Phoenix Legatus Summit Day 2

The first talk today is by George Weigel.


Weigel is explaining that the three footings of Western Civilization, termed “Jerusalem (Biblical truths and revelation), Athens (rationality – we can know truths) and Rome (the rule of law is better than force)” are under assault.

If you teach that there are Biblical, revealed, truths, you are either irrational or a bigot.
If you say that there is “truth”, you are shouted down with the claim that there are no truths and your truth doesn’t have to me my truth.
If you determine to act on the basis of truth that can be known, the state will impose by force a relativisitic notion of some passing “truth”.

One result is that no one is safe. Society is being coarsened and cold.

We have great challenges – to defend life, to defend religious liberty, defense of marriage.

Defense of marriage is not simply a question of the laws of states, reflecting reality or not, this is a cultural struggle. The culture of marriage is breaking down.

One of the factors in how people voted for President is whether they were married or not. “Unmarried women will marry the state.” The fact that there are so many, and that men and women have such a difficulty finding each other, shows that there is a serious problem in the culture of marriage. We have to defend not just reality, but must set limits on the state. The state can recognize marriage, but it cannot define marriage. Once the state can define marriage, it can define every other kind of relationship to produce a “soft totalitarianism”.

Another great challenge we have is the building of a responsibility society on the basis of subsidiarity. In Centesimus annus John Paul II described social organizations as “schools of freedom”. How do we produce, develop, grow civilized members of society? To build a “responsibility society” not defined by dependence on the state, we must foster civilized socialized members.

We are living at the threshold of a new era for the Church.

John Paul II talked about “new evangelization”. Benedict XVI has picked up on that. Weigel calls this “evangelical Catholicism”, which he claims is actually an old way of being Catholic. It goes back to the “great commission”, the fundamental vocation. When we “put out into the deep”, we are going into the roiling waters of the culture that is being undermined on the level of “Jerusalem, Athens and Rome”.

This means we have to take our baptism seriously. Start celebrating your baptismal anniversary day. In a sense, we can do what evangelicals do when they introduce themselves and add “I was born again on 8 Feb 2013).

We were baptized into a missionary vocation. Leaving a megachurch parking lot, he saw a sign – again, leaving the parking lot – “You are entering mission territory.” We should do this. At the renewal of baptismal promises, we might reflect on how many people we have helped to come to know Christ.

Evangelical Catholicism will be attractive by example, by modeling a decent way of life. We are in a cold culture. We have to build communities of warmth and life.

I have to add that, while, I think Weigel has a good point, I do not believe that we can get anywhere with his project without a revitalization of our liturgical worship.


Archbishop Lori is speaking.

He has started with the evolution of the Church in these USA as a force even during a period of anti-Catholicism. Card. Gibbons and his confreres saw the hand of God in the foundation of these USA. He didn’t say that the system was the best, but that the founders built “better than they knew”.

Catholics were then assimilated into culture and the Church grew. But this is a different time from that of Gibbons and McQuaid. Fewer people practice their faith. Catholics are falling away. 27% attend church and marriages are declining.

There are challenges to religious freedom. Were people being catechized, religious freedom would not be so easy to attack. Churches are being forced to conform or to be reigned in.

The HHS rules limit full religious freedom.

The Church in American is in a challenging situation now, larger than any one issue or sum of issues.


Matthew Kelly is speaking about game changers, not becoming hypnotized by complexity.



Evening Mass with Archbp Lori.


Speaking about John the Baptist, who died in defense of marriage, we, too, must be ready to bear witness in defense of truth, but with joy and serenity.

Offertory Sicut cervus by Palestrina. Well sung in poor acoustics!

Archbp Lori did the preparatory prayers in Latin. Excellent.


Tonight I had a nice chat with Jeb Bush. He showed us photos of his grandchild!


Georgia Helena Walker Bush! 18 months.

