Wherein Fr. Z sends Michael Sean Winters a “Combat Rosary”

wile-e-coyote helpUPDATE:

Winters responded!  HERE
ORIGINALLY Published on: Jul 31, 2017:

The other day Michael Sean Winters, the juggernaut writer for the Fishwrap, attacked you readers here. HERE  He did so, because one of you asked me about the Most Holy Rosary as a “weapon”.

He ignored the context of my response to the questioner. HERE  My answer was, go ahead, but it is better to carry it concealed.   Winters referred to the “militaristic” language, hence the concept of spiritual warfare, as a kind of profanity.

That bothered me.

It isn’t uncommon to refer to the Rosary as a “weapon”.  It is a commonplace to speak about “spiritual warfare”.

Warfare against what?

St. Josemaria Escriva said,

“For those who use their intelligence and their study as a weapon, the Rosary is most effective. Because that apparently monotonous way of beseeching Our Lady as children do their Mother, can destroy every seed of vainglory and pride.”

I opined,

“I wonder if MS Winters prays the Rosary. He uses his intelligence and study as a weapon, after all.”

I also said, in that post:

“I would be delighted to send to MS Winters both a Combat Rosary and one of these Rosary “Concealed Carry License” cards.  All I need is a good postal address.”

So, dear readers, on your behalf and mine I took matters into my own hands. 

Since I don’t have MSW’s address, I sent a Combat Rosary and Card to the main offices of the Fishwrap in Kansas City MO.

I sent it registered, with a cover letter asking that it be forwarded.  Inside the envelope, I put a postage-paid envelope with the Rosary and Card.

The contents of the inner, unsealed envelope which was to be addressed and sent to MSW:


I set it up in such a way that, when they opened it in KC MO, nothing within was sealed: they could check the contents easily.  There was nothing secret inside, just my personal card, and the Rosary.  I clearly identified myself and provided also a return address.  I was wholly above board.


Now some time has passed.

I received back the card which certified that the package had been accepted at the offices of the Fishwrap on 19 July.

It was up to them to address the inner envelope, seal it, and mail it.  It already had correct postage on it.

Has there been a response from MSW yet?


I would genuinely like to know if he received it.

Yes, this project had a touch of the facetious to it.  However, it is also a sincere gesture.

It’s my job to try to keep as many people out of Hell as I can.  The sending of the Rosary, while having also a touch of irony (it’s a “Combat Rosary” after all), was motivated from more than a touch of priestly solicitude.

I don’t think that anyone who regularly – even occasionally – prays the Rosary would have made a comment about spiritual combat, the image of spiritual weapons and warfare – in connection with the use of the Rosary, as being profane.

That jab moved me to a measure of even deeper concern than I already had.

I am sincerely concerned about the spiritual well-being of the people involved in the Fishwrap.  That’s why I ask you to pray earnestly either for conversion or for collapse of the Fishwrap.

I hope Winters decides to use the Rosary… or dig out the old chaplet that perhaps his, I dunno, grandmother had.  So long as he uses one.

Will MSW respond to or acknowledge Fr. Z's gift of a Combat Rosary?

  • No. (57%, 751 Votes)
  • Yes, publicly, with a snarky comment. (27%, 357 Votes)
  • Yes, privately, with a terse acknowledgement. (8%, 100 Votes)
  • Yes, privately, with a kind note of thanks. (6%, 82 Votes)
  • Yes, publicly, with a kind note of thanks. (3%, 39 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,329

Loading ... Loading ...


The moderation queue is… now… ON.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Sword40 says:

    Having no interest in that left-wing piece of garbage, MSW, I do not understand why anyone would give them so much coverage. Just curious.

    [Left-wing? Surely. “Piece of garbage”? Look. I am not a fan of MSW’s writings and I find many of his ideas dreadful. He has called me some awful things and I poke fun at him. However, this isn’t good at all. Let’s not imitate the style of the combox at the Fishwrap, with its relentless horrible personal attacks. I guess I have to turn on the moderation queue now.]

  2. Adaquano says:

    Work of mercy

  3. acardnal says:

    What a great idea! I hope you blessed it before mailing with a blessing from the 1962 Rituale Romanum.

    [Perhaps one day I will meet him face to face. He will take the Rosary out of his pocket and ask me to bless it.]

