Food for my cerebellum. Food for my reptilian brain stem. And my observation about coverage of The Present Crisis.

I unplugged for a while today.  The stream of news – and the spin – got to me, simply put.

The spinners have woven their devious clew to help them through the labyrinth while avoiding the minotaur in the maze: homosexuality.

One prominent cleric wonk spun it all as a problem of… wait for it… clericalism.   Alas, I also think the Pope’s writers did the same.  They are spinning, spinning, spinning the story away from the absolutely key and central component of the self-perpetuating, powerful homosexual subculture in the Church and back toward “the children”.   We have failed to protect and we must protect “the little ones”.

Respectfully to some, and less perhaps to some others, I say, “No.”

It’s not about “the children”. It is also about “the children… the little ones”.

Have we already forgotten L’Affaire McCarrick?  He is the embodiment of the story, because he started to work on real children, but he also did his vile number on young men and grown men.  MOSTLY.  From a position of clerical authority, to be sure.  Yes, it was clerical in that he was a cleric of increasing authority.  BUT… this is a homosexuality problem.  It isn’t only about children.

So, I was pretty steamed this morning.  I wrote a post and shelved it.  I circled around and around and around it.  Lacking the mental and spiritual energy to deal with the fallout that was sure to follow, I left it in the cooler.

Hence, I unplugged.  This is me, still trying to unplug!

I nixed the cellular service on my phone and went out with my friends into the gray and rainy Windy City.

When I travel and meet friends, clerical and lay, in this place or that, I often get a chance to enjoy the best of a city’s repast.   It can be pretty varied.  Yesterday evening, for example, there was this.

I assure you that that’s food waaaay back there.   It was really good, too, for about 20 seconds.

The highly varied courses were meticulously assembled by people in pristine togs wielding tiny brushes, tanks of super-cooled liquified gases, torches, flasks and special tweezers.

But life is full of backs and forths, ups and downs, emptyings and fillings.  Things balance out.   By way of contrast, today for lunch it was a classic Chicago beef sandwich at, where else?…


I don’t need to assure you that that is food!

Hot peppers and sweet peppers with crispy celery.   They take the whole thing and submerge it with great hand-filling stainless steel tongs in the roiling vat of juice in which the thin slices and bun were morphed into saturated immortality… or is that immorality?

The former culinary delight arrived on an immaculately curved porcelain tile of impossible white adorned with a surgical, alchemical smear.  The cerebellum positively glowed with the potential, the beauty, the flare.  You certainly wanted more, but it fleetly vanished into other constructs, each as different from the previous as angels are from each other.

The later gastronomic thrill flopped squishily down in expertly folded waxed paper, which, in its contact with the warm fat laden nectar and secret concoctions, glistened downward into spreading pools of oily peppers, shards of meat and juice.  The reptilian brain stem howled with joy, demanding, “MORE!”

The first thing you must attend to at Mr. Beef, just as when you are attempting to write a comment on this blog or send me an email, are The Rules.  They are detailed and helpful.

I may have to modify my Rules here.

After my brain stem won a round, and the second sandwich was consumed, off we went to nourish the cerebellum again at the Art Institute of Chicago.  There is a great exhibit of John Singer Sargent going that merits your time.

Perhaps it is my present mood, but here is a detail from the Beheading of John the Baptist by 15th c. Sienese painter Giovanni di Paolo.

There points.

John, here, leaned out the window so that his head could be taken off, guillotine like.

Also, John was a priest, of a priestly cast.  His priestly blood revealed the lie of corrupt Herod and the corrupt clergy who supported him in his illicit sexual arrangement.

Salome wasn’t a femme fatale.  Scripture calls her in Greek a korasion, “little girl”.   An updated version would bend her gender into a boy.

I needed a day to weigh and ponder.  I might need another day.


An unplugged cleric, reading, by Martinus Rorbye (+1848)

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Dear Father,
    I had the same reaction to the Holy Father’s words and am hoping there may be a fine point to be made about the translation. At least one media outlet has seized upon the use of the word “clericalism” to suggest the Pope is belatedly going down the same path as Protestantism. ( How the enemies of Holy Mother Church are rejoicing in this scandal.) I pray there is more honesty to come. I am very glad you ditched the electronic leash for awhile and enjoyed some blessings of earthly life.

  2. Kathleen10 says:

    I think about you and other faithful priests Fr. Z. Please God, to help you through this. The rest of us can walk away, take days at a time if we must, but that is pretty impossible for clergy. You certainly picked an interesting era to be a priest. Not like the unplugged cleric here, he picked what looks like a nice quiet time. You will have full hands when you meet God, you worked hard in that vineyard! I really like the unplugged cleric too, it makes you calm just to look at it.
    The church is on fire, and we need to let it burn. I have no desire to grab a bucket yet and may not for a long time, if ever. At this point I’m looking for a gas can. What we’re hearing does not indicate a resolution. They don’t get it, not at all.
    As much as you can, Fr. Z., pray, and walk away. Sometimes distraction with laughter and joy is the best medicine. Don’t be afraid to repeat as needed. It doesn’t rest on you, you’re one man.
    We’ll let God take care of it, it’s His Church. If He wants it to continue, it will.

