Feedback from a priest and the offer of a priestly pact

Last night I exchanged emails with a priest friend.  We bumped along on a couple topics, expressing a measure of concern for what we are seeing in the Church today, and then came this:

I guess today I realized the reason I wasn’t frustrated and worried was because I had been completely ignoring what was happening. And what little Francishock news I had to deal with I simply dismissed with “He’s not going to break the Church.” Then I read a few things like this and this and started feeling the same way. It just seems like it’s accelerating now.  [In finem citius.]

I still believe that the Holy Spirit is in charge. I’m just not so sure I know where or how I’m going to be living my vocation in the coming months and years.

I need to pray more. A lot more. May the Lord grant you profound peace and strength in all this. You’re very much in the center of it. Nonetheless, don’t underestimate what a powerful encouraging witness you have been through countless articles and comments, not to mention all the ongoing sacramental work you do. God bless.

Fathers, let’s make a pact.

When the news starts to get to us, let’s reground ourselves in prayer and attending to our duties.  Also, perhaps read less about all the bad stuff going on.  For example, for the last couple weeks, I – who have Current-News Attraction – have simply not reviewed my regularly DVR’d programs.  I’ve been considerably more light-hearted as a result.

The moderation queue is ON (and the combox is open especially to priests).

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I thank God daily for my Adoration Chapel. At least two hours a day keeps me sane.

  2. Knight from 13904 says:

    “dwelling on evil, leads to evil” I recall reading that in one of Fr. Mike Gaitley’s books. So easy to get sucked into all of the negativity on the web. Especially when it leads us away from the true beauty of Catholicism. Not that we can afford to stick our heads in the sand but there needs to be a balance.
    speaking of beauty of Catholicism here is great video clip on 7 reasons I love the traditional Latin Mass.

  3. Tamara T. says:

    Good advice Father! I have also made a conscious decision to tune out of so much of the negative and focus more on prayer. I do not think the daily onslaught of news and other people’s opinions is very healthy mentally. It’s much more peaceful for me.

  4. Benedict Joseph says:

    The diatribe delivered in “Civilta Cattolica” by Antonio Spadaro SJ and the Argentine Presbyterian Pastor Marcelo Figueroa, an acquaintance of Pope Francis, should provide a note of urgency to our observation of the state of the Church at the Vatican.
    One can be grateful that the masque is being lifted.
    I cannot help but compare our submission to this ongoing catastrophe to the response given during post-conciliar period to the depraved abuses now unmasked.
    See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil are not the Christian response to what is being played out before us.
    Are we able to continue to mask our legitimate anxiety over the trajectory the Church is taking? Is it right to sit mute in the face of increasingly disturbing statements, acts and comportment? The news of the past few weeks is nothing less than grievously, gravely disturbing, yet we offer deference to an enterprise manipulated for nefarious purpose.

  5. Fr. Kelly says:

    I’m in
    Today is the 100th Anniversary of the July apparition of Our Lady at Fatima — the one in which she revealed the three “Secrets”.

    Let us pray in reparation for all the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary — especially by us priests.

    I will join you in praying for priests at my Mass each morning.

    Fr. Kelly

  6. rwj says:

    I sign on to this pact- also as priests need to support each other all the more! There is much to be dismayed over, and a steady diet of this news can be deflating. I’m quite sure that is one of the Devil’s tactics in all this vs. faithful priests and my own exercise of priesthood. It is so important to attend to our duties as priests, which includes zeal for souls and loving passion for the truth, no matter what– including our promise and duty to pray, to know and love our Lord firstly, and His spouse as our own.

    I know that I’ll never knowingly teach and promote error, and in that fact I am not alone as a priest and especially as the most fruitful portion of the Church. We can’t wait for a better pope, bishop, assignment, day, or whatever- I believe we are all alive now in this particular time for a reason. Our people, to whom our bishop’s/superiors entrusted us as priests, need the priesthood right now. The more faithfully we live our vocation the closer people will come to God, and to salvation– no time to waste!

    If some bizarre thing happens in theory: I’m suspended from ministry solely for not supporting Communion for unrepentant adulterers or some other strange machination against the permanent magisterium of the Church, I’ll still be alive– and more importantly, that grave sin and its large millstone will be around neck of some other more powerful priest somewhere–at least leaving my own soul, for that reason at least, intact and tested. —Thats a big if- that I hope would deal with the consequences like a man who made his choices with absolute conviction.

