican II did not continue to provide that to me. Thankfully, due to Summorum Pontificum I am once again being taught the Catholic Faith every Sunday through sermons at the SSPX Masses which I assist at.

  163. Peggy says:

    Like many others here, I was also waiting to read your take. Yor profound comments are precise. I was horrified by what I saw and heard Sunday. I also was thinking, as did one other commenter, that the youth were typically liberalized at that age. I hope and pray that some will have woken up, maybe as soon as today, maybe next week, or in 10 years and look back, wondering what they were doing at a Roman Catholic uni graduation, giving lauds to this secular “messiah”, booing a pro-life person, telling him “Yes, we can!” in favor of a powerful agent of death, Obama, who admits he changes his language to trick pro-lifers to vote for him and who lies about meeting us half-way. There is no half-way. Look at what he actually does, people. Maybe in a few years, we’ll read some apologetic guest editorials by some graduates about this day.

  164. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    This is a statement from Archbishop Chaput of Denver, DENOUNCING President Jenkins’ introduction to Obama in the strongest possible terms:

  165. Aaron says:

    “In an era when emotion trumps reason, facts are just plain mean.” — Fr. Z.

    This is going straight in my quotes collection. Thank you, Father, for this post and all the work you do here. I agree that we must restore the liturgy before we can hope to fix our other problems or influence the culture for the better. We have to remove the boulder in our own eye first. Save the liturgy to /save the Church/, then save the world.

  166. N.W. Clerk says:


    Give ’em the old razzle dazzle
    Razzle Dazzle ’em
    Give ’em an act with lots of flash in it
    And the reaction will be passionate
    Give ’em the old hocus pocus
    Bead and feather ’em
    How can they see with sequins in their eyes?
    What if your hinges all are rusting?
    What if, in fact, you’re just disgusting?
    Razzle dazzle ’em
    And they’ll never catch wise!

    Give ’em the old Razzle Dazzle
    Razzle dazzle ’em
    Give ’em a show that’s so splendiferous
    Row after row will crow vociferous
    Give ’em the old flim flam flummox
    Fool and fracture ’em
    How can they hear the truth above the roar?
    Throw ’em a fake and a finagle
    They’ll never know you’re just a bagel,
    Razzle dazzle ’em
    And they’ll beg you for more!

    Give ’em the old double whammy
    Daze and dizzy ’em
    Back since the days of old Methuselah
    Everyone loves the big bambooz-a-ler
    Give ’em the old three ring circus
    Stun and stagger ’em
    When you’re in trouble, go into your dance
    Though you are stiffer than a girder
    They’ll let you get away with murder
    Razzle dazzle ’em
    And you’ve got a romance

  167. joe says:

    I found the Wall Street Journal’s take — admittedly secular — to be very interesting and worthy of sharing. I didn’t see it posted anywhere on their site, so I took the liberty of posting it here:


  168. Billy G says:

    Francesco B, get your facts straight. Hispanic women have abortions much LESS frequently than other women. Take a ride thru my neighborhood and you’ll see many young Hispanic women with babies. In black and Hispanic neighborhoods, it’s almost a “badge of honor” to have an out-of-wedlock baby. Planned Parenthood doesn’t target black and Hispanic women for abortions. Planned Parenthood recommends birth control to them. Do a little research and you’ll find out that the vast majority of abortions are with middle-class white suburban women.

  169. David says:

    One thing that this commencement drama proved is that the USCCB has absolutely no authority in this country! When they meet in August they should call Fr. Jenkins and the Board of Trustees to Washington for a sit down. Let them tell the Bishops (or at least the ones who had the courage to send a letter) why they were defiant to a directive from the US Bishops.

    I feel very let down with our Church right now! If you heard FR. Martian on CNN from America Magazine defend Obama and the decision to have him receive this honor…it was disgusting how a priest could take this position! I salute Raymond Arroyo for his comments. Raymond spoke clear, direct on what the Church’s position is- But this priest and the CNN anchor who conducted this one-sided interview was poor journalism!

    I wish someone would post that video link.

    Very frustrating!

  170. ssoldie says:

    “True friends of the Catholic Church are NOT the revolutionaries, NOR the inovators, but are the Traditionalist”

  171. MargaretMN says:

    I add my thanks to the pileup of other commenter. I had my own private ND/Obama moment last week when I got a fundraising pitch from my old High School in Michigan. The entire letter was framed with Hillary Clinton’s “it takes a village” motif and moreover went on to use Hillary as an example of what women could achieve. (It’s an all girls school). Years ago when they openly supported Jennifer Granholm for governor (pro-choice Catholic) I was appalled and wrote them a letter. I am thinking about writing another letter, but I doubt it would do any good. I am not a big donor. And the school has only changed marginally since the time I attended which coincided with the removal of “Our Lady” from the name of the school, to simply “Mercy.” Supposedly it was a “branding” thing. If trads, neotrads and supertrads want to win the future they must support the institutions that will make it up and not support the ones that are actively working against them and their values. We do have a place to go. It pains me to say that the school where I and my mom both went will not see another dime from me and that I will choose to support schools that I know are actually giving children a Catholic education. This isn’t just about Notre Dame.