Now we have a Mardi Gras supper with Chef John Folse.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in On the road, The future and our choices, What Fr. Z is up to and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Rellis says:

    In fairness to Weigel (whom I agree is a bit a laggard on matters liturgical), he did make the point that the liturgy is a central part of his “Evangelical Catholicism” project recently:

    “The point in Evangelical Catholicism is that, in a world that can’t believe that anything is true and that’s deeply conflicted about what is good, the beautiful may be a privileged window into the true and the good. Something is either beautiful or it isn’t. Pondering why that’s the case opens up a lot of other questions. That’s one reason why the Church’s liturgy should be beautiful, not tacky: The beauty of the liturgy opens up our senses and the pores of our minds so that we can ponder the true and the good as God gives them to us in Word and Sacrament.”

  2. fvhale says:

    ”Unmarried women will marry the state.”

    Ain’t that the truth. It used to be that the husband was the “provider” for the woman and children. Now, I believe that statistically the state has that role.

    Consequences follow. One does not bite the hand that feeds them.

    This is, of course, a result of decades of feminist lobbying to “free women” from dependence on men (whether their fathers, religious leaders like bishops, or their husbands). No fault divorce, welfare (especially WIC), and “equal opportunity” laws were the “just” stepping stones.

    Women are now “free” from men, and in bondage to the state, indebted to the state, who will meet all the needs of women and children, from health care, including contraception and abortion, to food supply to education to employment to euthanasia.

    Quite a victory.

  3. Banjo pickin girl says:

    “unmarried women will marry the state” is just the kind of tagline baloney that people eat up. Everyone is not the same and we single professionals are certainly not “married to the state.”

  4. lelnet says:

    The culture of marriage is not so much breaking down, as it is dead and rotting in the corner while some pretend it is merely sleeping.

    Some people, of course, still marry. A tiny fraction of them even mean, when they throw a wedding, something approximating what marriage traditionally meant and the Church still pretends to believe it means. (If the Church wants people to believe that it still actually teaches that marriage is an indissoluble commitment for life, it could start regaining its credibility on that front by denying a few annulments. Or even occasionally preaching on the subject from the pulpit.)

    That the state is our enemy ought to be no surprise to anyone, given that it was the state which not only made legally renouncing a marriage easier than legally renouncing a cell phone contract, but which set up overwhelmingly powerful rewards for women who cast away their husbands, deny their children access to fathers, and even promulgate fraudulent criminal charges against them. It is no surprise that the source of such villainy would prove to be our enemy in other areas as well…or at least, it isn’t a surprise to anyone who’s paying attention.

    But for almost as long as the state has been trying to destroy civilization, the Church has been neglecting its duty to help preserve civilization.

    I sincerely hope that events like these are a sign that those in authority over the Church are beginning to wake up and realize the stakes of the battle.

  5. robtbrown says:

    We were baptized into a missionary vocation. Leaving a megachurch parking lot, he saw a sign – again, leaving the parking lot – “You are entering mission territory.” We should do this.

    Of course, mission is a serious component of the Christian vocation, but it is not sufficient to describe the Christian vocation. From St Thomas’ commentary on the Gospel of John:

    For as Augustine says in his work, On the Agreement of the Evangelists: “The other Evangelists instruct us in their Gospels on the active life; but John in his Gospel instructs us also on the contemplative life.”

  6. sbvarenne says:

    Wherever we are in today’s culture, even among many fellow Catholics, we are in mission territory. I used to argue with the Hans Kung/Fishwrap types when I heard them promoting their liberal agendas. But that was like spitting in the wind. Now I go ahead with as much boldness as I can muster, whenever and where ever it is possible, and speak up for the Church. In my local parish, I am going to give a two-part series on intercessory prayer and used the Aid to the Church in need DVD, “Angels of the Arctic” to start off. The idea is to confront the violence and coarseness that marks a lot of our contemporary interactions with the idea that ” I AM my brother’s (and sister’s) keeper” because he or she may have no one else. The redeeming work of Christ will be done largely through us and our prayer. As Fr. Barron says in Episode 3 of CATHOLICISM: “When I have found my deepest center in God, I necessarily find the deepest center of very other creature as well. Hence, your good is my good.” The liturgy is the great intercessory prayer, our supper with the Lord where we come to be purified and forgiven, to offer ourselves with Him and in Him, and to find communion “in one bread and one body” with one another. I argue with the deaf, but I can speak to those who want to hear and I can try and live in love, loyalty and union with the Church.

