America Magazine interview with Fr. Z

Today is a great day among Jesuits.

It is the 200th Anniversary of the Restoration of the Society of Jesus.

As you may know, the Society had been, for a while, suppressed.

To mark this day, the Jesuit-run America Magazine has published an interview.  With me.

Well… it could be just a coincidence, but I’d like to think that this is America‘s way of celebrating the 200th anniversary.  You decide.

BTW… they edited it a bit, so you don’t get one full question/answer.  I’ll let you wonder about the “what” and “why”.

I don’t usually advertise the media things I do.  “Hey! I’m going to be on TV!”… nah…. not so much.  This time is a little different. Suffice to say that, in all sincerity, I was pleased that they reached out to me with this, as I take it, olive branch.

[ 11 Aug: Since I first wrote that, I have modified my view.]

For the interview go HERE.

¡Hagan lío!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Olive Branches, What Fr. Z is up to, You must be joking! and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. BTW… Moderation queue is ON.

  2. Bea says:

    Hi Father Z.
    I just came from reading it. In fact I read it before I logged on here.
    I can only imagine what they left out, but it was a great interview.
    There were only 2 commentators at the time. I expect many more.
    As a priest who always shot from the hip with bullets of Truth once said: “When you’re getting flack, you know you’re over the target.”
    Of course, you won’t be surprised.
    The very first commenter obviously never read Thomas Aquinas’ SUMMA that says the state has a right to protect its’ citizens even to the point of the Death Penalty.
    They also don’t seem to realize that it is not your views that you are espousing but what the Church Teaches
    Great interview, Father.
    Loved your last topic/admonition. “Go to Confession”
    You were very gentle with the Bishops.
    They don’t realize how they are starving us and that’s why we are here; because you feed us.

    Thank you Father Z.

  3. Elizabeth D says:

    ?!?! Wow. I am really happy to see this. America Magazine has started to become interesting. Good job America Mag, you might start to get new and more diverse subscribers.

    “That doesn’t mean we have to be mealy-mouthed, perpetually grinning.” We don’t have to be Fr James Martin! [Now now…] Is that mean? He is famous enough he can deal with me saying that.

    Your final thoughts… A+.

  4. capchoirgirl says:

    Best part: “I don’t accept your premise.” LOL!

  5. Mike says:

    Very fine interview.
    It expressed (rather, you expressed) what is really my experience of this blog and why I go back to it every day: insight, piety, wit, laughs, deadly serious concerns, prayer requests, exhortations to get to Confession, good food and wine, Scripture, Tradition, and not least, ammo updates.
    Editors of America: take note.

  6. DetJohn says:

    I clicked on the link and it came up site under maintenance.

  7. Charles E Flynn says:

    Smart move to provide your own photo.

    [They asked me for one. I sent several. They chose that.]

  8. lsclerkin says:

    Glory be to the Fort Wayne track, as a great aunt of mine would say.
    A fair and edifying interview of Fr. Z in America Magazine.
    Nunc dimittis.

  9. Monica says:

    Gracious and interesting responses to the interviewer’s questions. There is much more to (positively) comment upon, but your good sense does become more apparent over years of reading, Father!
    Promotion of the sacrament of Confession is one of the greatest gifts in the ‘arsenal.’ Thank you for that, Father.

  10. vox borealis says:

    I read here every day but don’t comment so often anymore. Anyway, what a nice interview, even if it was (apparently) edited in a couple of places. The questions seemed generally fair and not *too* leading, and the answers..well, bravo.

  11. Facta Non Verba says:

    Well done, Father!

  12. StnyPtGuy says:

    Excellent interview, Father.
    One wonders … as America is a Jesuit magazine, and the various SJ publications around the world tend to share articles with one another, that this interview may be sent to one of the Italian or Spanish-language SJ publications, and it may come to the attention of the World’s Highest Ranking Jesuit … just an idea, of course.

  13. Terrific interview, Father. I can’t believe they let so much through!

    You sounded like an actual Catholic priest talking about actual Catholic stuff, plus you have a collar on in the photo. What on earth is that interview doing in a US Jesuit magazine? [Now now….]

