FISHWRAP: Mendacious, hypocritical, fearful, destructive. Pray for its conversion or downfall!

fishwrapOver at Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) there is a hypocritical, mendacious piece which I bring to your attention.

Peter Feuerhard wrote about the eeeeevils of “restorationism”.  This “-ism”, involves “bringing traditionalist approaches to liturgy and governance of parish life”.

Imagine such an evil thing!  Connecting our present practices with our forebears experience and sacrifices in continuity!

First, Feuerhard says that he can’t really define this, but he slyly invokes Justice Stewart’s chestnut about pornography: “I know it when I see it.”   Thus, he draws a slimy moral equivalence: “restorationism = pornography”.

Then, he indulges in insults, especially of young priests who don’t disdain their Catholic patrimony.  “In parishes across the country, young pastors, raised in a post-Vatican II world, are incorporating costumes, vestments, music and other elements that have their roots in practices preceding 1965.”  Costumes?

He gushes all over the ultra-liberal Anthony Ruff and gives him plenty of space.  Then he merely mentions me.  And he lies about me.  He wrote:

Some seminary rectors have encouraged these developments, with their seminaries viewed as restorationist pipelines. Sometimes restorationist groups among seminarians are more informal. Some go to internet sites, such as one run by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf of Madison, Wis., for inspiration. Zuhlsdorf’s site is heavy with photos of colorful vestments, liturgical regalia, and scathing criticism of Pope Francis.

This is a lie.  This is detraction… nay rather, calumny.  This is part of a larger project that we knew would come sooner or later.  This is a dog whistle.

What I write here is is NOT “heavy” with “scathing criticism of Pope Francis”.  As a matter of fact, I even try to cut down the worst of criticism of the Pope in my combox, but using more and more the moderation queue.   I do not, personally, write “scathing criticism” of the Pope.  I never have.  As a matter of fact, I spent a good deal of energy and time working to bring what Pope Francis was doing into harmony with Pope Benedict.  Over time, that proved to be less and less possible, but I sincerely tried.  

I am harshly criticized by a lot of readers here for NOT writing scathing criticism of the Pope!

This attack on tradition, on me, and on all who have what St. John Paul called “legitimate aspirations” regarding our tradition is born of fear, pure and simple.  They hate and fear our Catholic traditions, our doctrine and law.  Why?  Probably because it is the last stand, the last bastion against the overthrow of the Christian mores of sexual morality in the Church and in wider society.

Let me remind you about something.

The National Schismatic Reporter, Fishwrap, has improperly used the word “Catholic” in its title even through years ago they were instructed by the bishop where it is published to drop it.

Fishwrap promotes homosexual acts, twisted gender identity, the ordination of women and all manner of notions that run contrary to Catholic doctrine and law.

Fishwrap engaged in years of attacks on Catholic doctrine and practice and resistance against the persons of John Paul and Benedict.  Suddenly they are defenders of the Pope?   What a hypocritical joke.

If you publicly detract from a person’s reputation, you must make equally public corrections and/or apologies.

Here is a screenshot of one of the comments under that very post by Feuerhard:



And yet by the combox form this is what Fishwrap announces:

National Catholic Reporter uses Civil Comments. Please keep your comments on-topic, focus on the issue and avoid personal insults, harassment and abuse. Read the user guide.

Apparently over there they don’t pay attention to their own guidelines even in their articles.  They sure don’t in their combox.

I ask you all to pray to St. Joseph, patron of the diocese where the offices of the Fishwrap  are located. 

St. Joseph, pray for us.

Dear St. Joseph, Terror of Demons and Protector of Holy Church, Chaste Guardian of Our Lord and His Mother, hear our urgent prayer and swiftly intercede with our Savior, whom as a loving father you defended so diligently, that He will pour abundant graces upon the staff of that organ of dissent the National catholic Reporter so that they will either embrace orthodox doctrine concerning faith and morals or that all their efforts will promptly fail and come to their just end. Amen.

The moderation queue is ON.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. LarryW2LJ says:

    If the NSR was around, 2,000 years ago, they’d label Jesus as a “restorationist”. I mean, how could they not? Especially after He said, (and I quote) – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.”

    Seems kind of rigid, to be clinging to all those “old laws” and all.

    [Not to mention that he restored marriage from its contemporary practice to its original intent at creation: one man and one woman for life. This, too, runs contrary to everything Fishwrap aspires to accomplish.]

