Where is this “archconservative” Church? I’d like to visit it someday!

I saw at the Omaha World Herald a funny analysis of the “Francis Effect”. It’s funny, but not because it is humorous. The piece combines information from those bastions of objective reporting on Church matters, AP and the New York Times (aka Hell’s Bible).

I enjoyed this line:

Eileen Burke-Sullivan, a Creighton University associate professor of theology, said the pope’s comments are a dramatic example of his continuing effort to set a more merciful tone for the church.

“All too often, the Catholic Church comes across as heavy-handed, archconservative and uncaring,” said Burke-Sullivan.

Archconservative? Perhaps Elieen lives on another planet. WHERE is the Church anywhere close to “archconservative”.

Maybe she thinks the Church is “archconservative”, compared to her own notions, but the claim that the Catholic Church manifests itself as “archconservative”, even when raising her voice in the midst of US policy battles, is risible.

Where is this “archconservative” Church? I’d like to visit it someday!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    It’s a bit like “Eternal Rome,” existing in the ideal world but not the real one.

  2. dominic1955 says:

    In fairness, she does say “comes across as” and that Pope Francis wasn’t changing anything. At least the article gives some airtime to Archbishop Lucas and Bishop Conley and lets them say this doesn’t change anything.

    That said, I see most news articles as fluff pieces any more. This one was no exception. It was poorly put together and it has all the feel of something done to capitalize on the fad media interest for the pope that the media has at present.

  3. OrthodoxChick says:

    Where ever it is, we need it to make itself known soon! Just saw on your Newman Society sidebar a headline that reads, “Homosexual Employees of Loyola Marymount Univ. Seek Abortion Coverage”.

    Huh? Why would 2 people of the same gender who cannot procreate by natural means need abortion coverage?

    Dumb, stupid, stupid. Definitely going to read the article!

  4. John654 says:

    When I hear Pope Francis say “I am a son of the Church” in regards to abortion and homosexuality I can’t help but think he’s saying I changed the rules if I could but I’m a son of the church and therefore I can’t.

    Obviously I can’t judge his thoughts but when you don’t speak clearly and leave core teachings of the church in question people will read into your comments what they will. I pray for the day that Fr Z doesn’t have to spend a couple thousand words parsing the Popes comments. When he speaks his comments should be clear and without ambiguity. Cover the obvious bases and don’t let people read into your comments when you give an “in depth” interview.

  5. TimG says:

    To the liberals, archconservatives are Cardinal Burke and Arb. Chaput….

  6. mamajen says:

    The fact that the Catholic Church cannot be classified under any single political ideology is one of the beautiful things about it. So many people are ignorant of what the Church really teaches. It would be impossible for a Catholic church to be “archconservative”.

  7. Cosmos says:

    To me, the problem with the interview is not that he said anything wrong, but that he is offereing a cure for a disease that doesn’t exist! Like people said, what Church is he talkking about? Where are the archconservative hordes? (Perhaps Argentina is very different?)

    All the talk about Traditionalists worrying about his Orthodoxy seems like answering a strawman (archconservative Church) with a second strawman (worry about heresy). The worry is that he seems completely and blindly committed to the revolutions of the past 50 years that have born so little fruit.

    John654, when he says, “I am a son of the Church,” it seems to me he says this because he wants to make clear that he is criticizing the meanies, and not doing what the meanies are supposedly accusing him of in their paranoia (breaking with the Church). But it also seems like the kind of thing you don’t need to say if you are clearly talking like “a son of the Church.”

  8. Ignatius says:

    Cosmos, if the church in Argentina is something, it SURELY is not “archconservative”. Not even conservative or traditional by any stretch of the imagination.

  9. Fr AJ says:

    I’m sure these wacko liberals think the Episcopal Church is “conservative” so no surprise that we Catholics are labeled as “archconservative.”

  10. The Masked Chicken says:

    “It would be impossible for a Catholic church to be “archconservative”.”

    Not if the Church should convert McDonalds! Then, it have conservative arches :)

    The Chicken

  11. Suzanne Carl says:

    The Omaha World Herald is better known locally as the Weird Herald. It has a long-standing anti-Catholic position in this very Catholic town. Those Catholics who work for the paper tend to be dissidents on one or more Catholic teaching, and unfortunately are frequently invited to play M.C. at major Catholic fundraisers. I think for many of them, “arch-conservatives” are those who simply accept the teachings of the church on the hot-button issues.

    Also, Creighton, while being a Jesuit University, is not considered to the the most Catholic-friendly college in town. The University of Nebraska Omaha is the more Catholic school by virtue of its FOCUS programs and the Faculty.

  12. ClavesCoelorum says:

    If you find it, Father, would you let me know? I’d like to go too. :)

  13. Supertradmum says:

    That archconservative Church is in her head and her imagination needs a clean-out.

  14. Basher says:

    To be serious for a moment, in the present day, any organization not fully compliant to the homosexual agenda is, really, archconservative compared to the sexual standards of the world.

    What’s confusing about that? Nothing.

