What does Fr. Z really say? A response to critics on the left and the right.

Back on 2 April – which in blog years is like a decade ago – I offered a brief manifesto about how I think we ought to approach Pope Francis.

In fact, there are any number of entries I have posted over the last few weeks that demonstrate what I am trying to do.

I am purposely, obviously, openly, repeatedly trying to rein in the hyper-trads – to get them to breath into paper bags – and also to remind liberals that tradition-scorning victory laps are waaaaay premature.

But my adversaries – liberals and conservatives – are trying to paint me as a Francis-bashing rad-trad, and therefore to take me down.

I want you readers to know that this is going on – not because I am concerned about myself  – but because the position that I have taken over the past few weeks is highly nuanced and, therefore, should not be misrepresented, wittingly or unwittingly,  as that of an extremist.

I have been consistent.  For example….

19 March: Dear Traditionalists…

28 March: What Pope Francis is really saying.

Note also what I wrote on 2 April (full post there).

[A]s I have been saying all along, Pope Francis needs some time to learn how to be Pope. We also have to learn to have him be our Pope.

He has done things that I think are both strange and ill-considered. On the other hand, he minces no words about the warfare we are in with the Devil, to whom he refers clearly and boldly. He spoke about the need for priests to hear confessions, though that was in private. I’ll bet he speaks about it publicly too, before long. In his homilies he has entirely eschewed a modern biblical exegetical style in favor of a more Patristic, allegorical style… even as Ratzinger famously used. His use of the image of the garb of the Old Testament priesthood and the chasuble priests put on for Mass was like something Pope Benedict would have offered us, and he wrote it before he was elected: it was his own work and not that of some flunky in the Secretariate of State. There are a lot of things Francis is showing which traditional Catholics can sincerely applaud (if they can get over themselves long enough to see them).

Even though Francis has painted himself into a corner through his abrupt dramatic changes, he is more than likely going to adjust to the exigencies of his office, which include decorum at a different level and an awareness that he is more than the bishop of a diocese somewhere.

Time, friends. Patience. And pray for him. He must be wondering if he is going to wake up from some sort of long, strange dream.

Here is my point.

We must not pit Francis against Benedict right now. We find the continuity between them.

Read Francis through Benedict.

Does this sound like I am trying to trash Pope Francis?

I think not.

“But Father! But Father!”, some will rush in to shout, “you criticized him in places too!”

When I have been critical of some change the Pope has made, I have urged caution when interpreting him, and have advocated patience while we watch him clarify what his pontificate stands for.  I have stressed the need not to lose the forest for the trees.

And I have been strongly critical of myself and traditionalists for sometimes doing just that.

For example, back on 28 March:

Some liberals live and breathe liberal liturgy.  On the other end of the spectrum, such as the undersigned, traditional Catholics think that liturgy is critical but for different reasons (“Save The Liturgy, Save The World”, comes to mind). Francis isn’t invested in either of these camps.

For Francis, I think, it is more a matter of “a pox on both your houses”.


Bottom line.

Francis is pushing out to the world (ad extra) an image of compassion.  I think he is correcting both sides, within the Church (ad intra), which may both be, both sides, losing the forest for the trees….

This is the position I have said is highly nuanced and that should not be misrepresented as that of an extremist.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "But Father! But Father!", Francis, Linking Back, Our Catholic Identity, Reading Francis Through Benedict, The Drill, What are they REALLY saying?, Wherein Fr. Z Rants and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. By the way… the combox is open but it is moderated.

  2. Basher says:

    Anyone who thinks you are bashing Pope Francis is on crack.

    In my opinion, you are bending over backwards to support the Pope, and what else would we expect from a Catholic priest? I think we all know that it’s not obedience if you agree with all of it.

  3. eulogos says:

    Your comments make me wonder what you are responding to. Who is doing this, where?

    I personally have very much appreciated your guidance about the Pope. I was missing Benedict so much, and I didn’t know what to think about Francis. Some things reported, perhaps falsely or out of context, were disturbing or confusing. I came here for updates, for interpretation, for background and measured consideration. I came here knowing I would find respect for the office of the Pope, and the willingness to accept that the Holy Spirit might have something to teach us through the current Pope. Any fair reading would see that here.

    Susan Peterson

  4. andersonbd1 says:

    And I want to personally thank you for your nuanced positions. Your posts over the last few weeks have been very good for me. Thank you!

  5. priestofthechurch says:

    Frankly, I have been delighted with what you have been clearly trying to do. It is ludicrous that anyone, liberal or trad, should pit one pope against another, especially at this stage. I think it is incumbent on all responsible Catholics right now to embrace the idea of continuity, so that the vital lessons learnt from Pope Benedict are not lost or forgotten, and the good and holy exhortations of Pope Francis are not missed. Indeed, Father, keep up the good work in this regard.

  6. momoften says:

    You never gave me the impression of bashing. I guess I am in the same camp with you in feeling
    it was so difficult to immediately embrace the Pope, when, you really
    don’t know him and see things done so differently…you are in our prayers, as is our Pope Francis.
    God Bless You Both!

  7. Jeannie_C says:

    My husband and I have not perceived you as bashing Pope Francis. Where you have critiqued, we have interpreted it as a comment on an observation, not a challenge to enter into a duel (with the new Pope or anyone else for that matter). Where we HAVE read some shocking statements comes from the ultra-trads and jump-the-gun liberals, both camps reminiscent of extremist formation. I can’t imagine what kind of Lent and Easter the people who are so angry have been keeping and celebrating – their blood pressure skyrocketing, roiling with anger, just what satan revels in. It’s too early on to judge what Pope Francis’ legacy will comprise, and anyway why waste time judging him in the first place? The Holy Spirit did not choose any one of us to lead the world’s faithful. I’d say if you are being unjustly criticized, think of it as a gift of martyrdom – the nutters on both sides of a rant are giving someone else a break whilst targeting you, Fr. Z!

  8. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Fr. Z, you’ve been a voice of sanity and neutrality throughout all this, and you actually examine what the Pope says and does — instead of discussing fantasies, dreams, and nightmares. Keep your chin up.

  9. I think your take is reasonable, although I’m pretty bummed based on the Holy Father’s track record of Latin masses in Argentina.

  10. Back pew sitter says:

    I have always been wary of those who claimed to be more Catholic than the Pope – you can take being ‘traditional’ so far that, in fact, you become a Protestant – but I must admit the past few weeks have been very difficult for me. Aspects of the Triddum from Rome were dismal and upsetting, and other things have been too.

    It is especially at times like this that the balance of your blog is necessary and appreciated. I am very grateful for this blog and for all you do to encourage your online ‘flock’ and to confirm us in the faith in unity with the Successor of Peter.

    God bless Pope Francis and may he lead us closer to our Lord.

  11. wiFoodie says:

    Don’t let them get your goat.
    Faith + Reason = Catholic
    T0 be in the middle, not the extremes.
    This is why we come here to read your thoughts.
    Thank you for being logical, rational and Traditional.
    You have nothing to defend.

  12. Legisperitus says:

    I saved this Tolkien quote from somewhere… can’t remember where:

    “I think there is nothing to do but pray, for the Church, the Vicar of Christ, and for ourselves; and meanwhile to exercise the virtue of loyalty, which indeed only becomes a virtue when one is under pressure to desert it.”

  13. leutgeb says:

    Thank you for your posts, Father.

    I may just get a paper bag to help deal with some of the other things that have been written.

    Good idea.

    Currently on holiday in Paris, where my main problem is getting into the Chapel in the rue du Bac for Mass, because it is so packed. All seats taken with about 40 more people standing at the back. No hysteria evident, just lots of people praying.

