CLARIFICATION: Universae Ecclesiae and my sports analogy

I am driven to issue my own Instruction.

Let’s call it

Inter lusorum coronas

or else…

Summorum ludentium….

I have seen in the combox and had email analysis upon analysis of my using the analogy of a no-hitter for Universae Ecclesiae.

“But Father! But Father!”, people have written to me.  “Why a defense accomplishment?!?  What does that meeeeean? Why not an offense analogy?!!???!!  Are we being beaten?  Is there something to worry about?  What does this meeeeeeen?!?!?”

Okay… let’s try again.

This isn’t a grand-slam, its more like an inside the park home run, a “leg” home run in the lame-duck ICEL version, which in the new, corrected more Latinate translation would be called a “quadruple”.

Okay?  Better?

The problem with a baseball offense analogy is that, in baseball, the objective of the offense is to put the ball out of control, beyond the control of the defense, rather than control the ball and run around with it.  The defense is trying to keep the ball under control.

Well… “lame-duck” with its limping element hardly suggests the speed… GAH!  Now you have ME doing it too!  Enough!

There… now you can wonder about that one.

I would ask what the Cricket equivalent of a triple-play is… but…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Well considering an inside-the-park home run is much rarer than even a grand slam, I’m even more excited.

  2. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Why not call it, rather than a no-hitter, a no-hitter in progress? The game isn’t up yet, Universae Ecclesiae is just another inning of outstanding pitching. The ballgame is over when the Benedictine Marshall Plan has accomplished the reinvigoration of Catholic identity. Papa Benedict (“Smoky Joe” Ratzinger) is firing strikes on the mound and he needs us to back him up in the field! And we’ve got a whole crowd of Hall of Famers pulling for us out in the cornfield…

  3. bmccoy says:

    I completely understood your original analogy. It seems however that each time you post a clarification the interpretation becomes more foggy. Now I’m left wondering if now we have only scored four runs and it’s far less likely to be a shut-out than a no hitter would be.

  4. CarpeNoctem says:

    It’s not too graceful, but maybe, “The ball rolls innocently to the wall after the two defending outfielders run into each other, knocking each other out. The baserunner clears the bases to the cheers of adoring fans.”

  5. benedetta says:

    Are we talking baseball? It’s totally off topic but one aspect I really like about the game is studying the face and body language of manager watching the game and predicting, the call to the dugout, different moves. Also don’t mind the occasional delicately choreographed managerial challenge to umpire with the final flourishes…

  6. dominic says:

    I greatly appreciate your concern to be clearly understood, Fr…

    It regretfully becomes ever more clear that Britain and America are, as ever, two countries divided not just by a common language, but by culture.

    Meanwhile, I am learning a bit about baseball, some of you on the other side of the pond are learning a bit about cricket, so this is all to the good.

    It should be rather clearer tomorrow, I guess…

  7. Ezra says:

    All this confusion over how “no hitter” translates into British sports analogies (and that’s ignoring the need to translate into indigenous sports for other places, like Italy, China, Peru and Saudi Arabia) simply highlights the need to return to chariot-racing as our common source of sporting analogies.

  8. asperges says:

    I echo dominic’s sentiments, having failed entirely to understand these last couple of days any of the transatlantic sporting analogies quoted.

    Briefly, it seems, in plain language, we are not all out for a duck, but we can hope for some sort of long stop. At least we can take it for granted too that the liberals may be out LBW or bowled out for googly with a bit of luck.

    About time too.

  9. Jacob says:

    Father, you should have just clarified by noting that batters are frequently referred to as “defending the plate” and right now their batters are not holding their ground in the fact of our pitcher’s dominance. :)

  10. DWB says:

    I’m still hoping for a little “chin music” (which, as I understand, is a phrase that is descriptive in both baseball and cricket).

  11. LOL, well played Father!

  12. fiveleavesleft says:

    I think the rough cricket equivalent there would be scoring six or more off a single delivery with the ball remaining in play inside the boundary.

    In any case, it all sounds very good and I look forward to the news tomorrow..

  13. Tony Layne says:

    @ DWB: “Chin music”? Only time I’ve seen that phrase was in a Daily Onion spoof of Dashiell Hammett! But maybe we should go for boxing metaphors, with “Papa Joe” going for the TKO over Hans “The Heretic” Küng!

  14. BaedaBenedictus says:

    I know one thing— Rich “Bishop” Morris of Toowomba whiffed big time. No more bases on balls from Smoky Joe Ratzinger!

  15. SonofMonica says:

    asperges — Plain language, indeed! Harumph!