  7. AvantiBev says:

    ”Unmarried women will marry the state.” The fact that there are so many, and that men and women have such a difficulty finding each other, shows that there is a serious problem in the culture of marriage.”
    As the resident WDTPRS spinster, I agree with the 2nd sentence but would amend the first to say that WEAK women, women who were raised poorly or without strong fathers, will marry the state. I have been out here supporting myself and pursuing my dreams sans hook-ups, shack-ups or temporary, uncommitted significant others for 30+ years. Sadly, I never found my “him” but I wasn’t going to treat the sacrament of matrimony as anything less and simply settle. I don’t have the Cinderella’s Ugly Step-sisters’ view of forcing that foot and making the shoe fit just to be married. I am not a half but the WHOLE that God made me to be. If that wasn’t good enough for the men I dated, well, fine BUT I do not need the state to play my hubby using tax dollars confiscated from my neighbors.

    Weak women need to be taken care of but there are strong, single gals still out here and we love our liberty and our land as much as any married woman.

  8. OrthodoxChick says:

    I just saw George Weigel on last night’s broadcast of the World Over Live with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN. Mr. Weigel was discussing his new book about Evangelical Catholicism. Maybe I didn’t understand him properly, but he seemed to clearly assert that the N.O. is here to stay and while it may need some reforming, we would not do well to retreat into a Church of the past (ie. pre-Vatican II). That kinda rubbed me the wrong way and left me hoping that I simply misunderstood what he had said. Did anyone else tune in last night and come away with a different impression?

  9. Laura98 says:

    Sounds like a very interesting conference Father… Issues that really affect the Church and all of our daily lives. Please keep posting updates about the speakers! Very interesting things to think about and discuss. Enjoy the Conference and God Bless.

  10. JMody says:

    @Rellis – Mr. Weigel is what some other eloquent commentators have called the “neo-conservative Catholic”. That which is to be conserved is Vatican II, not the timeless Church, nor the Faith, except insofar as what was timeless can be found in and extracted from Vatican II documents and subsequent papal documents.

    His NRO pieces consistently reveal this — he is not a “laggard” on liturgy, he is a NO/OF/New Mass guy all the way. He refuses to address the SSPX as anything but schismatics — when everyone in the position to say so at the Vatican has said that they have significant problems but schism isn’t one of them. And this most recent NRO interview you link to shows a disturbing amount of subterranean Lutheranism — reject Trent (but George, Vatican II said it upholds Trent, so …?), reject the “Church of the Counter-Reformation”, go “back” to a “simpler” Catholicism. This flies in the face of what actually happened to the Church’s missionary efforts, the Church’s rate of adult baptisms, the Church’s rate of building new hospitals and schools, and the demographic implosion — when we threw out the customs and traditions that he derides as the “Counter-Reformation Church” a precipitous decline in EVERY MEASURABLE FACET of Catholicism started, almost instantly.

    George also likes to deride people like LCWR and so forth — but the logical extension of his editorial remarks leads to their attitude, not to the attitude that he claims to espouse. He is a MENACE, and the worst part is, I don’t think he intends to be but rather believes that he is helping.

    Fr. Z — woulda loved to drive up and see you, but since George is there, my searing sciatic nerve is obviously no coincidence, but rather the guardian angel’s way of keeping me safe from myself.

