That tragic Portland parish, the mistreatment of the priest. Fr. Z’s solution: “Let’s make a deal!”

I have been wanting to post something about this ever since I heard about it, days ago.  Others have done yeoman’s work to cover it.  For example, LifeSite.

The bare bones: At an ultra-liberal parish in Portland – and that means waaaay out there, ’cause it’s Portland – aging-hippies rose up in revolt against their new pastor, a Nigerian-born priest, who was getting rid of, inter alia, the dreadful liturgical junk and the “gay” stuff.  They had a spittle-flecked nutty and got the local press on his case. The secular paper had an article so biased that it read like Eye Of The Tiber… but was not satire.   During Mass the geriatric libs, reliving their halcyon days of Woodstock glory, protested with signs and shouting, tambourines or noise-makers, etc.  There is video.  Get that groooovy song at the end.

What a goat rodeo.  That poor priest.  In that place.  Wow.  Just wow.

If I were the Archbishop there, I would go there, listen, and – knowing full well in advance what would happen, be ready with options.  [All due respect to my old friend Archbp. Sample.  I don’t want to be a bishop anywhere.  And I pray for you.]

Remember my descriptions of what drives aging hippies?  They are channeling those formative experiences, those halcyon days of protests, sexual revolution, Vatican II, all fused into an iconic moment.  They see something remotely conservative and they are triggered – POP! – and they go into silly mode, reliving their glory days.

Yes… so, for the length of this post I’m now Archbishop there… let’s have the meeting with these elderly congregationalists and then give them three options, sort of like Monty Hall and Let’s Make A Deal.

“Dear ladies and other congregationalists, I’ve listened to what you had to say. I’ve heard your demands and insults when you interrupted me. I’ve read your signs. I’ve got a good picture of your position. Here’s my position.

Since you are playing a really dangerous game with your souls and your salvation, and committing dreadful scandal to others, I’ll play along.

You can choose what’s behind Door #1, Door #2 or Door #3.”

[The curtain pulls back to reveal the big doors with numbers.]

“Well? C’mon! You have three choices.”

[… they look all around at each other until one of them, with really short gray hair and a flannel shirt over a tie-dyed rainbow tee says …]

“Door #1 please!”

“Thanks for your choice! Behind Door #1 we have a brand new



– ANNOUNCER VOICE: “An interdict is a censure imposed when someone incites hatred against the Holy See or the local bishop because of some act of ecclesiastical power (such as assigning a certain priest to a parish), or joins an association that plots against the Church or who commits simony.”]

“It seems to me that by fighting in such a disruptive way against Father you are also attacking me, your Archbishop, as well as the Church’s teachings and laws. You’ve demonstrated contempt for me all evening. Thanks for that. You removed doubt.  Just to be clear, an interdict forbids people to celebrate or receive any of the sacraments or to take any liturgical role such as a reader, or nearly always unnecessary minister of Communion. If you violate the interdict and try to take a role at Mass or try to receive the Eucharist, which under canons 915 and 916 you should not approach and should not be given to you, the Mass… sorry, I’ll speak your language for your religion – liturgy or empowerment session or whatever, would have to be halted and the person or persons should even be expelled.

[crickets… the Archbishop continues:]

“I’ll just remind you that in most places, it is illegal to interrupt a church service. I suppose if we have an off-duty cop present (a good idea anyway) that could help.”


“You don’t seem enthusiastic. If you don’t like that option, maybe we can maaaaaaake a deal! First, let me ask you, how many men have you as a parish sent to the seminary over the last, say, 10 years? Even 5 years?”

“Ummm…. [… whispered consultation…] that would be none.”

“Is that your final answer? None?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Since you have provided zero priests for either the Catholic religion or for whatever religion you are into here, I think this qualifies as mission territory, ripe for the New Evangelization. You can keep your Interdict or trade your Interdict for what’s behind Door #2.”

[pause… whispered consultation…]

“We’ll trade.”

“Good choice! Let’s see what’s in there. I suspect it might have something of a missionary flavor. Here’ it comes…


[MUSIC… rather like a Te Deum…]

Since you haven’t been providing men for seminary formation, I don’t have a priest to send back to you! We’ll just have to get one from somewhere else. Oooopps we did that!  The Nigerian fellow!  Well, that was then and this is now.  So, now you too will enjoy Latin and altar service only by males dressed all in blue, with lace of course, and hear sermons inspired mainly by the Baltimore Catechism until you start producing vocations. How’s that sound?  Is it a deal?  You are already living in the past, about 1968… its not that much farther to 1948 … which some of you will remember, anyway. Maybe you still have your missals and Rosaries from First Communion. Remember those? Chapel veils? You… [looking at one in particular…] can have one in flannel.”

