ASK FATHER: Which superhero would you be?

From a reader… some lighter fare.


Sometimes I see faithful, traditional priests as heroes. That word might be overused today, but that’s how I see it. They work in obscurity and take a lot of hard knocks and keep going. Then there are the priests who are not invisible but are very visible and take tremendous beatings and risks to defend the Church’s teaching and traditions. You guys are like superheroes.

So, which superhero would you be like if you could choose?

Amusing.  Okay, I’ll bite.

When I was really young I ran down the sidewalk with a red cape. That might be a hint.

On a more serious note, I can’t remember where or when it was but someone once told me that I was like “a cross between Kung Fu Panda and Wolverine.”

I’m trying to envision that as I type.

Yep… that works.

Some might think that my superpower is the ability to irritate even the most unflappable. While I can roll with that, my other superpowers seem to be the uncanny ability to find really good 小籠饅頭 as well as to rip liberals to shreds.

Here is shot from my last trip to NYC… just to prove my point.

xiao long bao


I might seem to the average reader as a – how does Rush put it? – “a harmless, lovable little fuzz-ball” but I assure you that this is not the case. In the presence of heterodoxy I transform. In one moment I am a cheerful cleric and then – BAM! – I am transformed into The Meanest Priest In The Entire World. As a matter of fact, I have said that in sermons – especially those that touch on moral issues. I say it straight out: “I’m generally recognized as The Meanest Priest In The Entire World”. Once that is established, I speak my piece, and that piece usually involves the words “Wrong”, “Evil”, “Sin, and “Hell”, spiced up with with sprinklings of “No” and “Can’t”.

Jeff Cooper said, “A gun that is ‘perfectly safe’ is perfectly useless.” That applies to priests too, I think. Especially today. If all we do is affirm you in whatever the hell state of mortal sin or delusion you are living in, then we are useless – no, rather, we do great harm! And we are going to go to Hell for being feckless wastes of time who let souls who could have been helped to heaven slip down to the other place. Sometimes, dear questioner, we have to get up in your face and use the word “No”.

In any event, I am not a tame priest and this blog is not a “safe space”.

The moderation queue is ON.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    This sure is a heavy hitting bit of lighter fare.

  2. xsosdid says:

    “I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid. You’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. ”

    You are Neo, or you should want to be Neo…
    (i.e. from The Matrix)

  3. Thomas Sweeney says:

    As I approach senictitude (i just learned that word today, on if I could be any super hero, I would have loved to have had the skills of Mickey Mantle. And if I could have been a priest, my super hero would have been Father Francis Chisholm, in the novel “Keys of The Kingdom”. I feel sure there are many priests, just like him, out there, but not too many bishops like his. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention John Wayne, my favorite cowboy.

    [As yes… John Wayne…]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  4. Fr. Hamilton says:

    I am really, super disappointed. You used a picture to prove your point about finding really good food. I was just sure that as I continued to scroll down I would find a pic to prove the ripping liberals to shreds part of the claim. No pic?! No remnants of spittle flecked nutty chunks all over the sidewalk? No blood spatter? No clothing abandoned in a pile by some liberal running away from you with such haste that he seems to be an understudy for the young man in Mark’s gospel? No body chalk outline at the national conference of religious? I am seriously disappointed!

    [Patience. Patience. And it is odd that you bring that figure up, for he came up during a conversation with a couple priests tonight at supper. Coincidence?]

  5. joan ellen says:

    Thank you, Fr., for your help in trying to keep me out of hell. Some of us, especially the incorrigibles need a not so tame priest & a “tough space”.

  6. Grumpy Beggar says:

    . . . ” ‘So, which superhero would you be like if you could choose?’

    Amusing. Okay, I’ll bite.

    When I was really young I ran down the sidewalk with a red cape. That might be a hint.”

    Hmmmm . . . Cardinal Burke, maybe ?

    [LOL! Well played.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  7. Charivari Rob says:

    A superpower needs to be… well, “unique” is too high a burden. Let’s just say it needs to be rare.

    The ability to irritate? There are legions of customer service, call center people, people who write assembly instructions, etc… ahead of you.

    I’d have thought you’d see kinship with long-dead whatshisname from New Mutants (Doug Ramsey?) or else use powers like those of Obsidian or Trauma to help the troubled over the top in Confession.

