Duhhhh…. Nice try, Fishwrap!

It seems that the National catholic Fishwrap took exception to my little dig.  Heh heh.

Michael Sean Winters got all excited and thought he scored a point.   He is baiting me, of course, but I’ll take the bait this time.

Here is his piece:

More Idiocy from Zuhlsdorf
Michael Sean Winters

Father John Zuhlsdorf, the right wing priest who has a penchant for referring to NCR as the “fishwrap,” thinks Pope Benedict XVI had NCR in mind when he wrote this sentence: “Jesus’ freedom is not the freedom of the liberal.”

Let us stipulate: Jesus was not a disciple of Voltaire. But, Zuhlsdorf seems not to understand that in Europe, what is considered a “neo-liberal” [Ehem… the Pope said “liberal” not “neo-liberal”…] in America is considered a “neo-conservative.” That is to say, when Benedict makes the observation about the liberal conception of freedom, he is not necessarily using the word liberal the way John Boehner uses the word liberal. In fact, it is people like Zuhlsdorf and other conservative Catholics who have been trying to baptize the First Amendment these past few months who need to ponder Pope Benedict’s words. Jesus’ freedom was a positive freedom, a freedom for. The First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty – you know “our first, most cherished freedom” – suggests a negative conception of freedom, a freedom from. It is not only the writers at and readers of NCR who need to ponder the Holy Father’s words.

Michael… Michael… Michael…

Nice try.

I’m aware of what Pope Benedict means by “liberal”.

I wasn’t using “liberal” in terms of political economy.

I was using it in terms of “free thinkers”, such as those who write for NCR.

“Free thinkers” don’t think they need any kind of authority. In their lives or in anyone’s life.

They think they know what’s best for the Church. They don’t need a Magisterium and they don’t want anyone else to want a Magisterium.

They make up theology as they go.

Hence, their “freedom” is detached from authority, from authority of any kind.

THAT is what the Pope is talking about with “the freedom of the liberal”. The Pope’s point is that Jesus’ freedom, “the freedom of the truly devout person”, is freedom that recognizes authority.

Liberals don’t recognize authority.

Liberals don’t have a sense of humor either!

Try not to take yourselves so seriously.

Have a nice day!

And please take the time to send me a donation?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Benedict XVI, Dogs and Fleas, Green Inkers, Liberals, Lighter fare, Linking Back, Our Catholic Identity, Reader Feedback, The Drill, Throwing a Nutty and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Dr. K says:

    More idiocy from Michael Sean Winters.

  2. wmeyer says:

    More Idiocy from Zuhlsdorf

    Nice! Christian charity by example, I guess. Or projection. Whatever. I know nothing of what appears in the Fishwrap unless it is mentioned here. I do not have that much spare time.

  3. Supertradmum says:

    Well, you could start a debate, if you wanted to, by telling Michael Sean Winters that you lived and worked in Rome for upteen years and have a good handle of European definitions of liberal. Which, by the way, are not that different than those of the Americans, depending on who is using the term. However, the odd ad hominem attack puts me off…right wing means Catholic, doesn’t it, but what a way to start a response to a serious article on what the Pope has written.

    Is he, (and should I care), trying to say that the liberal element in the Church, which is grounded in German, Dutch and French theology and philosophy for the past two-hundred years, is NOT to what the Pope refers? Sigh, such intellectual sloppiness is hardly worth answering….

  4. benedetta says:

    Hilarious! Michael Sean Winters really thinks it is about a conception of “liberal” a la American politics, as in, what Boehner would label? So revealing. Please. If anyone has the pulse on what is going on in terms of pro death liberal dictatorship of relativism now in totalitarian form around the globe, it is Fr. Z. Meanwhile the fishwrap studies its very American church navel.

  5. benedetta says:

    Funny also how after so much junk published and so much dissident raving, in the heart of hearts of the fishwrap they desperately want to be “in with the Vatican” (male power structures, right). If you want to know the true mind of the Pope, ask, um Michael Sean Winters?? And why exactly is it so very important for them to be right and for Fr. Z to be named idiocy when they are trying to “overturn the tables of the Vatican” in the first place?

    First MSW commends Card. Dolan, now he lays claim to the mind of the Holy Father. CDF and Bishops, begone! Nothing to see here at the officially unofficially dissident fishwrap! All is well with the “male power structure” (aka mps)…It’s TEOTWAWKI!