    Working for a non-profit, I know that where the money goes determines what happens next. Don’t be so sure that angry alums withdrawing their money will make a difference. It is entirely possible that these events will actually bring more money in the door from people who agree with them, from secular sources and rich dissident Catholics who want to stick it to the church. We must work in both positive (giving money and support) and negative (taking it away) directions to have the result we want.

  172. T. D. Watson says:

    Whispering through my mind as I read your post Fr Z, I could only think, Amen, Amen. You have brought the gang of us back around to what is really, truly the most important thing about this entire clusterbomb – Christ, and His teachings through our Holy Mother Church. The liturgy on the local level, keeping to the proper and truthful teachings of our Church, is what will bring people back to realizing God’s love and how to live His love for us.
    Also too, I agree with Aaron about that line, “In an era when emotion trumps reason, facts are just plain mean.” Thank you for your erudite posts, they keep me going!

  173. Aaron says:

    Sorry, Billy G, but your impressions of your neighborhood don’t fit the facts. A 1995 survey by the Alan Guttmacher Institute found that Hispanics, who made up 11% of the population, accounted for 20% of abortions, while non-Hispanic whites, at 74% of the population, accounted for 46%. That looks like almost three times the abortions per capita to me. The Republican fantasy of high immigration from Mexico providing a staunchly pro-life voting base is just that.

  174. VP says:

    Obama+nation = abomination. Pray and fast. Now is the time of the Fatima message and the Fatima prophecy. Pray and fast!

  175. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    Regarding the Congregation of Holy Cross, which ostensibly runs Notre Dame: Yes, people are right that Bishop D’Arcy’s options are limited. But, he does have options.

    He could simply cut off NDU’s access to the diocese and its services: no use of parish property; no appearances by diocesan personnel; no scholarship money; no nothing. He could make it clear that he believes NDU has violated its Catholic mission and wants nothing to do with it. Etc. and so forth . . .

    As to RBrown above:

    (1) Sacrosanctum Concilium says nothing of the sort about good liturgy vs. bad liturgy: It makes a doctrinal statement, not a practical one. Thus: you are reading your own ideology into it.

    (2) Latin is the solution to Church reform? Nuff said.

    (3) Someone . . . claims? Once again, nuff said.

    (4) Gaudium et Spes is a constitution of an ecumenical council and, therefore, is weighted heavily as regards its authority. So, let’s remember that.

    Still, I don’t think the “hermeneutics of rupture”-crowd relies solely on GS. Though, they do appeal to its positive vision. I don’t disagree with Vatican II’s positive vision; I like that vision. I’ve been around many conservative Catholics who love the pre-Vatican II church, especially its arrogant clericalism and smug meanness. I don’t want to go back to that.

    But, I don’t like bishops and popes sitting by while the Church is dismantled around them, either.

  176. Brian Byrne says:

    The ever fierce dichotomy between this fallen existence and the perfection we by our very nature so deeply long to encounter, to imbibe, and in which to find ultimate solace is most firmly bridged in this life through the mystery of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist in the Sacrifice of the Mass. Authentic Catholic liturgy intends to reach down and draw up the mind and heart in solemn preparation for and thankful celebration of this personal, unique, and direct encounter with God. How much easier it is to meet Him at the source and summit of our Faith when the path is broad, clearly marked, and well known to me…

    Perhaps one Sunday Mass slot at each parish in the United States should be set aside until further notice for a training Mass with a dispensation for attending. In the training Mass, every detail of the Mass would be explained in detail by the Pastor; why we do this, why we say that, why do we gesture thus, what does this mean, why is this here, why is that lit, who can attend, who can receive, why do we kneel, why do we stand, what of this is universally performed throughout the word and what is not, why the Mass, etc.

    Pax et bonum

  177. Tom Piatak says:

    A magnificent meditation on this appalling situation.

  178. Sandra in Severn says:

    Only by prayer, the “glamour of evil” (as my daughter has said “oo shiny!”) will be defeated.

    If we as a people have learned anything, we have to pray, for our enemies, for elected leaders and representatives and for our country.

  179. quiet beginning says:

    Matthew W.I. Dunn wrote:

    “(4) Gaudium et Spes is a constitution of an ecumenical council and, therefore, is weighted heavily as regards its authority. So, let’s remember that.

    Still, I don’t think the “hermeneutics of rupture”-crowd relies solely on GS. Though, they do appeal to its positive vision. I don’t disagree with Vatican II’s positive vision; I like that vision. I’ve been around many conservative Catholics who love the pre-Vatican II church, especially its arrogant clericalism and smug meanness. I don’t want to go back to that.

    But, I don’t like bishops and popes sitting by while the Church is dismantled around them, either.”

    Here is an interesting link in which will be found some problems inherent to G.S.:

    By the way, aside from your charge of “arrogant clericalism and smug meanness,” which is an unfair, unhistorical, gratuitous and unspeakably mean-spirited attack against Our Blessed Lord’s Bride of 2000 years, let’s get one thing very clear–no one is forcing you to worship in any way other than that of your preference. You have a free will to accept or reject truth, and that has always been the teaching of the Church from the beginning. It is obvious to me that you loathe the Church as it was officially manifested prior to Vatican II. Let’s get something else very clear: those of us who wanted to continue worshiping in the pre-Vatican II manner WERE forced to worship in a way other than that of our preference. That fact does not seem to bother you, though.

