Op-ed piece in the NYT

People are feverishly sending me links to the op-ed piece by Nicholas Kristof in Hell’s Bible (aka The New York Times).  Stop sending links.

No, I will not fisk it. 

First, it is blasphemous and sinful.

Second, it is riddled with historical errors.   The reference to Gnostic sources is just plain stupid and the claims about women deacons are false.

Third, it is simply part of the mantra we have be hearing for weeks.  This is part of the liberal project to force the Church to cave in about ordaining women.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. swamp_rabbit says:

    I humbly submit that this is more towards what we should be reading about:


    I know it’s from the AP, but even they seem to have had a hard time casting the Holy Father in a bad light with this one. I was really moved by this today. My wife and I watched the Papal Mass on EWTN… and then, later, reading about him meeting with these four men, and how it went, well it was just moving.

    I also thought, OK, here you have a group of men, something horrible happened to them as boys, they want to meet with the Pope and they want an apology. Are they calling for his resignation, are they demanding he be arrested and tried for crimes against humanity (or that the Vatican be bombed, the Holy Father be riddled with bullets in some mockery of the Fatima prophecy)?

    Anyway, I thought it was a good piece and Benedict at what I see as his best, and wanted to put it here to counter any effects of the NYT….

    All the best,
    God bless Benedict XVI, long may he reign.


  2. Rob Cartusciello says:

    Thank you for not posting it. I read the article, and dreaded having to re-read it on WDTPRS. Such writings do not benefit my spiritual disposition.

    The claims about the Gnostic gospels are ridiculous. The author can’t even place them in the correct >century<.

    I wish feminists would read the gnostic writings more closely. NOTHING could be more anti-feminist than what the gnostics taught and lived. Nothing.

  3. revs96 says:

    This sounds like another case of bigotry. For some people though, it can be easy to misunderstand the concept of “deaconesses” in the early church. “Deacon” is one of many words where it makes a difference if it is capitalized or not (like the word “God”). Lower-case, “deacon” means “servant” in Greek (“diakonos”), so theoretically one could be female. But upper-case, it is an ordained minister in Holy Orders, who must of necessity be male, since Christ is male and clergy function in the person of Christ (in persona Christi). Thus the 12 apostles were all, of necessity, male.

  4. MWP says:

    Thank you, Father, for not posting it. I think we must aware that knowledge is one thing – we know what is going on and it is good that we know it – but being immersed for too long in predictably hate-filled texts doesn’t lead anywhere (only to a loss of direction, which is in fact their intended effect).

  5. Brian Day says:

    Curiosity got the better of me so I went to the NYT to see how bad it was. All of the points made so far are true, but what struck me is that Kristof thinks there are two Churches. What he doesn’t get is that the “church” he admires (except for the priest that advocates a condom facoty in the Vatican) is inspired by, and the same as, the “church” he despises.
    Fr Z’s third point should also include the forcing of the Church to cave in on contraception/birth control.

  6. Navarricano says:

    I too am grateful that you didn’t post the link Father, and I will not seek it out. I am so very tired of the relentless torrent of sewage pouring out of the media that I have decided to just stop reading and watching the news. It is doing me no good, and I find it increasingly difficult to look upon my fellow man with charity after reading the articles and the evil comments people leave.

    What I WILL do, since I am leaving for Mass in a little while, is to remember the name of the journalist and to pray for him at Mass. And for that Australian journalist who wrote about bombing the Vatican and murdering the Holy Father. Whatever else we do in the face of this evil, we cannot forget the Lord’s command to pray for those who hate us and do us evil.

  7. Traductora says:

    I read it and thought it was more stupid than anything else. This stuff was all over the place in the 1970s-80s, decades that hatched the likes of Rosemary Ruether, Mary Daly, etc. Kristoff should be embarrassed to be rehashing this disproved and idiotic drivel. But, of course, truth and reason have nothing to do with this. They rightly perceive that the great barrier against their attacks is the very structure of the Church itself.