  11. Supertradmum says:

    All of us need to be open to conversion and reconversion daily in our own lives. We cannot merely do good works of evangelization if it is merely on our own efforts and backed up by intense prayer. How many projects have failed because Catholics have rushed forward to change the world without changing ourselves.

    I am seconding what robtbrown is saying, that without the power coming from the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity, our actions are useless. Prayer and work, work and prayer.

  12. Supertradmum says:

    oops, should be must be back up by intense prayer…hard to type with other people talking in the room, sorry.

  13. FlorinT says:

    Dear OrthodoxChick,

    unfortunately, I came away with the same impression after hearing Mr. Weigel’s interview last night.
    Yesterday’s World Over show can be found at: The relevant segment starts at 40:31.
    Here’s a quick transcript I made of Weigel’s answer related to “Pope Benedict’s restoration of the old rite, extraordinary form of the mass and some of the old practices he’s encouraged”:

    Weigel: “The availability of the 1962 Missal should be like a magnet drawing the shrapnel out of the Novus Ordo, out of the Missal of 1970, now in its third edition. The future of the Church is the Novus Ordo mass, I don’t have any doubts about that. But that mass has to be celebrated in a dignified way, with beautiful music, with now happily with language that is actually sacral language […] and the preaching in that liturgy has to be kerygmatic, catechetical, gospel-centered, not Dr. Phil; that’s a liturgy that sets you up for the week ahead”.

  14. fvhale says:

    Dear OrthodoxChick and FlorinT, yes, I believe that is what our Holy Father has been saying for some time now. Neither Form is going away. Neither Latin nor vernacular are going away. Our Roman Rite has two forms, probably for the next several hundred years, at least. We should rejoice and worship our God with both forms. And there will, probably, be some minor changes to the Extraordinary Form (adding to calendar of Saints), and perhaps some more significant changes to the Ordinary Form (please, God, restore the whole Psalter to the Liturgy of the Hours), including practical guidance. Those “Ordinary Form vernacular only” folks need, by the grace of God, to welcome the Extraordinary Form (and the Ordinary Form with some Latin), and the “Extraordinary Form Latin only” folks need to realize that the OF is not going away, it is part of the liturgical life of their Church, and maybe they can help make it more holy.

  15. The Masked Chicken says:

    “When I have found my deepest center in God, I necessarily find the deepest center of very other creature as well. Hence, your good is my good.”

    I really hate this sort of, “deep speak.” Your good may not necessarily be my good. Say, someone’s pregnant wife had a craving for chocolate double fudge ice cream with nuts. The good and faithful husband goes out to satisfy this good for his wife and returns home and promptly dies. Why? Because he has an extreme allergy to nuts.

    We inhabit a nature that is inconsistent from individual to individual. It is, literally, impossible for your good to be my good on a natural level, all of the time. Jesus does not say, “Do the good that others want and you will do good to yourself,” but, rather, “Do (the good) unto others as you would have them do (the good) unto you. Father fails in his thinking because he equates finding his, “deepest center,” (oy!) in God with every other person’s center as if, we all, at our deepest level, share the same soul. This, is a weak variant of pantheism.

    The Interior Castle, to use St. Teresa of Avila’s analogy, has, at its center, God and the individual soul. Now, God may be in everyone’s soul and everyone’s soul may contain God (via the imago Dei,), but everyone’s soul is not contained in everyone else’s soul. Thus, to find your, “deepest,” center in God (whatever that means, because, by definition, there is only one thing properly called a center) means nothing about anything. It is, properly speaking, a form of self-focus.

    We love our neighbor as ourselves as a reflection of the Divine Perichoresis – the perpetual self-giving of one member of the Trinity to the other. We are to imitate that Divine exchange of love with everyone we meet, but, unlike the Blessed Trinity, we are not all of one substance, so the giving and receiving of goods must be mediated through the natures we have.

