National ‘c’atholic Reporter says Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI sinned against the Holy Spirit

The standards at the National Catholic Reporter (aka Fishwrap) are devolving by the week.

This last week they accused Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI of sinning against the Holy Spirit.

Ron Schmit – no, you have never heard of this schlemiel so don’t strain your memory – a priest in Byron, California, penned an opinion piece against the use of the Usus Antiquior.

It is a silly piece, all in all, and I have been busy doing more important things, such as eating 酸辣湯 at slightly greasy noodle shops in Manhattan.

But one thing Schmit wrote was so spectacularly stupid that I must point it out.

Paul knew that permitting the old form would be not only divisive but would call the whole council into doubt, and that would be a sin against the Holy Spirit.

Wow.  That’s pretty bad.

Let’s review.

The first great sin against the Holy Spirit was in 1971 when Paul VI granted an “indult” for the use of the 1962 Missale Romanum in England and Wales. It was called an “indult” back then because it was considered “forbidden” to use the previous form. This was the so-called “Agatha Christie indult”. You may know the story: When Paul saw that the authoress had added her name to the long list of distinguish Brits who thought the older form should be preserved, he caved. I hope that story is true. Thus, Paul preferred Agatha Christie to the Holy Spirit. Baaad Paul!

Another sin against the Holy Spirit was committed in 1984 by Bl. John Paul II who revised and extended the 1971 “indult”. Diocesan bishops across the globe could, by this grant called Quatuor abhinc annos, sin against the Holy Spirit by permitting celebrations of the older Mass.

The defiance against the Third Person of the Trinity continued when when Bl. John Paul II revised and extended his permissions in 1988 with Ecclesia Dei adflicta. At that time the Roman Pontiff, after speaking about the “rightful aspirations” of people who desired the traditional forms, then decreed, by his apostolic authority (op. cit 6) that “respect must everywhere by shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued”. He actually had the temerity to invoke the Blessed Virgin Mary at the end of that document and then pray for unity in the Church! What a loser.

The present Vicar of Christ, Benedict XVI, sinned against the Holy Spirit by issuing Summorum Pontificum. Benedict – as the Legislator – explained that the older form of Mass had never been abrogated after all and that all priests of the Latin Church who had the faculty to say Mass automatically also had faculty to use the older book because there is one Roman Rite in two forms. That had to be against Vatican II!

In his explanatory letter to bishops, Benedict – who clearly hates the Holy Spirit and the Second Vatican Council a whole bunch – wrote:

There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church‘s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.

To make matters worse, he wrote to his brother bishops:

I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: “Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!” (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.

Benedict… pffft… what a sinner.

On a more serious note, however, who is it that has the open heart? Who is making room for everything the faith itself allows?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Benedict XVI, Liberals, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, Throwing a Nutty and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. ATT says:

    Sounds like the good padre from the Left Coast may have a fondness for our old pals Calvin and Luther – weren’t they the first ones to decry the Holy Mass as blasphemy and sin? Imagine, that promoting and celebrating the Mass could be a sin! I can’t believe that newspaper can even consider itself relevant…and people say that we homeschoolers live in a bubble!

  2. Pingback: Evangelizing Through Memes | Big Pulpit

  3. Gregory DiPippo says:

    Wicked, tricksy Popeses! They stole it from us, the precious liturgical reform, they stole it!

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  4. Laura98 says:

    Ahh… so this priest is basically claiming to be more Catholic than these Popes?

  5. Giuseppe says:

    I always feel bad for John Paul I. Surely in his brief reign he had opportunity to join such august company and sin against the Spirit too? Is it possible he sinned in his heart by having a fond remembrance or two of the 1962 Missal in private? Please don’t leave him out.

  6. mamajen says:

    And they are still permitted to use “Catholic” in their name why?

  7. wmeyer says:

    mamajen, I fear it is because there is little justice in the secular courts. And clearly, the Fishwrap is not bound by any declaration of bishops or pope.

