“Dear Fathers, dear seminarians…” Wherein Fr. Z rants.

I was sitting in an airport one day, waiting for a flight. A young family approached the gate area. A youngster, seeing an empty place, jumped into it. It was next to me. Mom pulled the kid by an arm out of the seat hissing, “Not next to him.” The look on her face was not very agreeable.

There is a piece at LifeSite about Card. Sarah’s upcoming book, Le soir approche et déjà le soir baisse (“It is nearly evening, and the day is almost over”). The great Cardinal will address The Present Crisis.

In the LifeSite preview piece I read…

Cardinal Sarah goes on to warn his fellow priests that they will all be tainted by accusations that are true only for a minority. But “may your hearts not be troubled,” he added, recalling that Christ himself was taunted with the words “Crucify him!” and begging them not to be troubled by “biased research” that presents the pastors at the head of the Church as “irresponsible churchmen with an anemic interior life.”

“Priests, bishops and cardinals without morals will not in any way tarnish the luminous witness of more than 400,000 priests in the world who each day loyally, joyously and in a saintly manner serve the Lord. Despite the violence of the attacks that she weathers, the Church shall not die. That is the promise of the Lord, and her word is infallible.”

The Church is not immune to persecution. Her Lord had His Passion. The Church must have hers. A priest, as alter Christus, is not exempt.

But, dear Fathers, dear seminarians, this life is short in view of the future glory of Heaven. Very short. And the days and years fly of the pages of our calendars like dry grass upon which the Lord has blown (Is 40:6-8).

While we breathe, let us do our little little best, in season and out, in this troubled time where God chose to place us, precisely the right place and time for who we are.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Cri de Coeur, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Priests and Priesthood, Seminarians and Seminaries, Wherein Fr. Z Rants. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. OrdinaryCatholic says:

    Correct Father. None of us, not priests nor layman is exempt from the persecution of being Catholic. Priests because of their association with their perverse brethren and layman simply for staying in the Church despite the sexual abuse will suffer and are suffering for this scandal. Our faith is rarely tested as it is in countries that are violently anti-Catholic/Christian but an untested faith is a weak faith. Now is the time for us all to stand up and proclaim our faith in Christ and His Church despite what we suffer. And we do suffer. I can’t imagine how you felt Father. I’m very sorry for that.

  2. Jerome Charles says:

    Fr Z, I’m sorry you had this experience, and I can imagine how demoralizing this time can be for priests who are innocent of wrongdoing–yes, the vast majority. Our culture regularly does this to groups–we demonize many/all instead of recognizing that it is the few who are guilty. Racial, cultural, political, and religious groups are most targeted: Muslims, Immigrants, African Americans, Conservatives, Liberals, etc. We choose to believe the worst about someone without knowing a thing about them, based on generalizations about the population they are part of. Fear is powerful, and can lead to hatred, which spreads like a wildfire.

    Amen to your words, Fr Z: “While we breathe, let us do our little little best, in season and out, in this troubled time where God chose to place us, precisely the right place and time for who we are.”

    And this, from Jesus: “Love one another.”

  3. Gab says:

    ““Not next to him” hissed satan.

  4. Longinus says:

    Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. Matthew 5: 11-12

  5. Mariana2 says:

    Very sorry, Father.

  6. JillMary says:

    I’m sorry for that Father. And it also make me think of Cardinal Pell. I have thought a lot about his being in prison and pray he is free soon. But in the mean time, I hope this is drawing him even closer to Christ. I believe he is paying for the sins of others – just like Christ! Thanks you to all priests and seminarians!

  7. Clinton R. says:

    As time goes on, I am sure you and your brother priests will be hated by 99.9% of the world. However, Our Blessed Mother is praying for you, as are all the Saints in Heaven. We hear you, we listen to you, Father. I went to Confession last night after contemplating your posting of hell and sin. I, and I know others who read and comment here are very thankful that you have great concern about the eternal fate of our souls. We love you Father, we thank you and we pray for you. May the Lord bless you and give you comfort in times of discouragement. +JMJ+

  8. Kenneth Wolfe says:

    I am also sorry to hear of that airport situation. Thank you, though, for being a witness. I have heard of several priests (some who really should know better, too) who take the easy way out by dressing like a layman. I hope your story encourages more priests to dress like priests — always — and to give a good example of the priesthood to the world. This can only be accomplished with solid, brave clergy.

  9. frjimt says:

    … rejoice that we can suffer… i had a similar experience at a baptism… i thought, id probably do the same thing if all i knew of the priesthood is what i read…. but then I recalled reading of our brother priest from the middle east whose teach were bashed in, he was whipped & placed in solitary… then my suffering was nothing…
    since then i have & continue to wear my roman collar & black as often as possible…
    bring it on, satan!

  10. frjimt says:


  11. Happily, sometimes the scandals will bring out the best in people. In August, just after the McCarrick affair, I went to Florida to speak at Ave Maria and passed through New Orleans on the way. In both Louisiana and Florida people unknown to me came up in restaurants, asked if I were a Catholic priest, and then thanked me for being a priest. They then usually also asked me to pass on the thanks to other priests. So I am passing it on to you Fr. Z., and other priests who read your blog.

  12. LeeGilbert says:

    “To the extent that a man acts in grace and charity, he lives by the life of the Church, his actions manifest in him the very life of the Whole of which he is a part. To the extent that a man is lacking in grace and charity, to the same extent, if he is a member of the Church, he withdraws from her life. And the evil actions that he commits are no stains on the Church, because the Church has no part in them; they do not soil the face of the Church, except as the spittles of the soldiers soiled the face of Jesus. The sins of Alexander VI related to his own person, from which they proceeded; they did not relate at all, except in order to offend her, to the person of the Church.” [Jacques Maritain, On the Church of Christ: The Person of the Church and Her Personnel.tr. by Joseph W. Evans. (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1973, p. 14]

    Here is where theology confronts modernity, our modernity. It is true that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict have apologized for the sins of the Church when speaking to the victims of the scandal—surely they could do nothing else. It was no place for lectures on ecclesiology. Nevertheless, both Journet and Maritain have supplied us with the tools to maintain an apologetic for the Church in this area. They were not the sins of the Church, but rather betrayals of the Church. And, of course, the same principle applies in every other area where the Church has been accused of evil down the years.