    While Father’s main point is correct: we are our brother’s keeper, he could have made the point more clearly by means other than a pseudo-mystical deep speak. Everyone keeps talking about contemplation and mystical experiences and they seem to forget that St. Therese of Liseaux once wrote: to ecstasies, I prefer the monotony of sacrifice. All of the mystical experiences in the world will not mean a thing, all of the finding your deepest center in God will be pointless, if they do not bring you closer to the foot of the Cross.

    Everything wrong with society today, mark my words, is caused by nothing more than people running from their crosses.

    The Chicken

  16. The Masked Chicken says:

    I agree that Prof. Weigel over-generalized, but his statement could have been amended to read, “unmarried women marry the State, if nothing better comes along.”

    You have other options.

    It is right that the State should take care of the truly poor who cannot provide for themselves. The man or woman with no familiy who is crippled to such an extent that they can do no work would be an example.

    Short of that, it is in the best interest of the State not to provide handouts, but other options. Unfortunately, there is a failure of imaginatiion within the State, in part, to provide those other options, but also a desire by the modern State to control the individual. It is not that an unmarried woman will simply marry the State unless there are other options, it is that the modern State is a lothario, a seductor, who wants to dominate and trap the unmarried woman in a feeling of helplessness so that she won’t even look for the other options.

    Why would the State want to do this? Because States are run by a very few men in power who have misunderstood that power is best used in service, not in benign control. None of this would be happening if the Founding Fathers had ordained that only poor people could be in government. Do you think poor people would have come up with Welfare? No. It took a bunch of rich guys to think that up – guys who haven’t got a clue what poor people really need. Poor people think, first, about finding work, not about finding a handout. Only the rich think about giving handouts instead of giving a job. The modern State, because it does not really see the individual as a man or woman, but, rather, as a concept subject to their imagination, has no cliue about the correct concept of the dignity of man. If they are blind to dignity, then they would, naturally, become blind to anything that enhances the dignity of a man or woman, such as marriage. Marriage becomes just another concept to be manipulated at the State’s pleasure.

    I say it, again – marriage is a cross, made gentle by the fact that there are two people carrying it, but whether you find your cross in life in the loneliness of the single person, the scraping and bumping of the religious, or the cross-your-fingers-and-leap hope of the married, the modern State is become the proclaimer of the vicious lie that Barrabus was the hero of Good Friday and the Man on the Cross is a mere subject of entertainment.

    The Chicken

  17. mysticalrose says:

    “If you teach that there are Biblical, revealed, truths, you are either irrational or a bigot.”

    This pretty much describes the reigning attitude of academia . . . Even at “catholic” universities. Sigh.

  18. JMody says:

    St. Pius V’s constitution Quo Primum allowed liturgies more than 200 years old to be retained, so it would seem that the Ordinary Form has about 156 years to go before it’s “here to stay”.

  19. fvhale says:

    Dear JMody, following your logic, the 1962 Extraordinary Form still owes 150 years before it is “here to stay.” Those integral texts used by the TLM folk did not exist at the time of Quo Primum.

    Now, it can be said that parts of both EF and OF are quite old, over 200 years, but that is parts, not the whole.

  20. JMody says:

    fvhale — true enough. The real stickler in my eyes is related to Bl Cardinal Newman’s commentary that natural growth in a body is nearly imperceptible and expected, but something suddenly new and different is almost always a cancer, and so likewise with doctrines or traditions (NOT the fixed dogmas and Tradition). Quo Primum says that the form issued in 1570 is a restoration to the original liturgy of the early Fathers. The 1969 Missal, and the relevant paragraphs in SC, describe the Mass of the 1960’s as encrusted/repetitive etc., and claim that the new 1969 missal restores the mass of the early Fathers.

