In retribution for my sins… a terrible thought to make the blood run cold! Save me, O Lord!

I just had a horrible though that made my blood run cold…..

It just occurred to me what a Dantesque contrapasso it would be – for my black and horrible sins – were some bishops to engineer me being assigned to work for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, or for Promoting the New Evangelization, or Communincations or…


O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. For me, the assignment would be the Pontifical Biblical Commission, even as Secretary, unless it was put under the Holy Office once again. In that case…

  2. Jack Hughes says:

    well Father, perhaps a dose of working for people who arn’t big fans of Ludwig Von Miss would do you a world of good.

  3. wmeyer says:

    My fear — and it has been suggested to me — would be to become involved with the Annulment Tribunal. My case took 33 months, my wife’s took 36. This despite claims that the average case time is 12 months. Only one couple in my parish, to my knowledge, completed in <12 months.

    When I think of the Tribunal, I think of the money changers in the temple.

  4. Supertradmum says:


    Not I. I am grateful for those hard-working canon lawyers and priests who have to sift through all the sad tales and even horror stories of broken marriages and families.

    For me, the purgatorial department would be the one involved in the setting up of World Youth Day, including the creation of the theme song… [Oh dear… combines the dread of useless torment with the plague of having something like the theme song to Gilligan’s Island stuck in your head.]

  5. wmeyer says:


    By way of deeper understanding, the Tribunal agreed to accept testimony in my wife’s case in Mandarin, as she had insufficient witnesses to respond in English. It went untranslated for 14 months, and as soon as we discovered that, we located a Mandarin speaking priest in the diocese (the Tribunal couldn’t???) and within a week it was translated. There remains, of course, the question of how, precisely, a marriage between two people raised as atheists in the PRC might yet have been sacramental. But I shall leave that to be debated by canon lawyers.

  6. Paul says:

    I would be assigned to work with the RCIA program in a liberal parish, using touchy-feely materials from the 80’s, to teach a group of mostly people only enduring the class so they can complete their sacraments, get married in a pretty church, and never again have to be bothered.

    Oh, wait….

    (Kidding aside, I thank God for the chance to learn more myself and to annoy others with the truth.)

  7. Jerry says:

    @wmeyer – “There remains, of course, the question of how, precisely, a marriage between two people raised as atheists in the PRC might yet have been sacramental. But I shall leave that to be debated by canon lawyers.”

    Only a marriage between two baptized Christians can be sacramental; however, this isn’t the question the marriage tribunal must answer. The essential properties of a marriage are unity and indissolubility. The sacramental nature of a Christian marriage provides a “special firmness” to these properties (can. 1056), but it is not required. Thus, the marriage tribunal must evaluate factors such as intent, consent, etc, even for non-Christian marriages.

  8. wmeyer says:


    Thanks for the information. In this case, however, there was also substantial pressure from my wife’s parents for her to marry. As I understand it, that is another factor which argues against the indissolubility. Yes, she consented, but to her, it involved duress. That was discussed, and for reasons unclear, was rejected by the Tribunal as the basis of her petition.

  9. Supertradmum says:

    Father Z, You made me laugh out loud. Thanks. The only problem is my parents did not let me watch Gilligan’s Island, (I think I saw it once when babysitting) so I shall have to find a YouTube for the effect. Oh my goodness,I just listened to it. Insipid. Just what a WYD theme is….brain-rot.

  10. wmeyer says:


    I have reconsidered. Joining the local RCIA team would be an endless source of torment. Fr. Richard Rohr is their favorite source of inspiration, and the CCC is never discussed. Or wasn’t, the two years I attended. We did get all the touchy-feely stuff, and they worked hard to imbue us with a Spirit of Vatican II outlook. Having been in high school when the Council was in session, and with a mother and grandmother who were rightfully suspicious of the motives of many in the Council, that didn’t work. ;)

  11. Stephen Matthew says:

    While being placed in charge of large scale youth events certainly has some fear inspiring aspects, what would really do it for me would be a position in liturgy, or even more so liturgical music. It is one thing to be able to find something wrong in the work or choices of others (I am very good at that), or even the faults in one’s own work (reasonably good at that, too), but it is another matter to go out and find what is truly good and bring it together in a good way. I may be a fine liturgical critic/musical griper, but I would be utterly lost if I had to organize even a weeks worth of liturgies. I may know what isn’t good, but I don’t at all know what IS good (as apart from what I like, I know what I like, but I don’t really know if that is objectively good).