  6. catholicmidwest says:

    Michael Sean Winters amazes me. A lot of these people amaze me. Somehow they can’t get out of their own time and place and realize what Christianity even IS.

    Hint: If everything that we know were to be reduced to smoking ruins, God would still exist. God stoops to us in kindness and humility because of who he is. The Incarnation was kindness and humility divinely personified. Out of love, yes.

    But when Christ came, it was said by the angels that he was a King, and he is, by every measure, exegetical and otherwise. He doesn’t “fit” on any of the thousands of political schemes that have existed globally since then, and he won’t fit on any of the ones in the future. They are all human artifacts, things we do. It’s a primate thing, like bananas.

    Michael Sean Winters should take the King of Eternity thing seriously. He should throw it right in with his other ideas and let them have a rumble, and when the contradictions all shake out, he might be better for it.

  7. redselchie says:

    It’s a good thing. Controversy there, sends more readers to you! Free advertising! An opportune moment to educate them.

  8. Mr. Winters makes some other amazing statements, which alternate between fascinating and maddening.

    He speaks of “baptizing the First Amendment”–wait: is a columnist of the N(so called)CR calling into question the Second Vatican Council’s decree on religious freedom? Is Mr. Winters secretly a throwback traditionalist?

    Of course he’s right that the First Amendment is a “freedom from,” not a “freedom for,” but that’s a red herring. The Founders who crafted the Constitution wanted government to stay out of the way of citizens apprehending their “freedom for.” Now, maybe the American enterprise in liberty was a bad idea–I have a Catholic friend, an American, who says so, and would prefer a monarcy and an established church. But is that Mr. Winters’ position?

    Elsewhere, Mr. Winters has written repeatedly about his lack of concern for the conscience of people being coerced by the government, over forced cooperation in the provision of contraceptives, if those people make the blunder of being in business “for profit,” such as at Taco Bell. So, we have the Hobby Lobby company contemplating how to continue their business if the government succeeds in its plan of coercion. Too bad, says Mr. Winters. Does he really suppose we’ll be a better country if such business owners shut down rather than violate their consciences?

    Meanwhile, Mr. Winters gets all bristley when anyone impugns the orthodoxy of the N(so-called)CR. Does he even read the rest of the stuff that appears there–let alone the eye-popping comments from the N(so-called)CR’s readers?

    Maybe a good name change would be the “National Heresy Reporter”?

    Dang. He won’t ever attack me. I’m envious, Father!

    [I must admit I am in pretty good company. Sean Michael has attacked the likes of Kathryn Jean Lopez… George Weigel… Fr. Robert Sirico… Robert George… Tom Peters… Michael Novak… Raymond Arroyo… Punching above his weight?]

  9. The Sicilian Woman says:

    Yeah, I noticed how a Catholic who is in line with Church teaching = right wing.

    Michael Sean Winters: A Catholic, be s/he priest, sister or layperson, who is in line with all Church teaching is…a Catholic, capital C, thanks.

  10. frjim4321 says:

    WEBSITE REPORT: FWIW, my iPhone 5 on “reload” pulls down and entirely different list of posts than my desktop does. The iPhone 5 is pulling down only posts from much earlier. Yes, these are reloads, and not pulling from the cache.

    The good news is that DashboardPro on the PC indicates very good reloading speeds.

    [That is not what my iPhone 5 does. I get everything in real time. Close rabbit hole.]

  11. mamajen says:

    I am rather shocked that a purportedly Catholic publication ran that headline.

  12. benedetta says:

    It’s pretty convoluted, I have to say, Michael Sean Winters is not a talented off the cuff sort of writer (maybe this is why he didn’t continue with the Obama campaign?). And, true to liberalism’s hallmark, he shoots and runs, he does not logically lay out his reasoning or rationale very well, just quick short hand allusions. His point is apparently that the Holy Father’s use of the word liberal would not merely include American style liberals, who he presumes we who read Fr Z’s blog are focused on, but be broader to include American style neo cons who are regarded in European political spheres as neo libs. All well and good. I don’t have any problem with hitching the likes of Mayor Michael Bloomberg (pro death) and others invested in Big Abortion but subscribing as Republicans or pro death fiscal conservatives to the Holy Father’s apt description. Anyone who believes that “social justice” starts with abortion with a capital A merits the warning.

