The plural of anecdote is “data”


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Disturbing data points have come to me in the last few days.

First, I had a telephone conversation with a priest who described how the local bishop had removed the faculties of a number of priests pretty much because he didn’t like their style.  No accusations.  No crimes or delicts.  BAM.  Some of the priests have had successful recourse to Rome, but the damage to those priests is done.

Next, I have read of the case of the a priest who came into the Church under the Pastoral Provision for Anglicans.  This last week he was removed from his parish in order “to dedicate some time to reflect on certain specific concerns” which “relate to expressions in the life of the parish that indicate an identity separate from, rather than simply unique, among the parishes”.   It seems that he hasn’t done anything wrong, like commit a crime, but he doesn’t conform.

Also, I read last night at Rorate  – we really need to close ranks now, lads – of a Bishop in South America, of the Diocese of Pereira, Columbia, who suspended a priest because the priest, “expressed publicly and privately his rejection of the doctrinal and pastoral teachings of the Holy Father Francis, mainly regarding Marriage and the Eucharist”.  That priest was summoned by the bishop to explain himself in front of others.  The decree claims that he “separated himself publicly from the communion with the Pope and the Church”.  However, there is no indication in the bishop’s decree about the nature of the priest’s “separation”.  I suspect that the priest has not professed obstinate heresy regarding clearly and definitively doctrines of the faith.  It may be – may be – that this priest has declined to accept that those who have committed publicly known mortal sins and who have no purpose of amendment can be given Holy Communion.   That may be it.  And barring a clarification from on high about what Amoris laetitia means, that priest’s interpretation could be just as good as another person’s.

Then, we heard a rumor – rumor – during the week that a Bishop of Malta, who perpetrated with another bishop The Maltese Fiascohad threatened to suspend priests who refused to give Communion to the divorced and civilly remarried, in other words in an adulterous state.  The bishop has denied that he said that.  The Maltese Fiasco was, by the way, reproduced in L’Osservatore Romano.  That could give cover to other bishops to adopt the same unheard of approach as the Maltese bishops.

Add to these certain personnel reports from the Roman Curia.

Anecdotes are accumulating.  And we all know that the plural of anecdote is “data”.   But seriously, when anecdotes start to pile up, something – not nothing – is going on.  What it could be is unclear.

What is clear and has always been clear is that when you scratch a liberal, you find a despot underneath.

I had a chat by phone with another priest friend who has under his care, inter alia, a retreat center. Our conversation drifted into the situation of all the priests who will be unjustly persecuted for the crime of adhering to Catholic teaching. Apparently there are dozens of rooms at that center. We could found a new community called, say, Fratres Unitatis.  Over the entrance gate there could be emblazoned:

 “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled clerics yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Perhaps the apostolate of the FUs, in addition to teaching remedial catechism, could be to say Mass ad orientem, to teach priests to implement Summorum Pontificum, and to uphold canons 915 and 916. They would have to give talks in the public parks near parishes in dioceses where they have been banned about the Sacrament of Matrimony and explain other mean and merciless teachings of Our Lord and His Holy Church, such as the dogma of the existence of Hell, the reality of sin and personal guilt.

Dear readers, pray for priests and pray for bishops.  Pray especially for bishops.  The Devil hates bishops and relentlessly works to twist them into instruments of harm in the Church.  Pray for them and do penance.  Ask you Guardian Angels also to assist your local bishop as well as your parish priests.

Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Mail from priests, Semper Paratus, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, Turn Towards The Lord, What are they REALLY saying? and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. anna 6 says:

    The Aposolate of the FU’s…

  2. Hidden One says:

    We “traditionalists” must strive to outdo each other in charity, humility, and forgiveness. Forgive, shake hands, and then aid and defend each other. And no waiting for the other guy to extend the authentic hand of friendship first. Each of us must extend our own, and not withdraw them if at first our former “enemies” or “rivals” are suspicious. Let each of us strive to be more charitable toward the others, sacrificing for the others rather than counting each other’s faults. Let us pray for one another, and let us pray together. Amen.

  3. jameeka says:

    The Apostolate of the FUs sounds really cool!