  13. un-ionized says:

    JillMary, write Cardinal Pell a letter! “For I was in prison and you visited me.” I posted his address on the thread about two Georges.

  14. stuart reiss says:

    Christ being innocent was the perfect sacrifice. And, following in his Master’s footsteps, Father Z, and Cardinal Pell are perfect sacrificres to atone for the immorality in the Church. They are both big men and will handle it. Our prayers however, help. Carry on Father, and My heartfelt thanks for your withness.

  15. Pius Admirabilis says:

    I am also sorry you had to have this experience. That is not very nice.

    Once I overheard a discussion on the bus between two young women (at that time obviously students at my university), and they would talk about how Catholic priests were all perverted freaks. I got so angry that I openly confronted them. I tried to explain to them that their arguments had no force, and that being a priest has nothing to do with being sexually frustrated or perverted. They actually went out of their way to ultimately agree with me. But man, my adrenaline was through the roof!

    If I haven’t obtained at least 10 years off of Purgatory, I’m gonna be mad… (just kidding).

  16. Bellarmino Vianney says:

    Don’t forget that law enforcement and/or other government entities may involved with those false accusations and false suspicions of saintly priests or other people due to law enforcement being caught committing several likely criminal acts themselves.

    Yes, law enforcement or other related entities, if caught, would likely do all they can to try to cover up for themselves.

    What priests from corrupt countries will likely tell you is that law enforcement/government entities always become anti-Catholic when a society becomes anti-Catholic. They may pretend to be pro-life, pro-Catholic, etc., but they are lying.

    Too many people at the present time appear to be trusting law enforcement. One can deduce that from what is written in this blog and elsewhere. Law enforcement in many places may very well be extremely corrupt, and if one new what goes on behind the scenes, one would likely be horrified.

    Look at the FBI, folks. What is now coming to the surface is likely only the tip of the iceberg. It has been run by the same people for many, many years. Unfortunately, due to their having too much power, one may never see the rest of the iceberg.

    This writer has mentioned it a few times in this comment section: I am likely being unlawfully surveilled (home phone and cell phone are live microphones at all times that they are on) and harassed and intimidated with pre-planned skits and schemes (with priests participating in these false accusations and/or pre-planned actions and words during the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Confession – yes, these so-called “good priests” or “Traditional priests” or “conservatives” even partake in false accusations themselves, re-creating the actions committed against persecuted Catholics while they claim to be upstanding persons but are not. This comment section is too little to describe in full what priests and others are doing with these pre-planned skits, schemes, etc. But it needs mentioning.).

    This writer was also likely covertly drugged/poisoned in a Catholic Chapel of all places. Later, while at the emergency department, I was likely covertly drugged a second time.

    Think about this long and hard, folks. Covertly drugging a person is a serious crime. How many others have had this done to them but did not realize it?

    But the pre-planned skits and schemes that priests partake in during the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass are likely designed to make the targeted Mass-goer angry; they are a form of harassment. Watch the movie “The Truman Show” for an analogy of what it feels like to have people around you acting nearly everywhere you go. The character Truman gets upset when he discovers the duplicity of those around him. Same here. That is by design of those who ask the priests to participate in the skits and schemes. Those in law enforcement or other entities directing the priests’ schemes should be aware of the harm that these schemes cause on the targeted individual.

    It is actually a partial depiction of hell – everyone, or mostly everyone, around you is lying and acting two-faced through their actions. Indeed, such veiled actions are quite diabolical.

    Some reading this will think it is crazy. It is not.

    Folks, the situation, particularly in America, is much worse than you all know about. A society that covertly drugs innocent persons is very far gone. Priests should be aware that they may not want to trust law enforcement or other related entities.

  17. Liz says:

    I think around the time of the McCarrick news breaking my aunt, a fallen away Catholic whose daughter was murdered and has lived through so many other very painful life experiences, was on a short plane ride. She saw some conflict which turned out to be a man refusing to sit next to “a priest” (actually he was a seminarian, wearing a cassock.) My aunt was so disgusted by the person’s disrespect that she offered to sit next to the seminarian and had a delightful talk with him. It was upsetting to me as the mother of a seminarian to hear of these situations, but I was also touched that God used this experience to help me realize that there is still a lot of hope for my aunt and to pray more intensely for her. Actually, I asked my son if he has had any bad experiences because of the cassock and he said no–until he traveled by air. I’m sorry that happened to you, Father. I’d be so excited to sit by you or another priest, but I’d probably talk your ear off!

  18. Hidden One says:

    Now still more than before it is crucial fpr priests to be visibly priests and for religious to be visibly religious.

    Thank you to every priest and religious who are visibly what you are in public, even when you don’t have to be. Thank you very, very much.

  19. OrdinaryCatholic says:

    I wonder what the reaction would be if someone would refuse to sit next to a liberal, trans, homosexual, pro-choicer, lgbt, democrat voter etc…? It would not be pretty by any means. Fortunately for them I do not see the majority of faithful Catholics refusing such a seat.

  20. Semper Gumby says:

    God bless Fr. Z and our priests.

    “Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation.” – Luke 12:51

  21. maternalView says:

    I second the appreciation of priests and religious who visibly present themselves as such by their attire! Thank you! We faithful NEED your example.

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