  180. B Knotts says:

    Amen, Fr.

    Lex orandi, lex credendi.

    That’s how we got here, and that’s how we’ll get back to where we ought to be.

  181. Tomas says:

    Houghton G

    I respect your obviously superior knowledge of the intimate workings of the
    academic corridors of power. It sounds to me as though your take is that funders
    ultimately will have more impact than bishops over this disgrace. But why not a
    two-pronged assault? Major donors are already making themselves heard; we now
    await the bishops’ next steps.

    Your superior knowledge notwithstanding, you have sidestepped my statement that
    Notre Dame was lost years go, by saying “And finally, Tomas, Notre Dame was not
    lost years ago to the same degree that other schools were.” You proceed to com-
    pare ND with other “Catholic” campuses. Please note that I was not evaluating
    ND in comparison to other Catholic universities, but on its own Catholic quality
    and identity. If ND had a stronger “core” than other universities, then what was
    “VM” doing on campus?

    Finally, I did not mean to dismiss or downplay everyone’s concern about yester-
    day’s calamity with my “world-weary languor.” Just trying to put it into perspective which, in my opinion, is that the horse was let out of the barn long ago. It appears, however, that many people are just discovering that the door was left open.

  182. Mark G. says:

    Father, thanks for your insightful analysis. “In an era when emotion trumps reason, facts are just plain mean” – Brilliant.

    I didn’t see the speech myself. I was singing Palestrina’s Missa Brevis at the Extraordinary Form of Mass.

  183. Paul Haley says:

    “As we serve our country, we will be motivated by faith, but we cannot appeal only to faith. We must also engage in a dialogue that appeals to reason that all can accept.”

    Oh, I see, included in this all of which Fr. Jenkins speaks is Satan himself and his minions who go about the world seeking the ruin of souls and death to the innocent. Egads, it boggles the mind and this from a Catholic priest who just happens to be President of one of our largest Catholic universities. Does anyone else here see the diabolical disorientation in his words?

  184. Eugene says:

    Today the news sources carried stories about the conciliatory approach the Vatican took towards the President’s speech at Notre Dame. I hope that the bishops who who wrote such inflammatory letters about the situation will take note. Surely, the winners in this “tempest in a teapot” are the President, Father Jenkins, and academic freedom at Notre Dame.

  185. magdalene says:

    Archbishop Chaput’s thoughts can be found at:

  186. leo says:

    “In an era when emotion trumps reason, facts are just plain mean.”

    Father, you need to get this sentence copyrighted!

  187. laurazim says:

    “I cannot verify it but a woman called Rush Limbaugh today to say she was at the graduation ceremony on Sunday and she estimates about one-third of those present, students and family members, did not stand and applaud for the president and remained silent at other points when others cheered. Does anyone know if this is true?”

    Check the link. There was such a caller, and much, much more.

    Fr. Z., as always, Thanks, thanks, and ever thanks. Your ministry here means so much to so many.

  188. Frank says:

    Well Said Father Z.
    You cut to the crux of this situation and give us some nourishing food for thought.
    I send my prayers with yours as we continue to stand up for our faith.
    May God continue to guide and protect.

  189. RJM says:

    “We will wear you down by our capacity to suffer.”
    – Martin Luther King, Jr.

  190. Cyndy W says:

    “What causes me great angst and even fear, though, is the possibility that the bishops won’t do anything about this. I agree with those who’ve written in and said that the school needs to be officially stripped of its Catholic label and the Congregation of the Holy Cross “disinvited” from the diocese. I was hopeful that the bishops WOULD act, and that they were just waiting for the event to occur in order not to have the punishment precede the crime. If the bishops can’t or won’t respond to this with action rather than words, what help will they be to faithful Catholics when we need guidance in the tribulations to come?

    I think of and pray about this very thing EVERY DAY. Will we have true shepherds?

  191. Dave N. says:

    My prediction is that Bishop D’Arcy (Ft. Wayne/South Bend) et al. will do absolutely nothing further about this.

    As as result (sadly) any chance of actually implementing Ex Corde Ecclesiae in the US will dissolve.

  192. quiet beginning says:

    Cindy W. wrote:

    “If the bishops can’t or won’t respond to this with action rather than words, what help will they be to faithful Catholics when we need guidance in the tribulations to come?”

    What have they done for the last 40+ years? (This ought to be a no-brainer.)

  193. quiet beginning says:

    Paul Haley wrote:

    “Does anyone else here see the diabolical disorientation in his words?”


  194. Mark says:

    Dave N.,

    You said,

    My prediction is that Bishop D’Arcy (Ft. Wayne/South Bend) et al. will do absolutely nothing further about this.As as result (sadly) any chance of actually implementing Ex Corde Ecclesiae in the US will dissolve.