  4. Austin says:

    The pastoral provision case, in San Antonio, represents an egregious abuse of power. Fr Phillips built Our Lady of the Atonement from the ground up, starting with an empty lot. It now has a magnificent church, successful school undergoing an expansion that will double its capacity, and remarkable theological, musical, and cultural programmes supported by a large and devoted congregation. It uses the liturgy developed for former Anglicans, which Fr Phillips pioneered, and which has reached a new height in the Ordinariate missal.

    Within days of the funeral of previous ordinary, who had supported the parish, the current archbishop announced that he was beginning the process of canonical removal, ordering Fr Phillips off the property and forbidding him to communicate with his parishioners as if he were a wrongdoer of some kind.

    No reasons were for this high handed action.

    It is reported that the parish had applied to enter the Ordinariate, which would remove it from the authority revenue stream of the archdiocese. This appears to be the proximate cause of the action. But it has also been clear some time that the chancery resented the traditional liturgical mode, orthodox teaching, and conservative orientation of the parish. Most of the people were not former Episcopalians but Catholics drawn to the faithfulness and reverence of the parish, something that annoyed other clergy. A left leaning environmentalist priest is now in charge.

    I suspect the archbishop will be surprised at the strength and determination of the opposition to this decision.

    Sadly, faithful lay people are being obliged to become opponents of the shepherds appointed to guard them and the deposit of faith. It was a bitter trial for those of us who came out of the Anglican experience to spend years standing up to our heretical bishops. It appears that we will have to begin the struggle again. Prayer, fasting, and determined activism are called for.

  5. spaatz1228 says:

    Without knowing all the details, I wondered if publicly refusing the Ordinariate under Msgr Steenson was the correct decision. They suspected and rejected the bonhommie of the former Episcopalian, when they should have been wary of the unrestrained Roman prelate. Hopefully they will survive.

  6. PTK_70 says:

    Regarding the situation in San Antonio….perhaps Fr Phillips might request his own transfer to the Ordinariate, and then start the project of building a parish from the ground up all over again, for which he apparently has a big talent.

    As for the parish he has of late left behind, I tend to think the Texans who are parishioners there won’t get pushed around as Our Lady of the Atonement enters a new phase. If the Masses which were once said according to the Anglican Use are now said ad orientem using either form of the Roman Rite, then the transition should be much smoother. In fact, by moving away from the Anglican Use, the parish could become far more influential in the larger archdiocese, helping foster a more reverential employment of the Roman Rite at other parishes.

    (Trying to help make lemonade out of a discouraging situation.)

  7. CharlesG says:

    Very disturbing about Father Phillips in San Antonio. It’s been one mystery after another there. It’s never been clear, at least to me, why Atonement parish was originally denied entry into the Ordinariate when they and Father Phillips were such trailblazers under the Pastoral Provision. And now this!

  8. Thomas Sweeney says:

    I don’t know if I read, or merely heard, that the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops. In the last fifty years we have had some real nut jobs. Do you remember the bishop in Les Miserablis, what a good and noble man he was, interested in saving souls, nothing else. Our bishops now are more political than spiritual, with their coifed hair, and immaculately tailored clothes. Give me humility, and care for our eternal end as a proper posture, over any worldly praises. I know that I do get carried away at times, and that we do have some good bishops, but it seems, as if the dopes get all the publicity.

  9. michele421 says:

    In my longish life I’ve seen despotic liberal bishops, despotic conservative bishops, and despotic bishops who straddled the fence. Each harmed the Church in his own way. This makes me believe the fault is in fallen human nature rather than in one’s political or social leanings.

    In any case the point remains that we need to do all we can for our priests and bishops.

  10. RissyAnne1 says:

    Father, you humble me. I must admit that I have posted and written and tried to explain my love the Traditional Latin Mass to bishops. I have told them that it hurts my heart and soul to be deprived of it. However, I have not given as much thought as I could have to the priests who struggle to find a safe haven for their love the Mass.
    That being said. I am not a priest. I do not think that at this moment in my life I have the spiritual, or emotional or physical strength for it. But it may be the bishops that dislike it that give me that strength. I have cried so often each time I hear of ONE MORE community being disbanded, or a priest moved, that I think it has helped me move on from crying. My skin is thickening. Although, I believe it hurts more now, because I’ve grown to love the Mass so much. It’s truly the worst thing to be deprived of something you love so much. I will pray for the priests and pray for the bishops for a change of heart. But I want you to know we all think of you and pray for you.