[… alarmed stares… a sign drops to the floor… sobs… angry shouts… applause, abruptly cut off with a smack from a tambourine… ]

“What’s behind Door #3?”

“So, the New Evangelization isn’t welcome here. Let’s open up Door #3 and let’s see what awaits you! Behind the third door we have… waaaaait for it…. any time now…



That’s right, you’ve chosen a self-imposed and informal interdict. You’ll now be going off to find the sacraments, if you are really still interested in those old things in your religion, at some other parish to your liking – or not – down the road. But that probably isn’t much of a bother, since you are more than likely driving here, your destination parish, from various zip codes.

See how easy? I think that we’ve just about wrapped it up here. Thanks to all the pro-testants and con-testants. For those of you who didn’t get your way, thanks for participating. There are no consolation prizes for attacking the priest I sent here to help you stay out of Hell. Until next time!”

[On his way out he stops, thinks, turns…]

“Of course there’s always Door #4.”

[Taking a stole from his pocket, he opens up the door to the confessional, upon which a large “4” materializes.]

“Let’s make a deal. You confess in number and kind all your mortal sins, including the way you’ve treated Father, and, in exchange, I’ll give you God’s pardon. The line forms to the LEFT at this parish, or so I hear.”

[The door clicks shut and the light over his door flashes on.]

[MUSIC… CREDITS… Rapid disclaimer voice: “The prize of Hell is neither desired by the Archbishop nor can it be imposed, though interdict and/or the loss of a priest may or may not increase their odds of going there. The contestants are real people chosen from the general membership of the Church and will receive God’s justice whether they want it or not when the time comes. His mercy they will have to request and it will surely be given without reservation.
Ceteris paribus etc etc.]

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Liberals, Lighter fare, New Evangelization, Pò sì jiù, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, Throwing a Nutty and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. JTH says:

    What an outrage.

    Three Hail Mary’s for Father.

    And a Hail Mary for the conversion of the protesters.

    Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

  2. Spinmamma says:

    Shocking in its hubris! Outrageous in its utter rudeness and lack of reverence for where they are and to whom they are speaking! (And I have in mind the priest, the Body of Christ, the communion of saints, and our God! No wonder their parish seems so ill attended. Prayers for the priest, for those not participating, for mercy from our Lord God, and for the conversion of the proud. This makes the foolish and haughty women from the Tasmanian parish look almost rationale. (I have other thoughts but, to echo Dorothy’s Auntie Em, , “being a Christian woman, I can’t say them.”

  3. Fr. Hamilton says:

    Wow! This is an inspired post. So much fun to read and more fun to imagine! Frankly, it probably should be considered a viable option given how over the top, irrational, and out of control some of the elements at this parish are.

  4. teomatteo says:

    Very good. (I’m glad Carol Merrill wasnt dragged before that group of unitar….er…parishoners. )

  5. DeGaulle says:

    The video-clip is short, but the younger members of the congregation, of which there seemed to be quite a few, didn’t look overly impressed, I thought.

    It brings to my mind the progressivist Cardinal Kasper’s disdain for Cardinal Sarah. God bless Africa.

  6. Gil Garza says:

    A group of elderly, independent, Leftist White folks who only irregularly attend the parish have decided that they don’t like the poor, immigrant, Black man who’s in charge at the parish. I don’t think these White folks are ever going to accept the Black man who’s in charge, regardless of how he tries to accommodate them. They are going to couch their intolerance as idealism but we all know what it really is. These intolerant and irregular White folks should be encouraged to form their own independent house of irregular, intolerant worship elsewhere in no uncertain terms.

  7. JARay says:

    I really did enjoy reading this satire. But it is just what is wanted in that parish. Realistically though I know that this is just what is not going to happen.

  8. SanSan says:

    Fr. Z you are creative! I pray something like this happens to these insane people. God bless and protect that holy priest.

  9. Kerry says:

    …and the Thermians from the Klaatu nebula lower their faces, “Those poor people”.

  10. Fr. Timothy Ferguson says:

    I would offer to appoint as pastor any priest who has been ordained from this community in the last 20 years.

  11. ChesterFrank says:

    The Mass of all the Ages becomes the Mass of all the Aged. If you don’t like something have a spittle flecked nutty, that was the lesson to the following generations. Maybe I don’t see demonstrations this dramatic but the presence of the faded tie dyed is over bearing every time I attend Mass. Oddly in many ways they almost always have some resemblance to that lady at the podium. Altar rails, turn that Altar around. Eucharist on the tongue. Choir in a choir loft, or plainchant and an Entrance Antiphon please.