  8. Mike says:

    One must attend to this kind of stuff too often. I did read, and posted a strongly worded but essentially polite response.

    The world needs our prayers.

  9. Mike says:

    Yeah, as my students used to say re my first sentence: NOT!

  10. Yep.
    The usual, I’m afraid.
    They can “editorialize” until the “cows come home”…it’s not going to change Catholic teaching or practice.
    It’s like teaching high school students; they think the louder they scream, the more they can try to humiliate and out-argue the teacher, the more power they have.

  11. Glen M says:

    We worry about the NYT more than necessary. As a publication it is dying so why should a few diparaging remarks made in desperation for relevancy bother us?

  12. JonM says:

    Thank you, Father, for not posting it. I have not read it as it is futile to read, react, and respond to the Last Acceptable Prejudice in tract form.

    At some point, we have to let alone some bastions of trouble. The best metaphor I can think of is Lord of the Rings: You just aren’t going to ‘win over’ Mordor, so we are better served committing soldiers to guard Minas Tirith than invading the Enemy’s home camp.

    PS – I’m on the look out for the weekly ‘Good News’ thread. I have a contribution!

  13. Oh my golly! I just read the Kristoff piece. I need a drink.

    Speaking of beyond-awful columns, Peggy Noonan also had a stupid and bigoted piece in Friday’s WSJ. Her solution: the Catholic Church needs “a woman’s touch,” a woman to sit beside very bishop and advise him what to do in abuse cases.

    No, I am not kidding. She said that.

  14. Sean P. Dailey: Peggy Noonan is either drinking the “koolaid” or had a bad day.
    I don’t get it.
    She’s normally a pretty on target kinda person.
    This has nothing to do with “male domination”…it’s about moral integrity, sexual maturity, and holiness. Period.

  15. Dan says:

    If I were Archbishop Dolan I would get up in the pulpit at St. Patricks Cathedral and ask all faithful Catholics in the New York Archdiocese, and indeed across the country, to cancel their subscriptions to the Times. Imagine if Catholics across the country did that…it would send a powerful message. They have demonstrated time and time again that they have as their agenda the destruction of Catholicism as we know it. Time to return the favor and put them out of business.

  16. Scott W. says:

    I simply have a hard time believing that other denominations or secular institutions have better handling of abuse cases because there is a woman either in charge or advising. Evidence please.

  17. AnAmericanMother says:

    Unfortunately Peggy Noonan seems to have begun losing her mind some time during the Bush administration.

    She was a pretty good speechwriter for Reagan (some friends of mine also worked in that administration and knew her), but it’s been downhill ever since. She lost her moorings completely when she endorsed Obama. Not contend with going off the political deep end, it now appears that she is going off the religious deep end as well.

    It’s pure emotion with no logical thought whatsoever.

  18. robtbrown says:

    Speaking of beyond-awful columns, Peggy Noonan also had a stupid and bigoted piece in Friday’s WSJ. Her solution: the Catholic Church needs “a woman’s touch,” a woman to sit beside very bishop and advise him what to do in abuse cases.
    Comment by Sean P. Dailey

    Maybe a bishop’s could keep him on the straight and narrow–just as Ruth Madoff did for Bernie.

  19. robtbrown says:

    Or Lea did for her ENRON husband Andrew Fastow.

    BTW, I don’t think Peggy Noonan really endorsed Obama.

  20. This business about a woman being able to keep bishops from committing horrible acts is more akin to the “common wisdom”, which is, in my mind, stupid.
    I’m no misogynist, believe me; I take women’s advice regularly.
    But there are norms and Canon Law that must be followed; if a bishop doesn’t do it, that’s because he didn’t do it. There is nothing wrong with what is presently in place.
    If you want to get a “reality check”…browse the bishop accountability site with all the accused/charged…there are women religious there. Yep. They are not immune from the kind of garbage we are dealing with here.

  21. Norah says:

    Peggy Noonan is going to be writing regularly for the National Catholic Reporter – nuff said.