  14. Anchorite says:

    Actually, Father, I think the only big problem since April 2 that became noticeable is that you can be quite an “a***ole” at times when making comments to readers’ comments. Please, forgive me for the straightforward language.
    That whole “… plastic pipe …” was quite unnecessary. However, I also understand that you get hell of a lot of comments you have to be combing through daily, and that is a superhuman task.
    Sometimes your bending-over-backward defense of Francis’s actions (as in the “He did more to promote TLM”) is bizarre and surprising, but then again – it makes for a popular wrestling post. :)

  15. catholiccomelately says:

    Fr. Z, I appreciate your reasoned, faithful, and nuanced comments. Adjusting to a new pope has not been automatic; it’s like having a new member of the family move in! I keep both the current and emeritus Popes in my prayers every day and await how God will use the gifts of Francis for the good of the Church and the world.

    One question, if you would. We are new to Catholicism, my husband and I, though we were both traditional Lutheran ministers for over 30 years. What is hard for us to bear is the anger and resentment that is bubbling in our parish …… long-time members who are threatening to leave the parish because of our new (traditional and outspoken) priest (and all the lack of “progress” toward the Spirit of Vatican II Church they dreamt of.. ) I’m afraid my husband and I have been a disappointment to them, also, since we became Catholic because we love the tradition (and neither of us support womyn priests, gay marriage, or abortion ….. or an uniformed conscience.) And I suppose it didn’t help that I chose to start wearing a mantilla beginning at Easter Vigil!
    But, seriously, how do we speak with these angry parish members? We have been through over 2 decades of disintegrating faith and parishes as Lutherans. As “newbies”, how can we help our priest and the trads in our parish (which has sometimes been known as “the largest Protestant church in the diocese!”)

  16. george says:

    Father: While I maintain that I am a young man (my children and wife disagree), I am old enough to know that I am a hot head Traditionalist. And I am eternally thankful for your guidance and your “keel evening” to keep me balanced. I value very much your thoughtful analysis of the Pope’s actions and your encouragement to not jump to hasty conclusions!

  17. Father Z, I wonder whether one qualifies as a “hyper-trad” (or perhaps even a “rad trad”) simply by being disappointed that the initial liturgical image of the new papacy can be and is interpreted by all sides (and extremes) as intentionally signaling an abrupt departure from the liturgical direction of its predecessor.

    As a separate question, I wonder where you know an example of a previous papacy in which a noticeably different liturgical style of papal liturgy was imposed in its first weeks or months.

    So far back as my memory or knowledge extends, each pope has liturgically (at least in his initial years) maintained visible continuity with his predecessor, and only very slowly and gradually introduced any changes he intended.

    If indeed the present papacy is historically unique in this regard, it would be informative if you could explore the apparent reasons for this discontinuity, entirely apart from one likes or dislikes it. Perhaps the question is simply what our new Holy Father means to say or do by it.

  18. Marcello says:

    As one of the certified newcomer “troublemakers,” I think you have been much too easy on Pope Francis. Far from a Francis basher, I think you have the rose-colored glasses on. BTW, your blog is read in the curia by the younger set who are tech savvy.

  19. St. Louis IX says:

    Dear Father Z
    You are in my family`s prayers. You are not a Pope Bashing Rad Trad.
    Clearly the fact that you have labeled Catholics that are justly concerned about the Holy Father`s direction with vestments, liturgical likes, and Papal appointments, as Radical Traditionalists that you are trying to reign in: Shows in fact the very opposite. You have played both sides of the fence for a while now. I pray for your soul, and mine and all Catholics that find themselves in this dangerous time of Dis-orientation. I thank God for the opportunity to raise my children and feed our souls with the most perfect prayer this side of Heaven. THE TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS

    I myself in the land of my captivity give thanks to Him.
    Deo gratias

  20. BLB Oregon says:

    A Pope cannot help but be nuanced, or he would be abdicating his duty. We know from the Popes in our times, however, that nothing will get you hung out to dry like insisting on subtlety. If you’re extreme, someone is going to just love you. If you stick to the simple-but-not-simplistic truth, then you are going to leave someone very upset. Change will naturally bring both rejoicing and a certain amount of trepidation, even under the best of circumstances.

    If you have enemies on both sides, that is probably a good sign, because telling the whole truth will also put you in that position. As nearly as I can tell, the Pope have had that to cope with for as long as everyone has taken it upon themselves to have an opinion. If you write and speak in such detail that there cannot be a need to clarify, you’ll have said so much that few will slog through it in the first place, and you’ll be misrepresented by the ones who just read the title. If that was ever not true, it was probably at a time when people assumed they knew what the Pope thought and taught, but didn’t have any real-time updates.

  21. eben says:

    I rarely comment on this Blog; I come here to learn stuff each day and as a respite from the inanity of the MSM. As a reader/student, I’ve found your coverage to have been quite even handed and fair. I’ve never read anything that remotely resembled a trashing of the new Pope. Your analysis of the Pope’s actions is always welcome and quite insightful. Keep up the good work!

  22. Gregg the Obscure says:

    In ancient days Christians impressed pagans who said, “Behold how they love one another!” and Europe became Christian.

    These an observer could say, “Look at how they carp at each other!” as the Church recedes from public view throughout the western world.

    The New Evangelization requires each Christian to act like a Christian, striving for Faith, Hope and Love through all of the applicable Sacraments and the works of mercy.

  23. Choirmaster says:

    Funny. As I started reading the post, I expected it to go in the other direction: that you would be defending yourself for not “criticizing” the Holy Father nearly enough! I read this blog “religiously”, so I am very familiar with all of the posts referenced in this one. Indeed, Father, none of your so-called “criticism” has been anything but charitable and cannot be considered “bashing” in any sense of that word. This blog has been nothing but fair in its positions from the first.

    I must admit that I have been following, heartbroken, these early days of the reign of Francis, finding them to be particularly polarizing, separating us into either the Cheerleaders or the Despairing. I’ve been clutching the ground trying to drag myself against the current of Despair, since it would probably be somehow sinful not to fight against it.

    There has to be a way of interpreting these events without becoming a Cheerleader, which I equate with a cult of personality, or “papolatry” in a bad way, as if the Holy Spirit is somehow micromanaging the events in Rome and any hesitancy or disagreement is wicked blasphemy. On the other hand, it’s never the right move to be despondent, as if there is no Hope. This blog is the only place I’ve seen this attempted with any degree of success. So, thank you!

    Two things I would personally like to see forthcoming from Rome:

    1. An official (prepared) explanation of the events of Holy Thursday, promoting fidelity to the Missal even after these recent deviations.

    2. Clarification on the exact situation of the Extraordinary Form in Buenos Aires, ideally accompanied by an expression of love and welcome to those of us attached to the EF. But no damning with faint praise, please.

    And, since I’m on a roll, my pie-in-the-sky wish list:

    1. That the Pope will celebrate a public Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

    2. A repeated invitation to the SSPX for perfect, visible communion with the Holy Father.

  24. marylise says:

    For a perspective on the papacy in general, including the three papal prerogatives dogmatically taught by the First Vatican Council, namely, infallibility, primacy of jurisdiction, and impossibility of loss of faith (for any pope), see: Larson, J. The War Against the Papacy. Joe Bourbeau Press, MN, 2006. Larson believes modernists have already pretty much separated from the Catholic Church (whether they realize it or not), but that traditionalists are also in danger, especially in matters relating to the papacy. He defends the right of faithful Catholics to question or criticize prudential decisions made by any pope, but warns that such criticism must be tempered with an understanding of the inviolable prerogatives Christ has given to the Rock upon which He built His Church. Larson thinks a proper understanding of the papacy is urgently required today more than ever before, and can even make the difference between salvation and damnation.

  25. DisturbedMary says:

    I think the shrieking criticism of you (Z!!) that I just came across on another (less popular) website reflects an opportunity to blow off internet jealousy by a nuance-challenged individual. All it did was my opinion of the critic.

