Wherein Rutler thrashes @AntonioSpadaro

At Crisis, Fr. George Rutler has posted a potent counterpoint to Jesuit jibber-jabber (I know… that could be taken for a tautology).  He goes after Antonio Spadaro, SJ, who has issued all manner of nonsense with Olympian authority.

Spadaro is one of the chief cadres of the New catholic Red Guard, who target for persecution anyone who insists that 2 plus 2 still equals 4.

You simply have to read the whole of Rutler’s take down, perhaps with a refreshing drink near to hand.  I warn you, however, to sip judiciously, lest you spray your screen.   Rutler’s piece is a deadly hoot.

Here’s a sample, in medias res, with my usual:


Father Antonio Spadaro, a close associate of Pope Francis, raised eyebrows in July 2017 when he described religious life in the United States, with such confidence that can come only from a profound knowledge of a subject or a total lack of it. Father Spadaro advises the Holy Father, who had never visited the United States before becoming pope. In an essay in Civilta Cattolica called “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism,” Father Spadaro spoke with disdain of a cabal formed by Evangelicals and Catholics motivated by a “triumphalist, arrogant, and vindictive ethnicism” which is creating an “apocalyptic geopolitics.” Religious fundamentalists behind this plot have included Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and Trump who is a Manichaean. The co-author of this imaginative literary exercise was a Protestant minister, Marcelo Figuero who is editor-in-chief of the new Argentinian edition of L’Osservatore Romano to which office he brings the rich systematic theology of Argentinian Presbyterianism. The two authors were rhetorically florid in denouncing Yankee racism, obscurantism, and fascism, so unlike the temperate history of Spadaro’s own peninsula and Figuero’s Argentinian utopia. If they want to condescend to the USA, they need a loftier platform.


OUCH.   But the drubbing goes on.


Later, in a well publicized comment on “Twitter” which operates according to stable and constant principles of applied engineering, Father Spadaro typed: “In theology 2 + 2 can equal 5. Because it has to do with God and the real life of people…” To put a charitable gloss on that, he may have simply meant theology applied to pastoral situations where routine answers of manualists may be inadequate. But he has made his arithmetic a guide to dogma, as when he said in his Boston speech that couples living in “irregular” family situations “can be living in God’s grace, can love and also grow in a life of grace.” Yet, despite his concern for freedom of thought and expression, Father Spadaro has recently expressed sympathy for calls to censor Catholic television commentators who insist that 2+2 = 4. [He seems to agree with a call that EWTN be “interdicted” unless Raymond Arroyo is fired.]

There are two things to consider here. First, some clergy of Father Spadaro’s vintage grew up in a theological atmosphere of “Transcendental Thomism.” Aquinas begins the Summa Theologica asserting in the very first Question, four times, that theology has a greater certitude than any other science. While it gives rise to rhymes and song, it is solid science, indeed the Queen of Sciences. Transcendental Thomism was Karl Rahner’s attempt to wed Thomistic realism with Kantian idealism. Father Stanley Jaki, theologian and physicist, called this stillborn hybrid “Aquikantianism.” But if stillborn, its ghosts roam corridors of ecclesiastical influence. This really is not theology but theosophy, as romantic as Teilhard de Chardin, as esoteric as a Rosicrucian, and as soporific as the séances of Madame Blavatsky. The second point is that not all cultures have an instinct for pellucid expression. The Italian language is so beguiling that it can create an illusion that its rotundity is profundity, and that its neologisms are significant. [ROFL!] When it is used to calling you a “Cattolico Integralista” or a “Restauratore” the cadences almost sound like a compliment. Even our Holy Father, who often finds relief from his unenviable burdens by using startling expressions, said on June 19, 2016: “We have a very creative vocabulary for insulting others.”


There’s a lot more.

Your enjoyment of this piece would be greatly enhanced by Mystic Monk coffee – or something else – in your very own CLEMENT XIVth mug!