    I submit to any and all takers that if one were to put the missal of 1570 and the missal of 1962 and the missal of 1969 (or actually 1970, or the even the recent Third edition) next to each other and play the Sesame Street game “One of these Liturgies is Not Like the Others”, 100% of participants would agree that one is different, and almost all of those would say the 1969 missal is the different one. Read Quo Primum’s exemption paragraph closely (my emphasis):

    This new rite alone is to be used unless approval of the practice of saying Mass differently was given at the very time of the institution and confirmation of the church by Apostolic See at least 200 years ago, or unless there has prevailed a custom of a similar kind which has been continuously followed for a period of not less than 200 years, in which most cases We in no wise rescind their above-mentioned prerogative or custom. However, if this Missal, which we have seen fit to publish, be more agreeable to these latter, We grant them permission to celebrate Mass according to its rite, provided they have the consent of their bishop or prelate or of their whole Chapter, everything else to the contrary notwithstanding.

    We order and enjoin that nothing must be added to Our recently published Missal, nothing omitted from it, nor anything whatsoever be changed within it under the penalty of Our displeasure.

    One could argue that (a) this means all revisions after 1570 are void (and I think that IS the position of some sedevacantists) or that (b) the 1962 missal, due to its obvious similarity to and descent from the 1570 missal, is but a “custom of similar kind prevailing for more than 200 years”, in which case it IS in fact, for purposes of this reading, the 1570 Missal, merely a later edition as we now live under the third edition of the 1969/1970 missal.

    It would, in summary be very hard to say with a straight face that the 1962 Missal and the 1969 Missal are BOTH completely new forms of liturgy without “natural growth” from preceding forms. It is also hard to say with a straight face that they BOTH are the form of mass restored to the form used by the early Fathers, in that they are as different as night and day, or maybe even as night and shoes …

  21. Shamrock says:

    “Full throttled Catholicism”!! I love it! As usual Weigel nails it all! He is both prophetic as well
    as practical. And I hope correct when he envisions the Church ten years from now.

  22. Gail F says:

    banjo pickin girl: Of course that statement isn’t true of EVERY woman. But look at the huge number of unmarried and divorced women with children, and of the increasing number of women facing late middle age and their elderly years alone. They will not have an alternative to “marrying the state,” even many of them who have carefully saved and planned. You can’t plan for everything. While there’
    s nothignwrong with individual women being single, a culture in which a sizeable number are single will be a culture that requires a great deal of help from SOMEONE. And as families are smaller, and many people have no children at all, who else is that someone going to be?

  23. NoTambourines says:

    Just to pile on about the comment about unmarried women and the state, I’m 33, I’m single, and that doesn’t describe me.

    I had always figured a husband would have come along by now, but the bottom line is that I won’t marry a man I can’t accept as a leader of the household, and I won’t marry a man who will come between me and my ability to live my Catholic faith.

    That includes Humanae Vitae, which would be a deal-breaker for the many men who take women being on the pill for granted (too bad!). But I won’t enter into a marriage that marginalizes God in my life.

  24. robtbrown says:

    Supertradmum says:
    All of us need to be open to conversion and reconversion daily in our own lives. We cannot merely do good works of evangelization if it is merely on our own efforts and backed up by intense prayer. How many projects have failed because Catholics have rushed forward to change the world without changing ourselves.

    I am seconding what robtbrown is saying, that without the power coming from the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity, our actions are useless. Prayer and work, work and prayer.

    Although prayer needs to be the basis for all Christian work, that is not exactly what I’m saying. In the contemplative life, the work exists for the prayer, not the other way around (as the active life, the mission approach, sponsored by the Jesuits, maintains).

  25. Clinton R. says:

    Good for you, NoTambourines. I am a 36 year old man and I wouldn’t marry a lady who would compromise my faith. I always say, God calls some men to the priesthood, some women to religious life, some men and women to the married state and some of us to a chaste single life. May the Lord continue to bless you and strengthen you. +JMJ+

  26. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Everyone is called to the Singulariate. But most are transitional Singulars, while the rest of us are permanent Singulars. :)

    (Well, okay, I know we need a Greek root for this, but “monachos” is taken….)

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