  8. frsbr says:

    As Mr. Beaver once said, “He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”

  9. mo7 says:

    I thinking you’re like Zorro. Defending the Church and its faithful. Except that you leave Fr.Z as marked by your sword wherever you go.

    [Funny you should mention that. This was sent to me a long time ago. Fr. Z as ZORRO! It works, doesn’t it.]

    FR Z as Zorro

  10. Kent Wendler says:

    My thinking is this: someone who is a peer to prelapsarian Adam. Consider: there is no reason to think that God’s original (6 day) Creation is any smaller than the presently observable universe, and God gave Adam and Eve stewardship over it all. (I think Genesis can be read that way.) Now, unless God was “puffing” them (a kind of lie) He must have provided them with the faculties to exercise this stewardship – (to borrow from an old TV show) “powers and abilities far above…” all the modern comic book super-persons lumped together.

    And the best part of this is: we actually can have this. We just have to accept God’s salvation.

  11. pseudomodo says:

    This is truly awesome. A super hero.

    There are so many possibilities and I had all the comics from the 50’s 60’s.

    Of course one of the ones I am sort of attracted to is of recent vintage- that being Hellboy but only because he is purported to be Catholic as he is often depicted as carrying a rosary.

    There is actually a website that divulges the religious affiliation of various Superheroes.

    But my favorite superhero is the one that is head and shoulders above the rest as far as powers go, nevertheless he would be considered as an unlikely superhero, an underdog. Fat, lazy, plain, no cape.

    His name? Herbie Popnecker!

    however on second thought my favorite rock solid mans man is a catholic priest and his name was Adrian Fortesque. There was a man who lived a life. And he probably did own a cape!

    [Come to think of it, lots of priests own capes! Pope Francis might ridicule us, but we have them, and we wear them, and we will continue to wear them.]

  12. TrueDevotions says:

    The end of this piece reminded me of a sentence from Fr Werenfried van Straaten’s (founder of Aid to the Church in Need) Spiritual Guidelines where he speaks of the need to avoid “all influence of neomodernist and false doctrines”.

    “In doing so, we should remember that Christ will always be a sign of contradiction. It is impossible to proclaim His Gospel in such a way that no-one is offended, except by suppressing certain truths. This is impermissible and can be of no advantage to our organisation. For anyone who writes or preaches in terms so veiled as not to offend will also be unable to console or to inspire. In today’s spiritual confusion, to which there is no end yet in sight, we must offer the faithful clarity, security, consolation and courage.”

    God’s blessings for the new year

    [I spent an evening with him once. A zealous man, to be sure.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  13. SanSan says:

    refreshing Father!

  14. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    “How can I ever thank you for putting our liturgy right? What is your name?”

    “Oh, it doesn’t matter.”

    “Wow, Thanks, O’yit Dozenmatter.

    “What? Oh, just remember: Say the Black, Do the Red”

    “Ok., O’yit Dozenmatter.”

    The Cappa-d Crusader runs off to his Sedelia, and is whisked off to fight yet another liturgical crime.

  15. Lucas Whittaker says:

    Our family pastor is also a long-time military chaplain. For me the military connection evokes the phrase “unsung heroes” fighting for our [spiritual] freedom. “In my book”, any priest who identifies with our Lord, and who is, to borrow that other military phrase, “being all that they can be”, truly is a hero, whether he has a cape, a cope ([pluviale] this “raincoat” bearing particular resemblance to a hero’s cape because it can be for use outdoors in wet weather), or maybe only an ordinary white collar. Gratias tibi ago!

  16. MitisVis says:

    Oh how I would love to see a swarm of Caped Crusaders descend on this diocese, but we are hardly a speck in the Vatican’s eye… So Fr. ZorroWayne keeps us going with razor sharp in your face mirth and an occasional pilgrim call out.

  17. Art says:

    I was thinking Fr. Z heading a the Vatican’s liturgical crimes unit going about like ‘The Bishop’:

  18. spock says:

    Instead of the guy with the red cape, be someone tougher like the guy with the beard a.k.a Chuck Norris.

    When Superman goes to bed at night, he wears Chuck Norris pajamas.

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