  4. MaureenTheTemp says:

    The hostility towards using military terms and talking about spiritual warfare doesn’t surprise me. This would attract normal men into practicing the faith, and (hopefully) becoming spiritual leaders. These folks don’t want normal masculine men providing spiritual leadership. Better to nip it in the bud and say talk of combating the devil is somehow not appropriate.

  5. Gil Garza says:

    I once was an avid reader of Fishwrap. If the good Lord can melt my heart of stone, He can bring anyone home.

    BTW, I love my Combat Rosary!

  6. JustaSinner says:

    Well Father, I’m still trying to figure out how to track you down at Mass to bless mine without going to creepy stalker lengths…

  7. LJC says:

    He must find St. Paul quite profane.

  8. jameeka says:

    Who WOULDN’T like a Combat Rosary? They are great weapons, weapons of Love.

    ( Cool stationery Fr Z)

  9. Kathleen10 says:

    It was a kind act to send him one. I hope he receives it graciously, but if not, it was still a kind act.

  10. majuscule says:

    After much thought I chose the answer: Yes, publicly, with a kind note of thanks.

    The reason I chose this least chosen (at this point in time) response is because I thought he would perhaps word the acknowledgment with kind words but in a smarmy way but that you could not call outright snarky.

    I’m afraid I’m giving too much credit here to his writing talent. I haven’t read him enough to know if he could pull it off.

    But it was a really nice gesture on your part, Father. And thank you for admitting a touch of facetiousness. One never knows what a little push in the direction of the rosary will do…especially in this 100th anniversary of Fatima!

  11. Grumpy Beggar says:

    He did so, because one of you asked me about the Most Holy Rosary as a “weapon”.

    He ignored the context of my response to the questioner. HERE My answer was, go ahead, but it is better to carry it concealed. Winters referred to the “militaristic” language, hence the concept of spiritual warfare, as a kind of profanity.

    That bothered me.

    Not only you Padre , particularly when considering Our Blessed Mother herself called the Rosary a “weapon” from its inception . . .her, and no shortage of Saints after her – probably a poor idea to associate it with profanity:

    “The Rosary is the ‘weapon’ for these times.”
    Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother. Love the Madonna and pray the rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today. All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother.”

    -St. Padre Pio

    “The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin…If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors.”

    – Pope Pius XI

    “When you say your Rosary, the angels rejoice, the Blessed Trinity delights in it, my Son finds joy in it too, and I myself am happier than you can possibly guess. After the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, there is nothing in the Church that I love as much as the Rosary.”

    -Our Lady to Blessed Alan de la Roche

    The Popes and the Rosary

    2. Numerous predecessors of mine attributed great importance to this prayer. Worthy of special note in this regard is Pope Leo XIII who on 1 September 1883 promulgated the Encyclical Supremi Apostolatus Officio,(3) a document of great worth, the first of his many statements about this prayer, in which he proposed the Rosary as an effective spiritual weapon against the evils afflicting society.

    – Pope St. John Paul II ; Rosarium Virginis Mariae

    Dominic experienced an apparition of Blessed Mother Mary while in the coma, which forever links Saint Dominic and the Rosary. The Immaculate Mary with three angels appeared and asked St. Dominic, “Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?” Dominic’s response was Blessed Mary knew better than he because she is a part of our salvation.

    Mary responded, “I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the battering ram has always been the Angelic Psalter* which is the foundation stone of the New Testament. Therefore if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.”

    Shortly after this apparition he preached the Holy Rosary to the unconverted Albigenisan heretics. To modify the Paternoster (150 Our Father’s) and in compliance with the instruction in the apparition, the design of the Saint Dominic Rosary came in to being. He set apart fifteen mysteries of the rosary, grouped them in to three sets of five decades each.

    – Taylor Marshal; How Mary Gave the Rosary to St. Dominic.

    Maybe the one you sent MSW could act like a type of Trojan Horse to let Our Lady into his heart. One can always hope. . . and pray.

  12. GregB says:

    It would appear that the progressives prefer unilateral spiritual disarmament. How many young people go off to college and into the world without the breastplate of faith and love? Lambs to the slaughter. No wonder they become members of the nones.

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  14. iamlucky13 says:

    I’m still curious to know what he thinks of Ephesians 6.