  2. Clinton R. says:

    I find it quite tragic of anyone who would call themselves Catholic to denigrate the wearing of beautiful vestments and to criticize the celebration of the Holy Mass in the most reverent manner that we can. Indeed, the Catholic Church does need a healthy dose of “restorationism”. Nowhere in any Council or papal decree does it call for the Holy Mass or vestments or art or music to be stripped of its beauty. Were not the saints nourished spiritually on the Mass of All Ages? Did not the saints who were bishops and priests wear resplendent vestments to celebrate God’s due worship in a most solemn and adoring manner. Did not God command the finest materials to be used by Aaron and his priesthood? (Exodus 28:2) Then even more so for the men who serve the priesthood of Christ.

    The folks at the Fishwrap have a strong view on matters of worship and religious garb. The problem is, there opinions are simply not Catholic and have no basis in Scripture or the traditions of the Church. Beauty on Earth, the appeal to our senses are what lifts our thoughts and hearts and souls upward to Heaven, where there is indescribable glory.

  3. While this is a regular bugaboo for the N”C”R crowd, Mr. Feuerhard seems to be assigned to this “beat.” A couple of weeks ago, he wrote a story about a parish in North Carolina, in which he gives all the discontented and dyspeptic full vent.

    I don’t know Mr. Feuerhard, but I find it hard to believe he wouldn’t understand the way these things play out. Anytime someone new arrives in a parish, and starts changing things, there will be objections; and if he has to tell people that how things were done were, well, less than optimal (i.e., contrary to Church norms), then of course there will be even more complaints. And there will be tales of persecution by the mean priest, told with dramatic sighs. And, of course, the unhappy ones will all gather together at someone’s house, and tell each other their horror stories, which inflames everything. By the way, this can all happen in relation simply to replacing the chairperson of the bingo committee — it doesn’t have to have anything to do with liturgy or catechesis or doctrine. Nor does it have to be a liberal/conservative thing. It’s simply what happens.

    A wise priest taught me something: whenever someone would come to him, saying, “everyone is up in arms about _____,” he’d ask, “who and how many?” He might not get an answer to who, but the how many would very frequently turn out to be 2 or 3 people. Upon further examination, it would be folks who are basically talking to each other. My experience confirms this.

    So, when I read stories about how a priest causes an “uproar,” I have all these things in mind.

    If I were a journalist again (I worked in journalism briefly in my younger days), I would take such things into account when writing such stories. I see no evidence Mr. Feuerhard does.

  4. jaykay says:


    Yes, that struck my eye as well. I immediately thought: “no, that’s wrong, soundly rooted priests don’t need clown costumes, puppets etc. – in fact, all the dreck that those people who have their roots in practices preceding 2005 seem to be so desperately in need of – then I realised that he must be talking about clothes – cassocks, birettas, Roman hats. The stuff that adults wear.

  5. bibi1003 says:

    I have close Protestant friends who sometimes search the internet trying to learn more about the Faith. I’m emailing all of them right now to warn them off of that site. Thanks Father Z.

    [Warn off and PRAY for them.]

  6. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Good grief this is amazing. I just got off the phone with a friend who was telling me “we live in interesting times.” (meaning mostly about goings on within the Church, but also without)

    He had not heard about certain… well, bishops who have put the kibosh on some traditional goings on in their dioceses. (guess he’s been busy because he usually comes here often)

    I asked him, “What is it? What do they have against the TLM? Why do they do everything in their power to suppress it or anything to do with our patrimony and traditions?” (seemingly, anyway)

    Then I come here and you had the answer, Fr. Z! Wow.


  7. Tony Phillips says:

    I will say this about ‘Civil Comments’…whenever I comment on Fishwrap, I just ‘thumbs-up’ whatever comment I’m given to adjudicate, without reading it. There’s far too much censorship on blogs (did someone mention ‘Pray Tell’?)–mostly because the owners don’t want free discussion (did someone mention ‘Pray Tell’?). I think it’s a little different for diocesan priests, who frankly may have a bishop breathing down their neck, and the last thing I want to do is get anyone in trouble.

  8. majuscule says:

    And, of course, the unhappy ones will all gather together at someone’s house, and tell each other their horror stories, which inflames everything.

    Not long ago I was somehow invited to one of those meetings. Perhaps it was in order to appear fair and balanced (I will give them that!) because my stance is known–I veil at Mass. I was stunned at the words spoken against Tradition. (Names of specific priests were not to be used but didn’t need to be…) Of course, this wasn’t an ordinary meeting in someone’s home because a priest from the diocesan personnel board was there in an unofficial capacity.