  26. Stvsmith2009 says:

    I have found that when both sides are disparaging one for his or her posts, it usually means the person being disparaged is doing and saying the right things, and the two sides are not happy that he or she isn’t leaning to one side or the other enough to suit them. “A pox upon them and their houses”.

  27. Ignatius says:

    Father, for me, your blog has been a voice of sanity regarding Pope Francis. I agree with all what you have said about him

    For some of us in Argentina (specifically, cor those of us from the City of Buenos Aires), the election of Card. Bergoglio as Pope has been… unsettling. Strong controversies have followed his elevation to the Papacy in the Spanish speaking world, about which nothing seems to have surfaced in the English speaking Catholic blogs and media (e.g. the discussions at the excellent blog of Fr. Iraburu “Reforma o Apostasía” at Infocatolica.com over the Pope and the End of Times).

    We (I) are (am) still trying to find peace about all of this. It is not easy.

    Thanks for all you do.

    Best regards,

  28. Therese says:

    I suppose I’ve already written enough on this blog re: we have all we need to restore the liturgy, time to pick up our cross (and hammer and chisel) and get to work, etc. No, I’m not thrilled with the way Pope Francis “does” liturgy, but if that’s his only failing, it can be fixed. The man himself appears to be an absolute gem, good to the poor and merciful to sinners. (And we’re complaining?)

    Just one regret, and I don’t need to mention that here, either.

  29. oblomov says:

    I think you have been quite clear in your views, and I don’t see how it’s possible to your read your blog, with its fully nuanced positions, as an attack on or misrepresentation of our Pope Francis. Your writings have helped me grasp a clearer and more appreciative understanding of our new pontiff, desolate as I was at the departure of Benedict XVI.

  30. The Drifter says:

    “In great Pope Pius’ golden days before the revolution
    I swung my censer every week, I gave swift absolution
    My music was Gregorian, on Holy Day and High Day
    I knew my rubrics inside out, I ate no meat on Friday.”

    Such goes the beginning of “The Parish-Priest of Bray”, first published, if I remember correctly, in “Christian Order” a few decades ago. Such is our vision of the pre-conciliar Church: beautiful, solid, orderly and unblemished. But are we so sure of that?

    M father, one of the first members of “Una Voce”, described me once the rather heavy atmosphere caractherizing the Church in the 1950′: smugness, doctrine often reduced to legality, theology most of the time Aquinas in pills, a certain degree of papolatry and, psycologically, the mass reduced to a cerimony for the fabrication of the Eucharist. Besides, there was a diffuse belief that the outlawing of modernism had meant its destruction, not realising that modernists had simply gone underground, ready to strike at the right moment; as happened in the post-VC II period.

    Yes, people will often tell me that the post-conciliar Church threw away the baby with the bath-water. I would rather say that dirtier bath water was substituted for the previous one. And in the years after, traditionalists and progressives have all too often ben quarreling over the bath-water, forgetting the baby. It is certainly true that, as the Italians say: “prima del concilio c’era poca educazione liturgica; adesso c’è molta maleducazione liturgica” (“Educazione”, means both “education” and “manners”) and in the last few weeks I have read many rants and raves about the Holy Father’s liturgical choices. Some of them leave me perplexed; but, while a lover of the Vetus Ordo, I have little time for those who reduce liturgy to tayloring.

    When Benedict XVI was elected, somebody said: “John Paul brought people into squares; we hope this pope will bring them back to church”. The Holy Father is trying precisely to do that and therefore we are only helping our enemis if we concentrate on the bath-water, forgetting the baby. Nobody suggests that we should refrain from respectfully speaking our mind about the pope’s actions, but once people come warm again to the sacraments, their desire for liturgical beauty will come as a consequence.

  31. Catholictothecore says:

    What I admire most about you, Fr. Z, is your courage. You’ve been villified, left and right, since April 2, 2013. But you have never backed down and you never will. You are a highly principled man. I do not see you as a Pope Francis basher. In fact, you’ve been enormously understanding of him which is a good example for us all to follow. What good does one get by bashing the Pope? Maybe a fleeting sense of importance. But remember what Scriptures has to say, “the measure you give out is the measure you receive.” Also, “judge not, so you will not be judged.”

    It’s a waste of time speculating (which is basically using a lot of words that mean nothing). It would be better if one could use that time volunteering, helping those in need. For every nasty comment that someone finds it so necessary to regale us with, why not help out in your parish or community. It would be time well spent. I do and I can tell you it’ll make you feel good. Much more than bashing Pope Francis. Sorry for digressing, Fr. Z,

    Tthank you for your common sense approach to handling your detractors, liberals and traditionalists. You are doing it the right way. God bless you.

  32. DisturbedMary says:

    I think the shrieking criticism of you (Z!!) that I just came across on another (less popular) website reflects an opportunity to blow off internet jealousy by a nuance-challenged individual. All it did was lower my opinion of the critic.

  33. jeffc says:

    Thank you for being a voice of reason regarding Pope Francis in the Catholic Blogosphere! While I loved the fact that Pope Benedict revived some Papal liturgical traditions, it does not bother me that Pope Francis has not. All too often I see Catholic bloggers criticizing Pope Francis for doing many things that Bl. Pope John Paul II did…and that amazes me. You, thankfully, have been a voice of level-headed reason since the day Pope Francis was elected.

  34. Wayward Lamb says:

    Fr. Z, you have been a voice of reason and temperance during the early days of this new papacy. Many of us insist on viewing Pope Francis’s actions through human eyes, vainly attempting to discerns his activities through a political, social, [fill in blank here] lens. We forget that much of what the Holy Father does is no different from any other priest, acting in persona Christi. God’s ways are not our ways. We should be viewing Francis’s actions as God does, if indeed we are meant at all to understand certain things at this junction in time. Thank you, Father, for helping us to see that. You are in my prayers everyday already, but I’ll offer a rosary for you shortly to help sustain you in these on-going attacks from the evil one. God bless you for all that you do. Happy Eastertide!

  35. Tony McGough says:

    Calm down, chaps. The foot-washing on Maundy Thursday can be thought of as setting a precedent for any bishop celebrating in a unisex prison on Maundy Thursday, when the details of the ceremony have not been thought through very well (due to various external factors such as an extraordinary conclave). Others – say the black, do the red (or don’t do it at all).

    Don’t be more Catholic than the Pope.

    We had wonderful Holy Week ceremonies here in Cheshire, very devout, well attended, with all the black and all the red; prayerful, moving, and spiritually nourishing. Not-the-TLM. It can be done. Just chant some of the black, as the red allows; have servers, processions, bless the fire, altar of repose, vigil, flowers, incense, … and pray.

    Please do not criticise the Pope – he has enough to contend with as it is. Hold him in your heart. Fr Z does; so must we.

  36. iowapapist says:

    Dear Father Z:

    I am admittedly prone to anger and despair regarding things liturgical. The priests of my parish were excoriated by angry parishioners after announcing that there would be no females among those whose feet were to be washed on Holy Thursday. The vitriol toward these wonderful men increased after the Holy Father’s Holy Thursday actions. With this background in mind, I find your commentary to be thoughtful, measured and quite reasonable. You are helping those of us afflicted by modernism to hold on without alienating ourselves from the Church. God be with you in your endeavors.

  37. LarryW2LJ says:

    Thank you Father, I think your blog has been very even handed and strikes quite the balance. It’s one of the few places that you can come to for a “fair and balanced” approach to Pope Francis. I use that term, even though some scoff at it these days.

  38. Traductora says:

    I think you have been very good, Fr Z. But I’ve been stunned by the nastiness and irrationality of some of the posters.

    The thing that capped it off for me was yesterday’s post about Francis’ beautiful, rich homily in which he discussed the Five Wounds. First of all, I can’t think of the last time I’ve heard a priest, much less the Pope, refer to the Five Wounds, and that’s about as traditional as you can get. But within three posts it had turned into spiteful, catty attacks on the Pope , for a wide variety of rather fanciful reasons. This made it clear that not only are these people nuts but they didn’t even bother to read the post and they now see this blog as nothing but a place where they can come to vent their spleen.