    Have you read Bishop D’Arcy’s 4/21 statement on the issue?

    There still may be some hope on the issue.

  195. Paul Haley says:

    The link that Magdalene gave for Archbishop Chaput’s response to the spectacle on Sunday last at Notre Dame is repeated here: and I encourage everyone to link up to it and read what a true Shepherd and my archbishop (and, no, you can’t have him) has to say about the matter.

    And to Eugene I must say: “bishops who who wrote such inflammatory letters” is a non sequitur and the most inflammatory subject there is is the killing of the innocent at any stage of their God-given life. Remember that it is God who gives and takes away life and no one else. The innocent have no one to defend them and it is up to us to take up the challenge and do what we can in their behalf. Therefore, I applaud every one of those bishops who took a stand in this matter.

  196. Michael J says:


    At this point, I am finding it very difficult to care what Archbishop Chaput *says*.

    Sorry, but his words have not had any effect so far. In the meatime, a Catholic university is polluted by heresy, and unknown numbers of souls are being led to perdition.

  197. George MI+ says:

    Thank you for your site and the application of your particular talents and skills in interpreting the ‘moment’ that all of us share in preparation for the judgement and wedding feast of the Lamb. I felt deeply reassured as I read your ‘take’ on the Obomination at Notre Dame. I’m a convert and learning to love Our Blessed Mother and stay close to Jesus the Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Our Holy Mother has one foot on the serpent’s skull and the other foot invites me onto Eden’s path. Homeward bound. His love moves me deeper into repentance, as the Bride prepares. Let the Bride prepare and let Obama have his dialogue with Evil.I will pray for his CONVERSION!

  198. Paul Haley says:

    Michael J,

    Archbishop Chaput is not able to revoke Notre Dame’s Charter as a Catholic institution. That is up to the diocesan bishop. But, Archbishop Chaput is able to speak out when necessary to counter abuses in the Church and he does so, thankfully. I’ll continue to defend him against all comers.

  199. Mitchell NY says:

    This is all too perfect example of how lay people today (not all of them) do not respect the Bishops, or their conferences, or their proclamations..With this kind of behavior; meetings, outlining how this sort of thing is not allowed, releasing it to the Catholic faithful, applauding themselves after all their hard work and tough words, and then when it comes time to abiding by it they go ahead and do exactly what it forbids it is no wonder they find people laughing at them…But even more harmful is that internally, on an unconscious level we begin to formulate an opinion that if they can do it (or not do it), and they are Bishops, so can we. A waste of time, resources, and most of all totally destructive to any type of a formulative discipline and obedience…They are their own worst enemy.

  200. anon for this says:

    The digs at Fr. Jenkins’ salary are uncalled for. I deeply disagree with his decision in this matter, but Fr. Jenkins has taken a vow of poverty. Most of his salary goes to his order. He lives in a very modest on-campus apartment, and drives a nondescript sedan. He is not living large.

  201. michigancatholic says:

    Oh hockey, anon for this. Members of most of the 19th-20th century orders, particularly the modern non-mendicant type like the Holy Cross, don’t live in poverty. You say he’s not living large; he’s not living small either. So what is your point?

  202. Patrick says:

    Billy G.,

    Amazing how assuredly you proclaim your “facts” about black and Hispanic women, borne out of ? personal experience, and thus anecdotal in its genesis. These statistics are widely publicized and you could not be more wrong. Please be more accountable.

    Just an example: Consider the following: African-Americans make up 26% of the population of Alabama; they account for 54.7% of the abortions; 29.6% of Georgia’s roughly 8 million citizens are African-Americans yet African-Americans make up 57.8% of the abortions; in North Carolina the population percentage is 21.3% while the proportion of black abortions is 44.2%; in my adopted home state of Tennessee, African-Americans are 16.6% of the population yet make up 41.6% of the abortions; most egregious, however, is Mississippi where African-Americans make up 37.1% of the population and a mind-boggling 77.2% of the abortions. In fact, in every state where African-Americans make up more than 10% of the population, the black abortion rate far exceeds the population percentage, often by a factor of two or three.

    Billy, don’t have time to quote Hispanic statistics. As I recall they are higher than whites as well. Stood many a day in front of clinics, especially in “da hood.” Know what’s up my man.

  203. Michael says:

    Thanks Father, I appreciate your post. I agree with you about worship being part of the cure, but I would go one step farther. If we have come to this pass it is largely because we have failed to preach the gospel. For President Obama, faith is a belief system about which one can have doubts. But the Christian faith is not a belief system in this sense: it is faith and trust in a person who has and does deliver me from the power of sin and death. I do not doubt that I have been healed of sin and its effects in many ways, any more than I doubt that a paper cut on my finger has healed. It is simply a fact. Having experienced the healing power of Jesus, it is my duty to tell others so that they too can go to the great physician. In this sense, too, I think we must consider the missiological meaning of the holy mass in particular, and Christian worship in general. Worship equips us as disciples for mission by rightly orienting our souls to God. The very word mass comes from the Latin participle missa “sent” (or perhaps a related Later Latin word missa, -ae meaning sending, mission, or dismissal). Our worship in this life is not an end in itself, but is to equip us spiritually to be witnesses of God’s glory and saving power by our life, deeds and words. Our job towards those like Obama, and like, I fear, Fr. Jenkins, is, first, to be daily more and more converted ourselves (by identifying and taking to the Lord those parts of our lives where his healing is needed), and then to preach the Gospel to them, both by living holy lives that manifest God’s saving power and also by witnessing in word and deed to that power. Our witness on abortion and other issues—if it is to succeed—must not be one of simply condemning this great evil. It must be one of showing them the way to salvation from the sin in which they and our world are ensnared. Our Lord came not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Of course we may meet with a violent reaction—and we will likely have to suffer. But how many persecutors have been converted by the joyful witness of the martyrs?