    Later we had a parish meeting with priests from the chancery. This same group of people (and other like minded people they had mustered) were vociferous. But I think they actually made fools of themselves by stridently hogging the microphone.

    The Spirit of Vatican II is alive and well among those who have never read the actual Vatican II documents!

  9. Charles E Flynn says:

    For those unfamiliar with Fr. Anthony Ruff, O.S.B.:

    A Defense of Liturgy as “Carolingian Court Ritual”, by Peter Kwasniewski, for The New Liturgical Movement

    For those unfamiliar with the sin of detraction:

    Detraction, from the Catholic Encyclopedia (1917).

  10. Grant M says:

    Yes, well, our Church IS rooted in practices preceding 1965…

  11. Leomagnus says:

    It might be better if the NCR came as a roll of toilet paper, biodegradable and non toxic ink print so that you can have better uses for it. I usually look at it to see what is wrong with the Church. Why ruin good fish?

  12. rtjl says:

    How dare you engage in “scathing criticism of Pope Francis”? Don’t you know it’s not right to criticize Popes. The people at the National Catholic Reporter would never do such a thing. ;-)

  13. Andrew says:

    … the vestments were brand new and I was disgusted at the waste of money.
    This is like saying: “Why this waste? This could have been sold and the money given to the poor.” We’ve all heard that before.
    People concerned about expensive vestments might want to complain about some of our celebrities, such as Amal Clooney whose 2015 Oscar de la Renta wedding dress cost $380,000. Go down to the Oscars Red Carpet celebration and voice your concerns about wasted money. Not that they don’t have a right to wear whatever pleases them.

    But how many liturgical vestments could you get for three hundred eighty thousand dollars? And by the way, it’s not like the priest wants to wear these vestments to a restaurant. The difference is between giving glory to God and giving glory to ourselves.

  14. Ages says:

    I would say something would need to be dead for at least 300-400 years to call it “restorationist” to revive it.

    Funny nobody calls it “restorationist” when the priest serves versus populum, allegedly like in the early church, as they say.

  15. Dan says:

    I have always found it interesting that the same people that complain about the waste of money on beautiful vestments, will turn around and install $30,000 projection systems in so people don’t lose track of the Matt Maher song everyone is dancing to.

    How about if you want to save money you ask all of your parishioners to buy their own book so they can follow along with the Mass right from their spot in the pew? There, I just saved them $30,000 so now they can get new vestments.

    I had another interesting idea to promote unity among all Catholics in the world so that we can bring the Mass to all cultures. What if we picked a language and had all Catholics learn the responses of the Mass in that language? then any Catholic could be welcome and actively participate in any Catholic church in the world without even knowing the local language. It might be hard but maybe everyone could get a little book like I mentioned before that would have the translations in their own language if needed.

    I know these are novel ideas but I think they have a shot if we could get everyone to think inclusively.

  16. DeGaulle says:

    Father Z, I know it’s a cliche, but when you can feel the flak you know you’re over the target. Keep up the good work.

  17. Vincent says:

    I suppose it depends what you mean by “censorship”. That’s the very reason I don’t post much on Facebook any more; if I post my opinion I don’t want people to argue with me. The truth is that many people use comment sections by engaging keyboard but not engaging brain. This leads very quickly to a spiral of name calling and vitriol – the kind of things you couldn’t get away with in a face to face conversation.

    I do understand what you mean though – I stopped watching Church Militant TV because the comments section was being heavily censored. Now that’s not a problem, if the policy is clear. It’s when it’s arbitrary that it becomes problematic. Personally, I feel our host here deserves credit for walking the perilous tightrope of internet comments boxes with astounding alacrity. It’s a haven – the comments are sane!

    I’ve also had the impression that the moderation queue has been seen more often recently. What a great shame that it has become necessary. But perhaps, Father, you can take heart from the fact that someone really doesn’t seem to like you? You must be doing something right!