  22. Norah: Oh no! This is not good; I hope P. Noonan gets a big-time conversion.
    Her piece on the “scandal” and Pope Benedict does not bode well…at all.

  23. Nazareth Priest, I don’t think she’s drinking the Koolaid. I think, like AnAmericanMother, that she’s been going downhill for a long time. I was not aware that she endorsed Obama, but I largely quit reading her after her gushing column following his inauguration last year.

    I think Noonan’s problem is simple: she’s a member of the East Coast media establishment, and being Catholic, she wants to keep being invited to all the best parties.

    It does not make you a misogynist to call her proscription stupid. Aside from considerations of canon law, the last time I checked, women were just as fallen as men, just as capable of stupidity, cowardice, sin, and so on.

    Women, both lay and religious, fill many roles in parish and diocesan offices. The parish or diocesan Director of Religious Education is usually a woman. It is a salaried, powerful position, and across the country they are well networked. If anyone in a parish might be aware of sex abuse going on, it would be her. I ask: of all the whistle blowers in the priest sex scandal, how many were parish or diocesan DREs? How many nuns were whistle blowers? Not one, I bet.

    In many dioceses, the vocations director, responsible for screening candidates for the presthood, is a nun. How many of these signed off on young men for the priesthood who later molested children? How many female vocations directors have ever been a priest sex whistle blower? Not one, I bet.

    Noonan says the Church needs a woman’s touch? She did not mention Our Lady. She did not mention so much as a single female saint. Everyone I know spent the Easter Octave praying the Novena of Divine Mercy, a prayer given by Christ to the Church through a woman, St. Faustina. Noonan’s tiresome piece of feminist agitprop does not mention her. She does not mention Lady Margaret Pole, beheaded by the Tudors, who refused to kneel for her beheading because the axeman served an illegitimate monarch. Now THAT’s what I call a woman’s touch.

    Noonan does not mention any of the great and holy women in our history. She does not mention prayer at all. Or penance. Or Christ. Or the Sacraments, or the Holy Mass. All Noonan does is suck up to her pals in the East Coast media establishment, hoping, I presume, to keep being invited to all the best parties, despite being Catholic. Pathetic.

  24. Thanks, Sean.
    I am the most politically retarded individual…I just don’t know about what all is going on.
    But I appreciate your insight and commentary.
    The whole “East Coast” phenomena is very clear to me; I spent several years there and believe me, it made me sick. I’m back in the midwest where people here are not either aware or are immune to this horrid “virus” of respectability; I have never, ever, here experienced any kind of revulsion or suspicion because I am a priest. I cannot say that for my previous experience.
    It’s so easy to point fingers in this whole thing; people messed up; bishops and priests messed up; it is not what it was before 2002. Thanks be to God.
    Did she read the sociologist who said, “The safest place for a child today is with the Catholic Church (priest, religious, lay person)?” I can’t give you the exact quotation, but I believe it was from a secular sociologist.
    That speaks volumes.

  25. chloesmom says:

    Kristof lost me at Mary’s comment: “We always wanted a girl.” As Mark Shea would say, what a maroon! I’m starting to wish they would all disappear. It’s hard to pray for people like that, but I’ll give it my best shot, with God’s grace.

  26. chloesmom: Kristof was being a complete moron…yeah, that’s the word.
    The insult, blasphemy and complete insensitivity to what that remark actually meant to believers, Catholic and non-Catholic, deserves a good boot in the butt.
    May the Mother of God give this poor man some kind of enlightenment so he doesn’t end up in the cinders…the kind we have seen in Iceland…I wonder if this isn’t a presentiment of what is to come?

  27. PostCatholic says:

    I don’t know if there’s a “liberal project to force the Church to cave in about ordaining women,” because it’s very unrealistic to think the Church will budge on that point. I think one ought to read the subtextual agenda of that Op-Ed as “We think the Church is irrelevant to the kind of Christianity we would like to practice.” And as was rightly said, it is a factually inaccurate piece, even if one agrees with the viewpoint.

