Wherein Fr. Z asks readers to offer the Fishwrap some constructive help

fishwrapFirst, here is a link to something that I posted some time ago: HERE

Once again the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap) is stumping in favor of the ordination of women to the priesthood.  This is what the Fishwrap does: they dissent from the Church’s teaching on important, defined matters of faith (e.g., reservation of Holy Orders to males) and morals (e.g., sinfulness of homosexual acts).  They want to change the Church in a fundamental way.  They don’t want a mere change of tone.  They want to remake the Church into something that it has never been and can never be and still be the Catholic Church founded by Christ.

This time, Fishwrap has a fulsome piece linking Dorothy Day and her work for the poor, plus her influence down to our day and, ergo, women’s ordination.  Compelling, huh?

The fever-swamp which is their comment box over there is just getting revved up on this one.  It is likely to get pretty nasty over there, quickly.

NSR/Fishwrap posts a lot of nonsense.  They occasionally post something good (usually not written by any of their writers, but… hey!).   When years ago the local bishop where their HQ is located told them not to use “Catholic” in their title, it was well deserved.

However, being an optimist, and recognizing that soon we will need all hands on deck, I hope either for 1) their conversion (preferred) or their 2) downfall (acceptable).

Therefore, we should 1) pray for them and 2) not let them off the hook.

If you have the stomach for it, and access to a cleansing bath or shower after, take a look at comments under the entries at Fishwrap (e.g., HERE).  You will be horrified, I’m sure, by the dissent, the petty nastiness, the calumny, based mostly on cowardice.  Most, the nastiest post, with anonymity.  And all manner of personal attacks are fair game, including some of the most un-Christian lies and name calling I have ever seen.

I noticed on “rules” (hah) for their combox and interesting directive:

If you see something objectionable, please click the “Report abuse” button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.


Wouldn’t it be interesting if faithful Catholics took them at their word and started flagging “objectionable” comments?

Let’s take them at their word.

Faithful Catholics object to lies, defamation, and lack of charity, dissent from the Church’s teachings on faith and morals, etc.  If we see objectionable things in their combox, we should use that option to report it for their investigation.

There is a way to “flag” comments.  You go to the top right corner of a comment and click the arrow and a small menu drops down.


I am at times accused by Fishwrappers of sending people over there to disrupt things.  I don’t recall even having done that.  However, right now I am willing to ask readers here to go over there and offer the sort of constructive help they claim they are open to receiving.

Perhaps if enough people flag enough “objectionable” comments, they will finally monitor their comments with an eye to fairness, charity, decorum and fidelity to the Catholic faith.

I can see some of you rolling your eyes and chuckling.

If they say that they will “investigate”, let’s help them out and give them those areas of concern that merit investigation.  Perhaps if they knew how bad things were over there, they would take steps to make corrections.

Let’s help them out.

Meanwhile, I ask those to comment on this blog to think before posting and not to imitate the Fishwrap.

The moderation queue is ON.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Fr, you’ve organized a war today. [I’m just trying to be of help.]

  2. stephen c says:

    As someone who hopes to have many happy grandchildren, I second all suggestions to those who post on the internet to “think before posting”. God wants us to love each other and understand each other: there are few things sadder than the picture of some happy parent giving a happy child a computer, followed by another picture of that same child, immeasurably older, in moments of anger or in moments of ephemerally enjoyable self-righteousness, using that same computer, or one just like it, to waste precious hours on earth, in some sad basement or some sad lonely living room with a computer connection, to say the most hurtful things they can think of about others (often other Christians!!!). While it is always a good thing when one Christian, out of love, suggests to another Christian that there is another way to think about an issue that is subject to prudential dispute, the internet can be an extremely awful temptation to those who – often through no fault of their own – were naturally unkind before their conversion and who may regress, even while firmly believing they are “fighting the good fight”, to a pre-Christian state of mind where empathy and love are gone and empty heartless victory, even a victory that seems Christian, is all that they want to enjoy and dream about. Anyway, years ago I decided never again to read America (the Jesuit magazine, even though I have a Jesuit education) or the National Catholic Reporter, not because of issues like “ordination for women” but because I really really do not want unborn children to suffer and I feel really sad when I am around people who do not feel that way. I don’t want to insult people who are comfortable with “pro-choice” politicians and “pro-choice” spouses I just want to cry for them. I really don’t think God, who obviously wants me to be pro-life, wants me to spend time thinking up effective insults to hurt the feelings of the America crowd and the National Catholic Reporter crowd. Pray for them , offer up suffering for them – someday this awful situation has to get better.