  18. THREEHEARTS says:

    We are both secular and religious by precedent. This is a fact whether you like it or not. In the USA there are two rulers. One the Pope and another the elected President Donald Trump. We must give to each as Christ directed, one gives to Caesar what is Caesar’s. We give our spiritual life to the Guidance of the Papacy and our secular to the President and to the constitutional laws of the State. Precedence is how our laws are based. I do find it hard to see where the present Papacy is following precedence a word that is also called tradition. Rules are being changed and the Spirit of Janus speaks and obvious truths are denied. Paul VI th. wrote no more changes the Children are confused.
    A thinking man watching Trump’s actions and listening to commentaries could think he is off base as far as obeying traditional jurisprudence. Everything letter he writes is of executive import and follows from the previous US presidents’ executive letters. The list of temporarily banned foreign states comes from a list written ex President Obama, thus following a lawful precedence. President Trump is not satisfied with the examination of the political beliefs and actions of those called immigrants who are in but are reality political refugees or results of religious conflicts between Sunnis and Shiites. He insists it is America’s right under the Constitution to severely check out the political views of these of unknown origin.It does not matter what progressives call them who want them in. How many are of the similar persuasion with those who want to change America to the political system they are fleeing from. Do the American people want those cowards in would not defend their own beliefs? Would they in turn die for the USA. I think not. Once a coward always a coward. I remind you all of the great revolutions that formed first the UK and then the US. The Magna Carta, Wat Tyler’s peasant revolt, the Puritan revolution of Oliver Cromwell and then the war of Independence, and the American War between the States. We have fought in two world wars. Is it too much for the US to expect these people if they want what we have to fight for their freedom as we did there are no short cuts. Martyrs for the cause of freedom of life and religion are a necessity. Would they defend America? Do they want the same problem that the UK have with many coming and then returning to whence they came and siphoning millions of Pounds or Dollars out of the economy every month.
    Now look at the Catholic Church how can rules of religion be progressive? How can revelations and laws that go back to ancient antiquity be changed because of some myopic desires which on the part of schismatic heretics opine this is so, The result both in the USA and the Catholic Church is anarchy. How cannot we not think, see in demonstrations and can then anyone deny that unformed children burning streets and smashing windows are are wise enough to lead. Those who hide their faces do it is most likely done for two reasons. Frightened of what the parents might do or the law might come knocking at their door.
    I personally think a Man’s march on Rome is our answer to remind the priests are only in existence for service to the Laity. God created a man first and companion second a son next and then a sacrificial priest. Read Genesis.

  19. jilly4life says:

    Oh the irony. I was actually in Fr. Ruff’s Gregorian Chant Schola (when they accidentally let undergrads in), you know where, we sang the proper chants for the liturgy. So I was part of Fr. Ruff’s effort to incorporate “music […] that have their roots in practices preceding 1965.” So while his theology might be suspect, his chanting isn’t.

    Also interesting that these “restorationist pipelines” happen to have more seminarians (and ultimately more priests) than the other ones.

  20. iamlucky13 says:

    Forget the lame attempt at discrediting you (Photos of colorful vestments! Gasp!). Give this quote a moment of thought:

    “Ruff noted that younger seminarians have been raised in a time when practicing the faith was more of an intentional, and less of a cultural, act. Part of a generation that is less inclined towards formal religious practice, a cohort of seminarians have latched on to distinctive features of Catholicism.”

    So distinctive features of Catholicism have appeal and meaning vis-a-vis an intentional faith rather than a mere cultural habit?

    I get the impression he thought he was writing this like that’s a bad thing.

  21. ChgoCatholic says:

    I know this might be a shocker to the Fishwrap et al, but the Church is THE purveyor of absolute Truth. When any man within the Church, especially in leadership, runs afoul, it is the light of that Truth which unveils his error. I see you and other traditional priests as doing nothing but shining the light of Truth, thereby educating and providing THE path to salvation for us all. If shedding that light reveals that any particular man has run afoul, then all that NCR and others are left with is to blame you. They know all too well that any other path would result ultimately in calling Christ a liar, and they’d rather set you up as an easy straw man. Pray for the souls whom they lead astray in the process.

  22. Filipino Catholic says:

    This might be grounds to call the NCR (not to be confused with the Register) to court for a libel charge against our excellent host. Whether it’s prudent to do so is another matter entirely.

    On an unrelated note this can only mean the folks at the NCR are in fact reading your blog, or at least the combox.

  23. Austin says:

    The current moment puts one in mind aspects of England’s Reformation period.

    The Whig historians painted the picture of a corrupt, lax Church in England, battling a groundswell of unpopularity and demands for reform. Eamon Duffy and others have shown this was far from true, and that the common people, urban and rural, were intensely connected to their faith and its rituals.

    Henry VIII had no problem with Catholic ritual, whatever his differences with Catholic theology. During his reign, England was in schism but, in most churches, one would hardly have known.

    Under Edward VI (1547 to 1553), there was a rapid Protestantizing of the Church. With the introduction of Cranmer’s Prayer Book in 1549, sanctuaries were re-ordered, statues removed, images whitewashed, and vestments abandoned in many places.

    On the accession of Mary, everything was put back as it had been. Out of cellars and cupboards and holes in the ground, the people recovered what they had been told to destroy.