  3. monstrance says:

    Considering the unplugged Cleric….
    What do you surmise the jug under the window is for ?

  4. Malta says:

    Food is a good antidote for the current crisis. When in Philly I love Philly cheese steaks, but I’ve been eating this here in Santa Fe recently:

  5. Malta says:

    I see great destruction happening:

    I am a believer in Our Lady’s words at Akita, Japan. “Bishop will oppose Bishop…fire will fall from the sky, where the living will envy the dead.” Did you know that a statue of Mary there was caught live on Japanese TV crying? These are scary times.

  6. Supertradmum says:

    Love the sign. I suggest one for your site. However, the sandwich? Sigh. Having been vegan except for the occasional fish on my health-diet, I do not think I shall be visiting Mr. Beef. Chicago is a strange, yet intriguing place, which I have visited many times and have one sibling who lives there. As to the Pope’s statement, sad, incomplete, but a kernel of truth, in that clericalism protects these predators because of the “old boy’s club” mentally of the clergy in the cover-ups. I prefer a British extrapolated title for this old boy’s club, “old queen’s club.” Maybe you will have to put that phrase on your Mr. Beef-Fr Z sign as a no-no!

  7. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Z wrote:

    “They take the whole thing and submerge it with great hand-filling stainless steel tongs in the roiling vat of juice in which the thin slices and bun were morphed into saturated immortality… or is that immorality?”

    Fr. Z, I think that might be “immortality,” but let’s check the original recipe.

    *rustles through a stack of parchment*

    Here it is, from the Holy Cookbook of Antioch, looks like the word should be “immortality”:

    “With thy Tongs immerse thy Blessed Sandwich in the Vat and thou shalt receive Everlasting Goodness. If thou, in thy zeal and folly, dunk thy Sandwich too long and it withers, fear not the Pit of Sheol nor rend thy garments. Nay, first praise the Lord in His Holy Place, then seek Ye a Second Sandwich…”

    The painting of the reading cleric is nice, fresh air through the open window, sunlight, and the expanse of grass stretching up to a wooded ridge.

    This painting makes my mind wander to a country manor I’ll have some day. It will have a pond, no two, one stocked with fish the other with Guiness. From atop my manor, Chuck Norris Hall, I can survey the four corners of my Realm. With the manor’s catapult and high-speed internet I can pour out my Indignation upon my enemies and Mockery upon the Libs.

    My stables would be filled with trusty steeds, my cellar with fruit of the vine, and my chapel with stained-glass windows and Latin-speaking clerics.

    Have a blessed sojourn in the Windy City Fr. Z.

  8. ex seaxe says:

    Yesterday’s OF reading, Ezekiel 24:15-24 seems particularly apt.
    21 `Say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the pride of your power, the delight of your eyes, and the desire of your soul; and your sons and your daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword.
    and Ezekiel’s response:
    22 And you shall do as I have done; you shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of mourners.
    23 Your turbans shall be on your heads and your shoes on your feet; you shall not mourn or weep, but you shall pine away in your iniquities and groan to one another.

    I pray you will keep up the good fight.

  9. JonPatrick says:

    A great way to get unplugged in Chicago is to ride the Lake St. “L” out to Garfield Park and visit the Conservatory there – an oasis of flowers and lily ponds smack in a city neighborhood.

    I love the Art Institute. Hopefully you got to see Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks before it goes away on tour for a while.

    As far as the current crisis is concerned, I feel that things are different this time, that they won’t be able to get away with another Dallas Charter then call it a day, yep everything is fine now, move along nothing to see here folks.

  10. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Should i get to Chicago again, Mr. Beef is high on my list both for what they serve and for how they serve it. The “soul food” restaurant near work has little signs with some similar rules. Why on earth would someone presume to reach over the counter?

  11. KT127 says:

    I very much appreciate all your words on the topic. They have given me hope, perspective and rebuttal to some arguments I am hearing. If all I heard was the spin, I would know it was wrong but it would be all I hear.

    Watching the two sides interact (and not just the “published” writers or “official” speakers) ……well, “you will know them by their fruits” comes to mind.

    Enjoy your break!

  12. johnnys says:

    That thing on the white board? That’s like eating arts & crafts.

  13. Michael Haz says:

    “With thy Tongs immerse thy Blessed Sandwich in the Vat and thou shalt receive Everlasting Goodness. If thou, in thy zeal and folly, dunk thy Sandwich too long and it withers, fear not the Pit of Sheol nor rend thy garments. Nay, first praise the Lord in His Holy Place, then seek Ye a Second Sandwich…”

    I’m dyin’ over here. Just sprayed coffee onto my keyboard. Well done!