  8. dominic1955 says:

    I think he’s trying to say that Pope Paul VI originally knew that the gig was up if the old Mass could stay in one way or another. He initially didn’t do it, but eventually did allow a small foothold-conflicted character that he was. After that, while it might not have seemed like it, a dam broke and now all the touchy-feeling “ministry of the baptized” theology of Fr. Schmit and his Worship buddies is being openly challenged. The sin isn’t really against the Holy Spirit but agains the spirit of Vatican II-the idol they set up. Their vision of Vatican II “changed” everything in the church such that what happened before is irrelevant and expired and…and…changed! They’re mad because we don’t appreciate all their hard work and brilliance. Nope, I don’t. I don’t appreciate the force-fed gruel you people imposed on us. I don’t care to eat slop and say, “Yum, ain’t that great! I want some more!”

    OH NO…the peasants hauled off to the Pistoia cathedral and burned ol’ Bishop di Ricci’s cathedra in the town square because they were tired of his crap. I’m sure some of his priest friends thought the same thing at the time as Fr. Schmit and pals think now-the “rabble” are undoing all of our precious reforms because they do not and cannot appreciate the genius of it all. The world is loosing this “great reform” because of the superstition of the peasants and the muscle behind it in Rome.

    P.S. That’s probably one of the most beautiful pictures in the Fishwrap.

  9. MrTipsNZ says:

    Apologies for being slightly off topic Fr Z, but the way you have presented the chronology of the situation cements – to my mind at least – the concept that our liturgy over the 40 years has undergone a self-imposed “Babylonian captivity”.

  10. JuliaSaysPax says:

    My priest read this opinion piece AS HIS HOMILY on Sunday. Needless to say, I was greatly distressed.

  11. Dr. K says:

    The author of this piece is a priest of the Diocese of Oakland. I encourage everyone here to contact the diocese with a link to the NcR article. The e-mail address of the Vicar General’s office is available at:

  12. Simon_GNR says:

    How can one individual priest claim to have the authority to judge that three popes are in error? Has he never heard of the magisterium? And when’s his bishop going to discipline this idiot? The National “Catholic” Reporter surely needs to be investigated by the USCCB and either closed down or forced to remove the word “Catholic” from its masthead!

  13. Supertradmum says:

    I would not want to be standing too near this priest in a thunder storm…I call this scandal and calumny.

  14. Jack Hughes says:


    Greggory deserves the Gold star of the day for his gollem impersonation !!

    Meenwhile I respecfully suggest that the author of the piece spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament, he needs it

  15. rollingrj says:

    “The standards at the National Catholic Reporter (aka Fishwrap) are devolving by the week.”

    They have standards??? Really?

    Mamajen, this is why.

  16. dominic1955 says:

    “The council’s vision of a priestly people on mission necessitated a liturgy that could prepare disciples ready to take up their responsibilities. The council looked to the church’s distant past to recover ritual elements that were instrumental in preparing the baptized to take active responsibility for Christ’s priestly, prophetic and royal mission.”

    Basically sounds like a very toned down version of the Baptist trail of blood or the SDA and Mormon claims that for a short time the early church had it right, then they lost it for a long time, and then all of a sudden its up to us in 19th Cent. America to get it right at long last!

    More like-the Church screwed up everything until the glorious Vatican II event in which luminaries like Karl, Hans, Yves, and Ed got it all right. Garrigou-Legrange? He should go back to gumming his applesauce. Aquinas, Bonaventure, Suarez and Vitoria? Fools all of them. Aquinas didn’t understand Aquinas and neither did the rest of those Scholastic dolts until Karl and Bernard came along.

    The laity, the laity! Unless they start getting uppity…

    “In her article “Summorum Pontificum and the Unmaking of the Lay Church” (Worship, July 2012), scholar Georgia Masters Keightley identifies those elements recovered by the council from the ancient church. These express the active exercise of the priestly people of God: the prayer of the faithful, the offertory procession and the kiss of peace. These were visible signs that expressed the church’s priesthood. These signs incarnate for the priesthood of all believers the task to proclaim the Gospel and to make intercession for the world and all people.”