  204. Pete says:

    These rat’s nests that are out to undermine the faith have to get cleaned out. Bishops should start swinging a heavier club. They’ll only find that they will be respected for it by the bedrock of the faithful. As for the ones who make the noise? What does one expect from a rat’s nest being cleaned out – silence?


  205. Pius Ogene says:

    Lucifer is restless in the pit of Hell fire and in great pains. Expectedly he takes his vengence on the world, Notre Dame inclusive. Be courageous my brothers and have faith in the Word made flesh which dwelt amongst us and who is to come, the Almighty,powerful, just but very Judge.

    Notre Dame; will the glory ever shine on you again? What a pity.

    May I, with great respect call on the successor on Saint Peter to admonish the priests and the religious tolead the laity to true liturgy of the Word made flesh. Remember Holy Father,the keys to the gate of Heaven is still in your hands.

    Please act now.

  206. copithorne says:

    I’ve read this and the links and the comments very closely. I’ve really tried to understand what the point of view is that objects to Barack Obama giving the address at Notre Dame.

    And it seems as though there is a number of people who hold that the belief that abortion should be criminalized in US law is an essential part of Catholic Doctrine. Abortion is murder. It kills a human life. It is wrong. It should be a crime. Anyone who disagrees is amoral and an unformed, uneducated Catholic.

    And it seems strange to me. Because I don’t see them advocating that abortion really be treated as murder with women and doctors being thrown in jail for life. I don’t see them taking responsibility for that position. It is as though the debate of whether abortion should be criminalized is experienced as identical to the debate about whether abortion is wrong.
    In fact, these are different debates. The Catholic Church and the Gospels and the Pope actually have little insight into the United States Constitution which is the current governing domain of the debate over whether the government can criminalize abortion.

    There are a LOT of Catholics and other people of good will who when they look at this don’t see a workable regime of criminalizing abortion. It seems as though the people making the debate are willing to divide their church and their country in half by excluding these people. My own perception is that Barack Obama’s descriptions of the process by which we maintain unity of Church and nation represents the wiser course.

  207. Mark says:

    Oh, yes, copithorne, God forbid we divide the country in half! Let’s just kill a million plus citizens a year for the sake of the unity of the rest of us! Puh-leeze.

    Abortion should be criminalized. If “the US Constitution” doesnt allow it, then the US constitution is wrong. Catholic Doctrine, strictly speaking, says little about the State. But one thing indisputably taught in natural and divine law is that the State should (in fact its primary purpose is to) protect life and property!

    This isnt like a debate over whether the State should tolerate prostitution (which Aquinas argued it should) or something like that. It, indeed, isnt the State’s primary job to stop “immorality”. But it is the State’s primary job to protect our lives. If it isnt doing that…what is it doing? That is the difference. Abortion isnt just an issue of “morality”…it’s a question of a person being legally murdered.

    We do wish to see abortion criminalized. Not, I’d think, so much to punish mothers and abortionists…as to STOP abortions BEFORE they happen. Not so much to punish them after the fact, except inasmuch as that would act as a deterrent. I dont care about “revenge” or “justice” after the fact really. I want abortion to be illegal so that if I know that there are plans for one to take place, I can call the police and they can STOP it BEFORE it happens. “Punishing” it after the fact…meh, is only really important inasmuch as it might act as a deterrent in the future. But getting the state to use its power of force to shut down clinics and restrain mothers and stop the doctors BEFORE the murder happens is really the important part.

    Nevertheless, your position reminds me of several disturbing articles in the respected journal First Things that few pro-lifers have been willing to help me figure out a response for:

    I can think of some answers, but people have been frustratingly reluctant to give me the full moral-theology analysis of why we dont.

  208. Paul Haley says:

    Dear copithorne,

    <bIt is against the law, – the moral law which all Catholics are bound to obey. This is about our identity as Catholics not whether the law itself is in question.

  209. Paul Haley says:

    It’s already against the law, the moral law which we, as Catholics, are bound to obey.

  210. copithorne says:

    Mark, thanks. I read those articles closely and I respect the thoughtfulness with which they are written.

    Do I understand that you are still left with the sense that violence against abortion providers is justified in the same way that violence against people threatening to murder children is justified? You find these articles attempting to draw a line between the two categories unpersuasive?

    My own sense of things or response is that people can become preoccupied with moral philosophy and controlling other people when it may be better to put all that moral passion into improving our own faith hope and charity.

