Bp. Schneider on today’s “vacuum of prayer and adoration”. Fr. Z makes a plea to bishops and priests.

From his terrific new book…

Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age



With my emphases:

SCHNEIDER: The whole crisis in the Church, as seen after the Council, was manifest in an incredible inflation of frenetic human activity to fill the void or the vacuum of prayer and adoration, to fill the void created through the abandonment of the supernatural.

MONTAGNA: Which is a void that can never be filled…

SCNHEIDER: Exactly. Nonetheless, efforts to fill this void have been tried, for example, in continual Church meetings and gatherings at different levels and in different forms—continuous synods. This is oftentimes busy work with a very pious mask. It is a waste of money; it is a waste of time that could be used for prayer and for direct evangelization. The phenomenon of permanent meetings, assemblies and synods on various levels is a kind of parliamentarization of Church life and is therefore worldly, although masked with the impressive word “synodality.” There are episcopal meetings on the continental, regional, and national level, on the subnational level, on the diocesan level, and so on. We are suffocated with continuous meetings and every meeting has to produce papers. So, we are really submerged by the weight of papers and papers and papers. This is pure, frenetic Pelagianism. Not only is this taking money and time away from evangelization and prayer; it is also an extremely cunning method of Satan to take away the successors of the Apostles and priests from prayer and evangelization—under the pretext of a so-called “synodality.”


Fathers!  Bishops!  You are busy about many things. You have lots of meetings.

How about cutting back on the number of meetings, or at least restraining them to minimum necessary time frames to cover a necessary agenda.   Just them back.

Use the time to do what only you – ordained – alter Christus – can do!

In another post today, and at other times, I’ve suggested going about the whole grounds of whatever place is entrusted to you, using Chapter 3, leaving blessed medals and salt, really doing some deep housecleaning on the supernatural level.  Then blessing.

There is nothing to lose, except time in a meeting.  There is potentially a lot to gain, including freedom from the influence of the fallen angels who attach and infest and seek to thwart us.

You believe in the Devil, right?

If that seems daunting, how about this?  Fathers, ask some priest friends to come to your place, your parish.  Tell them to bring their stoles and rituals, or provide copies.  Have them go around to different places, to help you you.  Then have a great meal together.

Bishops: designate a few priests to get this done.   “Father, please do me the kindness of  saying Chapter 3 today and then go about the chancery to bless the offices?”

Exorcise first.  Then bless.  That’s how we do it in the Roman Church, just as the angel cleansed Isaiah’s lips with the coal before he was commissioned as a prophet. In the traditional Roman Mass, before the Gospel, we still invoke this image of cleansing before proclaiming.  When blessing important things and places we exorcise and then bless.  We exorcise and then baptize.  There are reasons for these rites and…


Respectfully, for your consideration.

Remember: I have made recordings of the Latin of both Chapters 2 and 3 in the Rituale Romanum concerned with exorcisms.  I will make them available to priests and bishops who want them.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    meetings, meetings, meetings. Brought to my mind all the ‘meetings’ of the zebras during an NFL game. Here’s my idea. The NFL randomly designated games in which there is no replay, no challenge flags, no TV replay of plays for us, the audience. Just play the game and the refs do their thing and move on. Call these games the ‘extra-ordinary’ form and the instant replay with meetings the ‘ordinary form’. See what the public likes. Can you say, mutual enrichment. ; )

  2. tskrobola says:

    Pachamamas thrown into the Tiber! Film on Youtube. A Catholic Tea Party! Lets make this a movement against pagan idols ??

  3. Andrew says:

    “So, we are really submerged by the weight of papers and papers and papers.”

    Long time ago, I heard someone jokingly referring to the Encyclical of Pope Paul VI “Populorum Progressio” as “Papelorum Progressio”.

  4. Alice says:

    Our diocese most definitely has its faults, but I truly appreciate the fact that our bishop’s first public response to any crisis is to lead us to prayer and fasting. He also encourages the traditional Catholic devotions in his diocese. Communion with God in prayer seems completely worthless to the non-believer, but really any action that the Church takes has to be grounded in prayer and I’m grateful that our bishop seems to get this.

  5. Josephus Corvus says:

    You are so right about being “busy about many things.” Our parish has two priest which allows for two daily Masses. Once during the week, there is an evening Mass so people who work certain hours have an opportunity to attend other than just the weekend. However, if a priest happens to be out (vacation, retreat, diocesan responsibilities…), the remaining priest will always cut out the Mass. One would think that it would be the LAST thing that would be cut.