    All three of those “elements” have become grand monuments to me-tooism, a ridiculously clericalized laity, and the most inane and banal garbage ever to be inflicted on Catholic liturgy in the last 500 years. This guy obviously does not understand what the “priesthood of all believers” means in an orthodox context.

  17. OK, so in sinning against the Holy Spirit, they also espoused and promoted false doctrines. That would make them heretics and schismatics, and we all know that heretics and schismatics can’t occupy the Apostolic See.

    Therefore, I believe we are seeing the birth pangs of a new, liberal sede vacantism. There hasn’t been a real pope since John XXIII!

    [As Card. George once remarked, this type of person is a “Lefevbrist of the Left”.]

  18. Ralph says:

    Oh Father Schmit – wouldn’t you really be so much happier in the Anglican Communion?

    Those lovely Episcopals are calling you right now – don’t you hear them?

    Won’t you join them in that happy place of fairy tails and butterflies where any special little girl can grow up to be a bishop and any puppet can grow up to be an important fixture in liturgy?

    And – most importantly – no nasty little pope to sin against the holy spirit!

  19. PA mom says:

    So, it’s safe to assume that they do not believe in papal infallibility :)

    After all of the encouragement here, I go to my church hoping that Advent will bring just a single line of Latin as a special treat…
    So far, no, but the sermons have had more meat, so I can not complain. Or should not.

  20. frjosh says:

    Oh, JuliaSaysPax, no. Sorry you had to go through that.

    As a young priest, I read such articles (and the comments that follow) with a kind of morbid fascination. In fact, I spent a good hour of my day-off yesterday slogging through this article and its responses. It was entertaining, to say the least. [Remember, everyone, my article HERE.]

    I can only conclude one thing: the Great Experiment is over, and my brother priest and his like-minded ilk hate it, to the point that they feel it necessary to target a small (but growing) population in the Church. For young guys like me who have no dog in any of these hunts, I’m glad to see people who prefer the Extraordinary Form granted the opportunity to worship the Lord in a way that is spiritually profitable to them. I find it rather beautiful and fitting myself, though I tend toward a properly/beautifully celebrated Ordinary Form.

    One might call this a spirit of inclusion, if one is inclined to think in these terms. If it works for you, brings you closer to God, why not? This is the opinion of a true, “open-minded” liberal. But in a single article, these folks betray the true, totalitarian nature of Progressivism: you guys, you Tridentine-loving people, don’t you know how you’re flinging yourselves back into the arms of a practice that cares nothing for you? We care for you. So get back in line, O comrade, O gentleperson of God, and keep beat with that tambourine.

    A generation who grew up listening to “The Times, They Are A-Changin'” now find themselves on the other end of Dylan’s recrimination. And I absolutely love it.

  21. tgarcia2 says:

    It just..boggles my mind. Even here in my Diocese you have Priests who HATE the EF with a passon…and I challenge them (with respect) asking where in Vatican II documents was the EF banned along with other items. It isn’t that bad thank God…the influx of people from Juarez MX keep things in check from when they grew up but..some of them, sadly, border on SSPX extremites.

  22. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Fr. Z,

    I know you’ve already given out your “Gold Star for the Day” to Gollum… um, I mean Gregory.

    May I humbly suggest a second for young Fr. Josh, too? ;)

    Love this line: “…in a single article, these folks betray the true, totalitarian nature of Progressivism:”

    Well said, Fr. Josh.



  23. benedetta says:

    Completely wacky.

  24. aviva meriam says:

    Anyone have any knowledge as to the profitability (and financial solvency) of the Fishwrap? How much longer can this stuff have any audience?

    Thank you FrJosh.

  25. Johnno says:

    The NCinoR is on a real roll lately with one dissident article after another… one hopes it’s a sign of the gasping last breaths of a dying fish out of water flapping around until it ceases. One last charge of the remaining cavalry against the gates. In which case, man your stations folks and fire those arrows!

  26. VexillaRegis says:

    Sometimes I get the feeling, that The smelly Fishwrap and The observant Eye of the Tiber share quite a lot of writers. The Fw’s articles seem to have been written for The Eye, but got rejected…

  27. VexillaRegis, I’m not sure I follow you. Are you suggesting that the NCR article by “Fr. Ron” is a spoof? That no real priest would actually write (and mean) such stuff. Or am I putting my own words in your mouth?

