AUDIO: Damian Thompson on boring bishops – @HolySmoke

Are you tired of torpor-inducing cliches from the pulpit?  Do you grind your teeth and then yawn at the cringe-worthy pabulum dribbled by high clerics in interviews?

I guide the readership to the latest and superb podcast from Damian Thompson.  He and Harry Mount, editor of The Oldie, discuss, inter alia, how boring bishops are.

Brutal. Refreshing.  My only complaint is that it wasn’t long enough.

Be careful if you are drinking your mug of coffee…. tea.

They touch on the dreary state of liturgical worship and market forces… and then they end the podcast!  GRRRR.

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  1. Kathleen10 says:

    These gems…”do you know what I’m on about?”….”stratospheric dullness”….”the yawn”…
    I agree with them completely, these men say much while saying little. I never considered it may be because they don’t have the intellectual firepower. I just assumed they were holding back and giving the crowds what it wants (virtue signaling). Yeesh. What a thought.

  2. JabbaPapa says:

    AFAIK it’s a particular problem in the English language local churches, and some of the broader Germanic ones.

    Down here, our Catholic Bishop directly threatened our Catholic Monarch with excommunication should he approve abortion laws — kind and mild he certainly is, but never “boring”.

  3. LeeGilbert says:

    It reminds me of the situation with children’s textbooks, especially readers, where it is more or less financially necessary for the publisher to take as much meaning and excitement as possible off of each page while still, somehow, leaving words behind.

    St. Paul says that bishops must not be brawlers, with the result, I think, that mild-mannered men are given preferment, and a man with any fight in him may be sure of never being made a pastor, much less a bishop. Am I wrong? There are huge exceptions, but though a spiritual Rocky Marciano may have made it to a pastorate, that’s it pal. You are too controversial, too opinionated, too judgmental, too original and too risky to be given episcopal responsibility

    It absolutely kills me that the typical parish bulletin is so boring, especially the “Pastor’s corner,” where one almost invariably finds “paschal mystery blah blah blah paschal mystery blah blah blah paschal mystery” . . .and on and on. You can bet that no one reading the bulletin on the way home from church in the family car is going to say, “Hey, you’ve gotta hear this . . . .!” What a missed opportunity, for there you have a captive audience but nothing worth talking about.

    Isn’t it true that a bishop must have a doctorate in something, whether Theology, Canon law, or Church History? That process is in itself is a bulwark against original minds and interesting expression. It was not always so, but our ecclesiastical academic climate differs sharply from that of the Middle Ages, and so does its product.

    Too, am I wrong in thinking that one unstated criterion for raising a man to the purple is his ability to raise money, his ability to mix familiarly with the well to do? Urbanity is a definite plus. He is not an ascetic, nor a teetotaler. He has been a great manager right along. If he is not inspiring, neither is he controversial. Surely with all this he has earned a place on the terna. St. Ambrose, St. Athanasius and St. John Fisher need not apply.

    About all this I am absolutely open to remonstrance and correction, however brutal.

  4. TonyO says:

    There is no doubt that they are not as well educated as they ought to be: while there might – maybe – be a handful of seminaries out there that teaches the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas as Leo XIII and Pius X demanded for seminarians, there is probably not more than one that teaches theology in the mode and manner demanded, i.e. “according to the method” of St. Thomas. It does not help the Church at all, nor work as obedience to the popes, to teach Aquinas as merely one more in a plethora of theological methods, or to teach Aquinas’ theology as the object of a textbook analysis on “how did he arrive at X results”, instead of actually reading St. Thomas himself, and absorbing his own method first hand.

  5. JARay says:

    I have always enjoyed Damian Thompson’s writings. I had to get into my bookshelf to bring out “Amo, Amas, Amat” by Harry Mount. For those who do not know that book it is a light hearted look at Latin and the need for civilised people to know some Latin. I do enjoy reading it also. I do not know a happier background to learning Latin.

  6. Fr. Kelly says:

    TonyO says:
    … a handful of seminaries out there that teaches the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas as Leo XIII and Pius X demanded for seminarians, there is probably not more than one that teaches theology in the mode and manner demanded, i.e. “according to the method” of St. Thomas. …

    Don’t be too discouraged, we may be rare, but i know two within 30 miles of each other who do.

  7. Chris in Maryland 2 says:

    I am doubled over laughing in pain after listening to…I can hardly type it is so hilarious…the “solemn benediction” these 2 English wits.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! …for helping me to laugh in the face of episcopal banality!

  8. Dismas says:

    Indeed, there are interesting politicians, and a very few of them even publicly.

    Despite the profound ubiquity of insipid priests, there are also a fair number interesting priests. These priests are, in theory, the general pool from which a bishop is selected. So, what happened?

    The answer is that bishops aren’t ordinarily selected from the pool of pastors. Rather, they are normally selected from chancery functionaries. In short, their worldly equivalents are not politicians, but rather bureaucrats, or more pointedly, apparatchiks.

    Besides this, there is the obvious modern decay of the humanities. For the most part nowadays, the higher the academic attainment, the greater the likelihood of being a poseur. It is for this reason that “2 + 2 = 5” is responded to with fawning credulity instead of sensible ridicule.

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