ASK FATHER: Varia concerning today’s problems in the Church

Since I am on the road and busy with many times, but since these are pressing issues, allow me to respond, but collectively.

From readers…


Given the rate things are going for this current pontificate, would it be sinful to pray that, if it be God’s will, that the pope either abdicates or dies and a new pope of a more conservative leaning is elected?

I get this often.

No.  It is not necessarily sinful to pray for the end of a pontificate, one way or another.

However, it depends on why and on your attitude.  I urge people not to have hate in their hearts for the person of the Holy Father.  He deserves our prayers.  That doesn’t mean that we have to like him or what he does.  We do NOT worship the Pope.  Popes come and go.  In our prayers, we can, without sinning, discuss with God about His time table.


What are we to do if they reverse the English translation and go back to the other one?  That was so bad.  I can’t go back.  I just can’t.

In the news lately we have gotten signals that a “study” will be undertaken of translations and of the norms of Liturgiam authenticam.   Keep in mind that no translation is perfect.  We are using human language to convey pretty deep things.

I don’t think that any of the powers that be would attempt simply to reverse the implementation of the current ICEL translation.  I suspect that their first (and vicious) attack will be on the rendering of pro multis back to “for all”.  That’s because they a) don’t give that damn that that’s not what pro multis means and b) they don’t believe that there are those who are not saved.

What I think might happen is that they will make various translations “options” which priests can choose from.  That is, after all, what the Novus Ordo is: a rite filled with lots of options.

In any event, if they go down this road, and right now I don’t see anything preventing it, I think it might get pretty ugly.

And they won’t stop there.  Once these dogs are off the leash, they’ll bay and chase down anything that has even the faintest scent of tradition.  Mark my words.   They will be vicious.  They are liberals, after all.  Agere sequitur esse.


The more news I learn about what is happening in Rome and what our Holy Father is doing, the more I teeter on the brink of despair for the future of the Church. I want to believe that Hell cannot prevail against the Church, as Our Lord promised, but it is getting very hard to do so. Some days, I simply want to give up.

Has there ever been a time like this one? What might I do to avoid giving in wholly to despair?

Buck up.  We have magnificent spiritual tools and weapons. And… you are not alone.

You might spend some time reading about the lives of martyrs in different periods of the Church’s long and sometimes bloody history.  Many of them went to their death with joy.  The martyrs are given to us as examples.  They are witnesses.

Also, if what you are reading causes serious anxiety and spiritual suffering, you might consider spending less time reading about current Church news.  If what the Holy Father is doing is causing you great anger or anxiety… ignore him.  Stick to your regular routine of daily prayers.  Perform concrete works of mercy.  Go to Mass.  GO TO CONFESSION!   Ignore the Pope and bishops, except for to pray for them… from afar.

Everyone, close ranks, clean your own houses, sacrifice.

Remember that this is an “ASK FATHER” entry.

The moderation queue is ON.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. RobertK says:

    Not surprised one bit. Everything Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had accomplished is being scrapped. Some have also suggested the Eastern rites. Good option!. The EF form and Ordinariates are also options. But the Eastern rites may be a safer option, considering the attitude towards the EF form and Ordinariates, from these liberals, IMO. But only time will tell.

  2. mimicaterina says:

    I often find what is transpirung in Rome very upsetting. But then I say to myself that 3 things are true: 1) I need the Church, Her Sacraments and the Mass for my own sanctification, 2) Christ is still head of His Church, 3) Christ has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church. And then I offer prayers, usually the Rosary for the Church and the Holy Father. God has allowed the current events in the Church. I cannot fix them, only He can. But I must pray and study the Faith. And I must use these times as opportunities to ask for His grace to grow in faith, hope and charity. The Church has been through very hard times before and survived. We have Scripture, devotions and a long history of incredible heroic saints. We will get through this. But please, please, please pray often for our Church, the Holy Father, cardinals, bishops and priests.

  3. DMorgan says:

    I appreciate your advice to ignore the noise Father. I had to do that for a time. It was just too much. I thought with the election of Pope Benedict we were entering a period of repair. Then the world derailed withhis abdication. I have now become stronger spiritually and can once more pay attention to the scandal de jour without threatening my Faith. This too shall pass.

  4. JARay says:

    For quite some time now I have prayed that the Pope responds to the Dubia in a manner consistent with the timeless teaching of the Church and also that he steps down from the Papacy and goes into retirement. I certainly do not hate the Pope but I do not want him to continue occupying the chair of Peter.