    In other words, they don’t care what the post is about. They just want a forum for their insanity. I don’t know what can be done about that, without giving certain commenters a time out, and of course then the “traditionalist” (a term i feel has been sullied) camp is going to accuse you of being a sell-out and a blog tyrant. However, it’s not the content of your posts but the contents of these comments that is giving enabling this blog to be cast as opposition to Pope Francis. (They ignore, of course, all the rational, sincere and even positive posts.)

    What these commenters have done is really terrible, I think, and I bet it has set the whole liturgical traditionalist movement back and turned off a lot of people.

  39. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Yes, I know what you’re going thru. It’s really, indeed especially, hard to think clearly, and to write clearly, about complex issues today. I appreciate your efforts, and so do many others, fwiw.

  40. dominic1955 says:

    The way I figure it, the problems are way too deeply rooted to get all pissy about this or that detail. Not that they aren’t important, but rather that we need to do much more profound reforms to get things back in line. Like another poster said, the 1950s weren’t perfect by any means and what I really do not get or like about many so-called “Trads” is that they seem to want to “restore” Tradition by “restoring” the lackluster 1950s. While the 50s might have been better than today in some regards, we will just run into the same problems we had in the 60s. The Traditional Mass needs to be released from the silly strictures set up by people without nuance. We will not restore the Church by circling the wagons and trying to perpetuate the unreflective and poorly remembered “good ol’ days”.

    On the other hand, the National Schismatic Reporter type liberals are just in la-la land. They do not even hold to a skewed but fundamentally correct world view like the “rad Trads”.

    Off topic observation-the priest in the picture is holding an Italian Carcano m1891 moschetto per cavalleria (cavalry carbine).

  41. heway says:

    Father, if you were a ‘pope-basher’, I would not be reading your blog………

  42. MrTipsNZ says:


    Sine qua non

  43. sisu says:

    To Catholiccomelately – “But, seriously, how do we speak with these angry parish members? We have been through over 2 decades of disintegrating faith and parishes as Lutherans. As “newbies”, how can we help our priest and the trads in our parish (which has sometimes been known as “the largest Protestant church in the diocese!”)”

    In our merged parish, we see some of this – can I recommend one idea – what one of our priests has done – study and hold sessions to study the VII documents, and proper interpretation of them. The anniversary of them is a great time to claim the texts, not the “rumor” or phone tree version of what they are (that elusive “spirit of VII” that gets invoked). This will arm you well to approach your more reasonable fellows and say “boy, that VII is great reading, and by the way, this is what it actually says, and this is what it didn’t change”. Maybe you can sponsor a real VII Mass, with chant, latin ordinary, propers, and ad orientem. :)

  44. Clinton R. says:

    I feel you are doing a fair job covering Pope Francis, Father. You are just reporting what you see. You are neither exhibiting papolatry nor are you advocating Francis bashing. If any pope does something questionable, it should be noted. And you do so in a very respectful manner, Father. Popes are not impeccable. One should not give full endorsement to everything Pope Francis says or does. And that applies to any Pontiff. Frankly, some of what we have seen/heard thus far in Francis’ papacy is head scratching to say the least. Previous popes, of course, have made some questionable comments and decisions, and we know some popes were downright horrible. We are guaranteed only papal infallibility, not that he will make sound choices in every aspect of his papacy. However, Francis is our pope, and as such, we must pray for him. +JMJ+

  45. Mandy P. says:

    Father Z.,

    I’m more of a lurker than a commenter, although I have contributed to the comments more lately. You have been most charitable and reasonable in all your analysis of our new Pope. Don’t worry about the radicals on either side. As the modern colloquialism goes, “haters gonna hate.” ;)

    Keep up the good work. Your efforts on this blog have helped baby Catholics like yours truly more than I can adequately articulate.

  46. DisturbedMary says:

    Apart from the blogosphere criticism, Father your commentary has helped me personally slow down and take note of Holy Father Francis at a more studied careful pace and is allowing me to get to know and understand our new pope. Eventually I hope to love him deeply. Mostly I want to be obedient to him in both my mind and heart. As with getting to know anyone, this process takes time. Even Holy Father himself seems a little uncomfortable with the shoes of the fisherman. I just hope we are all patient with the chemistry of the Holy Spirit at work.

  47. wmeyer says:

    For may part, being not hyper-trad, but someone who grew up with the pre-conciliar Mass, I read a good deal of the widely divergent hyperbole immediately following the white smoke. I spent a few days observing that there was a good deal of unwarranted supposition on both sides, and finally, wrote (in my own space) that I could see no reasonable path than to wait and see.

    By his works we shall know him.

    Existing reportage is of little apparent value, given the vagaries of available translations, as well as the absurdity of supposing that in his new office, Pope Francis will do precisely as he did in his previous. As to the new reportage, little of it–if any–appears to have been based on any real knowledge.

  48. inexcels says:

    Gregg the Obscure said:

    “In ancient days Christians impressed pagans who said, ‘Behold how they love one another!’ and Europe became Christian.

    These [days] an observer could say, ‘Look at how they carp at each other!’ as the Church recedes from public view throughout the western world.”

    I’ll heartily second this.

  49. netokor says:

    I don’t know if there is any truth to this anecdote. Addressing Pope Pius VI, Napoleon Bonaparte boasted that he would destroy the Church in less than a year. A cardinal is said to have responded, “Sir, we have been trying to destroy the Church for 1800 years. I doubt that you will be able to destroy it in one.”

    Regardless of its truth or accuracy, the point of this anecdote is well taken. If it weren’t for Her Supernatural protection, we Catholics would have easily destroyed our Church without any help from outside enemies. Long live the Papacy! (And the Missa Tridentina!-he he)

  50. Katylamb says:

    Well Father, at the risk of being called one of your sycophants by readers of a blog which shall remain nameless, I will say that yours is the only blog I still read. (except I will read whatever Dr. Ed Peters writes) You are very fair and your posts are always interesting and informative.

  51. bernadette says:

    Father Z, your blog is one of the very few I can come to now for rational, solidly Catholic analysis. I consider myself somewhat of a traditionalist as I attend and sing for the weekly EF at my parish. I haven’t heard any criticism of Pope Francis from other parishioners. Even though traditional Catholic blogs are not representative of many traditionalist’s views, some of them give the impression that the traditionalist world is becoming unglued and in many cases uncharitable. The world outside of Catholic circles is picking up on it from the media and some are taking delight in all the divisiveness. I find it very unsettling and distressing. How can we possibly engage in evangelizing? My daughters who long ago left the Church are hearing about it and asking me about all of the nastiness going on.
    I am starting to long for the days before instant communication and mass transit, when the news went by horse or slow boat. It probably took months or years for Catholics to hear about what the pope was up to. Perhaps that was a good thing!

  52. Basher says:

    Oh, ha ha, I just figured out who it was that went after Fr. Z. What a joke. Fr. Z wins the credibility contest 1,000,000 to zero. And, I’m on the “critical” side as a commentor on this blog.

    Hey, Fr., you get to share the limelight with Mark Shea in the category of “When no one is reading your blog, who do you defame to generate some traffic?”.

  53. Elizabeth D says:

    I was at Father Z’s Mass on Sunday and in a good homily he talked about Pope Francis but did not “bash” him. Then we had coffee and donuts for everyone in the church hall after and I sat and talked with him about Pope Francis and he defended him and said how good an opinion he had of Cardinal Bergoglio from having known him prior to him becoming Pope. If people knew Fr Z personally they would know he is a good friendly happy priest who does not bash the Pope.

    Fr Z DID make it clear he does not like Fr Raniero Cantalamessa! I jokingly suggested Fr Z should be Papal preacher! But he did not seem to think he was the man for the job. Maybe Pope Francis will appoint Fr Z to be the head of the CDWDS, since he knows Fr Z, and is said to be happy to delegate things to people with the right skill set even if they think differently from him. You never know.

