I think the first time I ever heard of “Catholic Taliban”, it was years ago in an editorial by Al Matt, editor of The Wanderer.  He was referring to a brand of traditionalist who is, as I sometimes identify them, “happy only when they are unhappy”… and they share it all too willingly.

Then a while back my friend John Allen, sadly still writing for the National Catholic Fishwrap, took up the epithet, applying it to those who practice “a distorted, angry form of the faith that knows only how to excoriate, condemn, and smash the TV sets of the modern world.”  Not to far from what Al Matt intended, as a matter of fact.

Continuing the trend, Austen Ivereigh, former spokesman for Card. Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster and now a journalist, donned the burnous in an interview with the aforementioned John Allen.  Ivereigh is discussing the different groups who applied to participate in the Catholic Voices project he was involved with.

My emphases:

We didn’t get an application from a Lefebvrite. We did get a few from what you would call the “Taliban Catholics,” who of course have become very vociferous on the blogosphere in the last few years. They’re very critical of the bishops for compromising too much with modernity and not promoting Catholic truth as they see it. We also had applications from people in favor of the ordination of women, and who in general believe that the reforms of Vatican II have been insufficiently implemented, and who are angry at the bishops for the opposite reasons.”

I’m safe,… I think.  After all, I like The West Wing, Battlestar Galactica, Spooks (MI-5 in the USA), and look forward to the final season of Smallville.

And I watch b… ba… base…


…baseball, too!  And the news!

So, some of you WDTPRS readers had better examine your …. AIYEEYEEE! AIYEEYEEE! … consciences … AIYEEYEEE! …. sorry, I can’t help myself….

I have been tempted, of course.  I know where I can f… fi … AIYEEYEEE!…. find these groups of TALIBAN CATHOLICS!

Catholic Taliban


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Lighter fare, Throwing a Nutty and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Athelstan says:

    Another Vincenzo masterpiece?

  2. Geoffrey says:

    I thought that the Lefebvrites would have been included in the “Taliban Catholics”.

    I love the argument that the reforms of Vatican II have not been insufficiently implemented. Hasn’t anyone actually read and studied the documents of Vatican II?!

  3. MikeM says:

    I think it’s worth distinguishing between Lefebvrites and “Taliban Catholics.” Many of the angry-for-the-sake-of-being-angry conservative Catholics are not Lefebvrites at all. Also, while I don’t agree with them, I think it’s definitely worth remembering that many “Lefebvrites” are people of good will. Hopefully the Holy Father’s efforts will bring these people back into full “normal” membership in the Church. Let’s not confuse doctrinal disagreements with personality defects.

  4. Kaneohe says:

    What, no one with a sawed-off aspergillium? Its reduced size makes it easier to maneuver and conceal. Such a powerful and compact weapon is especially suitable for use by Taliban Catholic sodalities solemnly processing through nathexes and naves ready to lay waste to liturgical dancers and unnecessary EMHC.

    Sawed-off aspergilliums are also a favorite tool of the sedia gestatoria crews – the I hear those guys are absolutely deadly sprinklers and can hit someone in the right eye at 100 paces.

    So, where do I sign up? :)

  5. kate_rub says:

    I hate to seem humourless, but really this kind of name calling does a lot of harm. It’s the same kind of relativism secularists use to equate catholics who insist on rejecting abortion and other secular values with terrorism. Yes there are a lot of angry people out there, and yes some (including me) do occasionally get carried away.

    But no blogger or other conservative/traditionalist (as far as I know) has actually threatened or carried out any terrorist attacks against their bishops or anyone else! So let’s ditch the ‘Taliban Catholics’ thing please, it trivialises real terrorism.

    And its good to remember that contrary to Mr Ivereigh’s claim, many people do actually have good reasons for righteous anger – as this blog regularly documents, there is a lot of objective heresy, maladministration and serious liturgical abuse out there. Nor are many bishops always (or even often) willing to act. Nor is appealing to Rome a serious or effective option in many cases (look at how long it took to get the South Brisbane invalid baptism situation sorted out in Australia for example – twenty years of invalid baptisms! Now that’s a reason for anger if ever I heard one…).

    Yes some traddies and others need to learn to get past their flailing and wailing and kneejerk reactions. Keep in mind though that sometimes things only change because of sustained blog campaigns. Exactly the kind of lay action the Pope has encouraged from time to time…

  6. medievalist says:

    I think it’s wrong to call traditionalists ‘Taliban Catholics’.
    Taliban don’t suffer in silence for years…they terrorize their neighbours (with warped liturgy).
    Taliban don’t believe in historical continuity…they ardently desire a past golden age (some mythical version of the early Church).
    Taliban don’t respect legitimate authority even when it’s wrong…they dissent from their leaders and seek to unseat them.
    Taliban don’t love images, smells, and bells…they are destructive iconoclasts trying to drag the simple faithful away from their traditions.
    In short, if anyone resembles the Taliban, whose disregard for authority and authentic tradition leads to terrorist tactics…it’s the liberals!