    Also, I love the Sixteen Commandments of Mr. Beef. My lunch plans for the next trip to Chicago have been noted, although its address (666 Orleans St.) gave pause for a moment. It’s close enough for a pre-meal walk to or from St. John Cantius.

  14. Adaquano says:

    Now all I can think is how to get a lunch that is good as that. And while I eat I can think about how come today’s Catholic art is rarely as good as yesteryear.

  15. Kathleen10 says:

    Semper Gumby, haha!

  16. Another sign at Mr. Beef.

  17. Unwilling says:

    Whether intended or not (ask Fr Rosica), the Pope bizarrely characterizing this crisis as essentially about “clericalism” not only obfuscates any attempts at genuine insight and understanding, it also hinders any effort at meaningful planning and (re)action.

    In case in Chicago they didn’t serve Red Herring.

  18. Unwilling says:

    But this “free water” offer contradicts Rule #7.

  19. “The first thing you must attend to at Mr. Beef, just as when you are attempting to write a comment on this blog or send me an email, are The Rules. They are detailed and helpful.”

    Father, are you sure you didn’t catch the wrong flight and end up in Brooklyn?

  20. Semper Gumby says:

    Kathleen10: Thanks!

    Michael Haz: Thanks, and I phoned Mr. Beef to see if they’d pay for your new keyboard. Unfortunately, Mr. Beef said he had a beef with that.

    Fr. Z: The sign telling people to go drink from Lake Michigan brings to mind one of the Founding Fathers of Socialism, Charles Fourier (1772-1837). Fourier wrote that when the Era of Perfect Harmony began the seas and oceans would turn into lemonade. (He also wrote about: living in communes, domesticating whales, androgynous plants copulating, every woman having four husbands, he apparently coined the term “feminism,” and in the socialist utopia of the future Fourier said there would be 37 million poets equal to Homer and 37 million dramatists equal to Moliere. This Fourier guy actually had numerous followers, some quite wealthy.)

    Charles Fourier- the gift that keeps on giving.

    JonPatrick: Ah yes, Garfield Park and the Conservatory. Excellent.

  21. rosula says:

    “One prominent cleric wonk spun it all as a problem of… wait for it… clericalism.”

    Father Jonathon Morris also spun it as clericalism! (You know, Father Morris- the priest who canonized the Reverend Billy Graham on Fox News a few months ago.). First, the Legionaries of Christ, and now this. Some people bounce around from one extreme to the next like a ping pong ball on the high winds.

    Whitewashing sin and soft-peddling sodomy…[shaking head]

    Lord, help us.

  22. Andreas says:

    I visited two medieval castles today; ruins located on Summer hot Bavarian mountains not far from the Tirol. The time-worn and battered walls, despite the havoc and neglect reaped on them over the centuries, still stand in their ancient glory. Many stones are missing and the battlements are, in some places, gone, but the fortress, its history and all that it has meant remains.

    These mighty stones brought to mind our Church and the crisis in which we now find ourselves. Despite the havoc and neglect under which it has suffered, it still stands. Men may fall, but the structure and its soul remain. The time to speak loudly and clearly, eschewing fear and denial about the ills which afflict us is now and there are many in The Church’s body (such as Father Z.) and from without who are doing just that. Words must be followed with decisive actions taken by the highest levels of accountability or they will prove impotent. With this in mind and despite the dark night in which we now find ourselves, I remain confident that The True Church will still be with us long after the walls of the castles I today saw have fallen.

    I’m with you, Malta! After seeing the photo of the more than likely obscenely overpriced micro-morsel, my mind drifts away from such haute cuisine demi-delicacies to the true art of the classic and decidedly proletariat yet noble Philly Cheesesteak.

  23. LA says:

    Just say “to heck with it all”, and go join the Mystic Monks who are mostly unplugged. :)

  24. excalibur says:

    Father, the first dish looks like it is served on an old Apple iBook or Macbook.

    As for “… in which the thin slices and bun were morphed into saturated immortality… or is that immorality?” I’m afraid Rorate would say immorality. I went to battle very gently with them when they attacked you over posting pictures of meals over a year ago. One Tweet to them that we all need to stand together and such an ad hominem against you should be avoided. They cut me off their Twitter feed. No wonder this battle is more difficult than it needs be, conservatives attacking each other.

    [A sense of humor could work wonders. I live in hope that, some day, they will figure out that we all have to work together. I don’t know what the problem is over there, but things are getting to the point where we can’t afford the division. For a long time I’ve been willing to forgive and move on – which strikes me as the Christian and rational approach, given the state of affairs. Anyway, my olive branches have been rejected, which is too bad.]

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