  54. Father Z — May your tribe increase!

  55. RosaMystica says:

    Yours have been the most balanced comments I have found on the web since the election of Pope Francis. You have taken every opportunity to praise what you find praiseworthy in him, and when you have been critical, it is with much caution and with the assumption of good motives on his part. Yet, you have not denied that some of his actions concern you. Thank you for providing some guidance for those of us who consider ourselves traditional, yet completely loyal to the Roman Catholic Church, therefore to our Holy Father Pope Francis.

  56. DCMArg says:

    Thanks. Valuable remarks.

    Another post from another blogger comes to my mind:

  57. Hank Igitur says:

    I think the important thing is to keep reporting on what actually happens and actually is said and done by the Pope. Speculation fuelled on anxiety may not prove helpful. It is neither time for complete panic nor complacency. LIke it or not we have to wait and see. We simply do not know yet all the things he is going to do during his papacy. However it does seem that the liturgical “reform of the reform” is over and unlikely the Pope will be taking Latin lessons.

  58. mamajen says:

    Father, I will keep it simple. I very much appreciate your approach. You helped me step back from the ledge,so-to-speak, when I was feeling very low about the election of Pope Francis. I can see right through what the “radicals” are up to, and I hope others can do the same. Thank you for setting a good example for all of us.

  59. alanphipps says:

    Mirabile dictu, Reverentissime Pater Z. Tibi gratias ago.

  60. pfreddys says:

    FR. Z,
    When one of my friends asked me your take on Pope Francis, I said that you were trying to put the most Catholic spin on his actions. I think he is on the level of JPII but I hope I’m wrong. We have been through alot so let’s see if he contributes to the restoration; you point out alot of positve actions but lets not ignore the negative actions; but let’s pray for our Holy Father Francis most of all!!!

  61. Jason Keener says:

    Father Z, I think your tone has been perfect. I also think it is perfectly legitimate for Catholics to respectfully express both their agreements and disagreements about what the Pope’s prudential decisions are in certain matters. In fact, Canon 212, Section 3, gives the lay faithful the right to make known their needs and desires to the pastors of the Church. I see nothing wrong then with the faithful discussing such matters on blogs, positive or negative, so long as it is done respectfully.

    Also, I think it is regrettable that some of the so-called “JP2 Catholics/Neo-Catholics/George Weigel Catholics” have absolutely ridiculed the so-called “traditional liturgy-minded Catholics” for making any negative statements about, for example, the Pope’s choice in vestments and other vesture.

    As as an aside, I’ve noticed that the New Liturgical Movement blog has been carrying almost no information or pictures from the recent papal liturgies because I’m sure they have found little to highlight regarding the direction of the liturgy under this new Roman Pontiff; however, I think that as lay faithful with rights, we should continue to point out the disappointing aspects of the current papacy in a respectful way so as to encourage movement by the hierarchy of the Church in a better direction. With all of the abuse scandals, the hasty destruction of the Liturgy, etc., over the last several decades, it has become rather clear that the faithful have in many cases been trampled upon and ignored by the hierarchy of the Church. I hope that Father Z will continue to be a respectful voice of reason who points out both the positive and negative in the life of Holy Mother Church.

    Lastly, let us always for our Pope Francis, Christ’s Sweet Vicar on Earth.

  62. Jean Marie says:

    Fr Z – you are my first choice for commentary and analysis regarding Pope Francis and the Church in general. You keep me grounded in common sense. Your sense of humor is also a great plus!

  63. pookiesmom says:

    Father, you have been a beacon of charity and reason in the wake of Pope Francis’ election. I think the fact that Pope Francis’ papacy has not followed the death of Pope Benedict and a subsequent mourning period has made his transition and the faithful’s difficult and tumultuous. We all need to follow your example and let Pope Francis find his footing and just CHILL. By his fruits we will come to know him…it is way too early. Also people need to realize the Holy Spirit does not choose the Holy Father–the free will of the cardinal electors does. The office of Pope shapes the man–so what Pope Francis was before his election and what he does now may not define what his papacy becomes. Charity needs to prevail as well. God bless you, Father. Well done as always!

  64. acardnal says:

    Elizabeth D. wrote, “If people knew Fr. Z personally they would know he is a good friendly happy priest who does not bash the Pope.”

    I, too, have had the pleasure of meeting Fr. Z at that same parish and that was my first impression, too: He is a smiling, happy priest who is happy to be a priest! God bless him.

  65. “I am purposely, obviously, openly, repeatedly trying to rein in the hyper-trads – to get them to breath into paper bags …”

    Well, say what you want, but we aren’t the ones hysterically trying to equivocate and explain away everything the new Pope does and says.

    That being said, I honestly believe, contrary to your position, that a time will come very soon when you will either have to admit to what all the signs on the wall indicate, or just become a full blown liberal. The line is being drawn, men are being tested and sifted.

    God bless!

    [I rest my case.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  66. Geoffrey says:

    “I think the fact that Pope Francis’ papacy has not followed the death of Pope Benedict and a subsequent mourning period has made his transition and the faithful’s difficult and tumultuous”.

    I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. I know many have felt “uneasy” for a few weeks now, and I think this has a lot to do with it.

  67. Denis says:

    Father Z “bashed” Pope Francis? What an odd claim to make.

    It’s also odd to predict that Father Z, or anyone else for that matter, will be posting meae culpae if the pessimists turn out to be right; in what sense is optimisim a fault? Besides, it’s not like pessimism is particularly productive; it’s just a feeling that leads to dreary predictions.

  68. Fr_Sotelo says:


    “you can be quite an “a***ole” at times when making comments to readers’ comments”

    I hope and pray you will be able to swallow your spit and pride and write the combox to leave Fr. Z an apology. Even using the asterisks, your comment was so crass and vulgar, that it’s accuracy cannot be evaluated because the reader wonders what kind of a person writes comments like this in a priest’s blog.

    You have the literacy, wit, and intelligence to make your point without resorting to the language of a truck-stop, crack whore looking for customers. (Yes, I purposely used that image to help you understand what happens when language detracts from the corrective you are trying to give to a brother or sister in Christ).

  69. JG says:

    Your post is very good. It has been disheartening to read some of the criticism related to our new Pope from various writers across the web. From my perspective, he is neither liberal nor conservative, but he is certainly authentic.
    He is not going to alienate the conservative side of our Church. In my humble opinion, without compromising any aspect of our Faith he will try to make our Church inclusive and accessible to all people that feel left out or unwelcome. Pope Francis is a breath of fresh air. In my opinion, we are very fortunate to have him as our leader.

  70. TLM says:

    Fr. Z, Yours is the only blog I read now precisely because of your balanced and well nuanced presentation of Pope Francis and all else I’ve read here by you. I do read the Vatican website news to read Pope Francis’ homily’s and other things he says and does. I turned off ‘the noise’ several years ago and only occasionally do I read news articles, the headlines say it all. Thank you Fr. Z!

  71. Indulgentiam says:

    @David Werling –WOE there nelly! Pull up them wild horses! Your post reminds me of a cartoon I saw recently about too much caffeine. The caption reads;
    “Whenever I have too much caffeine I get so focused that it’s like I have super-vision. I-I can SEE my own cells multiplying. I-I -I oh man! I CAN SEE FOREVER!!!
    May I, in charity, suggest some chamomile tea? You don’t know what is going to happen anymore than the rest of us. And HUMANS often misread signs, a byproduct of concupiscence you know. Fr. Z does not mince words. As long as I’ve been reading this blog, couple years now I think, he deliberates carefully and articulates his position with clear concise and unambiguous reference. So anyone who misunderstands is not reading carefully. OR has just had too much caffeine. That would not happen however to a Mystic Monk coffee drinker :)

  72. friarpark says:

    Haven’t read the other 66 replies yet, but I have been on board with you, Fr. Z. I was dismayed when I read the comments on this site the day of Pope Francis election. I tried to remain calm until I saw how things were going to go. My biggest concern is that my parish would misread the Pope’s actions as validation for the continued mismash of the old and new translation that we are using. Someone that I know who knows I read this blog was making disparaging comments about Benedict vs Francis. “Clothes Horse”, and including Card. Burke in with that. Stuff like that. Thank you, Fr. Z, for seeing the big picture which is what counts the most. It doesn’t matter if my little piece of “turf” might be somewhat neglected for a time as long as he can use this time to get a bigger message out: Confession, turn to Jesus, come home. I have more hope with each passing day.