  28. Rushintuit says:

    After sending His Mother to La Salette and Fatima, God’s patience was exhausted long before Vatican II. Justice demanded that a terrible chastisement fall upon the Church. Someday we may find that Pope Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, were the first Popes to govern the Church without the specific assistance of the Holy Ghost, alluded to in St Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians, Chapter Two. Of course, NCR’s assessment is in complete error.

  29. Stumbler but trying says:

    I wonder, did the author of said article spend time pondering these grave violations against the Holy Spirit by attending the “casual” church of Pastor Randy Hunter? I wonder…

  30. AnnaTrad51 says:

    Well I got my e-mail off. It will probable fall on deaf ears but it felt good to vent. I tried to be diplomatic but it took all my strength not to come out swinging.

  31. Michelle F says:

    I read the Fishwrap article last night, and I find it far from “silly.” It reveals some of the details of how the liberal heretical element attacked the Church, such as replacing our relationship with God with a mission to do simple social work. I’m glad that younger Catholics are not overly interested in the concept of the Church as nothing but a social work club, but articles like this are helpful because they tell us, unintentionally, where the heresies and errors are located.

  32. magister63 says:

    The Fishwrap, as mentioned elsewhere, also covered the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas leadership team supporting heretical priest Ray Bourgeois. Shouldn’t that be enough to suppress them? This gentleman here is apparently their Superior General:

    Sister Patricia McDermott, President

    patmcdermottweb.jpgSister Patricia (Pat) McDermott is the president of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. Prior to being elected president, she served two terms on the Institute leadership team.

    Pat served as president of the former regional community of the Sisters of Mercy in Omaha, Nebraska, from 1990 to 1998 and as an administrative team member for the previous four years. She taught English, journalism and religious education at the secondary level for 10 years.

    Pat has held many board positions in institutions that provide healthcare, education and housing serving with lay colleagues as well as women religious. She values the commitment to Mercy values that she sees in ministry partners who witness to the spirit of Catherine McAuley and her vision of multiple responses to the needs of those marginalized by our society.

  33. magister63 says:
    His picture didn’t seem to come up in my post, so here is a link . Mr. McDermott is apparently the leader of the largest congregation of Sisters in the U.S. and supports this dissident priest.

  34. Imrahil says:

    It strikes one like a punch in the face – and I mean it, and if I’m correctly informed about what I say and write I do not say such things lightly – how easy progressists are with dealing out such terrible judgments.

    Say what you will about the traditional side, but it does not. The worst thing you’ll generally hear from them is “mortal sin objectively”… or a little being outraged.

    Reminds me, though, of the eagerness Nathan the Wordly-Wise had in calling “blasphemy” what in the worst of judgments was a slight touch of superstitious, but in more normal judgment not sinful at all.

  35. pmullane says:

    So, lets get this right. The Holy Spirit, after permitting this substandard Mass for hundreds of years, chooses a Pope (John XXIII’d) and invokes through him a council of the Church, where he (rather belatedly) decided that what needs doing is to get rid of the old Mass and replace it with a new mass where the Priest faces the People, the vernacular is used, lay people can do pretty much everything, guitars, tambourines and felt. Lots and lots of felt. ‘What ho’, says our suddenly very alert Holy Spirit, what about a giant puppet or two (we’ll avoid the fact that the liturgical development taht the Council called for were none of these, and they remain – at best- options in the new Missal). Very good. So then the Pope dies and its time for the Holy Spirit calls another Pope forward (Paul VI) who ‘sins against the Holy Spirit. Then Pope JPI who we presume didnt sin against the Holy Spirit, but didnt get much oppertunity. Then the Holy Spirit chooses Blessed JP II, another ‘sinner against the Holy Spirit’. And after him the Holy Spirit picks Benedict XVI, and lo and behold he goes and sins against the Holy Spirit as well.

    These are the mental gymnastics you need to go through to come to this guys conclusion.