    There will be (non-fatal) coronaries among the readership, and doubtless also grinding of dental plates. A good thing.

  14. And now – the suppressed paragraph of the Fr Z interview, purloined from his tablet via Chinese spy satellite:

    Gosh darn you Jesuits. Who do you think you are, with your birth-control preaching ways, and your utter failure to honour your central charism of obedience? If you guys had done your job back in the 1960s, we wouldn’t be in this mess now. So may I ask you right now, with respect: just how do America’s Jesuits plan to do penance for their misdeeds, neglect and political correctness of the past 40 years? I would be recommending something public, for starters. Possibly involving sackcloth. And a live feed via my blog for the Catholics of the world to watch.

    I can’t understand why this paragraph was cut.

    [No. And this is nowhere near like what was cut.]

  15. Did you talk about your gun, or about bacon – did they cut that? [No. No.]

  16. Siculum says:

    I think it’s great that America featured Fr. Z, overall. Even as it appears, it is an A+, like another commenter said, and I hope that maybe its substance will help at least one more soul out there, God willing.

    And, with that, a big Z-type “Ooorah” to the accurate representation of this blog as being priestly ministry.

  17. Hans says:

    That would appear to be reasonably chivalrous editing on the part of America‘s editors; it actually reads like a reasonable facsimile of Fr. Z. My old boss back from my undergraduate days, for example, was quoted years later about the discovery of and search for new high-temperature superconductors in one of those major weekly news magazines (when there were such), so I called him up to see how that had come about. He said that he had spoken to the reporter for over two hours, and the only thing they used was that his students had moved a cot into the lab so they wouldn’t have to leave; however, he told me that even that was inaccurate. (There was a cot even in my day, because a lot of work was done at night to avoid problems such as extraneous ‘noise’ in the power circuits, and simply because some experiments could take most of a day.)

    Anyway, I appreciate your regular emphasis on confession! It is one of the things that reminds me to include similar reminders when I preach, when it follows (which is more often than I had anticipated prior to ordination).

  18. Geoffrey says:

    America magazine publishes an interview with Pat Buchanan, and now Fr Z? My head is spinning…

  19. mrbuccola says:

    Now that’s a seriously nice “¡hacer de lío!”

  20. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I am glad that you mentioned that internet work, for priests, is ministry. There is this silly idea that not having a full time parish job means a priest is not doing ministry, when a busy internet priest is as busy as any parish priest. The difference of internet ministry is that your flock doesn’t get in a car to see you in an office, but they do approach and they do have every spiritual ailment under the sun that needs attending to.

  21. Reconverted Idiot says:

    ‘That was, by the way, the first instance of “online ministry.” ‘

    I chortled. Good one.

  22. incredulous says:

    Obviously they didn’t hear about your second LCWR rejection in a row. Perhaps the fine sisters can correct the error of America Magazine by informing the editors of your status as an official soviet inspired “non-person.” America wouldn’t be able to do anything about printed articles that have been distributed, but they can “disappear” any of the electronic forms of the article.

    Nice interview and the funny thing is your blog has actually introduced more ham radio and Glock talk back into my life than I’ve had in 7 years. Strange evangelization indeed. Father Z certainly has no compunction about that sheep smell he wears…

    To the direct point of Catholic teaching and theology, I love your ICEL comparisons. I would have never even consider such a thing of interest without your blog. Further, you, Father Larry, Voris and even Doctor Hahn have really made me see my weaknesses as a Catholic man. I cannot reinforce enough that perhaps even weekly confession is the most effective antibiotic a Catholic man (or woman) has against himself and the diabolical. Thank you.

  23. Gregg the Obscure says:

    While that article probably won’t get your biggest-ever audience, it will get to some folks who wouldn’t otherwise have known about you and your work. I especially hope it will get some people to examine their own consciences and go to confession.

  24. acardnal says:

    As a Jesuit, there’s a good chance Pope Francis reads “America.” Perhaps a curial appointment is in Fr. Z’s future!

  25. donboyle says:

    It was good to see the bit about your dissertation. Could you give us updates on how that’s going?Those of us who thought of going to grad school, but didn’t, would be interested in the process. God bless you in seeing it to the end!