  73. friarpark says:

    Just to be clear, the comments I referred to were in the comm box not anything Fr. Z said, because as we all remember he was having computer problems and not able to be on site.

  74. no need to explain to us Fr Z. however,i do get that there are bound to be ppl trying to take you down. We have your back.Can’t happen.
    For those having such a cow re traditional vs liberal liturgy have to tell you i grew up during the traditional.Could never have imagined the NO. It didn’t make me any holier and the NO has not made me less.
    The abuses aside(which should NEVER happen)what matters most is that we believe Jesus is really and truly present(whether it’s the Latin we love or not)and that we are Catholic.Which means we also believe that Peter was given the keys and therefore Pope Francis also holds them. We give him our obedience and charity. Fr Z hit the real problem we’ve been having;pitting Pope Emeritus and Our Holy Father against each other;making comparisons. The enemy has found a weak spot.Let it go!

  75. Clinton says:

    Pater, I too appreciate your charitable, even-handed approach to blogging about our new
    Pope. I’ve culled quite a few websites from my bookmarks over this recent lack of charity
    and proper respect in the Catholic blogosphere, and good riddance. WDTPRS remains, in
    my opinion, the gold standard for how a Catholic blog should be covering the new pontificate.

    Off-topic, but it was good to see a comment from Henry Edwards, above. It seems like an age
    since I’d seen anything from him, and he’s always got something interesting to say.

  76. ljc says:

    Perhaps you could start selling paper bags with your Z-swag?
    There’s a few blog contributors who could really use a “Reading Francis through Benedict” paper bag.

  77. Soporatus says:

    As a blogger, Fr Z has a responsibility to form and express opinions about even such a delicate question as whether or not Francis is a “good” Pope. But most of us do not. For the sake of a pure conscience, it would be prudent to withhold judgement of the Pope’s activities until such a time that failure to conclude would be intellectually indefensible.

    sobrii estote vigilate

    My wife and I just finished reading the (14thC) Fioretti of St Francis (12thC). He lived at a time when the Roman Liturgy was pretty much settled. Yet his range of liturgical practice was not always in accord with “the red” — much less was he a precursor of Solesmes. He (not a priest) and even new brothers preached at Masses in the cathedral. By no means do I suggest that Pope Francis will do things anywhere nearly so “strange” as his namesake did. But St Francis made the succour of the sick poor and the poor (incl. the ignorant) his central mission; this Pope has said things suggesting he might do the same. If one thing is central, some other things are not.

    BTW, ‘Brother Sun and Sister Moon’ and ‘The Shoes of the Fisherman’ are, respectively for Saint and Pope, not models of the behaviour to expect.

  78. RafkasRoad says:

    Dear Fr. Zuhlzdorf,

    Yours is perhaps the most balanced and even-handed commentary I have read on the net concerning Pope Francis. you have nothing to answer for, and have aired any misgivings and concerns you may hold with decency and civility.

    Greg the Obscure at *22, AMEN BROTHER!!!

    A final note, as a Marounite, (converted into Marounite Catholic Christianity in October 2011 after being raised in Sydney Anglicanism (aus and Syd readers will understand this) till 13 yeares of age, then 21 years in Seventh Day Adventism of the Standish/Burnside/Cook variety, detoxing for another 5 years back in with the SydAngs before finding my way to my local marounite Catholic Church (as part of my studies for a B.theol at a large Catholic institution (I am now undertaking my final four units before completion at the end of 2013),

    amazing!! My soul was blown away as I encountered Christ face to face in HIS language – Aramaeic, in a sung liturgy that is still breathtaking to me. Please pray for the spread of the Marounite rite in Australia outside of the capital cities, and please pray for the spread of the AO across the Nullabor to the East Coast, and to the South Coast of NSW particularly.

    Those upset with aspects of Pope Francis’ manner of liturgy, attire etc, remember that Christ still reigns, is still victorious over sin, and transfer that energy into praying for my fellow believers in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. (I myself am an Anglo who converted out of conscience).

    also, pray for us B.theol students who are still having to contend with the ‘spirit of VII’ and other irritants e.g. the documentary Hypothesis, Historic critical method etc having mastery over all in the discipline of theology , and with other troubling irritants that lead to so much confusion. Oh, and please pray for me; my family is (but for one or two very extended family members) ) atheist, feminist, and postmodernist. I’m only gradually coming out to ‘war baby’ and boomer parents/step parents, siblings who have seen my faith walk as sign against the stability of faith rather than its continuity with comments such as (you change your denomination more than your underclothes)…Please pray for my husband also, who has not darkened the door of a Catholic church since his late childhood/early teens and though very very supportive of me (for which I am eternally grateful) has no interest in re-engaging himself.

    Pray for them all.

    St. Maroun, St. Rafka, and St. Charbel, pray for Fr. Z., and Papa Frankie.


    Aussie Marounite.

  79. Imrahil says:

    Only someone could possibly get the idea that you were bashing our Holy Father who thinks the Catholic position (or the non-liberal Catholic position) is that each and every littlest detail of Papal action is supreme law.

    Telling enough.

  80. Lin says:

    Father Z, I, too, think your tone has been perfect. This has been a difficult time for many of us. I still miss Pope Benedict very much. Last November, my husband and I attended a Papal audience and I thought our beloved Papa looked exceptionally tired! Little did I know he would retire! It has been difficult to warm up to Pope Francis but I Pray for him daily.

    Some weeks ago, I wrote to you about our newly appointed progressive pastor and you were kind enough to answer my inquiry. Our pastor announced in a sermon on Palm Sunday, that JP II and Benedict tried to take the Church back in time. His is elated with Pope Francis. I pray he is very disappointed. Only time and much prayer will tell!

    Please keep up the good work!

  81. HighMass says:

    Fr. Z.

    Another avid daily reader of your Blog….to speak up like the others YOU have been very very fair…..This transition has been difficult for the faithful Let alone the clergy………

    We all need to watch and see what is going to happen….The Liturgy is a GRAVE concern…..wondering of Mons. Guido Marini will be replaced, God Help Us….

    No Chanting of the Urbi et Orbi….no chanting of the Mass, The same chausble Pope Francis used in S. AMerica….etc etc etc………

    Lets pray that he leaves the liturgy alone as Benedict Did such a great job.

    God Bless You Fr. Z for all you do for the Faith. You do a Great JOB….don’t let the turkeys get you down! [They never do. It takes a lot more than what they throw.]

  82. kpoterack says:

    Father Z, thank you for your analysis and reporting on Pope Francis! I always go to your website first. I trust that you will be honest but charitable – and that is not a balance that is easy to keep at times. Keep up the good work and I will keep you in my prayers!

  83. av8er says:

    Fr Z.
    Thank you for your service to God.

  84. pookiesmom, “. I think the fact that Pope Francis’ papacy has not followed the death of Pope Benedict and a subsequent mourning period has made his transition and the faithful’s difficult and tumultuous. “ absolutely true and perhaps over time the dust will start to settle. Grateful we still have His Holiness Benedict w/ us.