  16. El Padre says:

    The soccer (real football) analogy that would be the equivalent to a no hitter is, as has been mentioned, a clean sheet- which is holding the other team scoreless. Where this is just like a no hitter, is that in soccer/football you can hold your opponent scoreless and still not win the game as draws (ties) are possible (except in finals). So, the clean sheet is the best the defense can hope to do but victory ultimately depends on how effective the offense is in scoring. Still, though, a draw does give a team a point on the overall table (league standings) which is better than a loss that yields no points but certainly not a victory which brings 3.
    Barcelona just won the Spanish First Division League Title with a draw (tie) on Wednesday.

  17. mike cliffson says:

    I am ever the more convinced that the Holy Father is ON THE BALL, but does that expression mean the same your side of the pond? I always thought so , but now I wonder if there are fine shades of meaning….
    He’s certainly got a sticky wicket, particularly as there arent enough bishops, let alone bishops’ conferences, playing a straight bat. Would, say, the easing out of the Australian Clerical gentlemen amount to a finer use of the willow (= the bat = offensive? scoreseeking) or the leather ?(= defensive, except that the fielding side can win by getting the batters out, sameylikeybaseball?)
    It might be less equivocal for the anglosphere to communicate across the atlantic in Latin?
    Perish the thought!

  18. AnAmericanMother says:

    The late, great Skip Caray used the term “chin music” often enough for me to notice when he was calling for the Braves. Also “brush back” for the same thing. But he was quite a character – that was the least of his quirks. But you were never bored listening to the games on the radio!

  19. contrarian says:

    But Father…
    Naw, just kiddin’.

    Actually, against what I wrote earlier, I like your no-hitter-but-not-a-perfect-game analogy. Your explanation makes sense.

    So let’s see the document with commentary. I’ve been drum rolling to myself all day here…

  20. “Smoky Joe” Ratzinger? LOL!

    I guess it’s better than “Piano Cat”….

  21. RichardT says:

    Americans have no excuse for not understanding cricket terms – the very first international cricket match (in fact I think it was the very first International in any sport) took place in New York.

    But you lost, which perhaps explains why you didn’t play much after that.

  22. So, Father, does your employing the no-hitter analogy indicate that the defense maintains control of the ball at all times, but that is not to say that the offense does not manage to get on base once in a while because of occasional lack of precision by the pitcher (walks) or men on the field (errors)? Perhaps then, there are some “loopholes” which will cause consternation along the way but will not thwart the ultimate purposes and goals of the Instruction?

  23. dcs says:

    Of course I haven’t read the document in question, but I don’t see anything wrong with the analogy. A low-scoring baseball game can be exciting (indeed, high-scoring ones usually aren’t), especially with a good pitching matchup. On the other hand, a low-scoring football game or virtually any soccer game will be crushingly boring.

  24. Sword40 says:

    So what say I just shut my mouth and be patient!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Gregorius says:

    So Rome is like what, six hours ahead of the U.S. east coast? Perfect! That means I can have two of the best parts of the day first thing in the morning (because I’m going to Mass first)!

  26. ronvanwegen says:

    I’m from Australia. I haven’t got a clue what you’re all talking about!

  27. AnAmericanMother says:

    But, ron, you get to explain aerial ping pong to us.

  28. BaedaBenedictus says:

    They play baseball in Australia, Ron. There have even been Aussies in Major League Baseball. So you have no excuse! ;-)

  29. Federico says:

    Ok, it’s a draw at home after an away win in a Champion’s league elimination bracket. You draw, but since you won the other leg of the bracket, you advance and the other side is eliminated.

    Summorum Pontificum was the win, Universae Ecclesiae is the draw (which maintains the lead established by SP). Net effect: the other side loses and is eliminated.

    How’s that?

  30. If Universae Ecclesiae is a no-hitter, I wonder what people would call Summorum Pontificum. A perfect game? Another no-hitter? Just a win?

    I’d probably call SP a no-hitter too. What does everyone else think?

  31. Tom A. says:

    I like the analogy “three up, three down.”. SP was our at bat and B16 hit a gramd slam. With UE, the Fishwrap crowd was hoping to score some runs but, inning over. The game is far from over! Their starters are old, grey, and tired. We have a vibrant bench and wonderful young talented rookies coming up. It looks good for us, but as they say, “There is plenty of baseball left.”

  32. antanas says:

    It would be easier if you were from Argentina.
    “Fútbol” (or football or soccer, I’ll never understand which name you give to it).
    Is Universae Ecclesiae a goal or just a great opportunity to make one?

  33. Ezra says:


  34. EWTN Rocks says:

    The punter is kicking a 50-yard field goal with just 8 seconds left on the clock!