  26. Magash says:

    I note the interview was very well done and fair on the part of America. The comments, not so much. Still I have seen much worse in the Tablet or the National (non)-Catholic Reporter. A lot of comments showing those involved view Church teaching as a matter of perspective rather than dogma. No surprise there.
    Over all a worthy use of time to read and thank you for pointing it out to us.

  27. Awesome interview.
    I had to chuckle at some comments, “Fr. Z’s followers and cheer leaders tend to show up everywhere to turn sincere dialogue into a mud fest and skew poll results.” And then, as some of us women will do, she just couldn’t stop, “I don’t find Fr. Z (or his followers) repulsive. Just misguided. Brother Sean certainly reached out. I hope we can sort it all out. Do you suppose Fr. Z will “repent”???”

    Someone else jumped in, another woman, with, “Beth, I join you in your concerns. Fr. Z and his followers tend to be among the most disruptive and, let’s be honest, hateful, commenters in the Catholic blogosphere.” AND, “The readers of his site who go to other sites at his not-so-veiled suggestion to disrupt discussions are usually more than rude – they are all too frequently ugly in their comments – un-christian. ”

    I guess when Jesus took out the bull-whip, he was disruptive and rude…just down right un-christian

    Oh God, please clean up the mess!

  28. Pingback: Father Z’s interview in America Magazine! | Foolishness to the world

  29. Actually, considering that crowd, pretty even-handed and actually complimentary. Guess the intern hasn’t had all the orthodox chips pulled off his board and replaced with the Standard Company Issue viewpoint filters yet.

    All in all, though, quite illuminating to read. I never tire of participating in this virtual ‘parish’ under your leadership. Would that such in the ‘real’ vice ‘virtual’ space was as fulfilling.

  30. Allan Gillis says:

    Perhaps I fail here in charity… (to put it as gracefully as did Fr. Z in the interview) but I just read the interview AND the comments. To put it succinctly – some of those distressed souls are having “SPITTLE-FLECKED NUTTIES” over there! Father Z – I thank Almighty God for you and how you have pounded it into my head that I’m a sinner and need God’s graces – especially the graces received in confession and penitence. You call me to a higher self. I salute you and pray for you daily!

  31. Del says:

    Wonderful participation in the New Evangelization by America!

    For a long time now, Jesuits have come in two distinct flavors. I have much enjoyed my edification by great Jesuits such as Frs. John Hardon, James Schall, and Mitch Pacwa.

    America Magazine would do well to represent both sides of the Church, as it were. Orthodox Catholics would like to understand the thoughts of the progressive side, if we could find an articulate voice that respects us.

  32. lmo1968 says:

    I don’t know that Jesus told us to bring out the bullwhip to our fellow Christians, but he did say “blessed are the peacemakers ” so it is good to see these steps toward reconciliation from America and Fr. Z.

  33. CSED says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z. Well done!

  34. lizaanne says:

    “I know of couples who met and married through the various internet initiatives I’ve been involved with. ”

    So very pleased to be one of those couples!!
    Thank you for your ministry, Father!

    Excellent article – and the combox is …… entertaining. ;-)

  35. LarryW2LJ says:

    Great job, Fr. Z!

    I really loved the comments section. I didn’t realize how “misguided” I was until I read them. ;-)

  36. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Good interview.

  37. JMody says:

    Fr. Z –
    to answer the question you posed, were I the interviewer I would have wanted to ask something about the WDTPRS column and translations and Latin and your discussions of “Do the Black/Say the Red” (I got that backwards, right?). You managed to slip in a few Latin exclamations, and remarks about traditionalism that hinted at the EF Mass, and its rarity and de facto suppression, but to read this article, it seems the interviewer had no curiosity about this WHATSOEVER. This would be due to either a catastrophic and near-debilitating lack of mental ability and curiosity, or deliberate editing.

    While the Jesuits may be all over the map in terms of their orthodoxy, one still cannot accuse them of lacking mental ability, high standards of education for the society members, or lacking curiosity (rather the opposite in the last case, there). Therefore, I presume the omitted exchange dealt with Latin language, the OF/EF Mass/liturgical situation, and the role that (deliberately?) poor translation has in falling Mass attendance, catechetical quality, faith, Catholic identity and life, influence of the Church in the world today, etc. etc.