  6. Thomas S says:


    What do you recommend for the priest, in the short term, whose Latin is rudimentary? Prep the prayers so you have a sense of their meaning even if when you actual use them there wouldn’t be word for word understanding? Go as slowly as possible as you’re praying it, constantly following the English before pronouncing the Latin?

    Obviously, long term, I need to keep getting better with the Latin. I offer low Mass regularly, both privately at home and publically in the parish. I do find that the more I use Latin the more connections I make and the better sense I get of the prayers. But I still get lost with the more intricate language.

    People who learn their native language don’t learn it by translating it through another language first. I do get a small sense of that by using the Latin repeatedly. You start to build up, albeit slowly, a sense of the meaning without putting it through an English strainer.

    Any advice would be most appreciated!

  7. I just finished reading Bishop Schneider’s book. It’s a hard book to put down. It is very revealing in presenting the what and the why/how/who (attributing blame) of the crisis in the Church (past ones as well). The later part of the book is very spiritual. Throughout, he presents the truths of our faith as he reveals the falsities. I think his book and Cardinal Sarah’s, which is also outstanding, make good companions and should be read by everyone, ideally as a unit. These are two very holy clerics who are probably living saints. Thanks be to God!

  8. hwriggles4 says:

    This coming week, October 28 to October 30, Raymond Cardinal Burke and I believe Cardinal Mueller will be in Denver for a priest convocation. From what I have heard, the intent is to focus on some of the issues Fr. Zuhlsdorf has posted. I hope this convocation gets a good turnout from priests across the United States and Canada.

    Actually, I was at a conference (where the laity was invited, since I am one) in Dallas last year where Cardinal Burke was present. During the Q and A session, the good Cardinal mentioned that some Protestant ministers have contacted him asking, “what is happening to the Catholic Church?” As a Catholic layman (a Knight of Columbus and a “revert”) I am concerned too.

  9. Simon_GNR says:

    Meetings are where minutes are taken – and hours are squandered!

  10. Amante de los Manuales says:

    May God bless you very much, Father, for your efforts. I hope and pray others will follow your lead. It is so refreshing, and encouraging, to find a priest with his priorities in order.

  11. Luminis says:

    Bishop Schneider is a hero. His order the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross is the order who is in charge of Opus Sanctorum Angelorum or the Work of The Holy Angels. Chapter 18 of his book goes into detail about the holy angels and the importance of cooperating with them.

    I have been on two 3 day silent retreats with OA and in Oct 6 made my consecration to the guardian angel.
    This is powerful stuff friends!!!
    These priests are holy and very knowledgeable about the angels and how we can learn to work with the holy angels.
    Please pray for me as I begin a 2 year formation to prepare to consecrate myself to all the holy angels
    Words can not express how truly powerful these retreats are. Working with the holy angels is crucial in this spiritual battle.

  12. RLseven says:

    Meetings and admin duties are ridiculous for pastors. I think parishes should stick to Sacraments, period. The Mass catechizes, and further than that, parents can teach the faith to their children. All these programs, activities, committees, boards, etc. What do any of them really have to do with our Faith?

    Catechists, youth ministers, lectors, even altar servers aren’t really needed– or maybe, one per Mass. No time spent recruiting, training, scheduling, etc. I attend Mass where the priest fulfills all the roles, and does just fine. We sing a capella, we ALL sing, and it sounds great. No secretary– Father writes any important announcements on a white board in the vestibule, for people to check out if they want (no activities, so few announcements). A janitor works half time to keep things clean. No other staff.

    Simple, effective, and no one is wanting, at least as far as I can tell. If people really want all the other things, they find another parish.

    If priests were responsible only for Masses, other Sacraments, emergencies, and pastoral visits for ill and homebound parishioners, they’d be more available and have more time for prayer and reflection. They would be a lot healthier, in body/mind/soul, too.

    [The pastor ultimately has to be in charge of everything, material and spiritual. But there must be the proper balance and the pastor must know how to delegate and how to restrict.]

  13. Emilio III says:

    His Excellency was in Dallas last weekend for a symposium on Blessed Emperor Charles of Austria (and as Sister Margarita insisted King of Hungary). He gave an excellent talk, led us in the Angelus at noon (in Latin) and gave us a final blessing. A representative of the publisher had come from New York with a bunch of copies of his book, but when I went to get mine at the first break they were sold out already.
    I was tempted to ask him to sign the back of my Kindle.

  14. Peter Stuart says:

    I have too many books so I stopped buying books. Not sure what moved me to buy Bishop Schneider’s… but my, oh my. It’s good to be reassured that, no, the gaslighting (a word I don’t think he actually uses, but I do) is not true, but no, not quite EVERYTHING has gone to hell just yet.

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