  15. yatzer says:

    It would help some of us if we had not spent decades listening to “I’m definitely in line with the church’s teaching on_______.” The translation of which is “I hate that teaching and am trying to undermine it, but don’t want you to know.” It makes us suspicious and perhaps too quick to jump to conclusions.

  16. anilwang says:

    Cosmos, the problem doesn’t exist but the perception of the problem does.

    For the most part the perception is caused by outright slander (e.g. Catholics want to stop women from having abortions but won’t care for mothers once they have babies), misdirection (saying “abortion not about whether the fetus” is a person so “you can be pro-life and pro-choice”), obfuscation (informing women that a fetus is a child is a voilation of a women’s right to choose murder in ignorance), and bad theology/science (see the SLED http://www.heartlink.org/beavoice/A000000559.cfm ). The church is “an evil arch-conservative” simply because the creators of this perception want you to believe it.

    IMO, this perception *cannot* be fixed by acting more mercifully because no matter what good we do, it will be spun into evil or support for “the theology of tolerance” against faithful Catholics. That has been the experience of the Pro-Life movement over the last forty years, and frankly the experience of all theology since the creation of man. Man had a tendency to read evil, anger, and indifference into God’s mercy and it has shown up in countless religions. As Jesus states, as his servants we shouldn’t expect to be treated better than God has been.

    Getting back to the quote, the problem is not that what the Pope proposes is an invalid cure. The problem is that it is a dangerous one. If you tell an anorexic that you shouldn’t eat too much, or a slothful person that you shouldn’t work too hard, you’re making valid statements, but in the context of the person, you are encouraging their illness.

    The Church today is suffering from an excess of sloth, and anorexia for the harder teaching of sexual morality. It is not need to encourage these vices, even if ones intentions are not to do so.

  17. John654 says:

    I just don’t like hearing grave matter (abortion, homosexuality, contraception) minimized. Yes God is full of love and mercy but these thing are a great offense to Him and should not be minimized by anyone no less the Pope. This is what causes the turmoil when Pope Francis speaks.

  18. John654 says:

    Great point anilwang

    Getting back to the quote, the problem is not that what the Pope proposes is an invalid cure. The problem is that it is a dangerous one. If you tell an anorexic that you shouldn’t eat too much, or a slothful person that you shouldn’t work too hard, you’re making valid statements, but in the context of the person, you are encouraging their illness.”

  19. Louis Tully says:

    “…he’s saying the church must also speak out more on other problems, such as chronic poverty”.

    I’ve seen this in multiple places now (including Charlie Rose’s interview with Card. Dolan), but Francis didn’t mention poverty at all in the interview! Look for this as a sign of the “Virtual Francis”: references to “fighting poverty” or “social justice” that are completely fabricated.

  20. mike cliffson says:

    Folks,people take for granted that what their schoolteachers and the enemedia etc have told them all their lives is true. A typical “christian” apparently, because THEY said so! ,is the nutjob Norweigan masskiller Britvark or whatever the name was. We have to be aware of this, and not assume , as the Holy Father has said , that things will sorter adjust backwards of themselves. It is less often willed invincible ignorance than seems to us. We can pray that divine providence so move things, and make sure on principle the truth is somewhere available on the public square, but we can’t humanly expect too much – postmoderns/boomers and generations since are INOCULATED against truth ! and , well, hmm,maybe get involved in some”lio”(more in the hassle than the mess sense, but who knows!)

  21. Cosmos says:


    You said, “the problem is not that what the Pope proposes is an invalid cure. The problem is that it is a dangerous one. If you tell an anorexic that you shouldn’t eat too much, or a slothful person that you shouldn’t work too hard, you’re making valid statements, but in the context of the person, you are encouraging their illness.”

    A cure only makes sense in the context of the disease. I would say that speaking about over-eating in a room of anorexics is offering a cure without a disease, but that is semantics. I think we both agree that advice on over-eating is hypothetically useful in a differnt context, but my point was that the alternate context does not exist in this case. To stretch your hypothetical to absurdity, its like lecturing a group anorexics on overeating in Ethiopia.

    I also agree that this is exactly why this whole approach is–as you say–dangerous because it offers a cure that actually makes the disease worse. Basically its either naive or tacitcally disingenuous (jesuitical).

  22. mike cliffson says:

    anilwang : 100%! Start writing a comment; when posting , find above someone has said much the same better and more pithily.Fr Longenecker has made a similar point – historically catholic countries know about sin, it’s in their abc as it were , whereas there’s an Anglosphere society where you can’t take it for granted .

  23. ASD says:

    In my neck of the woods it’s not clear that feminists have any reason to fear Pope Francis, or anybody else. AFAIK, they’re running this diocese & all her neighbors.

    E.g., it is not possible to attend an OF Mass here that doesn’t include at least 3 or 4 changes to text of the Missal per feminist diktat. E.g., “for us men & our salvation” is changed by priests et al to “for us & our salvation.”

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  25. anna 6 says:

    Not to mention the fact that the message was being given to that archconservative order, The Jesuits.

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