Notes about today’s Fishwrap

First, the following people were added – since last time – for the Wednesday Mass for benefactors following the Fishwrap Protest.


My deep gratitude.

In the meantime, I note several things about Fishwrap.

First, I think Fishwrap has not mentioned – at least I don’t see it – anything about the Instruction on Summorum Pontificum.  They will eventually get to it.  I predict they will say that this Instruction means nothing, it’s no big deal, it is only for a few disgruntled troglodytes.  Blah blah blah.  I respond saying that, if it isn’t an earthquake, it is surely a rumble.  And it means that, among other things, the three year study period critics of the Motu Proprio set their hopes on is overrrrrSummorum Pontificum is here to stay and it was not weakened.

Second, Fishwrap writes favorably about Presbyterians lifting a “ban” on homosexual clergy while writing with disapprobation about Card. Meisner removing the canonical license to teach from a homosexual activist who has, among other things, written offensive things about the Holy Father.

Third, I listened today to a talk today Fishwrap‘s nearly ubiquitous John L. Allen, the only writer they have worth his salt – how I wish he wrote for some other publication.  It was pretty good.  I don’t agree with all his points, but he makes a reasonable argument.  Here.  Also, Allen had an interesting piece about “retired” Card. Sodano.

But we must still PROTEST.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    The point is, however, that if the Instruction is not ENFORCED any more than SP has been it matters little. I can name one archdiocese within 300 miles of here as well as this diocese in which I live that “under the radar” are doing their absolute best to suppress the TLM. Nothing in writing that could be used as “evidence” of course, but one Priest, the only one trained and qualified to train others in the TLM, has been “confined to quarters” and stripped of his authority to say any Mass except in his own Church.

    Suppression of the TLM by Bishops is far more widespread than anyone wants to admit and yet NOTHING, I say again NOTHING is being done to make them conform to SP….and I have serious doubts the Instruction will result in any more compliance. At least not in this country where Bishops can seemingly ignore Rome at will. Very, very discouraging.

    Sorry for the Caps for emphasis but I come from a tradition that says obedience to and respect for authority are critical. I see very little of it in the Church (where it should the rule w/o question) and that is very frustrating. [We must always include prayer for those who resist. Pray to their Guardian Angels. Gang up on them. And in this lead up to Pentecost, ask “Flecte quod est rigidum, fove quod est frigidum, rege quod est devium.”]

  2. RichR says:

    Glad to see that the National ______ Reporter is staying true to form. Just wish they’d quit deceiving people about the Catholic part. It’s not very honest.

  3. padredana says:

    So where exactly are the donations for the Fishwrap Protest going? Just curious. [Happily, they are going directly to
    me. And I am planning to enjoy them. Seriously, I hope to do something rather Catholic with them. Donations to WDTPRS are definitely antithetical to the Fishwrap.]

  4. Athelstan says:

    The NCR is…more a source of entertainment at this point than a real threat to the Church. In 2005 their mean readership age was 69, and rumor has it that it has moved well into the golden seventies since then. Even so, it’s still a few years short of the average age of nuns in LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) orders. The kind of Catholicism they represent is vanishing as a significant force, either due to mortality, or to seek greener pastures – either in Liberal Protestantism or “Catholic” splinters that amount to the same – as the Church reasserts her identity. The evidence now is overwhelming: It is not a lifegiving spirituality. It does not reproduce itself.

    The bishops, on the other hand, represent more of a potential obstacle to this and all other reforms the Holy Father might attempt, as Exchief points out. And I suspect that one reason this instruction has been delayed has been to wait until a reasonable critical mass of more receptive Benedictine appointees was in place. In 2005 this would have been a dead letter. Now it has a fighting chance of implementation in a goodly number of American dioceses. I suppose it is small consolation to Exchief that however bad things are here, it will be even tougher to see implementation in many parts of Europe.

    Then again, it may help that the Pope seems willing to sack especially obstreperous bishops, as he has done so both formally and informally in several cases in the last few years. It might cause a few to at least give it lip service. In the mean time, pray, and make your support visible when you do see positive action.

  5. BaedaBenedictus says:

    I see several of the writers, including Richard McBrien, have thrown some entertaining nutties about Bishop Morris. “It’s not FAIR! That inquisitor Joseph the Rat with his small band of ultraconservative sycophants are persecuting us again! What injustice!”

  6. stgemma_0411 says:

    The best part was the link that you had to Mr. Allen’s talk. I agree with you, Father, that some of his conclusions and his history is a bit off, but it is a very informative discussion. I have his book that the talk is based on, and it makes me want to revisit it for some other nuggets that I may have missed. His insight gives an interesting opinion about the ecclesiology of the Church as it moves ever farther away from Vatican 2.

  7. AnAmericanMother says:

    . . . And thank you, Father, for reading the Fishwrap so we don’t have to. Above and beyond the call of duty . . . .

  8. Joseph says:

    I have listned to Allen’s talk. Yes, he makes some interesting observations, though he makes a common error, viewing the Catholic church as a mostly political entity with an overall social justice agenda. And all, conservative and liberal, ought to be nice and tolerant to each other. This talk goes a long way to explain why he is writing for that particular paper.