  38. OrthodoxChick says:

    I enjoyed the interview too.

    The comments over there are a hoot! A handful of them are complaining about how rude and hateful Fr. Z’s commenters are. Yet one of them commends America magazine for doing the work of reconciliation by reaching out to those whom the commenter finds “repulsive”. Another commenter over there runs down a litany of Fr. Z. shalt nots, but hey, it’s cool. It’s fine to judge a Catholic priest who is loyal to the Magisterium, as long as we refrain from judging dissidents and sinners. To do such is bullying and not very – nice. Nope, those positions aren’t the least bit rude or hateful. Not hypocritical either.

    Matthew 7: 3-6 anyone??

    BTW, what is the circulation rate of America magazine? It’s older than Fr. Z.’s blog, but I’d be surprised if it is read daily by as many people as Fr. Z’s. Was this “olive branch” summer series of theirs really their way of reaching out to the wayward, hard-identity Catholics? Or was it just as likely an attempt to get some of us to read their magazine and bump up their numbers?

  39. Suburbanbanshee says:

    America Magazine also put up that podcast of the speech by Scott Hahn to start off their Bible talks series. So they are at least trying to be aware of new ideas, and I support that.

  40. yatzer says:

    Having read various leftish comboxes, and received a hope for my rape and gruesome death for making a rather mild prolife statement, I am perplexed that anyone would call your combox contributors hateful. [It’s projection. This is a common phenomenon. When the teaching authority of the Church says, “No, that’s a sin. You remain free, but if you choose it you put your soul in danger!”, they respond that you are hateful and against mercy. Typical.]

  41. JARay says:

    I read the article after being directed there by “New Advent” which I receive every day and I immediately had to come here to see if you yourself had posted that the article was actually in “America”. I read all the comments as well. You certainly have your detractors Father. I thought that the article was quite fair and I do hope that its publication might direct some of our weaker brethren over here. I have my list of websites that I visit and yours certainly is on my list even if I do not always submit a comment. I sometimes think that I spend far too much time browsing on Catholic websites (and others).
    Your website certainly is a ministry and a blessing.

  42. colospgs says:

    Hmmm, I thought Father was in Minnesota, not Wisconsin. I guess I missed something.

  43. Charles E Flynn says:

    It should not have taken me a whole day to figure out that what was cut was the recipe for pan-fried squirrel.

    [Good guess! Wrong, but good. And I miss the Sabine Farm. HERE]

  44. Mike says:

    My guess is that America cut something about Father Z’s conversion story, which, if my memory is correct, is infused with the awesomeness of reverently celebrated liturgy.

    [Another good, but wrong, guess.]

  45. benedetta says:

    An olive branch you say Father? [You are, perhaps, suggesting that they purposely set me up as a target for abuse? If that is the case, shame on them. I hope that wasn’t their motive.]

  46. benedetta says:

    In time, America’s comboxers will recover.

  47. benedetta says:

    No I do not contemplate that motive at all Fr. Z. I was just wondering when you said “olive branch” if indeed this could mean that might expect and enjoy some Catholic solidarity in our shared Catholic identity, on the horizon.

  48. LeeF says:

    Is it fair to venture more than one guess about the topic of the redacted paragraph?

    1) Summorum Pontificum and the growth of the TLM
    2) reading Francis through Benedict

    I doubt that they would want to let you use their platform to espouse your views on either of those topics.

    [Sorry. Neither of those.]

    Very nice final thoughts by you on confession that they let be published.

  49. Salvelinus says:

    Great interview, and that parting statement was my favorite.
    Unfortunately, I scrolled down to read the combox. Big mistake on my part because now I’m seriously perterved… I find it fascinating that many comments complain how rude and “republican? ” fr z and his readers are, only to be followed by really rude personal comments? ? ughh, oh well. I’ll feel better at mass tomorrow I bet

  50. Bea says:

    Another guess on what was omitted from the interview:

    Your canon law quotes on how priests are to dress and behave?

    [Not even in the same neighborhood, much less the same ball park.]

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