  7. pattif says:

    The first time I heard the expression “Catholic Taliban”, it was used by a senior member of the Catholic establishment to describe those members of the governing body of the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth who were battling for a hospital Code of Ethics that was congruent with the teachings of the Church (you know the sort of thing: no prescriptions for artificial contraception, no referrals for abortion, etc.). They were all required to resign.

    I might be doing him an injustice, but I believe it was in this sense (of unreasonable attachment to the teachings of the Church in the face of secular realities) that Mr. Ivereigh would have used the term.

  8. Bornacatholic says:

    St. Jerome, Patron of Taliban Catholics, pray for us

  9. Magpie says:

    I agree medievalist. This label should be pinned where it fits. The application of the term to good Catholics is in the same style as the Rottweiler and Panzerkardinal labels applied to Cardinal Ratzinger.

  10. Esther says:

    @medievalist – I think a lot of faithful Catholics are guilty of “ardently desiring a past golden age” too. I have heard people talk like sin was invented in the sixties. People have always sinned, in the Church and outside it. But yes, I get your point.

  11. mcginnster says:

    Taliban may be a bit harsh. Maybe a bit fanatical are some traditionalists groups. I watch baseball too….ughhh unfortunately a fan to hurting team for sure! Do I have to reveal this???
    Ok confession time…The Red Sux, oooooppppss Sox

  12. danphunter1 says:

    “I love the argument that the reforms of Vatican II have not been insufficiently implemented. Hasn’t anyone actually read and studied the documents of Vatican II?!”
    Yes sir, and the reforms of Vatican II have been implemented indeed.
    Anyone ever hear an ambiguous sermon or be present at a Mass where many different options are used, including very abusive ones.
    And since the Taliban observe a warped version of Islam, that does not follow the Qu’ran[their Magisterium],to the letter ,shouldn’t “Cafeteria Catholics” be labeled as “Taliban Catholics”?

  13. susanna says:

    They smash TV sets? Where do I join?

  14. I am glad to have been able to add an UPDATE of the original snapshot, taken just moments after the original!

  15. AnAmericanMother says:

    The sister is a leftie! (no, no, a left-handed shooter). Inconvenient with an AK, because the spent shells clock you in the right ear, but I guess her wimple will be adequate protection!

  16. Bornacatholic says:

    Mr. Matt has been called all manner of extreme names by CINOs, so, maybe his use of “taliban” is meant to indicate that he is not one of those REALLY radical Catholics :)

    The Rad Trads I have known and hung-out with spend a lot of time studying, praying, and acting; in addition to bitching and laughing. In fact, I’d guess that the bitching as compared to laughing ratio is 30% bitching to 70% laughing.

    In fact, The Rad Trads I know are among the few Catholics who, as the great John Zmirak notes, are HV positive (Humanae Vitae).

    And, were it not for the Lefevrists, The Immemorial Mass would not have been resurrected

  17. lacrossecath says:


  18. Supertradmum says:

    Love this, and I heard the phrase spoken by some liberals about two years ago at a seminary. I used to have the following nuns with guns as my desktop when an RCIA director, but was told it was too “triumphalist” Here is the link

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    LOVE the “nuns with guns”! They’ve been making the rounds for years on the interwebs . . . there’s another shot of them actually taking aim (at something high in the sky, apparently, but . . . shooting skeet with .22s?)

    I’d like to see a crew served weapon manned entirely by sisters — something like a Vickers or the M1917 Browning with a big water cooler — that would be highly amusing.

  20. wanda says:

    I love the up-dated photo. Now, humbly asking, could someone help me with the Latin phrase on the jet’s banner? Thank you!

  21. AnAmericanMother says:


    That’s the title of Pope St. Pius X’s encyclical on Modernism (he was against it).

  22. AnAmericanMother says:


    Back when I was an Episcopalian and we had a chancel choir, I was the first alto on the front row on the Gospel side and regularly got hammered with the aspergillium. In the eyes, and (if we were singing the Vidi aquam) square in the mouth a couple of times.

    Sielig is de Mann,
    De den wiggewaater entlaupen kann.

  23. Agnes says:

    That was definitely throwing a nutty. As the associate says, “It’s all about…Luuuuuv.”

  24. Supertradmum says:

    We need to canonize the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, then we shall get some “muscular Catholics” as role models for another generation….

  25. Tony Layne says:

    Better—a turret-mounted “Ma Deuce” on a Sherman.

  26. I wish the “Jack Russell Terrier” in monk’s hood (my ‘avatar’) could have been included…and he wishes it, also…he bears his teeth at heretics, schismatics, and apostates…that’s why we have so little company here:-)!

  27. catholicmidwest says:

    Just more name-calling to try to discredit those who want things to be better. There are a lot of upset catholics out here, and some of them have a right to be upset at what they’ve seen.

  28. Bornacatholic says:

    Stalinist Catholics are those who label anti-revolutionaries, ” Taliban.”

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