  11. hicks says:

    Watch your six out there Father. We’ll be praying for you,

  12. L. says:

    It seems more likely that faithful Priests will be put in a different kind of enclosure, over the entrance to which will be emblazoned something like, “Arbeit macht frei.”

  13. Seamus says:

    Charles Wilson of the St. Joseph Foundation is on top of the Our Lady of Atonement situation:

  14. Lucas Whittaker says:

    Thank you for the work that you do to benefit and teach about the TLM. I had hoped that stories like these were no longer happening. But there are many in the Church who remain starstruck by the call to update (aggiornare). I will pray for priests and also that God will enlighten the hearts of the men who fail to see the connection between aggiornamento and the destruction of the bases of faith itself. St. Agnes, ora pro nobis!

  15. APX says:

    Very disturbing about Father Phillips in San Antonio. It’s been one mystery after another there. It’s never been clear, at least to me, why Atonement parish was originally denied entry into the Ordinariate when they and Father Phillips were such trailblazers under the Pastoral Provision. And now this!

    Anglicanorun Cœtibus is for groups of Anglicans wishing to convert to Catholicism and still keep their Anglican Patrimony, not groups of fully initiated Catholics who attend Mass according to the Missal of Divine Worship because their priest was a former Anglican and converted to Catholicism and ordained a priest under the Pastoral Provisions for Anglicans.

    Furthermore, the Parish in question is a Catholic parish that belongs to the diocese. It’s not Anglican. Even if an Anglican parish desires to convert and enter the Anglican Use Ordinariate, that doesn’t mean they automatically get to keep their Anglican Church building and all its personal effects. Those still belong to the Anglican Diocese. It doesn’t even guarantee that their “priest” will be ordained a priest once converted. When entire Anglican communities enter the Catholic Church under Anglicanorun Cœtibus, they have to be prepared to lose everything they have.

    Now, for individuals who converted from Anglicanism (and non-fully initiated Catholics, or other non-Catholics, I believe, but I could be wrong), or have some sort of ties to Anglicanism, can apply individually to join the Ordinariate, but even that doesn’t guarantee that they will get to attend Mass according to the Missal of Divine Worship (ie: they live too far away from where such a Mass is offered).

    For regular Catholics, they are free to attend Mass at an Anglican Use Ordinariate, go to Confession there, be a member of the the parish, etc, but they can’t actually join the Ordinariate and be governed by their laws (ie: in Canada they have substantially more Holy Days of Obligation than regular Catholics) and bishop. They are still subject their Diocese and Bishop.

  16. frahobbit says:

    It appears the best comes out of the worst, i.e. St John Paul II, Bishop Schneider. It seems due to the training and experience under difficult rules, they didn’t take the gifts of God for granted. They developed spiritual strength and the habit of responding to grace. Perhaps the same will be true for you and similarly placed persons.

  17. JARay says:

    I managed to find that diocese in Columbia where the bishop suspended that priest whom he claimed had publicly suspended himself from the teachings of the Pope. Although the website is in Spanish I lodged my support of that priest in English. The priest is FatherLuis Carlos Uribe Medina. The bishop is Bp Rigoberto Corredor Bermudez and the diocese is

  18. Emilio says:

    It isn’t just traditionalists who are being targeted, it is all of us who adhere to the real and authentic Catholic faith. It’s extremely upsetting to many of us, who for the first time find ourselves increasingly at odds with the reigning Pontiff. I continue to reject the kind of rhetoric and tone out of certain other blogs, and I continue to offer the Pope my deference and good will – I try to listen and read his homilies and statements and try to take as much as I can to heart. But until we get a reply to the Dubia, or until we experience some miraculous “Humanae Vitae” moment out of him, I will continue to feel as I have since Amoris Laetitia came out: that he has lost control over this Ship, that he is behaving wrecklessly, and that he is leading many into error. What a horrible thing to be like the priest in the Pereira Diocese of Colombia, and be informed that you are no longer in the communion of the Church, precisely for being faithful to the Deposit of Faith. Would it do him any good to appeal to whatever is left of the Apostolic See? Will some or all of us experience a similar fate? What dark times we live in. St. John Paul II, pray for us and for the Church you led and served to the last.