  28. And, PostCatholic, not to pick a fight, but what do you propose is “the kind of Christianity we would like to practice”? I’m not being snarky, here, at all. This is a sincere question.

  29. AnAmericanMother says:

    Noonan wrote a column in the WSJ in late October ’08 titled “The Case for Obama – in Broad Strokes”.

    It’s often hard to figure out exactly what she’s saying because she does maunder on so. But the column praises Obama and gives short shrift to McCain. It reads like an endorsement. Sort of. Many people (including myself) took it as one.

  30. TJerome says:

    The New York Slimes:

    Yawn, snore, boring, predictable. I can’t imagine a truly sentient human being bothering with that tiresome “viewspaper” any more.

  31. Ed the Roman says:

    Anyone who quotes Gnostics should be compelled to exegete the GOspel of THomas where Our Lord is described as saying the Mary Magdalene will be able to enter Heaven because she will be transformed into a man. [ROFL! Good one!]

  32. robtbrown says:

    Mr Kristof commits the same error as Doug Kmiec. He thinks having a law degree qualifies him in intellectual disciplines about which he knows little.

    My guess is that if someone were to question him, his opinion on the Incarnation would be gnostic.

  33. robtbrown: I agree.
    And I add this: civil lawyers who attempt to “translate” canon law without any knowledge or expertise end up looking like jackasses.
    They need to be smart enough to consult an expert canonist in order to understand and speak about Church law.
    It’s getting pretty annoying listening to “the experts” who have no idea of what they are speaking.
    And then, to be theologians, to boot!
    Give me a break!

  34. I also grow weary of the uninformed bashing from the media, and found myself nodding with approval as I read Father’s approach. Why draw attention to a group of people to whom even bad publicity is still publicity?

    Perhaps it is best to focus on the new accusations as they arise and ignore the vile editorials which have no purpose but to spread the slander with even fewer standards.

  35. lofstrr says:

    Noonan is right. Every bishop should set a throne next to his own and having sat is mother Mary there on, seek her gentle, loving advice. The most faithful bishops and priests, and all the great saints have always had a deep devotion to the blessed mother.

    But some how I don’t think that is exactly what Noonan had in mind.

  36. Actually, I nominate Mary Kay Letourneau as a bishop’s advisor. She’s Catholic and she certainly has first-hand knowledge of the sexual abuse of minors.

  37. robtbrown says:

    nazareth priest,

    I certainly don’t want to denigrate lawyers. My point is that the work of a theologian is much different from that of a lawyer. The habits of the latter don’t contribute much to the former.

  38. irishgirl says:

    I’m glad you didn’t post the article, Fr. Z. I’m getting tired of all this relentless pounding and pounding!

    I used to like reading Peggy Noonan’s columns-she had a great admiration for John Paul II.

    nazareth priest-amen to all your posts, as always! [thumbs up]

  39. AnAmericanMother says:

    nazareth priest,

    the very first thing a lawyer has to do is know his limitations!

    I sure as heck know mine! The canon lawyers don’t meddle in my business and I don’t meddle with theirs. :-D

  40. Agent99 says:

    “I simply have a hard time believing that other denominations or secular institutions have better handling of abuse cases because there is a woman either in charge or advising. Evidence please.”

    Aimee Semple Mcpherson?

    Oh wait….

  41. robtbrown says:

    BTW, Kristof has a law degree.

  42. MargaretC says:

    Noonan reflects the common myth that women are somehow morally superior to men. Feminists have been taking advantage of this belief for years, but the idea is essentially Victorian.

    How any woman who survived junior high school could fall for this kind of malarkey has always puzzled me.

  43. robtbrown says:

    I sure as heck know mine! The canon lawyers don’t meddle in my business and I don’t meddle with theirs. :-D
    Comment by AnAmericanMother

    The Lateran in Rome and certain Catholic universities in the world offer the utriusque (Juris Utriusque Doctor), degrees in both canon and civil law.

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