    Paul, Barack Obama does not stand in any opposition to any Catholic following and honoring Catholic moral law. I don’t see any conflict there.

  211. quiet beginning says:

    Copithorne wrote:

    “Paul, Barack Obama does not stand in any opposition to any Catholic following and honoring Catholic moral law. I don’t see any conflict there.”

    Copithorne, I don’t quite follow you here. Could you rephrase/expand?


  212. michigancatholic says:


    The problem is that we live in a country which allowed the chief court of the juridical branch, the Supreme Court, to usurp the function of the legislative branch in order to obtain laws that couldn’t be passed by representatives of the people. It was a travesty. But more importantly for our purposes, it makes protection of abortion the law of the land, so to your point, it is not possible to prosecute people for killing their own children via abortion. It is not two things.

    Now, there are a number of groups objecting to abortion at this time. One of them is the Catholic Church. Others of them are groups in and around the Catholic Church. Some protestant churches and other groups also object. All these groups have a constitutional right to object for whatever reasons they might have, and it’s not your place or anyone else’s to tell them how to think or not think. Understand? Abortion, as a matter of fact, happens to be murder by definition, whether the law classifies is as that or not. Even the mormons understand that.

    Your objection, as voiced in the last post, seems to center around your characterization of opposition to abortion as preoccupation “with moral philosophy and controlling other people.” Aha, now we’re getting someplace. Do you not think the Catholic Church and other groups have a right to the freedom of speech? YOu seem to think you do. Why do you think you can blabber on and no one else can speak?

    If you don’t want to be Catholic, no one is twisting your arm. If you don’t care what the church says about abortion, then fine, ignore it. You’ve decided you’re going to do & say what you want. Fine, so stop your d**n whining. I am fed up with people who whine. What *IS* your problem??

  213. rfpnc says:

    I am not a Catholic; I’m a Protestant who is learning about Catholicism because the Eucharist is drawing me. I don’t know if it’s appropriate for me to post here because I don’t know anything about the intricacies of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. However, based on the Notre Dame/Obama controversy, I do have some questions and a couple of thoughts.

    What makes a Catholic a Catholic? If a person denies the divinity of Christ, or opposes the position of the Magisterium, or rebels against church authority, etc., are they truly Catholic? I realize that the Catholic Church includes a diverse body and the church allows for the individuality of personhood, but where is the line drawn on this? If, say, a priest blatantly opposed the Church’s stand on the sanctity of life, then isn’t the priest in direct rebellion against the Magisterium , the Pope (and Christ Himself, as represented by the church)?

    Why are groups within or attached to the Catholic Church allowed to indulge in heresy? (I can’t think of another word to describe when a Catholic group seems to support a position that contradicts Church creeds or positions). I assume there is some mechanism by which these kind of situations are handled, but have never seen much happen by way of correction or discipline for erring factions in the Church.

    How does a college or university identify itself as “Catholic”? Is there some formal process, or does the designation stem from the group of people who originally founded the institution, so that the label is a historic one, not necessarily a descriptive? If a college does identify itself as Catholic, is it bound to follow the teachings of the church? From what I was reading in the comments,Notre Dame is not under the jurisdiction of the Pope or the RC Church. Do those who run the board have to answer, theologically, to anyone?

    I’m not trying to be sarcastic or rhetorical with my questions; I am confused by some of this and would like answers.

    As for the controversy surrounding the invitation and honorary degree bestowed upon Obama by Notre Dame, the whole affair is nauseating but not surprising. It’s not surprising because a large bloc of people describing themselves as “faithful” Catholics and “faithful” Protestants supported Obama, electing him President. They blindly supported him despite the fact that his stand on the issues of the day was (and is) diametrically opposed to the stand of the Roman Catholic Church and most of the conservative Evangelical/Pentecostal Protestant churches.

    “For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4

  214. Michael says:

    Fr. Z, you are right that the Church stands/falls on liturgy, but your appeal to the hierarchy is useless. Overwhelmingly, they and those on whom they depend are entrenched.

    As I can see it, what is absolutely necessary is a world-wide jurisdiction with its own incardinated clergy, and enrolled laity, in communion – yes – with the local bishops, but not under their jurisdiction; with its own network of parishes and properties; directly under the Holy See.

    Something like sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches.

    The present Personal Prelature is an already established structure, perfectly suitable to be transformed in this direction. Their principle is to serve the Church as the Church wants them to serve her – so they meet all conditions.

  215. michigancatholic says:

    Hi rfpnc,

    I’m a convert, and maybe I can help a little bit.

    The church, contrary to what you might have heard, isn’t some big ogre that’s going to run over you. (OK, I used to be a Lutheran and it’s what I heard!) On the contrary, the church has an enormous respect for the wills of its members because the will has a huge amount to do with the ability to commit yourself to faith, if that makes any sense to you. (There has been much mystical theology devoted to this, something else you will find as you enter the church and find the great praying saints.)

    Yes, the church does teach the truth, though, and you are expected to assent (the exact word) to the truth the Church teaches and has always taught, as expressed in scripture, the catechism and Tradition (big T) if you want to live your life as a Catholic. And God, of course, knows all this that goes on within you, and He honors it. It’s the context in which you build your relationship with him.