  12. LeeGilbert says:

    In fairness to these poor people, they’ve had no formation and don’t know their right hand from their left. We’re in Portland and their recently deceased pastor, Fr. Robert, used to fill in at our old parish. I would dread it when he appeared, for every sermon and I mean EVERY sermon, no matter the feast or occasion was always social justice oriented and boring beyond belief. He felt at liberty to do the Red but change the Black, making it as gender neutral as possible. He could not bring himself to say, “Lord,” as I recall, but would substitute “God.” I think he was in his late eighties or early nineties when he died, so I will give him that-which is not nothing-he stayed in harness and ministered according to his (not very illuminating) lights. Those poor people. They’ve been sheep without a shepherd for a very long time. So, who is at fault, then, these people or the Archdiocese who left that pastor in place?

  13. Scott Woltze says:

    Many local faithful went to the morning mass at St. Francis today to support Fr. George, and it was a beautiful mass. Fr. George is an exceptional priest: very reverent, devout, joyful, friendly, patient and he gave a deeply spiritual homily. The church itself has been restored in many ways, and is fittingly Franciscan. There was lots of kneeling and receiving on the tongue for communion. It has probably been a long time since there was that much joyous singing during a morning mass. The handful of regular parishioners were very friendly, and there was no sign of the women who had protested in past weeks. I’ll be a regular there from now on.

  14. L. says:

    Fr. Z, I had successfully suspended disbelief when reading the story until I got to this: “[Taking a stole from his pocket, he opens up the door to the confessional, upon which a large “4” materializes.]”

    In this parish, it would have been more believable to have written, “…a confessional with a large 4 on it materializes….”

  15. Richard A says:

    I loved the younger white guy defending Father, and the younger white woman trying to get that older woman to tone it down after Mass. And then a group of old white folks singing “We Shall Overcome” in the face of a black authority. You can’t make this stuff up.

  16. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I’ve been reading Fr. Z’s blog for many years. This is one of the best posts to date along with the audiopost about Gaudet Mater Ecclesia.

  17. HeatherPA says:

    Satire aside, this is… just so deeply, embarrassingly awful.

    That woman with her sign, attempting to interrupt Holy Mass with her garbled baying.


    Does she truly in her heart believe Holy Mass is about what *she* “wants”??

    About whatever her *protester pals* are lowing about in the back of the Church during Holy Mass??

    I am deeply shocked, appalled, and dismayed these people are so poorly formed in their faith they believe *they* are the center of Holy Mass. They believe it’s ALL about *their* made up Eucharistic Rite, *their* made up Vestments, *practice Mass*… no vetting done.

    Until the faithful parishioners said, “No side show.”

    Another sterling example of slipshod faith formation, of Pride in the Church, of the Smoke of Satan threatening us all.

    Wake up, Boomers.

    Lord, Have Mercy on us and on the whole world.

  18. Gaetano says:

    Perhaps some of those funds people have withheld from their local diocese could make their way to this parish as a sign of support. Prayers are great, but money keeps the lights on and the doors open.

  19. Volanges says:

    Sadly, it seems that this problem was decades in the making and no one has tried to correct it until now. If they’ve been told since 1970 that they run the parish (not an uncommon thinking from my experiences on various Parish Councils) and that Mass and the readings are theirs to play with, it’s not surprising that they are upset/angry/unreasonable today. They keep talking about documents from Vatican II which gave them that power but seem not to have never read Sacrosanctum Concilium.

    In commentaries those parishioners who respond seem to be more concerned with their beloved soup kitchen than with the Mass and the sacraments, in fact, one of the complaints is that all Fr. wants to do is celebrate Mass and hear confessions. How horrible! (sarcasm)

  20. Fr_Sotelo says:

    The Nigerian priest is a paragon of priestly virtue, especially pastoral solicitude. He gave the ill mannered rabble no ammunition by which they could validate their behavior.

    Instead, his good demeanor exposes them as malcontents without a real cause. I’m not surprised that decent people are coming forth to defend him.

  21. The Cobbler says:

    “I’ve been here fifteen years, you’ve been here one year!”

    Xenophobia. Off to the reeducation camps with these “advocates”!

  22. glennbcnu says:

    Just curious if there are laws in the USA for the disturbance of a religious service?

    In Canada those disrupting a service can be charged under section 176 (2) of the Criminal Code of Canada which states: “Disturbing religious worship or certain meetings:

    (2) Every one who wilfully disturbs or interrupts an assemblage of persons met for religious worship or for a moral, social or benevolent purpose is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    (3) Every one who, at or near a meeting referred to in subsection (2), wilfully does anything that disturbs the order or solemnity of the meeting is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    And they can be subject to a maximum penalty for a summary conviction offence which is a sentence of 6 months of imprisonment, a fine of $5,000 or both.