  3. wmeyer says:

    Correcting errors is a spiritual act of mercy, is it not? I did what I could over there, but my gorge began to rise.

    I shall pray for their conversion.

    [If we want to clean up a charnel house, we are going to get dirty.]

  4. Ann Malley says:

    @Fr. Reader,

    Father Z hasn’t organized a war today. He has rather rallied the often discouraged and too often oblivious troops to engage the enemy where they may so as to stave off the bold and unchallenged forays of those who have been warring against the Church since its inception.

    Time for the troops to remember they are capable of fighting.

    [Do I hear an “Amen!”? C’mon, people! UP! FORWARD!]

  5. Ann Malley says:

    @ stephen c.

    I don’t doubt that the Pharisees were put off being called Whited Sepulchers or that those rejecting Our Lord were offended at being called Sons of the Devil. Too often, it seems, that those Catholics who could do good by speaking out seek shelter under the guise of not wanting to hurt the “feelings” of others.

    This is not to say that one should seek to hurt people’s feelings. But the misdirected sensibilities of those who profess to be Christian while finding a comfort zone with abortion and the like, is a clarion call for justice – at least for those Christians who have the stomach to engage the enemy in this fashion.

    A battle field is an ugly and dirty place, stephen. The Crucifixion was not pretty.

    But merely weeping for others is not the answer.[Who said anything about “merely”?] Grace builds upon nature and we only know what we’ve been taught. So while you hope for grandchildren and pray, remember too that all things are used to the good when one loves God. Don’t stay out of the battle for fear of doing something untoward. Unless you know the situation to present a very clear occasion of serious sin for you.

    Otherwise, like the “women” of Jerusalem you can merely sit by weeping for yourself and your children. [Again with the “merely”.] But the manly response, the response of a ChurchMilitant, like that of the Apostles, is to go forward and speak the truth. That is not insulting.

    Perhaps it is a lack of understanding the Faith that leads others to believe falsely that speaking the truth clearly requires personal insult. Perhaps it is just that the enemy when countered loves to cry foul and claim personal insult where there is none.

    “Pray for them , offer up suffering for them – someday this awful situation has to get better.”

    Someday is going to be far longer in coming if those with the truth won’t “suffer” the fear of being thought hateful in speaking the truth to these poor, misguided souls. So, yes, pray for them. But also pray for yourselves that you can glean the strength of Almighty God to speak out when needs must and not simply avoid going to Jerusalem because defying the High Priest and speaking the truth may be insulting, because the suffering of thinking oneself “mean” (that’s nothing but listening to the enemy) is too much to bear, and that the only alternative is to weep and cry.

    We’ll be truly weeping and crying when our children ask one day why we did NOTHING to engage the enemy, but rather sat limply by the side not wanting to “seem” cruel.

    [Determining the effective way to act is not always easy. Sure, we always have the option of charging in and saying something right, correct, come hell or high water. However, if our objective is to lead, help others to conversion, is that the right plan? In ancient rhetoric (as in the military) one is trained to determine what the desired outcome is and then to develop the strategy achieve that goal. Again, this is not always easy to determine. For example, I might, as the guy who runs this blog, make an observation that sometimes the tone in your comments is abrasive. Will that free-standing observation suffice for an adjustment? Probably not. Maybe to achieve my goal I could adopt another tack, which might take some time and patience to reflect on.]