  12. Midwest Girl says:

    If you served on one of those committees, perhaps you could help with the change you wish to see in our Church.

  13. flyfree432 says:

    So Father Z does have a sense of humor. :)

    One of the finest lessons I was taught preparing for work as a DRE is to love everyone as Christ loved them, especially those who make our jobs miserable due to 40 years of bad to horrible catechesis. I have labored for almost 5 years with a faithful pastor in an especially ‘liberal’ parish slowly bringing about, through the grace of God and power of the Holy Spirit, not just outward change in programming, liturgy, and art & architecture, but inward change. That change never would have taken place if it was not for having faithful people working from the inside. I don’t consider myself better than any of the ‘liberal’ leaders some of whom still lead Bible studies, but instead try to lead a holy life myself, instead of a holier than thou life. Simply teaching faith as the faith with no political overtures has done a world of good and born shockingly good fruit.

  14. AnAmericanMother says:

    Stephen Matthew,
    It’s not really that hard, and your musical instincts – once informed by intelligent materials such as our Holy Father’s writings and the CMAA/Musica Sacra website – are not a bad guide.
    The other thing to do is enlist the aid of good musicians. You find them the same way!
    . . . my particular torment would probably be having to work the LifeTeen program. ARGGGHHH! I’m not sure I could be dove-like OR serpent-like enough to manage that!

  15. frobuaidhe says:

    Funny you should say that. Tonight, before the Blessed Sacrament, it occurred to me that I can’t think of a single good reason why I should deserve to escape the retribution which is coming.

    Time to redouble the prayers for forgiveness and mercy, methinks.

  16. RichardT says:

    Father, even worse you could be assigned to that Communications department that had no internet access. In an office with no iPad signal.

  17. Eric says:

    having something like the theme song to Gilligan’s Island stuck in your head.

    Thanks Father.

  18. Random Friar says:

    I’m more worried that God might assign me as someone else’s chastisement.

  19. Charles E Flynn says:

    The following article contains a reference to Fr. Z’s reaction to the recent document:

    The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace steps to the plate, swings, and …?, by Carl Olson, at Ignatius Insight Scoop.

    For the record, the theme from Gilligan’s Island plays in Purgatory. In the Inferno, it is parodied on a kazoo.

  20. Robert_H says:

    With my love for beautiful Catholic art, I’m worried my purgatory will involve making giant paper mache heads. With a constant loop of Gather Us In playing in the background.

  21. James Joseph says:

    Who is Ludwig von Miss? Wait…. seeing I can remember without Google. I got it now. Wasn’t he an advisor to the Archduke who recently passed away? Jewish too I think. Now… I remember there’s an institute in Auburn, Alabama named after him.

    War Eagle!

    (Tanzy Teaberry arrives tommorrow)

  22. chcrix says:

    I think it would be a splendid idea for Father Z to work in the Pontifical council for Justice and Peace.

    Not because I wish Father ill, but because that commission needs a dose of sanity. It’s a nasty job, but somebody needs to do it.

  23. Supertradmum says:


    So is garbage collecting, but I wouldn’t want our Blog Master to do that either….

  24. New Sister says:

    This post has made me grateful for what I have: a faithful pastor who celebrates the TLM regularly; hears confessions for several hours a week; and ensures a faithul RE program. The possible alternatives imagined above give me shivers, too! [except for the marriage tribunal– I am grateful for those which take their time to ensure that marriage is enshrined and souls are kept safe.]

  25. BV says:

    So will listening to the Gilligan’s Island theme song every day get me out of a few years purgatory?

    My horror would be having to assist at the youth mass with the guitars and piano and drums and hand-clapping and… brrrrrr!!!! I’d have to listen to Gregorian Chant for 24 hours straight to detox!!!

  26. BV says:

    I actually had a good experience with the annulment process. My then-fiance was a Presbyterian who got her annulment in just under 12 months (Archdiocese of Newark). It was good that it went smoothly, and it was also good that it gave me the chance to come to my senses and realize what a mistake I would have made had I married her! (Marry a Catholic fellas… marry a Catholic… ). This was around the time I was starting to rediscover my Catholic faith.

  27. BV says:

    I guess Gary Larson isn’t a fan of polkas!! :D

    Just had an awful vision of “Roll out the barrel… ” as a priest polka-processes up to the altar. AHHHHH!!!!! (phew… just a nightmare, just a bad dream… )

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