PODCAzT 164: Open Letter From A Young Priest To Bishops

At Crisis there is posted an open letter from an anonymous young priest to bishops.

It is a cri de coeur.

Where Are the Bishops Who Will Defend Faithful Priests?

I read this letter today, so that it will have greater exposure to those who don’t sit at screens to read.

You should, however, always go to the ever and increasingly valuable Crisis. It is a daily stop for me.

O Almighty and Eternal God, look upon the face of Thy Christ, and for the love of Him, who is the eternal High Priest, have pity on Thy priests. Remember that they are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation which is in them by the imposition of the Bishop’s hand. Keep them close to Thee lest the enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation.

O Jesus, I pray Thee for Thy faithful and fervent priests; for Thy unfaithful and tepid priests; for Thy priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for Thy tempted priests; for Thy lonely priests; for Thy dying priests; for the souls of Thy priests in purgatory. But above all I commend to Thee the priests dearest to me; the priest who baptized me; the priests who absolved me from my sins; the priests at whose Masses I assisted, and who gave me Thy Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed me, or helped and encouraged me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way, particularly N and N.

O Jesus, keep them all close to Thy Heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Clerical Sexual Abuse, Cri de Coeur, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Mail from priests, PODCAzT, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Fr. John says:


  2. Joy65 says:

    That letter and ALL of the Priests it speaks for is why I pray DAILY for all Priests, Religious brothers and Sisters, Deacons, Seminarians, our Pope, Bishops, Cardinals and all discerning vocations to the Priesthood or Religious life.

    THEY need our prayers and we need them. PLEASE Lord help them.

  3. Kevin says:

    Oh my…oh my. If that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes….I will pray for the author and all Priests who are living and preaching the Gospel; for being my/our Shepherds. Fr. Z…thank you for all you are doing.
    Pray for me and I will pray for you!

  4. chantgirl says:

    I have been considering Sr. Lucia’s warning that the final battle would be over marriage and the family, and if that is accurate, we are already experiencing some stage of it. Not only has the secular world completely lost its understanding of man and woman, mother and father, and children, but the Church as a family has experienced a nearly complete breakdown. We are living in a severely dysfunctional Church family. Many fathers in the Church hierarchy have no idea how to actually father, many of the children in the Church are disobedient and wayward due to this absence of true fatherhood, and the Church as the Bride of Christ on earth is unfaithful, running after various lovers. Meanwhile, we have the scandal of what appears to the laity as a divorce in the Papacy, with a father who has left and barely speaks to us, and a new stepfather who does not seem to understand us or love us, and often berates us for believing what the Church has always taught. I am sorry to be so blunt, but the laity are tired of the abuse- mental, spiritual, and sexual.

    I cannot even fathom the interior suffering of good priests in this time. How abandoned they must feel, and how tempted they must be in their loneliness. Forgive us, Fathers, for not praying more often for you! May the Holy Family safeguard your vocation.

    To be completely honest, short of seeing one of my children wind up in hell, nothing would terrify me more than a son telling me he wants to be a priest. Yet, I still hope God calls one or more of them, if it will be to their salvation, the salvation of others, and the greater glory of God.

  5. UncleBlobb says:

    Thank you very much for this, Father Z.

  6. Ms. M-S says:

    We should think long and hard about why a faithful priest whose views reflect nothing but what the Church has always taught should have to publish them anonymously.

  7. LarryW2LJ says:

    For a cradle Catholic, who was born in the late 50s, this was an intensely hard letter to read. I have never been more embarrassed to be a part of the Baby Boom generation, if this young man thinks we’re all that way. I’m thinking that, in actuality, he doesn’t think all of us Boomers are as he describes; but it’s a sad reality that a lot of my generation are.

    As one who was trained as an Altar Boy while the TLM was still the ONLY Mass that was celebrated, it is so, so, so very sad to see how far we’ve fallen. The 60s and 70s were trying times for society as a whole, as well as the Church. We are suffering from a lot of misguided thinking that was in vogue back then. We drifted away from a very reverent liturgy to what I call a “Kumbaya” kind of thinking.

    But, as is now coming to light, a lot of other mistakes were made, besides the mishandling of the liturgy. Questionable decisions were made in many areas and we are suffering from their consequences.

    It looks pretty dark right now, but I am buoyed by the hope that if God got the stiff-necked Israelites into the Promised Land, that He will get us through this, too. I don’t know how. But He does; and that’s all that matters.

  8. The Masked Chicken says:

    Yes, this is a cri-de-coeur.

    The one jarring thing that threw me out of his pleading was his use of the phrase, “Baby Boomer clergy.” I have noticed in my travels across the Information Superhighway that many Millennials seem to have a fixation on the Baby Boom generation as the source of all current evils. This betrays a lack of historical perspective. People like Archbishop Weakland, et. al that he mentions were from the Greatest Generation. The current crisis in the Church-at-large can be traced back in a straight line to the period 1880 – 1930 (with obvious antecedents going back to the Enlightenment), when Natural Philosophy was slowly morphing into the scientific industry we have, today, and theologians, unskilled and untrained in the new scientific methods, especially German Protestant theologians, very early on tried to incorporate the Materialistic viewpoint into their theology. That, along with the rise of German Idealism and the new discipline of Psychology, gave rise to Modernism. None of the Baby Boomer priests were at Vatican II, but they were formed by priests and bishops who were at Vatican II. The wayward Baby Boomer priests were formed by the wayward theology taught by priests of a generation earlier, who, were, in turn, taught by Modernists disguised as people who wanted to return the Church to her roots.