    With the rapidly approaching demographic cliff in the West, there may soon be much less edifices and offices to hide in and tinker and less ‘sandboxes’ to play. Maybe then we will all be serious again together about Christ’s teaching on Marriage and the Church’s family– and turn away from the evils the brought it about in the first place. That’s where I’ll aways be.

  7. Ave Crux says:

    I have to admit the situation in the Church has been tearing at my heart…I am especially concerned about SOULS….. how many are being led into confusion, error and sin….and more sin! And about the unimaginable offense to God! How distressing to see Him treated in such an outrageous manner…it’s hard not to care or be concerned about God and souls.

    Lately, however — for my own mental and spiritual health — I too have been inspired not to follow the news as closely….”What’s the use,” I realized…”we all know where this is going and it’s not going to end well.”

    We must be honest and realistic about how far this has already come….there is no turning back now, humanly speaking, and it will require a global house cleaning.

    So rather than be slain little by little as I watch it happening, I feel moved just focus more on God and wait it out, making my prayer life an oblation and holocaust for souls with urgency and generous effort.

    Then this morning, another thought and moment of clarity came to me, since I have struggled with wanting God to finish with these outrages and wonder why He has not stepped in.

    The thought was this: “What is happening is a winnowing….God is watching as souls take sides and decide where they will spend their eternity. The lines are drawn and now souls are aligning themselves either with God or with satan…..God is allowing this process, and the delay is even a mercy for the elect, for the chastisement will be terrible indeed when it finally comes….use the time now to plunge with all your strength into prayer, virtue and union with God…”

  8. padredana says:

    I’m in. On the advise of a very wise and holy monk, I have been trying to read less of the “bad news.” I struggle with this because I, like Fr. Z, struggle with Current-News Attraction, but I do notice that when I am less attached to the blogs (no offense to Fr. Z) and to the news feeds, I am more at peace. I also find that prayer, reparation, and penance (particularly fasting) are VERY helpful. We priests must stick together.

  9. lmgilbert says:

    Institutionalized Worry: The News

    ( Father, This I wrote in 1981 as a letter to the editor and your post today brought it to mind. The news programs then went on endlessly about Sadat, about a possible invasion of Poland, about interest rates. Johnny Carson was the David Letterman of his time. )

    When you come back from a vacation to the North Woods,
    your vacation ends when you pick up your first
    newspaper. Once again, you have shouldered your
    endless, international responsibilities. Your
    precise function? To worry. Having satisfied your
    curiosity that Russia has not yet invaded Poland, and
    that the banks are still open, you can peer anxiously
    into the future and wonder about interest rates,
    rising crime rates and whether California will fall
    into the sea.

    When tension rises to its old levels, you can reach
    for a beer and put on Monday Night Football. A man
    with these responsibilities owes himself some
    relaxation. And, of course, having gone through that
    kind of day, with your body tensed up and your mind
    full of beer commercials, prayer is a bit difficult,
    to say the least.

    Is there a divine command that we must know what is
    going on in the world? Did Marconi come down the
    mountain with Moses? Some people talk as if knowing
    what is going on in the world is obligatory. It
    isn’t. It consumes time. It consumes, to a
    remarkable degree, emotional energy. If all the time
    and energy spent worrying over a possible invasion of
    Poland had been spent in prayer before God, Russia
    would have repented in dust and ashes about six months
    ago. If we didn’t have these forms of
    institutionalized worry to tense us up, we probably
    wouldn’t need the soaps, the Eight O’clock movie and
    Johnny Carson to help us unwind.

    Things that are really newsworthy and of universal
    interest we literally cannot avoid knowing, even if we
    avoid the mass media completely. Then why waste our
    time in front of the TV learning what is going on in
    the world instead of kneeling in our rooms *being*
    what is going on in the world? If current events is
    our thing, then let’s change them by prayer, not
    contribute our own bit of despair and worry.

    I say let others be our unpaid informants. We will
    always know what is going on in the world, and it is
    remarkable how much news can be reduced to one liners
    such as, “Sadat has been killed.” That says it all,
    doesn’t it?

    What will happen now? No one except the Lord knows
    for sure, but that will not prevent numberless
    commentators from spending the God-given hours and
    minutes of your life worrying you over what might
    happen now in the Middle East. But the Lord says, “Do
    not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will have
    troubles enough of its own. Sufficient for the day
    are the troubles thereof” (Mt. 6:34).