  85. traditionalorganist says:

    Fr Z, I was very concerned on the election of Pope Francis and even depressed because I had read what Rorate had to say. I was brought back to my senses by your posts. I appreciate your efforts to encourage us to read Francis through Benedict. Thank you also for nuance. Nuance is at the heart of the Church and the heart of truth.

  86. NineChoirs says:

    Actually Indulgentium,
    I can assure you that David does in fact drink Mystic Monk coffee that I, his wife, order via Father Z’s link. Just goes to show how inaccurate assumptions can be.

    On topic:
    I find it strange that although this blog entry said that Father Z was being attacked by liberals and conservatives (a surprise to me), many (most,…all?) of the comments/attacks here are directed at traditional Catholics.

    These are confusing times for the faithful. We must do our best to stay true to our faith and pray. We need to protect the Church from all of her enemies, even those who are attacking from within.

  87. mamajen says:

    I’m not sure where to find the full text of this homily, but it’s so very fitting:


  88. Andkaras says:

    Lovely. And now let’s all get back to learning Latin.

  89. Mike says:

    Honestly, Father, your approach to all this has probably been the most . . . let’s say, “calming” . . . that I’ve read. It’s balanced, it’s fair, it doesn’t jump to conclusions, and it doesn’t automatically assume, judging from a month alone, that Pope Francis’ papacy will be a failure.

    So, to paraphrase A Muppet Christmas Carol: “Your approach has done me good, and will do me good, and I say, ‘God bless you’!”

  90. Indulgentiam says:

    @NineChoirs–I was merely trying to lighten his mood with a little humor, mam. I meant no disrespect. That said, it stands to reason that, if your going to dish it out, especially to a Priest of Fr. Z’s caliber , your going to have to put your big boy pants on and show that you can take it.

    This right here—David Werling says:
    “Well, say what you want, but we aren’t the ones hysterically trying to equivocate and explain away everything the new Pope does and says.”
    Is uncalled for and unsubstantiated.
    I am a dyed in the wool, wouldn’t go to a N.O unless ther wasn’t a TLM within 200 miles, orthodox Catholic. None of the folks in our Latin Mass community would ever take a verbal swipe at ANY Priest. We know better and are expected to do better.

  91. workingclass artist says:

    I learn from your insight everyday.

    Keep up the good work Father Z….It matters.

  92. A well reasoned post, I can only state that the nerves of things that are unknown do tend to bring out sides in people we don’t often see. I see no papal bashing in any of your posts. In the age of mass media, everything is looked at with a finely tuned microscope….and anything is more than likely to be blown out of proportion. The Pope being the Vicar of Christ especially has a target on his back….We need not apologize for being Catholic, but in the age of mass media, we should avoid all scandal and any possible confusion if possible….

  93. Angie Mcs says:

    mamajen, a perfect excerpt to share from our Holy Father. Thank you. When I was in my RCIA class last year we went through the Ten Commandments. We came to the one regarding bearing false witness , which has always confused me, or rather, not really touched me as obviously as the others. Then our teacher, Father B, talked about the insidiousness of gossip, of speaking ill of someone when we need to keep our mouths shut, that even a “knowing” look about others can lead to hurting them and corroding our own souls. I sat there astounded, almost in tears, as I recognized myself doing this, sometimes without even being aware of it. It is a subtle sin but can lead to great harm. We as a society have become steadily worse in this regard, it is a growing evil, and Pope Francis’ homily which you shared here needs to be heeded by us all, for the simple reason that it is so hard to recognize, and easy to justify, unlike murder or adultery.

    Father, you stick your neck out all the time for us, and your balanced, steady comments among all the flotsam and jetsam on Pope Francis make it is clear that you want to make us better, better humans and better Catholics. By doing this, though, you become a target, which grows out of that awful tendency in all of us, that falsehood. Now I know that I need to be aware when that nasty little but powerful quality starts to rear its ugly head. I wonder how many people ever give it more than a passing thought. Otherwise they would be more charitable. I am always stunned at how angry, disobedient and unkind people can be when expressing their views about our Lord’s Church and the way they treat our priests, feeling the need and entitlement to get personal. Despite your declaration of having a thick skin, I am sorry for any pain you have felt. I have learned so much here and am very grateful, to your readers for sharing their viewpoints and knowledge and most especially to you.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one here who considers this blog a kind of home on the Internet. Thank you for all you do. It really does matter.

  94. Southern Catholic says:

    I really enjoy reading Father Z’s blog, especially his commentary on what the Pope has to say, what the mainstream media say, and of course what the Fishwrap has to say. All of Father’s post have been fairly reasonable about the Pope.

    The sour fruit pictures are hilarious, btw.

    Off topic, @Elizabeth D, I have heard Fr Raniero Cantalamessa and have to agree that I do not like him very much either. I went to hear him speak a year ago at a baptist univrsity called Samford. There he praised Martin Luther in order to appease to prostants’ beliefs. I left disappointed from that event.

  95. Brailey55 says:

    Well said Fr Z. Couldn’t agree more. Many of us might feel a little uneasy about Pope Francis’ liturgical style to date – myself included – but it is early days yet. The fact that Francis has spoken openly and quite upfront respecting such serious topics as sin, the reality of the Devil, and the need for all the faithful to attend to Confession and for priests to make themselves available to hear Confessions, is indeed a BIG positive.
    (It found it encouraging that the Catholic bishops of New Zealand – where I come from – embarked on a Lenten initiative, themed “2013: The Door is Open for You”, aimed at encouraging all the faithful to once again become familiar with the Sacrament of Penance – mandating all parishes and parish priests put aside a set time per week throughout Lent for precisely that purpose. It may have been a small step in recovering this almost forgotten sacrament; nonetheless, a positive one at that!)
    Undoubtedly, we should persist earnestly in praying for Pope Francis as indeed we should for all the clergy and religious – those we admire and (especially) those we don’t for, as we all appreciate, the world presently is far from mindful of God and Godly things. (Indeed it is shameful to have to report that, barring a miracle, the New Zealand parliament will later this month legislate for the legalisation of same-sex “marraige”! Prays for my country please.)
    Before I sign off: thank you most sincerely Fr Z for your wonderfully uplifting and informative blog-site. I have personally gained much from “tuning in” to your wise words (not forgetting also the many insightful commentators who regularly visit here) over recent months. And what a treasure-trove of spiritual nourishment is to be encountered in your archived Lenten and Advent podcasts which I eagerly search out. I will happily spread the word!
    Would you believe that this is my first ever blog! True! And all credit to wdtprs of course!

  96. StWinefride says:

    Father Z says: What does Fr. Z really say? A response to critics on the left and the right.

    Father, may I suggest you adopt the maxim of Her Majesty the Queen of England?

    “Never complain, never explain”


    [No. You may not suggest that.]

  97. NoraLee9 says:

    As one of the Traddies who has had to have recourse to the paper bag, I have been thankful for your guidance. I start every day with the Blog. Thank you Father.

  98. “Tornielli: I don’t agree with the analysis about the breaks with his

    predecessor. Gossip over continuity and breaks with previous popes based

    on mozzettas, ermine furs and red shoes is threatening to overshadow

    the reality of true continuity between Benedict XVI and Francis. Theirs

    is a continuity that finds proof in several passages, in small deeds and

    acts that were seen and heard during the first few days of this

    pontificate: the humility shown by both, their shared knowledge that the

    Church is ultimately led by God, and their sense of peace.”


  99. Mariana says:

    Haven’t detected any bashing!

    Father, siamo con voi!

  100. JonPatrick says:

    As someone who starts every weekday with this blog along with my Wheatabix and Mystic Monk coffee, I have come to depend on it for balanced sensible commentary on issues of interest to Traditional Catholics. I personally feel optimistic that Pope Francis will help bring the Church back to its basic mission, that the reform of the reform and the spread of the TLM will continue, and that this may actually increase as Catholics become more serious about their faith. It is likely as the pressure from the secular world increases, Catholics will be forced to choose between the world and the Church. Those that choose the Church will be more serious about their faith and will want serious worship to match, not fluffy liturgy with nice homilies.