  6. Kerry says:

    Goodness! What a tunnel of spittle and invective. The TV attorneys would be screaming, “Assuming facts not in evidence!!” More than several time I read words to the effect, “I don’t care what he said, this is what he meant”, he being Cardinal Burke. I flagged mostly for name calling. Can not commenters there rise above scorn to at least thin, Shakespearean witty insults?

  7. aviva meriam says:

    I am STUNNED by the staggering lack of understanding of Catholic beliefs and doctrine.

    This comments feed is demonstrable proof of the dangerously poor level of understanding of Catholicism. People do not know their faith, and yet SCREAM and ACT with passion defending what they erroneously believe is right. What will it take for the Bishops to accept that the sheep are headed down a horrendous path due to the failures of the pats 50 years?


  8. aviva meriam says:

    Minor correction: when I wrote that the comments feed is demonstrable proof of the dangeorusly poor level of understanding of Catholicism, I was referring to the comments feed on the NCR article. NOT the comments feed HERE.

    I was and remain sickened by what those people wrote, in part because they truly believe with passion the errors to which they cling.

    Praying for them. WOW.

  9. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Among comboxes on ‘Catholic’ websites, NCRep’s is by far the most vile. Say, while I’m here, this sentence of yours, Pater, “Most the nastiest post with anonymity.” is a work of art.

    [Many thanks. Although, I must admit, I had hit my quota of commas, already, by the time I put that in, there. “Whatever”, quoth I, channelling my inner-relativist, and, let fly, anyway. (You can see why, I’ll bet, I ran out of commas, yesterday.)]

  10. Gilbert Fritz says:

    It could well be that those folks over there are not people in the usual sense at all, but a bunch of trolls and double agents. Various entities and organizations hire large crews to spend their whole time on internet blogs and forums.

  11. Ben Yanke says:

    [CTRL] + [F], “RAY”, enter.

    Flag all.

    Problem solved.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  12. stephen c says:

    Thanks, Ann Malley, for reading my comment and for your energetic answer, which was full of truths that people need to hear. That being said, someone needs to tell you that you should never mock a man for saying he wants to cry over the plight of determinedly unrepentant sinners – unless, of course, you know him well and are certain that the man in question is weak at heart (and you have no way of knowing whether I am or not – although, for the record, after 20 years in the military and as a lifetime member of the VFW who knows very well what it is like to hear the sound of guns fired in anger and to keep on working regardless, I don’t often hear suggestions that I am not tough, and the insults you wove into your comment kind of amused me….) . True, the women of Jerusalem cried, to little avail, but the invincible leader of the Church Militant cried over Jerusalem, too. Ann, I liked very much the way you explained, better than I could, that when God gives us the grace to tell people what they are, and what they are doing wrong, in a loving fashion , we do not insult them. Finally, when someone says that, to combat evil, prayer and the offering up of sufferings is necessary – that person is probably not someone who deserves to be insulted. Anyway, my friend, I will give you the last word, if you like, (assuming the continuing hospitality of Father Zuhlsdorf) and will pray that you continue to fight on the side of the angels.

  13. Ann Malley says:

    @stephen C

    There is no mocking involved in commenting on a desire to weep while branding (albeit inadvertently) what Fr. Z has asked for as merely thinking up effective insults) . All human beings exhibit those traits which are classified as more feminine and others that are more masculine.

    Men, in fact, do weep. Those who can are all the stronger for it. Women, when needs must, pick up arms and are rather protective. (Think mother bear scenario.) But, while I appreciate the depth of your woeful response, something that does require sensitivity and recourse to the Lord, it is also critical to not lose that fortitude required to do what needs must when needs require. This can happen swiftly when what Fr. Z has called for is not “beginning a war” or “hurling insults.”

    Having said that, THANK YOU for your service. Being both daughter and wife of war veterans – my father was in WWII, my husband risking life and limb in the ME multiple times – I understand, at least from what you’ve explained, perhaps the stage in life wherein you may be led to believe that weeping and not “hurling” insults is what is called for. I respect that. What I take issue with is the insinuation that there is only one seasonal way to respond to our current situation. Life and the Lord may indeed be calling “you” to a more contemplative approach to this scenario, but as the arms are already drawn and on the table, taking aim at Our Lord, and at our children, the very real need to engage (whether we like it or not) will not prevent the battle. Insinuating that engaging the enemy is something the Lord wouldn’t want is not helpful.