    But in line with the 1st paragraph, they’re not going to chase you down if you don’t. If you hear that there is a delicacy between will, faith and decision, and if you hear that your soul is more important than you think, then you hear me correctly. It’s up to you to learn what you can, keep praying and keep yourself worthy of the sacraments, because again this is part of the context of your relationship with God. There are certainly helps for that: confession, scripture, magisterial teaching, the liturgy, and more–and living the faith itself in a consistent way is actually one of the greatest helps. (That said, it pays to keep up with the news. The church does censure some people (mostly theologians who write) who not only are in trouble theologically, but hurt other people with their mistakes. This is about the only time you’ll see big official actions like excommunication or censuring.)

    You have to understand that the Church is this huge conveyance through time; it’s not a service; rather, it is the way that the truths of scripture are lived out. If you come with her, you have everything you need but it may not be exactly how you’d do it if you were God. But things don’t work that way, do they? Like I said, I’m a convert and becoming Catholic has been the best decision I’ve ever made.

  216. michigancatholic says:

    Oh, and about universities and hospitals:

    Ones that carry the name Catholic do so because of who founded them. Sometimes they’re still really Catholic; sometimes not. Sometimes they’re still run by the order; sometimes they’ve been sold and are run by lay boards, who may or may not be Catholic. You have to check if you want to know.

    The same thing has happened with other organizations too: Harvard was originally founded to train Puritan ministers which is pretty far from what they’re up to now; Yale was Congregational; and then there are all the Methodist universities and hospitals in existence that are no longer Methodist or anything like it, among others.

    We have Georgetown and Notre Dame and a few others that have passed more or less into the general culture in this way, and we have some who are still quite Catholic.

    And you see the same thing in Europe: The Sorbonne, Oxford, major hospitals and so on.

    Why? Because religious orders of the Catholic Church were responsible in the middle ages of bringing about these goods of society. They were the ones with the organization and foresight to do it. That’s why it is the way it is. And the same pattern and set of laws transferred to the USA and other countries founded after European populations had developed to this point, when hospitals and universities had to be built. The pattern worked very well. The after-effects aren’t always so nice though.

    The thing is, that although we need to keep building for the sake of fulfilling the Church’s mission in this life, we’re not primarily a building association. We’re about something much bigger underneath all the building. Does that make sense? I hope so.

  217. copithorne says:

    Paul, you said that abortion is against the moral law which Catholics are bound to obey.

    Catholics can honor and obey that moral law. Barack Obama does not stand in opposition to Catholics honoring and obeying Catholic moral law. There is no conflict there. Catholics value confessing their sins and going to Church on Sunday. But we don’t expect the US government to pass laws mandating that all people do those things.

    The conflict expressed here between this Catholic faith community and Barack Obama and Notre Dame is not about Catholic moral law. The conflict at stake here is about Federal US Government law and the United States Constitution.

    Michigan Catholic, you are willing to exclude me from the Church and exclude probably more than half of American Catholics from the Church based on your interpretation of politics. I don’t perceive that interpretation of politics to be as firmly grounded in Catholic faith and tradition as you perceive it. And I think that Barack Obama’s words may have value for you as you consider whether dividing the Church in half is a role you are called to play. Didn’t Dante place those who divided the Church in the inner circles of the Inferno? Be careful.

    The articles that Mark linked to tried to present reasons why violence was not appropriate in the effort to stop abortion. I understood Mark to say he was unpersuaded by these articles. My understanding of people who would use violence to stop abortion is not that their moral reasoning is invalid but that are obsessed over an approach to moral philosophy that is less constructive than if they used that passion to transform their own lives. I don’t think that message is different than what Father Z is saying.

  218. quiet beginning says:

    Copithorne wrote:

    “But we don’t expect the US government to pass laws mandating that all people do those things.”

    Actually, Dignitatis Humanae muddied the waters a bit(!) by giving the impression that the Catholic Church teaches that man has the “right” to accept Christ as God and Savior or not to accept Him. Well, that’s what people believe, so it must have been the teaching. Correct? Nothing could be further from the truth. If Christ has mandated that all men must come to the Father through Him via His Church, then no one has the right to disobey. No one has a right to be a Protestant or to practice Judaism or Islam, etc. The Church, though, has immemorially taught that man has a FREE WILL by means of which he may disobey God if he so chooses. There is a difference between free will and a right. You may reject the Church’s teaching on this, but if you knowingly and pertinaciously hold to that rejection, you then put yourself outside the Church.
    BTW, if a Catholic knowingly and pertinaciously disobeys the Church’s teaching on abortion then that Catholic incurs excommunication latae sententiae (i.e., automatically). Such disobedience includes one’s supporting the procurring of an abortion by ANYONE. That means that it is never acceptable to approve of someone’s “right to choose” (i.e., Catholics must always manifest their opposition to laws that allow abortion).

  219. michigancatholic says:

    Nevertheless, Copithorne, abortion has been considered a grave evil and a personal sin since the beginning of the Church and that hasn’t changed, and for reasons that will prevent it from changing in the future.