    The density of homosexual clergy in seminaries is directly caused by flawed appeals to an unscientific psychology that has been integrated into pastoral formation that teaches non-judgmentalism and an “integrated” sexual maturity which gives license and cover for evil. These ideas go back at least to the 1950’s. There is a reason that aceticism and mystical theology was replaced with pastoral psychology as mandatory topics in seminary formation. Asceticism fosters holiness; psychology fosters licentiousness.

    The writer of the article is right to ask for help and support, but if he had studied a bit more modern Church history, he might have had a better perspective on the current crisis. Some Baby Boomer clergy, but not all, by any means, are themselves the effects of earlier hidden causes that have taken the long-game as their strategy. Getting rid of the Baby Boomers without getting rid of or even overturning and theologically demolishing the underlying theory that helped form them will only allow this situation to re-occur in another 300 years in a vicious cycle.

    I am all for pleading for help from priests who have suffered so much at the hands of malformed confreres, but we also need dispassionate analysis because change for the sake of change without a clear picture of the problem will just result in further harm down the road.

    The Chicken

  9. Dan says:

    I am grateful for this priest’s honest and heartfelt letter, I couldn’t help though as I listened composing my own open letter to clergy from a faithful layman in my head. It would read much like his but be directed at all priests.

    Dear Fathers,
    I am a parishioner in your Church. I attend Mass with my family every Sunday. I grew up as a son of the baby boomer generation and through the 80’s was catechized in the faith so poorly that it would have been better had I not been instructed at all. For years growing up we listened to the spirit choir concert every Sunday before we all were forced dancing up the isle by the ushers to receive what may or may not have been validly consecrated Holy Communion.
    I, thank God, did not attend parochial school at that time and watched many of my friends that did at best grow lackluster in their faith at worst lose it completely. Through the Grace of God over the years I was exposed to the tradition of the Church. Through attending the Traditional Latin Mass I learned what it meant to actually assist at and participate in Mass. I found a great many resources and blogs, including the wonderful Father Z. who helped to point me to the authentic teachings of the Church. Through reading and learning, my faith went from obligatory, to truly falling in love with the Catholic Church. I learned to encounter Christ and developed a close relationship with his Holy Mother.
    Like an answer to a long prayer finally priests, and a few bishops, have come that claim to share the same devotion to the authentic teaching of the church. Positive and tangible change has occurred in the celebration of Holy Mass. We have limited exposure to a couple Traditional Latin Masses in the diocese. If you know what it is and where to look you can find a couple NO Masses that are being celebrated Ad Orientem. The tabernacles have been returned to the center of the sanctuary. I am edified by the positive changes that have been brought by you new generation of priests and thank you for them.
    However, I have a plea for you. Please do not stop. Do not be discouraged. Do not give up. Do not keep these things in the shadows. Do not keep separate the traditional from the new. Please do as Pope Benedict asked and allow tradition to bleed into your parishes. Week after week I sit in the pew, I wait to hear the confiteor, and then am slightly saddened when repeatedly hear, “Your are sent to heal the contrite of heart”. I listen every week closely praying to hear the Roman Canon, but almost inevitably hear Eucharistic prayer II. I pray to hear the sung words Angus Dei… but then hear “Lamb of God”, I think, it is summer attendance is down we have 2 deacons, maybe we don’t need so many Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, then watch 4 women March into the sanctuary. I watch my son, and the sons of others, sit in the pews while 3 girls serve on the altar. I wonder if this week you will tell the wider congregation that there is another more suitable orientation for Mass, and we are going to show it to you on the Feast of…. but that doesn’t come. You seem to know what should be done, but lack the courage to execute it. You from our point of view seem to not want to spend your social capital on changes that might upset that baby boomer generation, the ones with the larger wallets, the ones that fund your building projects, and “pilgrimages” through Europe the ones that say they “like to see the priests face it makes them feel good”, and they “never knew what was happening before English was introduced to the liturgy”.
    I understand that your bishop can martyr you slowly. And the fear that the aging parishioners you have will leave in droves if you show them what they and their parents wholeheartedly abandoned 50 years ago. I understand I am asking you to sacrifice yourself, perhaps some comfort, for my faith and the faith of my neighbors. But, I want you to know, you are not alone, I will be there for you. My family will be there for you. Other young families are there to support you. You do not have time to wait for the biological option, if you wait by the time that takes effect there will be very few left in the pews and the faith of countless people who were never taught will be lost.
    I know all these things are “legitimate options”. Please don’t take them. don’t take the shortest route through Mass. Don’t take the easiest path. Please teach us the faith that was robbed of us by the previous generation. Stand up and courageously show everyone what it means to be Catholic. Show them the faith that most of your parishioners have never seen and have no clue exists.

    Above all know that we pray for you always. You have a hard road ahead. WE have a hard road ahead. We will fight with you side by side.

    Your Parishoner

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