    I had an incident just prior to an Annual General Meeting where two parishioners started yelling at each other and disturbing the peace. I mentioned to them that if they didn’t stop immediately or if they caused a disturbance again during the meeting that they would be arrested and charged to the full extent of the law. Needless to say, they behaved themselves during the meeting and one of the individuals ask for my forgiveness for their transgressions after the meeting.

  23. JonPatrick says:

    glennbcnu, I don’t know that calling the cops would be the right way to go. That would just play into their hands, so they could be dragged off in handcuffs like civil rights demonstrators in the South in the 1960’s, singing “we shall overcome”.

    I see one of their problems with this faithful priest is that he won’t “dialogue”. Of course we know what “dialogue” means to the Left – you have to listen to us until you agree with us. It is not a two way street

  24. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    Imagine if we had people protesting desecration of the Holy Eucharist in such a manner…

  25. Simon_GNR says:

    Brilliant post, Fr. Z. Bravo!

  26. Matto says:

    I attended Exposition and Benediction at my local parish on Friday. It was the first time I have been to Benediction there in a long time. The priest is new. He was a foreigner, I believe from Nigeria. He was very late for Benediction so he must have been very busy. But it was good that he was late because we had more time to silently adore Jesus.
    And when he finally arrived, he sung the Tantum Ergo so very beautifully.
    I will be there again next Friday.

  27. Semper Gumby says:

    Great post Fr. Z.

    Those rebellious folks should realize that Holy Mass is not the place to relive Woodstock.

    A protestor wearing a Ft. Sherman Jungle Operations Training Center “No Obstacle Too Difficult” with snake logo t-shirt is curious.

  28. Sonshine135 says:

    There is always door number 5 as well, but that is not much of a consolation prize. I heard its very hot in that location.

  29. hwriggles4 says:

    After seeing this video, here’s a few questions for these disruptors, many who look like they graduated high school between 1963 and 1971:

    1. If you have children, how many are currently practicing Catholics?

    2. If you volunteered as a religious education teacher, what percentage of your past students do you think in 2019 are attending Mass weekly?

    This is why much of my generation sadly looked at confirmation like a graduation.

  30. TonyO says:

    I love it I love it I love it. Fr. Z is great!

    There is always door number 5 as well, but that is not much of a consolation prize. I heard its very hot in that location.

    I think this is implicit in Door #1, if left uncorrected by something like Door #4.

    There are a number of writers, such as Fr. C. J. McCloskey, who think that the Church (especially in the West) is going to get radically smaller within a generation or so. Perhaps by 80% shrinkage? Maybe more? If we were to assume that everyone who does not go to Mass weekly, or who uses contraception, just stops being called Catholic and stopped any sort of involvement, that would probably do it right there, but then imagine the ones who areheretics being confronted by the truth and refusing to revert to the truth faith, and thus leaving also.

    Don’t get me wrong: it would be a terrible thing for that many people to be lost to God. My point is that they are already lost, the question is merely whether we are going to admit it and try to get them BACK by telling them they are currently lost.

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  32. Joe in Canada says:

    Veterum coetibus subito!
    (tried to preview some html code – preview button doesn’t work)

  33. Volanges says:

    glennbcnu says: Just curious if there are laws in the USA for the disturbance of a religious service? In Canada those disrupting a service can be charged under section 176 (2) of the Criminal Code of Canada…

    Most notoriously used to arrest a family who knelt for Communion and who simply returned to their pew when the Bishop refused to give them Communion. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court before the family was found “Not guilty.”

  34. JoeinMaryland says:

    Nearly all of the comments here are right on-target, IMO. Those people exhibited a flagrant disregard for the Holy Mass, all because they believed their priest did them wrong. Their “protests” during mass were outrageous and absolutely unacceptable.

    I want to caution people though not to blame this on people of a certain age (Boomers) or assume that their generational status was the primary reason they did this. Perhaps these people are former hippies from the ’60s, don’t know, and maybe that did have something to do with it. However, IMO it had far, far more to do with Leftist progressive politics and those people putting their political “values” before their faith. Furthermore, regardless of people’s political views, they have no business being expressed in church during the mass!

    I am a Boomer – barely – born in 1963. I can tell you that I have the utmost respect for the Holy Mass and would NEVER, under any circumstances, do what these people did, or even think of it. All of the mass-going people my age and older that I have ever known are the same way. So please don’t lump those nitwits in with Boomers and label us all as crackpots. Simply not the case.

    Thank God for holy Priests and those who strive to maintain the integrity of the Mass and Liturgy. Those people in that parish need prayers, plain and simple. They also need to learn some humility and understand that the mass is not about them.

    Fr. Z, what a great post!! It inspired me to finally register here. :)

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  36. mo7 says:

    A goat rodeo? lol.

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