    That battle is already upon us. That’s why I commented the way I did to Fr.Reader. Fr. Z isn’t beginning a war. He’s rousing the troops. Why? The hour is at hand. They’re here.

    That said, you have my apologies for whatever offense I may have given you. Your words, “I really don’t think God, who obviously wants me to be pro-life, wants me to spend time thinking up effective insults to hurt the feelings of the America crowd and the National Catholic Reporter crowd,” is something with which I take umbrage.

    Why? Because, whether you believe it or not, the less-than-vigorous response to these times in which we’re living, the very same that increasingly requires a firm countering is too often met with what is perceived to be the better portion. Polite manners. The very same that attempts to paint Fr. Z’s email here as somehow provoking a lack of charity when it, in truth, does the opposite.

    You may not be prepared to engage anymore in this arena, but others must.

    And, Fr. Z, thank you for putting up with my abrasive posts. Your tolerance is appreciated. At the same time, while I agree that oftentimes a gentler approach, one that is patiently thought out, does not always work to sway opinion. Not even in the righteous direction. That is why we are all given different personality types which engage different personality types in a variety of modes.

    So you have my deepest apologies for engaging with the word “merely”. And, yes, I used that word multiple times. To insult? No. To draw a contrast? Yes.

    I didn’t read anywhere in your column here the call for “inventing and hurling insults” for the point of hurting people’s feelings. That’s what I was responding to, Father.

    Again, I am glad for your measured responses. And the thought involved regarding what it takes to lead. But that’s why you’re the lead here and I am not. I’m merely one of the sheep, much like those who would prefer not to insult. But those rejecting the rationale call to pick up arms (that is the Truth and engage where they can) I find in need of reminding that there is a time for all things.

  14. frjim4321 says:

    I get the joke but do we really want people hitting our Honorable Host with more monkey business?

    [That is kind. Thank you. However, you should know that what I receive in my email is beyond imagination. I get incredibly vile hate mail. All of it is from what one might stamp as “liberals”. Most of it concerns matters of sexual inclinations. This has been going on for many years now. I am immune to it, and find it both contemptible and worthy of pity. And with very few exceptions it is anonymous. That said, I have few regular emailers whose IP addresses have helped me ferret out. I have them filed away.]

  15. frjim4321 says:

    That is sad.

  16. KateD says:

    If the imagery of battle and troops is unappealing, think of it as administering to the sick, as some wise person suggested. These flesh and blood people are not our enemy (yes, even the trolls), but our brothers and sisters in Christ, who have become unrecognizable by the wounds they have sustained on the battlefield. Ask any nurse how unpleasant people can be when they are sick. They are unbearable! But we don’t leave them to wallow in their filth. We owe it to God to try to clean out the wounds (painful and off putting as it is) as best we can before they fester, get worse and the soul is lost completely.

    Besides, it’s a good test of our progress. Do we, like Mother Teresa when the baker spit in her face, wipe it off, say thank you for the gift and humbly continue with Jesus’ work, or do we spit right back in his face and put up our dukes?

    Engaging with people in this way is an invaluable tool in that it not only helps them, but ultimately helps me. It points out where my weaknesses are so that I can work on them here and now, rather than being purged of them, forcibly, later on.

  17. KateD says:

    BTW. They have closed comments for the weekend….

  18. Jackie L says:

    I went over there today, and comments are off for the weekend, funny and sad.

  19. un-ionized says:

    Stephen c, what you said has a lot of value. I can’t argue with people, just having come back from several years of slander and abuse by people who should know better. But I find I can still pray and that is what scripture appears to say counts the most. I have witnessed what you write about and it is better to pray in silence than to become something lesser, using our righteousness as an excuse. I leave that to people who actually are righteous! Even I know how to pray though. Even I can do that!

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