    But when you put the quotation that Fr. Z posted alone next to Michael Sean Winter’s rambling run on, the Holy Father’s words resound that much clearer. Seems like just an excuse of a post in order to attack Fr. Z and call him idiocy and “right wing”. The problem with liberals is they believe the Church to be just another mirror image of American politics and so one is this or that. There is the unity of the Church, and then one can be outside of that unity. Liberal American politics, through fishwrap and others, tries constantly to insert itself into the Church and selects out only a very few doctrines as valid while rejecting most of the meat and substance especially those teachings that are the foundation for their very favorites to the exclusion of others. (Note McBrien’s recent abortion VERSUS social doctrine dichotomy). But there simply is no moral upper hand for a liberalism which has rejected the magisterium. It’s just heresy and dissent, no matter how loudly insisted that it is “on the inside”. By its very choice and actions, like the kid who decided not to be confirmed, like Mr Roy, it chooses its own path apart from the unity of the Church. Now if that is idiocy, may St. Juniper be my guide as I continue as a loyal reader and friend of Fr. Z.

  13. Sissy says:

    An insult from Fishwrap is a badge of honor. Well done, Father Z!

  14. catholicmidwest says:

    I don’t know why you should be shocked. This kind of stuff has been going on for years inside the Catholic church. Many people don’t really know the Christian faith and it shows.

  15. acardnal says:

    Fr. Z., as you know, “if you are not taking flak, you are not hitting the target.” Keep up the good work!

  16. acardnal says:

    Sorry. . . got that wrong. LOL. “if you are taking flak, you are over the target.”

  17. Springkeeper says:

    “The Pope’s point is that Jesus’ freedom, “the freedom of the truly devout person”, is freedom that recognizes authority.” Amen, Father! Preach on!

    We serve either God or the devil. There is no middle ground.

  18. JohnE says:

    I wonder if MSW or NCR would consider anyone (in reality, not in theory) to be too far left.

  19. acardnal says:

    Michael Sean Winters said, “Jesus’ freedom was a positive freedom, a freedom for.”

    Really?? I think freedom “from” is more accurate. Freedom from sin.

    “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:17-18)”

    “Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)”

  20. Clinton R. says:

    It’s always the same thing for these folks. If a priest has an affinity for the TLM and teaches the Faith with orthodoxy, then he is “right wing” or “ultraconservative”. The priest who hates tradition and is heterodox in his teachings, is “open minded” and “progressive”. Please continue in your care for our souls, Father. The lion continues to roam and looks to devour.

  21. TNCath says:

    Well done, Father! In the words of Blessed Pope John Paul II on his visit to Baltimore in 1995: “Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought. “

  22. Rich says:

    Winters got it wrong on the First Amendment, too. It is not a negative concept of freedom, or freedom from. It is a freedom of, (or thereof, to be precise): “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. It stipulates the free practice OF religion.

  23. catholicmidwest says:

    Mr. Winters misapplies the First Amendment. It specifies freedom from state-established religion. The context in which it was written supplies the rest: It was written to circumvent the authority of the King and his official religion, the Church of England, which was thrust periodically onto the colonists, even though the colonists were in rebellion from it. The early colonists were Baptists, Congregationalists, Quakers or belonged to other mostly protestant groups. [Yes, I know somebody will pipe up with the few Catholic communities in the mid-Eastern seaboard, but they were a very, very minor part of the picture when the Constitution was written.]

    It then goes on to protect non-state religions from interference. It doesn’t specify freedom from any religion. Quite the opposite.

  24. JKnott says:

    Leave it to the dissidents over at the fishwrap to call universal truth and holy wisdom as taught by Jesus, “idiocy”.

  25. Son of Trypho says:

    I’m amused that he follows your blog and feels compelled to confront you over your personal view on 1 sentence from the Pope’s latest book. Must be a slow day over at NCR if this is making the news.

  26. Imrahil says:

    The Pope’s point is that Jesus’ freedom, “the freedom of the truly devout person”, is freedom that recognizes authority..

    And that is the true thing.

    I regret, however, the contemporary usage of the freedom-for and freedom-from distinction, as used here by Mr Winters, and very often around here in the orthodox camp.