  19. oledocfarmer says:


  20. Filipino Catholic says:

    Emilio, more and more of us are going to find ourselves at odds with Francis the longer this keeps up. While the Captain of the barque sleeps, the helmsman steers recklessly and every single day it takes more and more restraint to bite back the urge to cry “What portion have we in Peter, what inheritance in the son of John?” The trickle of the faithful already heading to Constantinople (or crossing the Rhine / English Channel) is going to end up a torrent sooner or later.

  21. Marion Ancilla Mariae says:

    “Who will rid me of this divisive priest?”
    – Bishop N.

    Our Lady of Akita, pray for us!

  22. scholastica says:

    Hmm…a priest is no longer in communion with the Church for upholding the Deposit of Faith… Sounds familiar. I wonder if what we are living through now will shed light on what Archbishop Lefebvre was up against in his time. He too held in deepest conscience this need to be faithful to the Church’s Deposit of Faith and could not betray his conscience, the faithful, or the Church. Perhaps he was a prophet who foresaw the gradual destruction of the Faith that would take place with the innovations of V2 in the liturgy in the same way that Pope Paul VI foresaw that contraception would wreck the institution of Marriage.

  23. Athelstan says:

    Hello APX,

    Anglicanorun Cœtibus is for groups of Anglicans wishing to convert to Catholicism and still keep their Anglican Patrimony, not groups of fully initiated Catholics who attend Mass according to the Missal of Divine Worship because their priest was a former Anglican and converted to Catholicism and ordained a priest under the Pastoral Provisions for Anglicans.

    I’m afraid that this is not accurate, either by the text of Anglicanorum Coetibus, or by the intent of the lawgiver (Pope Benedict XVI). §4 of AC defines who can and will beling to an Ordinariate: “The Ordinariate is composed of lay faithful, clerics and members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, originally belonging to the Anglican Communion and now in full communion with the Catholic Church, or those who receive the Sacraments of Initiation within the jurisdiction of the Ordinariate.” An Anglican Use Catholic who had already come in under the Pastoral Provision certainly qualifies under the first category. And the U.S. Ordinariate website makes it even more explicit on its membership page: “Are you a former Anglican, Methodist, or member of an ecclesial communion that inclues those of Anglican hertage (United Church of Canada, Charismatic Episcopal Church, etc.) who is now in full communion with the Catholic Church?” If you can answer “yes,” you’re eligible, as it says.

    Just as much to the point, Benedict and Cardinal Mueller made clear their intention to all involved that it would be desirable for existing Anglican Use parishes – there were about eight or so at the time – to join the Ordinariate; word has it, in fact, that he has been pushing Atonement to join again. And in fact, all of them *did* end up joining the Ordinariate, with the sole exception of Our Lady of Atonement and St. Athanasius in Boston. It’s rather hard to argue that the Ordinariates are not meant for such Anglican Use parishes or converts when nearly all of them have, in fact, joined the Ordinariate.

    Furthermore, the Parish in question is a Catholic parish that belongs to the diocese. It’s not Anglican.

    That is true, but it’s also not a bar per se to it joining the Ordinariate, any more than it was for all the other Anglican Use parishes that joined the Ordinariate, like St Mary the Virgin in Fort Worth or Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston, etc. It did mean that these parishes’ diocesan ordinaries had to sign off on their application to join the Ordinariate. Fortunately, their existing ordinaries were generous in facilitating that transfer.

    It is also true that Archbishop Garcia-Siller, as the ordinary, has canonical and legal rights to exercise to obstruct Atonement’s joining of the Ordinariate – at least over the parish’s property and corporate identity. He can’t prevent individual Atonement parishioners who canonically qualify for Ordinariate membership from doing so. One can see why he might be reluctant to let go of the revenue stream and assets of Atonement, but it’s less clear that this would be for the spiritual benefit of the Atonement community, who on all evidence have far more in common in terms of customs, liturgy, and spirituality with the Ordinariate than they do with the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

  24. pannw says:

    Filipino Catholic says, “The trickle of the faithful already heading to Constantinople (or crossing the Rhine / English Channel) is going to end up a torrent sooner or later.”