  36. VexillaRegis says:

    @Henry Edwards: No, sorry, when I reread what I said, I too find it hard to follow my thought! :-) It was too late here…
    I do not think Fr. Ron is a spoof. However, other articles in the Fishwrap have been so over the top, that they seem to be taken from the Eye o t T. For example the Nuns on the bus – New Age – delusional thing. And vice versa, some articles in the Eye have fooled quite a lot of people on here, because they (nearly) could have been published in The Fw.

  37. jaykay says:

    Pmullane: nicely done. Yes, that’s more or less how I read the tortuous thought-process (if it could be dignified with that name) of that, as Fr. calls him, schlemiel. Except of course that John XXIII did not call for any of the things you describe, the evidence being that he would have been appalled at what followed so soon after his death in some areas and more slowly in others. The really egregious stuff came in the 70s and after and we’re still dealing with the toxic sludge.

  38. pmullane says:

    jay kay, correct. The facts are that these people continually move the goalposts. The ‘Holy Spirit’ called the council and worked through it, but he didnt work in the actual documents of the council, or the Popes that called, followed and interpreted the council, or the text of the Mass that came after the council, or the Language of the Council, or the translation of the texts of the Mass into the vernacular. They can only appeal to some nebulous ‘Spirit of Vatican II’. In their progressive bizarro world, the Holy Spirit does the things that they like, and anything they dont like is a terrible terrible sin. It makes no sense and is an insult to the Holy Spirit.

  39. MichaelJ says:

    pmullane , this may seem like a minor semantic quibble, but does the Holy Ghost actually choose who is to be Pope, or does He instead promise to protect whomever the Cardinals choose( and protect His Church from the Cardinal’s choice)?
    There have been some objectively bad Popes. Were these too explicitly chosen by the Holy Ghost?

  40. pmullane says:

    MichaelJ, I appreciate your point, and that its not as simple as the Holy Spirit ‘choosing’ the Pope. I was perhaps being a little unsophisticated for the purpose of being brief. I was more driving at the point that wither the Holy Spirit works through the Church or he doesnt. Its childish to just say everything you like is the work of the Holy Spirit and everything you dont is someone being mean. Sometimes its not everyone else that is in the wrong.

  41. robtbrown says:

    Good Father Schmit makes the usual mistakes, helped along, I supposed, by Georgia Masters Keightley.

    1. He assumes that the way mass is commonly celebrated now (vernacular, versus populum) is justified by Vat II. In fact, the Novus Ordo was promulgated in Latin, and there is no document saying it should be celebrated in the vernacular, nor versus populum. Vat II permitted the vernacular, but never mandated it. I suspect that his objection to Latin Novus Ordo ad orientem would be just as strong as his objection to the TLM.

    2. Neither the Church, nor any theologian worth a pitcher of warm spit, has ever spoken of the laity as being co-celebrants as mass. The priest celebrates, the laity vicariously celebrates him celebrating and what he celebrates. Like many others Fr Schmit (and his presumptive mentor, or rather mentrix) confuses what is Ecclesial with what is Communal.

    3. There was in the Counter Reformation Church a certain clericalism, but it was not to the a paradigm of powerful clergy and passive laity, which more reflects liberal phobia than actual reality. And it was not found in the Medieval Church, nor was it due to either Latin or ad orientem celebration. Almost all the religious orders founded during the Counter Reformation Church lacked a branch of sisters and a lay order, both of which were common in the Medieval church.

    4. I must have missed “urgent sense of mission” he seems to see in the post Vat II Church. Lay groups once heavily involved in apostolic activity like the Legion of Mary have seen their numbers sag. And this “urgent sense of mission” hasn’t seem to inspire religious vocations of men (Christian Bros) and women (various orders) teaching primary and secondary school. Consequently, increases in tuition, esp in high schools, have meant that Catholic high schools have now become too expensive for many lower-middle and middle-middle class families.

    5. Georgia Masters Keightley contends the use of the TLM is “a challenge to the evangelical nature of the Church”. How does that jibe with the magnificent growth of the Church in the Third World when the TLM was the rite used throughout the Church?

Comments are closed.