    In my language, freedom, as such, is freedom-from. It has boundaries; whether these are extrinsic or whether we can investigate the concept of freedom so thoroughly as to find they are intrinsic, is largely a mere academic dispute (such things are sometimes interesting, of course); but defining the very word freedom as freedom-for exposes the respective theologian to the suspicion of … well … embelleshing his faith.
    In addition, the abstract sentence “the Christian has not freedom from, he has freedom for”, if it were true, would mean that the Christian has no freedom at all (and embelleshing this theorem which, thank God, is not true).

    This kind of talk appears mostly in the orthodox camp. Which is all the more the pity.

  27. Jackie L says:

    Ah yes, Fr.Z is a right wing Priest, a conservative Catholic that is to say, extreme in other words, a Taliban Catholic, more Catholic then the Pope, a bomb thrower, part of a fringe element, wishing to take us back to the middle ages, a hate monger, an anti-semite, a promoter of blind obedience, backward, a crank, a yahoo…Just a few of the things I’ve learned from NcR, yet laughably their Comment Code features this gem: “Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.”

  28. Fr. Erik Richtsteig says:

    The true quality of a man is shown by his enemies. [I guess I’m in trouble.]

  29. Charles E Flynn says:

    In less than two minutes, the number of hits at Google for “right wing priest” has gone from 57,300 to 64,100! Father Z made the first page, at the bottom, and I expect him to rise. Keep in mind that Pope Benedict tirelessly points out how these political terms are not accurate when applied to religious belief. The correct term is “dynamic orthodoxy”.

  30. Random Friar says:

    In our tradition, we do have, or should long to have, a “freedom for excellence,” which means that we are free to seek the good. This is not a concept I think would be alien to our Founding Fathers, analogous to the “pursuit of happiness.” This is not the “freedom of indifference,” which basically says, “whatever,” and does as it pleases, and is not a life that seeks virtue, but pleasure. This, sadly, is what most people seem to think freedom is for.

    Of course, this requires a freedom for excellence requires from sin, or any other states or circumstances which inhibit free will.


  31. Dismas says:

    Does anyone else find it curious shy Sean Michael Winters, who writes for such a notorious and infamous remnant as the fishwrap, would be interested in the opinion of a lone priest blogger? Could it be liberal hysteria or just an attempt at relevance to increase the ever declining fishwrap viewership?

  32. SKAY says:

    Father Z speaks the truth. That can be intimidating to those who do not.

  33. sanctasophia says:

    I am from the Uk and I know what liberal means. I also think the Pope knows what liberal means when he says it. It might mean that the chap from the NRC should have a look at the uses of the word in Cardinal Newman, then he could perhaps look at some of the papal encyclicals of the last century to see what the word means in the context of Catholic thought. He might also like to look at some theologians to see what it means. Just because people are in the USA does not mean that they should be ignorant of the general usage of language in Europe or in the Roman Church. The Pope uses his words with care whether Americans understand them or not – this is not the point. Sometimes I think Americans regard themselves as the centre of the Church. I am afraid if you think that you have the matter wrong. Regards.

  34. Kerry says:

    Hmm…the far right. Sheep to the right, goats to the left…? Heh.

  35. RichR says:

    I hope the NCReporter continues to give you such publicity. It can only be positive for you.

  36. RobertK says:

    I wonder if the FishWrap (NCR) consider the Holy Father a “right wing” Pope?. :)

  37. Sword40 says:

    They never said that being a Catholic was going to be easy. The “Fishwrap” has an abundance of idiots. (and Heretics)

  38. Robert of Rome says:

    To JohnE, who commented (way above), “I wonder if MSW or NCR would consider anyone … to be too far left,” I too have wondered that about NCR. I don’t think they’ve *yet* embraced giving Holy Communion to pets or other animals. Such sacrilege has been committed by now, of course (as Fr Z has reported in regard to the recent Australian case). But I haven’t yet seen NCR embrace it. Can’t be long off, though.

  39. irishsmile says:

    The Reporter is not now nor has ever been authenticaly Catholic. It’s clear to me that NCR fishwrap is an arm of the Democrat political agenda and it masquesrades as a Catholic publication. Looks to me as if Winters is properly at home there. As long as pretend Catholic publications with liberal agenda driven writers are still being read, our Catholic children and grandchildren will continue to be misled toward abortion and gay marriage among other evils.

  40. netokor says:

    Fishwrap? You honor them. I would only use that publication to discard the contents of a litter box.

  41. Emilio III says:

    It can also be useful as a birdcage liner. Truly a multi-purpose tool.