  35. Ezra says:


  36. jesusthroughmary says:

    The closest thing to a no-hitter in cricket is a maiden over – 6 balls bowled and no runs. There is no analogy over the long haul because the scoring rate is so much higher in cricket.

    As for soccer, a clean sheet is a shutout, not a no-hitter. A no-hitter would roughly equate to a clean sheet without allowing a shot on goal.

  37. SemiSpook says:

    Here’s a better analogy: scoreless tie in a hockey game.

    Now, here’s the better question: leave it as is with a tie (old school rules), go on a 5 minute OT 4-on-4 then a shootout (current rules), or Zamboni the ice and play another 20 minutes (playoffs)?

  38. EWTN Rocks says:

    Let’s say it’s the bottom of the 9th inning – the go ahead run was scored at the top of the 9th. The closing pitcher, a young rookie, loads the bases with the first three batters. The cleanup batter is up but he’s swinging the bat like a wild man. Here comes the pitch, and, and, he connects….the ball speeds toward the third baseman like a bullet. He catches it, tags the runner, and throws it to the second baseman who steps on the base, tags the approaching runner, and then throws it to the first baseman who tags the batter. TRIPLE PLAY – GAME OVER!

  39. ghp95134 says:

    According to Fr. Finigan:

    “…Fr Zuhlsdorf has described the document as a “No Hitter” which sounds negative to those who are not familiar with baseball. I find via Wikipedia that in fact a no-hitter is a very good thing. Using a dynamic equivalence approach to translation, I suppose I would have to say it was something like “middle stump” or “back of the net.”…”

    –Guy Power

  40. James Joseph says:

    Father, could you perhaps make a table tennis analogy?

  41. MikePh says:

    Cricket – First Innings – Opposition is batting. First over of six balls. The two openers are curial officials, very experienced, play by the rules, very straight ball and will protect their off stump with much guile. We choose our top fast bowler and place five slip fielders behind the off wicket.
    First ball on the line of the off-stump but wickedly swings out and his bat edges the ball to the third slip. One down.
    Second drop is a flashy Italian bishop who refuses to be intimidated by any fast bowler. Will cut, drive, slash in any direction for the reaction of the crowd. Second ball is a leg-line bouncer which he tries to swing hit over the boundary behind him at fine leg. Caught on the boundary. Two down. All are on edge now – a hat trick is possible.
    Third batsman, a French cardinal, decides to play very cautiously, but does not like direct attacks to his body. Third ball is a straight bouncer to his body, aiming for his head, he raises his protective glove, ball hits his glove and skies the ball for an easy catch to wicket-keeper. Three balls – three down. HAT TRICK!!
    Fourth batsman is an Austrian bishop and manages to hit a single, from a wayward ball leaving the other curial opener to see out the fifth and sixth ball, without scoring.
    With three key batsmen gone it looks like a victory is in the offing, as long as the weather remains fine for the second day. The rest of the English, German and French bishops try to make a few desperate partnerships but fail to make a defendable score, unable to support the remaining curial official who is last man to bat.
    In our innings we are going to be very careful defending against a bowling spin attack they are sure to use on a sticky wet wicket. However, if the weather remains warm and dry, and we keep our heads cool, we should be able to post a winning century or two.

  42. RMT says:

    In terms of American football–maybe they haven’t scored yet, but they have gotten into the red zone several times.

  43. Mariana says:

    “the need to return to chariot-racing as our common source of sporting analogies.”

    What about Pankration? Last man standing wins, we taught at school.

    (Thanks for all the cricket analogies, I dont know ANYTHING about baseball!)

  44. Jakob Sprenger says:

    GAH!!! Just use a military analogy!!!

  45. jflare says:

    Oh, for pity’s sake!
    If we MUST use a sport’s analogy, how about proclaiming that the match wasn’t quite a victory in straight sets, but it was a pretty decisive 3-1 in a best of five.

    PS. For the record, I halfway HATE baseball. I much prefer soccer or volleyball.
    …On the other hand, I do intend to learn GOLF before long…..hmmmm…..

  46. Mariana says:

    “What about Pankration? Last man standing wins, we taught at school.”

    We WERE taught at school, sorry!

  47. cyejbv says:

    Why does it have to be sports!?? There MUST be another analogy that would suffice, one wherein I wont feel compelled to argue with Fr Z about God’s favorite sport…*
    (by the by, I’m only complaining, I have no suggestions :) )

    *it simply cannot be baseball.

  48. jkm210 says:

    Apparently the discussion of no-hitters v. perfect games has also reached The Onion.

  49. Kelly says:

    Thank you for translating the American ball-game-speak into something an Aussie can understand.

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