  5. Tom A. says:

    I would also add that this is the perfect time for a concerned Catholics to learn their faith. What we see happening in Rome today was foreseen by other great Popes. Popes like Pope St Pius X. He warned the faithful about the errors of modernism. Anxiety can be a good thing that God uses to move us to action. I have learned more about the Catholic faith these last few years than in all my life. This pontificate is so disturbing that it has led me to investigate for myself the claims and counter claims about what the Church really teaches. I would use this time of anxiety for serious study and of course prayer.

  6. RichR says:

    I needed to read this post so much. Thank you for your wisdom Fr. Z.

    I’d like to add to your advice for people to stick to their personal prayers and devotions: Go buy a traditional hand missal and/or traditional Breviary and pray those privately. Even if your parish does not offer a traditional Mass, you can use these books to reconnect yourself to centuries of saints who heard the same passages of scripture, mass prayers, Collects, and seasonal prayers. Let those prayers be a means of peace and stability.

  7. Angela says:

    Mark 4:35-41 today’s Gospel (NO) brings much peace.

  8. yatzer says:

    “Has there ever been a time like this one? What might I do to avoid giving in wholly to despair?” Thanks for responding so helpfully to this question, Father. I’ve been having the same thoughts about the current state of affairs in the Church.

  9. rtjl says:

    You can always simply pray for effective and holy papal leadership whether by this pope or by some other pope. Nothing sinful there.

    And yes there have been other times like this – and times far worse. I suggest watching the film The Hidden Reblellion,

    This film attempts to show the true face of liberalism as it has always been and the response faithful people can make to it, as well as the cost they sometimes have to be prepared to pay.

    We may or may not be able to influence what happens in our parishes and dioceses but we can always choose what we do ourselves and among our friends. In response to yesterdays news about the commission to “study” liturgiam authtenticam, I am blowing the dust off my Monastic Diurnal and considering expending the effort to learn to use it as properly as I can. I could turn to the Roman Breviary by Baronius Press but the Monastic Dirunal is more affordable and just as firmly rooted in tradition if not more so.

  10. Mike says:

    “[I]gnore the noise”: well restated, DMorgan. One of the tactics of a propaganda campaign is to engulf the targets in a continual cascade of noise. Think of one of Hitler’s or Castro’s stemwinders, or of authoritarian interrogation tactics. Or, on a sadly more prosaic level, of cacophonous implementations of the Novus Ordo.

    It is not incidental that the focus of the traditional Mass is upon an engagement between earth and Heaven, priest and God, in reverential stillness. Nor is it coincidental that the Devil and liberals hate that.

  11. Henry Edwards says:

    “Has there ever been a time like this one? What might I do to avoid giving in wholly to despair?”

    Perhaps someone can remind us of a previous time–if, indeed, there has ever been one–like the past half century, when the most devoted members of the Church were persecuted by so many of their priests and bishops. As Fr. Ray Blake says in his current blog post,

    The experience of many Catholics in this Age of the New Martyrs is one of absolute desolation, there is little consolation coming either from without or within, many feel they have lost faith or faith has become fragile and tenuous, consolation has gone, prayer becomes like wormwood, the Mass a tedious obligation, all we are offered is the Cross: hold fast, what you are living by is real faith, a faith without consolation or warmth just the rough cold unwelcoming wood of the Cross.

  12. Father P says:

    When I was a seminarian in the early 90’s there was supposed to be a new translation ready “any day now”, what was it 20 years later we got one. By the time a new translation of the new translation of the old translation of the provisional translation would actually be accomplished we could have 2 popes and at least 2 more documents on liturgical translations. Though I hear “any day now” there should be a new translation of the Breviary coming out.

  13. Curley says:

    Pope and his advisors sure not behaving like they expect successor to continue these “reforms”. Acting like Obama the week before Trump took office

  14. Lurker 59 says:

    There is going to be a tendency amongst the orthodox to stop praying for the Pope, for example skipping over his name during the Eucharistic Liturgy because they find him to be a bad man or an invalid Pope. That is the path to schism.

    As for what one should do if the translation is changed: First, participation by the laity s not the equivalent of saying the congregation’s responses. One can fully participate in silence. Also, where does it say that the laity must say the responses in the vernacular? Cannot the laity just sidestep the translation issue and just use the Latin?

  15. Uxixu says:

    I’ll admit I prayed something similar, but repented and confessed it.