  9. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Indeed, the NCR has Allen on staff to provide “balance”— he is merely “conservative” unlike those “ultra-conservatives” like Ratzinger who are conspiring to “roll back Vatican II.”

    It’s a shame Obama has cancelled the Mars mission—how are we ever going to reach those poor NCR folk now? ;-)

  10. SonofMonica says:

    A hearty echo of AnAmericanMother’s sentiment. My interest in watching N_R’s dizzying attempts at logic (like watching a moth fly around in circles before diving headfirst into a light bulb) has been outweighed by my desire not to see them gain a single additional advertising dollar.

  11. EWTN Rocks says:

    SonofMonica, “My interest in watching N_R’s dizzying attempts at logic (like watching a moth fly around in circles before diving headfirst into a light bulb)” – thanks for the laugh!

  12. Seraphic Spouse says:

    Could it be that the National Fishwrap is the best paying Catholic (or “Catholic”) paper out there? John L. Allen is at the top of the game, and understandably as a professional he would want to command a living wage, not something to be sneezed at in the underpaid world of Catholic journalism.

    For an idea on how much money the NF must have, look at JA’s tribute in the preface to his “The Rise of Benedict XVI”, a book which traces the last illness and death of John Paul II and the election of the Holy Father. It begins, “First of all, my deep thanks go to the board of directors at the National Catholic Reporter, whose decision to invest resources in Vatican coverage five years ago made everything possible.”

    Rome ain’t cheap. For JA to do what he does, there has to be money backing him. Who owns NCR? It’s always a revelation to discover who owns what.

  13. Banjo pickin girl says:

    exchief, yes, obedience to the disobedient or even the wicked is a hard cross. We must read and re-read Thomas a Kempis on the Royal Road of the Cross. And pray. And help those who are stuck in this dilemma too.

  14. Johnny Domer says:

    Father, what did the address by John Allen discuss? Did you see him in person deliver the talk, or was it from an online source to which you can link?

  15. Johnny Domer says:

    Crud, nevermind, just saw the link.

  16. frjim4321 says:

    There have always been a variety of media outlets devoted to things Catholic at all points along the trad-progressive continuum. Surely all of them have something to offer, and all of them have more than there share of dross. Some undesirable internet sites can still be helpful. Clearly “Adoremus” has a definite bias regarding liturgy and some might avoid going there for that reason. However, in spite of its obvious slant, “Adoremus” is an excellent source for many documents. They posted, for example, the letter of Cardinal Medina rejecting the ICEL 1998 product (in 2002). The same is true with the NCR, Wanderer, Commonweal, U.S. Catholic, and others of that ilk; one has to understand the bias, backfilter it, take what is worthwhile and discard the rest.

  17. benedetta says:

    I don’t agree, frjim4321. I used to think along these lines. But ncr is just off the spectrum. I wouldn’t put those others in the same category whatever the “bias” may be. It’s not as a plethora of tv channels and secular newspapers one may consider equally valid and be able to confidently pick among one or the other depending upon one’s own “bias”. It’s fair to say that some things with “bias” are still valid (why should any have “bias” anyway…is it all about “politics”? I think not though it’s not for never having entertained and seriously considering, all of it) while others have by their own actions placed themselves at the service of something that is not what the Church is all about…

    After many years of study and contemplating it, I no longer buy that there is this “trad-progressive continuum”. The Church comes first, not idealogues. Believe me it’s from naivete that I have wrestled with it and find that there is truth, and then, there is untruth…It’s not all relative.

  18. Banjo pickin girl says:

    benedetta, I agree, after all Catholics believe there is one Truth which is knowable. We are not gnostics. What has always been true is always true. Biases come from things being filtered through our nervous systems which are affected by concupiscence.

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    Once again, applying political thinking and terminology to the Church creates confusion and error.

    The Church is not an extension of American politics. The Church does not have a right and a left wing. The Church proclaims Truth, not a political stance, and those who loudly and publicly dissent from that Truth (while claiming to be spokesmen for the Church) are not courageous political activists exercising their right to free speech. They are . . . something else.

    The Fishwrap is a shining (smoking? reeking?) example of where this sort of thinking leads. Basically, it leads to the Episcopal Church, where everybody is entitled to his/her/its own “truth” and no Magisterium exists to trouble the pursuit of full-out political goals. The Fishwrap should just rename themselves the National Episcopalian Fishwrap and go ahead and relocate themselves officially to where they already are, unofficially. Everybody would be much happier (except probably Mr. Allen).

  20. AnAmericanMother says:

    Banjo pickin’ girl,
    It seems we agree.
    What kind of music do you play? I’m mostly a singer but a sometime fingerstyle guitarist – Doc Watson, Carter family, basically old-style early country. My husband’s the real good player, I just follow along.