About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    He is actually making excuses for Spadaro and there is no excuse. [Noooo… I don’t think he’s making any excuses for Spadaro. Nope.] Spadaro clearly does not understand the US, or the issues that gave rise to Trump and the nativist push which are largely economic and in fact driven by the working class not the elite. The fact that capital can move across borders separate from the consent of labour is a problem. It means that wages drop – and trade is indeed a big issue for the poor. Ford talked about the need to twin both manufacturing and capital – creating jobs. The globalized economy has not been good for the midwest as capital has fled seeking cheaper manufacturing in India and Mexico (Trump, and I have issues with him, was dead right on that). This has been a disaster for working class people but it has been great for the global elite. At one time our Catholic leaders stood for the working class – the new left and Spadaro et al. no longer do (if they ever did) and it is a serious problem. In a twisted way, they actually end up supporting the 1% – so strange

  2. acardnal says:

    Fr. Rutler is likely to get Blocked on Twitter by Fr Spadaro with commentary like that! A badge of honor.

  3. ChrisP says:

    Spadaro, that guy from the IMF, Card Wuerl, PF …and the list goes on. They are all now quite worried, to the point of stoatish apoplexy, as the boat is leaking. Until now, it has never occurred to them that someone could get hold of official records like the Papal Foundation/Klovenbach report etc, and give it to media like LifeSite news/EWTN, or worse, the “horrible, disgusting” John-Henry Western.

    I am personally going to use this Lent to pray, fast, confess and then let the Lord inspire and lead/guide me in cleaning up the mess in my own life/home/Parish/Diocese, in that order. Eggs will be broken, apoplectic stoats will need to be tamed but it needs to happen. We are past the point of debating morality now; we are debating reality and that is a whole different ballgame.

    Domine non sum dignus…

  4. Ave Maria says:

    I think these truth tellers like Fathers Rutler and Murray need to watch their backs!

  5. I think I have finally figured out why Jesuit “poverty” goes a looooooooooooong way. If they are fudging the numbers this badly then they are bound to tally some extra nickels and dimes where they ought not be ;).

    In all seriousness, it makes one sad that good and prudent Sons of Ignatius are lumped in with the likes of Spadaro and Martin. My hope is that someday the Jesuits trim some of the fat in order to get back to their business of kicking Pagan Butt and taking souls.

  6. Sword40 says:

    ” [He seems to agree with a call that EWTN be “interdicted” unless Raymond Arroyo is fired.]”

    And where is the “mercy and forgiveness and understanding and tolerance”?
    Seems a bit of arrogance is present in Spadaro’s thinking.

    [No, no. You don’t get it. They make rules for US. They don’t have to follow the rules they make.]

  7. Ave Crux says:

    Later, in a well publicized comment on “Twitter” which operates according to stable and constant principles of applied engineering,…”

    Fatherrrrr….I failed to heed your warning! I unthinkingly took a bite of a muffin just as I began to read the above sentence and the next instant I burst out laughing so hard my newly introduced muffin crumbs sprayed out at my laptop screen…. Even as I write this I am still laughing at his devastating wit…..

    God bless Father Rutler!

  8. Pingback: When FrancisOrder Breaks Down, It’s A Good Week For The Faith… | The Deus Ex Machina Blog

  9. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Spadaro wrote: “In theology 2 + 2 can equal 5. Because it has to do with God and the real life of people…”

    Huh. In the real life of people writing 2+2=5 on your tax return will get you 5 to 10 in the slammer.

    Fr. Rutler has struck a gold mine here, to mention just a few: “…the rich systematic theology of Argentinian Presbyterianism.” And: “This really is not theology but theosophy, as romantic as Teilhard de Chardin, as esoteric as a Rosicrucian, and as soporific as the séances of Madame Blavatsky.”

    In that photo in Fr. Rutler’s Crisis article it appears that Fr. Spadaro is brandishing a copy of La Civilta Cattolica with a red cover. One wonders if next we’ll see a photo of Fr. Spadaro swimming Chairman Mao-like in the Tiber. Though, to quote General Eisenhower in 1944 completely out of context: “That is a prospect too bitter to contemplate.”

  10. NBW says:

    Fr. Rutler is extremely intelligent and witty. I love his sense of humor. Those that lack true intellect like Fr.Spadaro, would not in a million years, be able to write or speak like Fr. Rutler. If they did, we would then have something to worry about. The “Red Guard” uses brute force, just like the Communists and Nazis. Maybe that’s why they are pushing the China Vatican deal; they don’t see a difference between their take on Catholicism and Communism/Socialism. Fast and pray…and repeat often!

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