    It seems rather ironic for people to abandon the Chair of Peter because Peter is remaining silent while bishops force their priests to permit reception of the Holy Eucharist by those who reject the indissolubility of marriage and remarry,, and then head to Constantinople where they have already permitted second and even third marriages. And there is the confusion on their teaching on Contraception, which mirrors the dissent in the Roman Church… Really seems ironic…

  25. PTK_70 says:

    @Athelstan and all others commenting on the situation in San Antonio….It certainly seems to me that the magnanimous, if not also just, thing to do is allow Our Lady to join the Ordinariate. Short of that one can hope that the archbishop confirm Our Lady as a “center of liturgical excellence” and not only allow but also encourage versus CUM populo celebration of Mass, irrespective of the form or use of the Roman Rite.

  26. Gil Garza says:

    It’s important to keep in mind that Fr. Christopher Phillips is still the Pastor of a Personal Parish of the Pastoral Provision, Our Lady of the Atonement. In 2012, Fr. Phillips announced that our application for admission to the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter was voluntarily withdrawn because the brand new Ordinariate wasn’t yet ready to receive a parish that was 29 years old with a thriving school and that was in the midst of another major expansion.

    The new Ordinariate needed time, he explained. Our Lady of the Atonement and The Atonement Academy would have dwarfed the entire Ordinariate at a time when both the parish and Ordinariate needed time to stretch and strengthen.

    At the time Fr. Phillips wrote to us asking us to continue to “preserve, nurture and share our Anglican patrimony as we have done for the past 29 years” while we had the “opportunities to deepen our communion with our Father-in-God, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller.”

    He wrote, “the time may come when we are prepared to enter the Ordinariate and when the Ordinariate will be in a better position to receive us as we are.”

    He continued, “As strange as it seems for us not to be part of (the Ordinariate) from the very beginning, the time is not yet right. Let’s all pray for the success of the Ordinariate… No matter what jurisdiction we’re in, we’re all working for the same end- the building up of God’s Kingdom!”

    With the completion of this phase of our expansion as we doubled in size and with the appointment of Bishop Lopes to the Ordinariate time for our journey to the Ordinariate has come. Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller’s action is deeply confusing because it seeks to silence our Pastor and prevent what has always been our mutually agreed upon destination, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.

    Please pray for our Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller. Offer your sacrifices and penance for him. We have a deep love for our Pastor and our Archbishop! We, the flock of Our Lady of the Atonement fly with confidence to our loving Patroness.

  27. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    The miserly-with-elucidating-detail Bishop Rigoberto Corredor Bermúdez was appointed Auxiliary by Pope St. John Paul II on 26 February 1988 (ordained 26 March) and appointed Diocesan Bishop by Pope Benedict XVI on 15 July 2011.

    Have any Hispanophones listened to what New Catholic at Rorate describes as “the audio of one of his [= Father Luis Carlos Uribe Medina’s] sermons embedded in Adelante la Fe”, enabling them to give a more detailed sense of just what he says and how he says it? That may make a difference where the (ahem) ‘rigid formalism of mercy’ is involved…

  28. gfpiner says:

    My wife (Sue) and I have been members of Our Lady of the Atonement for 22+ years. We left the episcopal “church” in 1992 (Thank you Frs Timothy Church and Loyd Morris) and moved to the San Antonio area in 1994. We tried several of local parishes but found them wanting, to say the least. We now drive 90 miles round trip to attend OLA and do not regret it. Fr Phillips rights have been violated under canon law and it is currently being appealed to Rome.
    We have a lot of debt with the expansion of the nave, new organ, and upper school. If the diocese takes over the buildings they will be assuming this debt. The revenue stream will slow to a trickle and they will have to default on the loans. We will be giving our money to charity and only a very minimal amount to the parish.
    Please pray for us and that God might soften the heart of Bp Siller.

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