    If you are Catholic and you favor abortion, you are going to have to square that with Catholic teaching, in the sight of God. I can’t do it for you. It’s just that simple. If there are people that you know with the same problem you have with abortion, I pity you all. That doesn’t make you any more right, though.

    The US government, it’s true, can finangle any sort of power play it wants if it gets corrupt enough. There is plenty of precedent in history. However, that doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t make it moral. And that doesn’t make Obama, who aids and abets abortion, worthy of our approval.

  220. sicut parvuli says:

    Reverend and Dear Father, Thank you for your wonderful blogspot. One comment: Were those few who spoke up for the babies during the commencement really “pathetic court jesters?” Seems to me they were courageous Catholics who cared about abortion-scheduled babies enough that they were willing to be arrested and grilled so they could give public Catholic and pro-life witness. If the bishops and the clergy at Notre Dame and elsewhere had done their jobs over the past 40 years, those men would not have had to speak out from the gallery.

  221. copithorne says:

    MichiganCatholic, you seem to me to be erasing a distinction between believing that abortion should not be criminalized and ‘favoring’ abortion or ‘aiding and abetting’ abortion.

    I think there is a meaningful distinction between those two positions. There are many many good Catholics who also see hthat distinction:

    Here’s a link to the editor of the Vatican Newspaper saying “Obama is not pro-abortion”

  222. michigancatholic says:

    I said what I meant and meant what I said. You have your mind made up so I think we’re done talking. Have a good day.

  223. quiet beginning says:

    Copithorne, a couple of questions:
    Are you aware that the Church teaches that Catholics are bound to resist any laws whose observance would bring them into a position of disobedience vis-a-vis Church teaching?
    Assuming for argument’s sake that you are aware of this fact, would you not agree that any Catholics who tenaciously refused to resist such laws would thereby put themselves outside of the Church?

  224. copithorne says:

    Quiet, I can’t imagine how the current laws regarding abortion require you or me to disobey Church teaching. What do you mean? I think everyone in the country observes the laws regarding abortion. I can’t even think how you would go about violating them. So, how has this led you to being forced to disobey Church teaching?

  225. quiet beginning says:

    The broader issue here is obedience to Church teaching. Of course, you’re correct that there are no “current” punitive consequences for “violating” abortion laws (aside from those experienced by the fetus). And yet, the Obama administration recently (March 6, 2009) indicated that it plans sweeping changes to the Federal Conscience Clause regarding all things related to abortion. This will mean that physicians, hospitals and pharmacies will be federally prohibited from denying ANY abortion-related services.
    So, given the realization of this highly probable scenario, Catholics will soon be facing precisely the issue in play here, and we will then most assuredly have a situation regarding abortion laws in which one can “violate them.” I therefore ask you again:
    Are you aware that the Church teaches that Catholics are bound to resist any laws whose observance would bring them into a position of disobedience vis-a-vis Church teaching?
    Assuming for argument’s sake that you are aware of this fact, would you not agree that any Catholics who tenaciously refused to resist such laws would thereby put themselves outside of the Church?

  226. quiet beginning says:

    Copithorne wrote:

    “My own perception is that Barack Obama’s descriptions of the process by which we maintain unity of Church and nation represents the wiser course.”

    Obama is on record for advocating the killing of infants who accidentally made it through abortions “gone wrong.” To reference this vile monster in any way even approaching wisdom with regard to the Church is unspeakably naive and un-Catholic.
    Copithorne, you are an example of those who do not (and probably do not care to) have a knowledge of the Church’s teaching beyond that corpus of “beliefs” obtained via cafeteria-style selection. Lucky for you, there is a ready-made (and man-made, at that) religion for you. It’s called the Novus Ordo religion.

  227. copithorne says:

    So, quiet beginning, if I understand you correctly your question does not make sense unless I were to share your anticipation that Barack Obama is going to make changes to the conscience clause. I follow him closely and I have not heard him advocate that.

    Certainly if you are inflamed to the point where you see Barack Obama and me as “advocating the killing of infants” you will go to great lengths to oppose people such as us.

    My own perception is that Barack Obama’s discussion of not demonizing the other side in the debate represents the more Christian, more wise and more American approach.

  228. Alex Anderson says:

    “In an era when emotion trumps reason, facts are just plain mean.”

    I believe, with the departure of Bush and cronies, we’ve departed from the “emotion trumps reason” era. Yes, facts are just plain mean. Some of those mean facts are that the world is grotesquely overcrowded and, to encourage people who cannot or will not support children to bring yet more of them into the world to die of starvation and neglect, is a “mean fact” that you carefully avoid. Where is the reason in your remarks? What reason can you possibly offer for bringing unwanted people into a world that will not take care of them? When every Catholic offers to take care of the physical and emotional needs of twenty children whose impoverished parents they encouraged to bring them into the world, then maybe we can talk. Until that time, the only argument I ever hear you making is the same old demand that we must all do what your particular version of God demands. Even most Catholics don’t bow to that demand, as witnessed by the fact that most no longer have enormous families that they cannot adequately care for.

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