  42. pmullane says:

    Its very sad that this man has stooped towards the level of calling you names, Fr. I know your a big boy and can take these things, but please know that many of us are saying prayers for you and are very grateful for the work that you do, and want to show you some support when you are attacked like this. I can appreciate that people could appreciate your opinion, but I’m at a loss as to how anyone could call your well reasoned and thought out argument ‘idiocy’. I suppose, however, it means that you are obviously having an influence when they feel the need to attack you.

    As an aside, I also thought that there was an irony about someone trying to make you out as an insular rube when you lived and worked in Rome, and in the Vatican no less, probably the most culturally diverse institution in the world, for so long. Its a double irony when such a person likes to point out what ‘liberal’ means in ‘Europe’. can I tell you, as a Briton, that its a highly insular and insulting thing to do to claim that what a political term would mean to me and what it would mean to a German, an Italian or a Greek. Theres nothing more insular or unsophisticated than a man of the world thinking that ‘Europe’ is a country.

  43. Fuquay Steve says:

    Father I don’t know how you do it – reading and responding to the fishwraps self-indulgent, disobedient nonsense – is beyond normal human tolerance endurance tests. You deserve a medal.

  44. Scott W. says:

    Technically, it’s not name calling. Perhaps it is a quibble, but there is a difference between “Fr. Z is an idiot.” and “Fr. Z’s entry is idiocy.”

    What is more interesting is the Constitutional idolatry: The First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty – you know “our first, most cherished freedom”. Granted, not as creepy as this, but a “we have no god but Caesar” streak runs through all progessivists.

  45. AA Cunningham says:

    Michael Sean Winters, as well as the entire cabal of nitwits at The Fishwrap, couldn’t find his backside with both hands if you spotted him nine fingers.

  46. pmullane says:

    Scott W, your correct, but its a linguistic slight of hand. The purpose is to create the impression that what Fr Z has to say is not worth arguing with, its beneth the dignity of a rebuttal. In that sense, there is no difference between saying ‘Fr Z is an Idiot’ and ‘What Fr Z says is Idiocy’. Once you have dismissed the content of the argument, there is no need to engage with it. Also, the theme of the argument is that Fr Z has misinterpreted terms (cause as the headline suggests, he is an idiot) that he couldnt possibly understand what such a cultured thing as a European (seemingly God like creatures to the American left). In trying to vandalise Fr Z’s reputation by portraying him asas an uncultured rube, flyover country God and Gun clinging first cousin marrying (if he didnt subscribe to all that mysoginistic oppresive celibacy stuff) country bumpkin nitwit, this chap has demonstrated his own ignorance in that Fr z has lived and worked in Rome, and calls the city a ‘second home’, and knows the place and people intimately. I think its called ‘isolating the enemy’, or playing the man and not the ball. Its certainly living up to the publications ‘fishwrap’ reputation.

  47. Josephus Muris Saliensis says:

    So cool, Father Z, to get an article just to yourself.

    You’re really under the fish-skin!

    [Nothing new. However, this time a response was needed lest anyone over there think they scored a point.]

  48. Andrew says:

    He (Winters) posits the entire question of freedom in purely earthly terms (and mostly political terms). As if man’s destiny was limited to his temporal affairs. The transcendental aspect of freedom in Christ is absent. Freedom from sin and death is irrelevant. Which, obiter dictum, is the attitude of that entire post-sixties generation, the “I’m OK u’r OK” people who have nothing new and nothing relevant to say the young generation of Catholics. Hey Fishwrap! Your time is up! Winter is upon you Mr. Winters.

  49. Widukind says:

    If your looking to multi-task the fishwrap, here is one worthy of the house out back –
    the Weekly Wiper.

  50. Angie Mcs says:

    I don’t read this publication except to look at it when it’s mentioned here. Butit seems to me that if one were to make it regular reading, it could shape ones perspective. There is an undertone of anger, arrogance, sarcasm and other unpleasant feelings that I get when glance through the headlines and peruse a paragraph or two.

    In RCIA I was taught that to be Catholic is to be filled with joy, not a mindless happiness, but true joy at the ultimate gift we have been given, despite the hardships in life. The NcR robs its readers of joy and leads them down a road of negativity and cynicism. Why would anyone look to them for guidance?

    ClintonR: they are hungry lions, indeed.