    After five short years, the Protestant wreckers were back. But this time, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners were more thorough. They insisted on seeing that everything really was broken or burned, and so Europe lost some of its finest embroidery, alabaster work, and stained glass, among other treasures.

    After the dreadful 70’s, the Church recovered under John Paul II, and liturgical life flowered again with the “reform of the reform” and Benedict XVI’s restoration of the older rite. One can hope this was not merely a brief interregnum. But one can see the hard-faced brutes thinking, “This time, we have to make sure there is no way back.” God help us.

  24. KnightOfSPUD says:

    I read the comments and I’m surprised at the way they look at our heritage.

    It seems as if they rue the existence of the pre-Vatican II Church and the only good Church is the Church after 1965

  25. Tom A. says:

    Perhaps its time for more scathing criticism. The hierarchy of the Church are the ones who allow these travesties, heresies, and blasphemies to continue. Yes they told them to drop the word Catholic from thier masthead, but where are the edicts when they disobeyed? Yet when a tradionalist disobeys the hammer is dropped immediately. And these things happened under JP2 and Benedict as well. The laity look to the clergy for leadership, but if the clergy are too timid for fear of their Bishop then its game over.

  26. Kerry says:

    “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man: but what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. “

  27. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Is Peter Feuerhard related to Joe Feuerhard, the NCERep guy who wished damnation on bishops?

  28. robtbrown says:

    Fr Martin Fox says,

    A wise priest taught me something: whenever someone would come to him, saying, “everyone is up in arms about _____,” he’d ask, “who and how many?” He might not get an answer to who, but the how many would very frequently turn out to be 2 or 3 people. Upon further examination, it would be folks who are basically talking to each other. My experience confirms this.

    There have been times that was good Fr Jim4321’s MO on liberal Catholic issues: Parishioners are upset that women can’t be whatever–priests, etc. He was either listening only to certain people or working in a parish where the non dissenters left for another parish.

  29. John Grammaticus says:

    “What I write here is is NOT “heavy” with “scathing criticism of Pope Francis”. As a matter of fact, I even try to cut down the worst of criticism of the Pope in my combox, but using more and more the moderation queue.”

    All hail our benevolent dictator !!

  30. hwriggles4 says:

    Over the years, I have read some diocesan newspapers. Some are pretty good but there are others that are in the league of the Fishwrap or the Distorter. The sad thing is a “one hour Catholic” or a “clock in clock out Catholic ” does not know the difference. How do I know this? For many years I was one, and if a publication said Catholic or if a priest said something, or if secular news ran a Church story, my thought was it was correct.

    I recall when our diocese got a new Bishop. Within a year, the old diocesan newspaper editor (an older permanent deacon with a liberal bent) retired and the new editor stopped accepting opinion letters, and more articles appeared on vocations, life issues, etc. Columns from certain members of the clergy also disappeared. My diocesan newspaper in high school carried Charles Curran columns – I had no idea back then who he was.

    My pastor puts out copies of the Register in the Narthex. If I saw some dissenting journals, I would voice my concerns.

  31. Athelstan says:

    “In parishes across the country, young pastors, raised in a post-Vatican II world, are incorporating costumes, vestments, music and other elements that have their roots in practices preceding 1965.”

    Might he just for one moment entertain the possibility that young pastors are doing this because young parishioners are asking for it?

    My Juventutem chapter found just such a pastor. He (bravely) started up a Sunday morning TLM for us in an “empty” time slot last year. Initial turnout was about 20 or so. Last Sunday, we broke the 80 mark, 31 of them children under 7. Average age has to be….not much over 20. The schola is growing each month as well. Brick by brick.

    At a time when young Catholics are very scarce in the pews, you would think there would be some willingness to accommodate people like us, especially since all we are asking for is what the Church lawfully permits (and encourages!). But I fear Mr. Feuerhard would rather we simply go away.

  32. Jenson71 says:

    As much as I often disagree with Fr. Z’s takes on his politics, which is at or near 100% of the time, his promotion of the beauty of our liturgy and practices of the priesthood is inspiring, and as far as I can tell, any criticism he has had toward our Pope has been respectful and focused on policies, not personal attacks.

  33. dallenl says:

    In our own diocese (no names, please) we have a competent ordinary who, unfortunately, attempts to straddle the line between pastoral responsibilities locally and his representation at the national level. It is rarely successful. The result, as expected, is a certain amount of confusion in the pews, or more accurately, for those left in the pews as church consolidation appears to the future here.

Comments are closed.