  21. Michael in NoVA says:

    Seraphic Spouse,
    The N_R is a non-profit, and thus has no owners. Their tax return can be viewed here: or multiple years at

    First, I would not consider the N_R to have deep pockets. It ended 2009 up $200K in net assets for a total of ~$388K, but still down from the $664K in net assets it held at the end of 2007. It had $3.97 million in revenue in 2009. Advertising and subscriptions are the bulk of N_R’s income, bringing in $2.6 million. However, it did receive $1.3 million in donations, including $815K in donations of securites. The IRS 990 does not list donors, though, and I cannot find an annual report with donor names and levels online.

    As for John Allen, he does draw a nice salary from N_R. In 2008, his salary was $72,020 (no other reporter was paid more than $50,000). Information for 2009 is not available because the IRS raised the non-profit salary disclosure threshold to $100,000. I don’t mention the salary number to discredit him, as Mr. Allen indeed has the prestige and knowledge of a very valuable employee. However, it is a very healthy number for a struggling industry in general, and could be part of his basis for thanking the N_R management.

    It would be interesting to see a trendline of the N_R’s subscription base (excluding bulk shipments to parishes). If or as that declines, the N_R will be in a quite precarious position.

  22. AnAmericanMother says:

    Apropos of Veni Sancte Spiritus, our choirmaster has set the text for Pentecost in a very modern but at the same time chant-based composition . . . . the section quoted by Fr. Z is straight chant, with an organ part that sounds like angels’ wings . . . .

  23. Marcin says:

    . . . And thank you, Father, for reading the Fishwrap so we don’t have to. Above and beyond the call of duty . . . .

    Indeed, our dear host has a heroic streak. Chronia polla!

  24. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Old-time, ca. 1820-1880. Enoch fretless. Nylgut strings. Also more “modern” 1890-1910. Deering Goodtime. Two-finger or frailing. See 2-CD set “Banjo Gathering” for examples.

  25. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    There have always been a variety of media outlets devoted to things Catholic at all points along the trad-progressive continuum.

    With a few rare exceptions I really don’t read any of those publications. I do think, however, that any recourse to a “trad-progressive continuum” must be qualified by delimiters on both ends. It is one thing for a progressive to speak of vernacular liturgy celebrated versus populum, quite another women priests or homosexual “marriage”. Likewise, it is one thing for a trad to prefer the TLM, quite another to be a sede vacantist.

  26. AnAmericanMother says:

    Your ideas of “old timey” are even older than MY ideas of old timey. That is good.
    I can’t play a note on a banjo, but I do enjoy listening (or playing along . . . ‘vamp til ready’).

  27. Banjo pickin girl says:

    AAM, when asked why I don’t do bluegrass I explain it is an invented form vs. old time music, of both branches, which developed organically. Hmm, where have we heard that before?

  28. Seraphic Spouse says:

    @Michael in NoVA, thanks for looking all that up. Fascinating! I don’t begrudge J.A, his paycheque–good on him. I wonder who else in the Catholic press could afford him, though. That’s serious coin for the Catholic ghetto.

  29. AnAmericanMother says:

    A guy’s gotta feed his family.

  30. AnAmericanMother says:

    Don’t know a thing about banjos, but it seems that Kevin Enoch is very well thought of.
    I play a relatively old (1980s) Martin D-35 and an S.L Mossman Tennessee Flat Top from before when the factory burned down (early 70s).
    I must confess that my husband and I once played “Eagles Wings” as a guitar duet . . . it was a special request for a graveside service, so we smiled and played it.

  31. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Immaculate Mary sounds weird on the banjo.
    Putting a stop to the musical hijacking of the thread and concentrating on the issue of authority and obedience: I struggle with the issue of obedience to authority now as a situation has developed at my parish over the last couple of years and some recent converts have left. I have stayed but am being shunned and gloated at by the priests, in a way that is right out of the Amish playbook. I have no recourse because this was apparently ordered by somebody and any new priests who come are quickly in on it too.
    The distress that this causes me is out of proportion because I am a convert and don’t have the mindset of patient endurance that Catholics grow up with.
    I cling to the Gospels and the Imitation of Christ but my nervous system can only take so much stress. Having serious health problems and no access to a priest locally to deal with them is the hardest thing I have had to face in my life so far. I am an oblate of a very “liberal” Benedictine abbey but they have been more helpful in dealing with this than the “conservatives” have been.
    So I have done much thinking about obedience and obedience to people who are doing wicked things (obviously out of ignorance and inexperience and not malice, poor formation has a lot to do with it). I have reached no conclusions other than what is stated in the Royal Road of the Cross chapter of the IoC, we must just “put up with” things, even extreme evil, as one looks back on history. How people got through some things in history is beyond me, just miraculous. Makes my little problem seem so small.
    Things do have a way of getting out of hand if they are not nipped in the bud so I encourage anybody who is feeling the initial stages of uneasiness about a situation to talk to the powers that be and say you are afraid we may be on the slippery slope. I failed to do this and the situation has snowballed into an avalanche of deceit which is irreparable.
    Respect for authority is very much a two edged sword. That is why so many large books with small print have been written about it.

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