  15. tdhaller says:

    Thank you, Fr. Z, for sending Mr. Winters one, that’s a wonderful idea. I’m going to pray the rosary later today, and while I don’t really feel like praying for the Fishwrap right now, I will certainly include you in my prayers. I’m not doing that often enough, seeing how much time I spend reading your blog, and how many times my daily dose of Fr. Z has helped me. Thank you for everything you do, Father.

  16. VexillaRegis says:

    The newspaper is located on Armour Boulevard, an extremely militant address! (Originally boulevard didn’t mean “broad street” but “bastion”, ref. bulwark.)

  17. pelerin says:

    There is a rousing Anglican hymn which begins ‘Onward Christian soldiers marching as to war; with the Cross of Jesus going on before.’ I have never heard it sung in the Catholic Church but I can still recall the tune even though it must be well over 50 years since I last heard it. It was a popular hymn sung in school assembly always with great gusto although the meaning behind the words escaped most of us.

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  19. CrimsonCatholic says:

    Father, can you post a link to the article/blog post that MSW wrote about the militaristic language?


  20. benedetta says:

    Maybe persons such as Mr. Winters and his ilk do not employ militaristic language, not because they object to it so much as because it doesn’t fit with the sort of phony stylized l’image they wish to promote of their selves. Ask me, I know. From direct, first hand experience — it is not as if they are all gentle, kind, and loving. It’s just that anti militaristic language sells with their…storm troops. If you know what I mean. Their troops and they are not even against you know, in many ways, knifing another, co religionist or not, if it gets them to what they want. They are neither against dismemberment of little babies in order to get to the partisan power they want which involves, inevitably, more charmingly marketed dismemberment and smiling gentle verbiage. It is not that they “don’t believe in war”. They in fact wage the dirtiest sort of war, based on terror, without courage, integrity, or authentic let your yes mean yes. A war that we in the Church if there is to be goodness, gentleness, clarity, and transparency, justice, deserve to be informed of the particulars, especially when it involves knifing, so to speak, gutting, us and our young, for their self promotion and self power based purposes. And no I am not exaggerating or speakingi hyperbole. Ask me, because I do know and it’s not pretty. A guy like that in fact is doing war, and is doing military language, but of the devil (that’s another “image” they don’t want to discuss), very actively, cunningly, and extremely harmfully to real souls — not only spiritually but materially. So no one should be convinced that he’s all about Luv because he ridicules people like St. Pio who referred to his rosary as his weapon. No one should actually believe that for the writing he is not already and for years heavily involved in attack, with weapons, of the dirtiest sort. Say what you want but at least people here acknowledge the spiritual struggle at hand. This guy will lie and knife you, in myriad ways, and pretend that he’s all for or against this or that. Open carry, concealed carry, the spiritual struggle, even on militaristic terms, is extremely real, and we deny this at our peril.

    He’s desperate though. He employed all of that, and, they lost all that they were “fighting for”, and they lose their souls besides — this is obvious in his extreme resentment of Fr. Z, his bitterness towards others, Christians or not found in his writing. Desperate people do desperate things sometimes. Ask me I know. Let’s hope the days of having to deal with the war like tendencies of the Fishwrap towards Catholics in this country, a publication founded for the sole purpose of fomenting hatred and bigotry towards the Church and her members, are numbered. Kyrie eleison, that our hierarchs would get a clue and shut it down.

  21. Sonshine135 says:

    I said yes, privately, with a kind note of thanks, because I want to believe the best about people, even those I don’t agree with. After all, MSW is a beloved child of God as well, even if his theology is lacking.

  22. Aquinas Gal says:

    I love praying Psalm 68 for such things, understood, of course, for their spiritual well-being:

    Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered, and let those who hate him flee before his face.
    As smoke vanishes, so may they vanish…..

  23. LarryW2LJ says:

    Don’t understand why any Catholic would be disturbed by militaristic language when it comes to doing battle against Satan. To turn one of Jesus’ phrases – “If you’re not against Satan, then surely you’re …….”

    I’d definitely want to counted as being amongst those who are against Satan – by any means possible.

  24. The Mad Sicilian Geek says:

    What an awesome move! You rock!

  25. KateD says:

    A rosary by any other name….

    It was a kind thing to do Father.

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