PODCAzT 137: Augustine on bad pastors; Sermon in the wake of Pope Francis’ interview

At the time of this writing it is still the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time, aka the 18th Sunday after Pentecost in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

It has been just a few days since the release of The Big Interview with Pope Francis.

In today’s PODCAzT, I give you a taste of St. Augustine of Hippo’s monumental sermon 46, “De pastoribus… On pastors“.  Augustine explores Ezechiel’s comments on the shepherds of the Lord’s flock.  The portion of Augustine I drill into, with an introduction about Donatism, is taken from the Liturgy of the Hours for this Sunday’s Office of Readings.

What I call: The biography of Augustine Pope Benedict would have wanted to write.

One of the things that Augustine (and I) stresses in the Donatist heresy, that lead to the schism of a false church of the “pure”, is the materialistic error about sacraments. Their heresy lead to schism, a sanctimonius pitting of altar against altar.

By coincidence, there is overlap with the Scripture readings from today’s Mass in the Extraordinary Form and the Office of Readings in the Ordinary Form, as will become plain.

Finally, I offer my sermon for the Extraordinary Form Mass I celebrated this day, the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, 2013.

I talk about reactions to Pope Francis and about what adjustments we are going to have to make and why.

WARNING: Sometimes, I don’t know why, the podcast just stops. What I have done, is simply scroll to the end to help the whole thing download. You can download it, too.


The "Kyrie" was from this album, from the Canons at Sant'Antimo - CLICK

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I’ve been reading the interview more. It’s interesting because some of the things that the pope did, which seemed capricious (like living in Sta. Marta), were actually not his idea but rather small inspirations. He discerns these ideas and inspirations (like a son of St. Ignatius), and he follows the good ones (like St. Francis de Sales).

    (And he’s not the first pope to insist on living in community; St. Greg the Great brought his whole monastery to live at the Lateran with him, and they monked around together on the grounds.)

    It seems pretty clear that he is thinking of the Society of Jesus as a microcosm of the Church in many ways, and hence as a Jesuit Pope, he is giving all us Catholics, and every other soul, a sort of Jesuit formation. I admit that I’ve never met any Jesuits, so maybe this is nuts; but this is the feeling I get from the interview.

  2. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Btw, the Italian version of the interview is here:

    You have to scroll to page 11 of the pdf.

  3. Bosco says:

    The pop-up worked fine, Father Z.! Nice presentation (the music’s desperate) and very informative.
    I am relieved I’ve never been a Donatist (maybe a ‘Pelagian’, but that’s in vogue now). I thank God and my parents (chiefly my father) for that.
    While we were raised to be respectful of the priests and other religious, my father (as far back as the 60s) would never hesitate to say to us on occasion that ‘Father So-and-So’ doesn’t have a clue about (insert theological topic); or Father says the Mass improperly or impiously; or Father ought not behave that way it’s scandalous and, what’s more…he’d more often than not have a quiet word with ‘Father’ about it.
    He wasn’t obsessed, but he knew his stuff and insisted we know our Faith.
    He taught us that no matter the character of the priest, the priest was always an alter Christus.
    I remember being told we never know which priest graduated from the seminary with straight ‘A’s’ and who just squeaked through although the former might be infinitely less holy than the latter.
    Thanks for the PodCast!
    As for your reflections on the Pope’s recent interview, I recall Christ’s words to Peter:
    “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22: 31 – 32

  4. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The whole thing about “initiate processes instead of occupying spaces” sounds like the Pope wants us to stop being behind the OODA loop and just reacting, and start planting seeds for the future and doing other proactive things (short and long term).

    The other thing — the way he keeps talking about the tendency to be too conservative, too rigid, etc., sounds like he pretty much feels that the conservatives are the faithful he preaches to, and the liberals are the ones who need outright evangelizing. Heh. Of course, it’s also likely that he feels that liberals are really the conservative ones who do the same old stuff in a rigid way, because they mostly do.

  5. Bosco says:

    By the way, lest my previous post seem like I was raised in a ‘holier than thou’ environment, I should add that from the time I was a small boy our family had a number of personal friends who were priests (some related) or nuns and with whom we would socialize and have over for dinner or join us for family events.
    It was a natural thing to just ‘shoot the breeze’.

  6. I can’t play it. After numerous attempts on two browsers, the farthest I got was ten and a half minutes.

  7. APX says:

    I was quite thrown off by hearing Alanis Morrisette. I had to double check my iPhone to make sure it didn’t accidentally switch to my iPod.

    This podcazt came at a very good time, as I have been getting slightly frustrated with the shortcomings of one priest and comparing him to another priest, whilst ignoring his shortcomings. We must pray and do penance for our priests. It must really suck having Satan attacking you constantly.

  8. StWinefride says:

    Thank you, Father Z! The podcast played through till the end after a couple of attempts. Lots of food for thought. The ‘holy daring’ – parrhesia – Pope Francis spoke about that at the beginning of his Pontificate. I read a good book a while ago on this subject:


  9. MaryL says:

    I think Pope Francis wants us to focus on all the Ten Commandments.

  10. Priam1184 says:

    Can I just say that, despite all of the issues I have with the post 1960s Liturgy, the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours was a remarkable achievement?

  11. Scott W. says:

    I think all the excessive parsing of Pope Francis’ words is indicative of traditional Catholics in Full Panic Mode.

  12. Legisperitus says:

    Some of His Holiness’ “big tent” rhetoric sounds at odds with the Ratzingerian “smaller and holier Church of the future” theme. Yet I don’t think the Pope Emeritus would disagree at all with the “field hospital” image.

    Scott W: After the events with the Franciscans of the Immaculate, I think at least Partial Panic Mode would be justified.

  13. Bosco says:


    “Groundbreaking: The Last Warning to the Pope’s Electors” by Sandro Magister (13 August 2013)

    “The official bulletin of the Holy See has lifted the secrecy from the meditation dictated to the cardinals at the beginning of the last conclave, with the doors already closed. Here are the essential passages…”

    I think this piece of Magister’s is interesting in that it was given to the Cardinal electors immediately before the election of Pope Francis. It is a first release of such a document and would indicate what was echoing in our Pastors’ ears as they entered the conclave.

  14. Andrew says:

    After repeated unsuccessful attempts I gave up. Why not just allow the file to download?

  15. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I downloaded at home on the desktop box using Firefox, saved to Google drive and listened on the phone on the way to work with no problem.

    Thanks, Fr. Z, for this podcazt. These are a great way to explore pertinent topics in more depth than is practical for a regular blog post.

  16. codefro says:

    What choir or priests were chanting the Kyrie at the beginning of the podcazt?

  17. danhorse says:

    Loved this, Fr. Z. Thanks for the time and effort you put into creating it.

  18. Andrew says:

    I was able to download by rightclicking on the small box that says “adio mp3” and clicking on “copy the link”. Very nice. Appreciated the reading in Latin.

  19. jameeka says:

    Thank you very much, Father Z

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