    Since then I’ve been praying for his conversion. Recall St. Robert Bellarmine who, echoing St. John Chrysostom, wrote about how so many bishops would be damned for failing to be able account for the souls lost that were committed to their care and how he said that applied all the more to the Pope and there was thus no one he pitied more.

  16. APX says:

    This too shall pass.
    Like a kidney stone…

  17. mysticalrose says:

    Well, at the suggestion of a good and holy priest, I have been praying the Psalms a lot, particularly 109:8 “May his days be few, and his bishopric be given to another.”

  18. Ben Kenobi says:

    I find this aggravating. It took me awhile to learn and understand the new responses. Now if they switch back, I will likely stick with the ones I was taught.

  19. marcpuckett says:

    Lurker59, That– I used my missal and the Latin responses, quasi-silently, before the ‘new’ and more accurate translation– is precisely what I will return to, if something like the ‘old’ translation is again imposed. But I perhaps Father Z. is right– they will allow bishops to command whichever version they like. Mons Sample here in Portland in Oregon will remain steady, e.g., but his successor?

    At this point, I have almost begun to hope that Benedict XVI will publicly address this and that, so far as he can from his retirement (and we know he communicates with many people): better an open schism than this mess of nonsense we are currently enduring. Outright schisms can be, and have been, healed.

  20. frahobbit says:

    I love to think about St. Joan of Arc. What an internal suffering to be so tested! Yet she didn’t falter.

  21. frahobbit says:

    Can the laity participate by joining themselves also with the eternal Mass in Heaven by using an older missal even within a poorly-done N.O. Mass?

  22. bushboar says:

    God willing, Robert Cardinal Sarah will be our next Pope and will undo the damage that is being done.

  23. Jann says:

    Your words “Popes come and go.” often come to my mind, then the other day that thought was followed by “Time is greater than space.” and I actually smiled.

  24. acardnal says:

    It’s times like this I am reminded of the lightning strike on St Peter’s cupola when Pope Benedict XVI resigned

  25. DanielG says:

    I’ve stopped praying for the current pope, after praying ceaselessly that I might NOT stop praying for him. I’m done with him and his insanities. And, yes, I do think there is something wrong with him. It’s pretty obvious that his intentions are to suck up to protestants and to make our Holy Mass even more ingratiatingly insipid than it already is, in the false hope of getting them to “come over to our side.” He has it in for authentic Catholicism; he hates it. I’ve had enough of his nonsense.

    I want this papacy to end but I am equally despondent over who will replace Francis because of his ongoing actions to ensure that his “legacy” perpetuates. Dear God, how much is TOO much?

  26. DanielG says:

    “And they won’t stop there. Once these dogs are off the leash, they’ll bay and chase down anything that has even the faintest scent of tradition. Mark my words. They will be vicious. They are liberals, after all.”

    And that’s when I go EF exclusively until they abrogate it. Then …?

  27. Gail F says:

    It certainly is disheartening. Being aquainted with the history of the Church, I know it’s been like this before and worse. I’m sure it was just as disheartening then. If this is our time to live in, so be it I guess… that doesn’t mean we have to like it.

  28. boxerpaws63 says:

    ” I urge people not to have hate in their hearts for the person of the Holy Father. He deserves our prayers. That doesn’t mean that we have to like him or what he does. We do NOT worship the Pope. Popes come and go. In our prayers, we can, without sinning, discuss with God about His time table.”
    Good advice. There was a time i could defend Our Holy Father because the press misconstrued his words-or did not translate very well THEN misconstrued them.Not true anymore. The good news is that God must have a time table and perhaps the wheat is being separated from the chaff. God can bring good out of evil.We can do what we can.Let’s take the advice to heart.I’ve heard none better.

  29. Imrahil says:

    >>Many went to their death with joy

    giving a shining example of their faith and fortitude, of course. You do not die for what you don’t believe in; you do not die even if you do believe if you don’t overcome your impulse to chicken out.

    But then, Peter Pan was also not afraid of dying. But having come so far, there was still one thing he was afraid of, living: that is why he did not do it, only in Never-Never Land. He probably knew it himself. His author almost certainly designed him that way. His commenters (such as Chesterton) certainly knew it, and said so.

    Without denying the martyrs’ heroism and valor, there is at least one respect in which martyrdom is an easy-way-out of all the troubles of this Earth, and we can chant with them for joy that they (being our friends) have won the lottery, so to speak.

    “You fool: to you these flames bring damnation, to me they bring eternal life”, i. e. at once, as St. Lawrence said to the Emperor who burned him (before the famous “turn me ’round, on this side I’m well-done” remark).

Comments are closed.