    Some people say we can’t hide our heads in the sand.
    Why can’t we? The desert fathers did. They left the
    cities of the Middle East by the thousands and tens of
    thousands to live in the desert alone with God. They
    left the noises of the city so they could hear the
    voice of God. Perhaps we too, if we cut off the mass
    media, would begin to hear, after a time, the voice of
    God speaking to us, consoling, strengthening,
    instructing and inspiring us.

    Then we could preach from the housetops what we heard
    whispered in darkness, and the world would change.
    The kingdom of God comes down from heaven into a man,
    and into the world through his preaching. It comes
    down into a man praying in his room, with the door
    closed, in the perfect tranquillity and silence of his
    heart. It is a heart cleansed of all temptations to
    worry and interior noise. He minds the things that are
    above and not the things that are below, and so
    fulfills a divine command. He pleases God.

    On the whole the world is an orderly and beautiful
    place. It is the nature of news organizations to
    report exceptions to this order, and even to seek them
    out. It is a nightly meditation on disorder,
    violence, confrontation, murder, war, mishap and
    mayhem. But the Lord says, “Whatsoever things are
    true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things
    are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever
    things lovely, whatsoever things are of good report,
    think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). *That* is
    the divine command, and it is not the function of news
    departments to help us fulfill it.

    There is no need to allow ourselves to be worried and
    to have our faith undermined every blessed day of our
    lives, especially since this cuts sharply into our
    prayer lives. If we give ourselves to prayer and
    trust in God to inform us about developments we need
    to know about, we may be sure that He will do that.
    “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice… Have
    no anxiety, but in every prayer and supplication with
    thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God.
    And may the peace of God which surpasses all
    understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ
    Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).

  10. Hidden One says:

    This pact should be a good example for seminarians.

  11. jarms says:

    The priests who read this blog, and all priests, should be aware how much we faithful Catholics treasure faithful priests. We know that satan is especially assiduous in his pursuit of you, and we pray the harder for you and for the strength and perseverance of you and your guardian angels. We have your backs, fathers.

  12. DavidR says:

    Yes, we have your backs, Fathers.

    It struck me that what is going on in the Church today is no different than what was going on in the Church a generation after the Lord ascended. I read Peter, Paul, John, James, Jude, and the Acts and it appears that nothing has changed in 2000 years. There are still heretics, schemers, frauds, and the agents of the devil today, as there were then.

    “His winnowing fan is in His hand….”

    Dear faithful Fathers “…enter into the joy of your Lord….”

  13. Rosary Rose says:

    Praying for you priests!

    If this helps, none of the turmoil in the Church surprises me. I think things must get very bad so that the world will recognize the triumph of Our Lady. I was born during Vactican II, my dad helped bring the SSPX to our city. My mother took us to the Novus Ordo church. I grew up extremely conservative in a crazy world. As the middle child of large Catholic family, I am programmed to seek peace and harmony. I have prayed my whole life for a return to the sacred in our Church. My hope is strengthened by your work, Fr. Z, the work of Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Sarah, Bishop Schneider, iPadre, Fr. Richard Heilman and countless others. My entire life I have had to pray and worship Christ in churches that do not seem to recognize Christ on the altar, and certainly ignored the warnings of Our Lady at Fatima. What is happening g makes perfect sense to me. I thank God for all of our Priests, I will continue to pray for more vocations. Take heart, this has been among time coming. It is not over yet. Our Lady said her heart will triumph and the Pope will consecrated Russia.

    God bless our Priests. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

  14. Richard McNally says:

    Count me in. Cardinal Sarah’s The Power of Silence is great spiritual reading for this time.

  15. Cincinnati Priest says:

    Yes, I’m in on the pact.

    I have found that generally NOT reading about what Pope Francis is up to has improved my mood and sense of serenity. This is a paradigm shift for me, because I used to so enjoy following JP2 and B16. In addition I am praying for the “long view” (To wit, in all likelihood, PF’s pontificate will be over within 10 years) . Am also already praying for a good pontiff to clean up some of his messes when he passes into eternity. Not audacious enough to try to nudge the Holy Spirit in any particular direction [Subliminal message: Robert Cardinal Sarah]

    And yes, focusing on my own parochial duties and applying St. Pio’s maxim (Pray, hope, don’t worry) have also both been helpful strategies

  16. taffymycat says:

    God bless all. And prayers please for Charlie Gard and his poor parents, I have looked on here for mention of prayers for this baby couldnt find it. Pardon me if this is in the wrong place, but please pray with all of us that Charlie is a sign of Gods great mercy, compassion and omnipotence for Whom nothing is impossible.

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