  101. frjim4321 says:

    As the token moderate here, I would have to agree that Fr. Z. has definitely not been ‘bashing’ Pope Francis as has been the case in a couple other, though much less read and less influential, places.

  102. RafkasRoad says:

    A few more words if I may,

    There are several people whom I am ever in debt to concerning their earthly contribution to my Catholic conversion; fellow bloggers whose goals and outlooks are very similar to that of Fr. Zuhlzdorf’s, along with one of our university chaplains who has the guts to preach on confession, the reality of hell and satan along with the need to cleave to jesus and Mary, who, upon a conversation we had back in 2010 around six months after my initial visits to the Marounite church in my area, at my statement that ‘it is too soon, I can’t become a Catholic now…not after everything I’ve been through over the past five years’ stated quietly but matter of factly, ‘why not’? One simple question, two simple words…and eight weeks later, I was sitting in the office of our Marounite monsignor responding to his question ‘What do you want me to do for you’… that first blessing when he signed the sign of the cross over me, I literally felt the awesome, tangible power of God radiating from that one seemingly simple action…Pray for Fr. T, and the others who are part of the Marounite priestly monastic community that serves my local MR church.

    to my latin rite brethren, Latin is your liturgical right, pure and simple, as Aramaeic is ours. there is NOTHING in any of the documents of VII that prohibits it; on the contrary. Couple this with SP, plus the liturgical language benefits enjoyed as a matter of course by the 20 odd other Catholic rites out there and there is NO reason why it cannot be put back into place for ‘Latins’.


    Aussie Marounite.

  103. The Masked Chicken says:

    “You do a Great JOB….don’t let the turkeys get you down! ”

    Yeah, stupid turkeys…

    The Chicken

  104. Jack Regan says:

    I really like this blog, and that is largely so because Fr. Z seems to be able to avoid ‘nutty’ quite well. This blog seems orthodox and inspiringly Catholic without being extremist, which is a tough line to tread on the web.

  105. OrthodoxChick says:

    It really T’s me off to hear that you’re getting it from both extremes. They’re coming after you because they can’t turn your nuances into something to support their own agendas and that draws their ire. These folks need to get over themselves.

  106. dnicoll says:

    I really appreciate your work, Father. It helps keep perspective. We are all having to get used to a new Pope, and he will be different to our beloved B16. At the end of the day he is the Pope, and we are the faithful. And the Church is eternal.

  107. JuliB says:


    I am still a little disconcerted about some of the Pope’s actions, but reading some comments both here (the only relig blog I read besides Msgr. Pope’s and These Stone Walls) and other non-religious forums, have given me insight.

    Shockingly, it’s not all about me!

    Pope B16 and Archbishop Sheen brought me home to God and Church after 25 years of atheism. I have a special love for the two of them because of it. My tastes lean more trad, but I like a reverent NO.

    But not everyone finds such things appealing. God wants all people, not just the ones who react in the same manner that I do. He has zeal for souls that love simplicity, that love plainness, that are attracted by the actions of the new Pope, and so forth.

    We were blessed by 8 years our Benedict – I was blessed by it. However, given the good grounding I have, that we all have – all the bricks that have been put down – we should be able to walk on our own. Let us continue moving forward (B16 said there is no going backwards) in faith and love.

    B16 planted the seeds of faith in many people. The new Pope is rebuilding our Church. I don’t need to like everything he does, but I do need to ‘be not afraid’.

    Thank you for your blog!

  108. apologies for that mess. Hope you can read it. this is what happens when you have ‘room spins'(vertigo),read Fr Z’s blog and try to type a comment. bad hair day.it must be the weather changes. From snow to spring and thunderstorms. All in one week.

  109. Mariana says:

    “Yeah, stupid turkeys…

    The Chicken”


  110. VexillaRegis says:

    Dear Fr. Z, you have been a perfect gentleman through all this turmoil and I can’t detect any Pope bashing, lashing, smashing, hashing or mashing in any of your posts. ‘Nuff said. :-)

  111. jessicahoff says:

    No one with basic literacy skills can fail to see that you have been perfectly balanced in your comments – hence attacks from extremists. More power to your elbow, Father.

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  114. RafkasRoad says:


    Indeed, my fine feathered friend, there is only one viable solution/use for turkeys…the wood-fired oven…then…LUNCH!! Preferably with bread sauce and roast pumpkin amongst other trimmings…

    Keep inspiring us, chook, (appologies to my fellow Australian readers),


    Aussie Marounite.

  115. Cum lazaro says:

    When in troubled times, we need to exercise patience, charity and above all think ‘ex corde ecclesiae’ rather than just reacting based on our immediate personal responses. You’re helping us all to do that and thank you for it! (And yep, you’re going to get things lobbed at you as a consequence.)

  116. Eraser says:

    I scanned all these comments just to see if anyone else noted the significance of the picture accompanying this post. It’s Don Camillo!For the benefit of the others, let me explain: Don Camillo is the protagonist of a series of books by the Italian author Giovanni Guareschi. Guareschi initially published them as short stories in the newspaper & magazine he worked for in the 1950s, and they were so popular that he collected them in book form. He followed with several volumes of original material which were translated into several languages, and he became a literary sensation around the world. About 5 movies were made based on the books; they were Italian-French co-productions starring Fernandel, the renowned French comic actor. Father Z’s picture is of Fernandel in the title role.

    Don Camillo is the parish priest of a small northern Italian village who wages an ongoing battle against communism as personified by the mayor, Peppone. However, there is much more going on in Don Camillo’s “Little World” (the English title of the first book), which is indeed a microcosm of life in general. In some ways, Don Camillo is the ideal priest; he is holy, faithful, and brave, yet he is very much a human being who often makes mistakes and gets himself into trouble. Of course this is what makes his character so loveable – and I suspect why Father Z attached his picture to this post.

    Although the Don Camillo stories were quite popular in this country during the 50s & 60s, today they seem to be unknown here except by some of us Italian-Americans. There were a few reprints out several years ago but the best way to find them is on the secondary market (ABE Books has a ton of them). Ignatius Press has the first 2 movies too. They’re well worth the effort – good old-fashioned storytelling and just plain funny.

    So Father Z, thank you for all your thoughtful remarks on our dear Holy Father & mille mille grazie per la foto di Don Camillo!

  117. Mr. P. says:

    Once again, thank you, Fr. Z, for this reiteration!

    You carry a lot of weight among those who love the Traditional Latin Mass, so your defense of the Holy Father at this time is most necessary to rally the faithful to the Vicar of Christ. There is “something just right” about your Benedict-Francis analyses.

    May Our Lady cover you with her mantle as you endure the things that are to come for the Church.

  118. cl00bie says:

    Fr. Z., You’ve been immensely fair. One of the best responses I’ve heard to:

    Q: “What do you think of Pope Francis?”
    A: “He’s the pope.”

    I have a decided lack of patience with liturgical “innovation”. Whenever I used to see it, as soon as the “abuse radar” went on, I could think of nothing else during Mass, and would leave Mass decidedly angry for hours. This was caused by my pride (for thinking I know better than the priest) and I would pay the price with my peace of mind and heart for the rest of the day.

    So I prayed to God to give me patience, and he answered: “My son, I will give you countless opportunities to practice”. And He has. :)

    I have just been interviewed by the Diaconal Formation Committee in the Diocese of Syracuse, and they know my prediliction toward orthodoxy and orthopraxy. When I was asked for an example of liturgical abuse, I brought up the washing of women’s feet on Holy Thursday. I did it on purpose because if that was the kind of thing that would get me bounced from formation, I wanted it known up front.

    I made it past the committee, and now have a home visitation and an interview with the Vicar General. Prayers are appreciated.

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