  51. catholicmidwest says:

    Actually, I wouldn’t say I’m a regular reader, but I go there sometimes just because it’s good to know what you’re up against. Again, though, I’m a very critical reader of all kinds of points of view, simply because I believe when you read such things you should have your brain switched ON. You know, there are distinct modes of reading, depending on what you’re reading…. A person should read Shakespeare differently from how they read Scripture, and that should be different again from how they read a cookbook, and different again from reading the political news.

    I also take lightning tours through other off-kilter catholic (using the term loosely) venues. I like to know what strange heretics are scheduled to show up in the vicinity so I can avoid them. They have speaking tours, you know. When I was first Catholic more than 25 years ago, I stumbled onto a couple of these folks and then had to figure out what was going on.

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  53. Imrahil says:

    Concerning accusations of discharity:

    I think, on this thing alone (which some comments here treated alone), a newspaper can rebuke somebody for idiocy who has called it fishwrap. Reverend Father Z, you and the NCR are quits… [Except that I am right and Fishwrap is wrong.]

    Of course, if, what is a totally other thing, we think of such things as actual correctness (which, as far as I see, Rev’d Fr Z’s entry did), it is… strange… if a newspaper that takes words like idiocy into its mouth knows better than Fr Z what Fr Z meant. Just that he is American does not say he cannot understand what the Pope meant with using this word, all the more as he has studied theology and liberalism and the Church’s response to it does have its significance there…

  54. Gratias says:

    The pernicious ideology here is that the Constitution is a set of negative liberties. Obama wants positive liberties for government, so as to negate our God- given rights.

  55. Sissy says:

    Imrahil said: “Concerning accusations of discharity:I think, on this thing alone (which some comments here treated alone), a newspaper can rebuke somebody for idiocy who has called it fishwrap.”

    Except that the fishwrap is a progressive propaganda rag, and Fr. Z is a person. While the writer of the article was uncharitable to refer to Fr. Z in a disrespectful manner, the reverse is not true. One cannot show “discharity” to newspaper. It’s an inanimate object.


    First, thanks for wanting to come to my defense.

    The fact that Winter’s used just my cognomen in the headline of his piece doesn’t bother me in the least. I do that from time to time. No big deal. In the body of the piece I believe he started with “Father”. This is a non-issue for me. Heck, I will at times refer to “Ratzinger”.

    He used “idiocy” in the title. That doesn’t bother or surprise me either. Humorless Fishwrap liberals think that everyone who doesn’t agree with them are idiots. This is a case of agere sequitur esse as far as I am concerned.

    Winters isn’t an idiot. Out of fairness, I have openly agreed with some things he has written. I never expect reciprocity from them. This time, he leapt before he looked. He tried to score what he thought was a sly point and blew it, and in doing so potentially distorted how people will read what Pope Benedict wrote. That couldn’t stand. This time – because it had to do with what the Pope was saying – I had to respond. For me, it wasn’t about me.

    Now, do me a favor and go back to read what the Pope said in light of this dust up.

    Thanks again!

  57. Imrahil says:

    Except that I am right and Fishwrap is wrong.

    This is what I tried to add in my second paragraph. Forgive me if it was not clear enough or too long.

    Dear @Sissy, I did not say Fr Z did anything wrong here. I did say that, on merely charitable grounds without taking into account who’s right, one could not afterwards complain about the mere wording “idiocy”. Only that the Fishwrap says idiocy where there is no idiocy.

    I think that Fr Z has the right to use names such as fishwrap, etc. I do not think, however, that this is on the ground that he is a person and the fishwrap a mere newspaper; that is a technicality. The Fishwrap is no person, but must be treated as if; treated as if a person that says what it does say. The difference here is not in that one of the parties is a person and the other isn’t. The difference is the fact that one of the parties is right and the other isn’t; and nowhere else. Fr Z would have no right to call the fishwrap fishwrap, if he had no right to call a person that says the same things a “modernist nonsense-blatherer”, or whatever more creative vocabulary may come to his head.

    But he has this right in either case. While we are charitable Christians, we are it in an honorably adult way; to put it more exactly, we do not confuse charity with a taboo on certain words which for unknown reason are deemed insultory. We are not into the kindergarden style of “he’s been calling me names, Miss”. We value a good punch on the nose, symbolically speaking in most cases, for a conviction we fight for. All the same loving the enemy.

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