@BishopStika responds to @FatherZ, who responds in turn. And feedback about yesterday’s furious post.

Yesterday, I expressed my anger at the selfish jackasses who verbally abused a woman working the switchboard of a US diocese because that diocese’s bishop, Most. Rev. Richard Stika of Knoxville banned Communion on the tongue due to COVID-1984.

He was wrong to do that, is now wrong, and will still be wrong tomorrow if he doesn’t lift that ban.  Bp. Stika had tweeted that people had abused the chancery’s operator.

Some reactions came in.

Some people actually suggested Bp. Stika, or the woman, lied about the abuse.  “There’s no proof!”  That’s another way of suggesting that they lied.   That’s, of course, absurd, and beneath Christian dignity.   We don’t like the idea that people on the traditional side of things would behave in such a way, so the truth is hard to swallow.

On that note, others made the vapid suggestion that it wasn’t traditionalists who called.  Uh huh.   I am sympathetic to that, for about 3 nanoseconds, only because the worst behavior of this sort comes most regularly, and in avalanches, from liberals.  Libs are the most intolerant people on the face of the earth, being totalitarians.   But the calls were to complain about the bishop banning Communion on the tongue.

Libs, calling the chancery, to gripe about a ban on Communion on the tongue?  Get real.

I could accept the proposal that it wasn’t authentic traditionalists who called and verbally abused that operator.  As a matter of fact, I could entertain that they aren’t authentic Christians.

Bishop Stika himself reacted to what I wrote with two tweets.

Not a follower? No one is perfect. Still, that was a gracious gesture.

I suggest both lifting the ban and also following me on Twitter. Click HERE. It’s the right thing to do, Your Excellency.

He indeed seems to respect the TLM.

I’d like to know if Bp. Stika would be willing to celebrate a Pontifical Mass at the Throne in their beautiful new – 2 year old – diocesan cathedral.  Look it up.  Great photos.  I would come to help. I could even bring the vestments.

What say you, Bp. Stika? Wouldn’t that be a great olive branch?

Also, I received this interesting note via email.  She sent her name and said where she works but I have edited to anonymize it.

You can share or not share if you want, though if you do share I’d beg you not to use my name or the diocese I work for.

I’m one of those ladies “who answers the phone” for an diocese communications office. I’ve gotten those calls. Right now I’m glad that I’m not in the office (closed due to covid) so I don’t get the live calls I normally would. I just check my messages these days. It’s been a nice respite.

What people don’t realize is that some of us who answer the phone are sympathetic to the traditional cause, or even attend such a Mass ourselves. I’m on a communications mailing list with others who also “answer the phone” and I’d say by and large they are a faithful lot. Most who do this job, working for the Church, love their faith. I’m so grateful that you let folks know that they should be charitable. We’re not your enemy.

They are not only not the enemy, they have no power to change what you are griping about!

I renew my suggestions.

If you called any diocesan office and verbally abused any employee at any level, I strongly recommend that you call back and apologize.

And, Bp. Stika… LIFT THE BAN!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    We are having trouble with one solitary person in our Latin Mass community, not only calling the chancery and unloading on the secretary, but going to national internet Catholic news source and giving them fodder, as well. It is awful, and he will not be reigned in.

  2. SundaySilence says:

    And, if you have verbally abused any employee at any level, after you have apologized then maybe Go To Confession.

  3. iamlucky13 says:

    That is indeed a beautiful cathedral, with many great interior touches for having been completed only 2 years ago. I’m sure they will be able to continue to make it an even more fitting space for worship over the decades to come.

    Good work responding to unacceptable behavior. No group is perfect, traditionalists included. We need not make excuses. We only need to repent and resolve to amend our lives and make reparation when possible.

  4. Elizabeth D says:

    I’m not a follower of Fr Z Either! Nor Paul! Nor Apollos! I belong to Christ!

    I received Communion on the tongue this very day. At an ordinary form Mass. Deo Gratias.

  5. Pingback: SATVRDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  6. Alexander says:

    I would consider the false flag scenario for longer than 3 nanoseconds. While some “trads” do lash out at others, what better way for a modernist to discredit the lot of us? It’s like the Bernie supporter who sneaks into conservative protests and holds up the lone Nazi banner. While our side can have the occasional nutter, the Left knows that guilt by association always applies to us and never to them. Blame it on a trad if you want, but those who support abortion and sacrilege would have no qualms harassing a secretary in order to further their goals.

  7. DeGaulle says:

    I would be very concerned with the statement attributed to Bishop Stika that the ‘Mass is not the worship of Jesus. We adore Jesus, but we worship the Father’. Obviously an Arian would not be the one upon whom to rely as the authority for the mode of handing out Communion. Has this bishop ever corrected this statement?

    [Did he actually say that? It would be helpful if you could do some homework and find that quote. It really isn’t good simply to say that it is “attributed” to him, any more that we might “attribute” to you that you said that “There was a time when the Son was not”, as the Arians thought.]

  8. Semper Gumby says:

    “I’d like to know if Bp. Stika would be willing to celebrate a Pontifical Mass at the Throne in their beautiful new – 2 year old – diocesan cathedral. Look it up. Great photos. I would come to help. I could even bring the vestments.”

    A sterling idea. Deo volente, it will happen.

    Alexander: Great point. There is a long, long list of Leftist hoaxes, disinformation, denigration campaigns, Alinsky-ite tactics, black propaganda and false flags. Consider the Leftist uproar over the Brett Kavanaugh nomination, the actions of unhinged Leftist officials at several government agencies in 2016, and many, many local incidents. The possibility exists here.

  9. Gil Garza says:

    You can’t underestimate how negatively such abuse toward these secretaries impacts the bishops. It does profound and permanent damage. The converse can also be true! A kind word of gratitude or kind act toward these individuals will always be remembered! These secretaries often work with scant recognition or acknowledgment.

    It’s possible to shower these secretaries with gratitude in reparation for the misdeeds of the wicked as a sign of goodwill and charity. It should be done!

  10. brianmsaxton says:

    I’m sure most of the people who answer the phone are more faithful than their bosses. I teach at a Jesuit university; I’ve found that by and large, the secretaries have rosaries in their pockets and the faculty and administrators flee from the sight of the Cross.

  11. The Cobbler says:

    To put it memetically:

    Being openly abusive is no answer to Susan from the Parish Council being subtly manipulative.

    And don’t forget there is also Lucy at the Offices of the Archdiocese.

    (Contrast between Susan who lost her “faith” and Lucy of Narnia intended.)

    Think of the nobility the high king, Peter, displayed toward friend and foe alike in “Prince Caspian” (the book; the movies don’t count, precisely for this reason).

  12. Kathleen10 says:

    We may never know. But it would be interesting to see a poll of documented parish secretaries and how many offensive phone calls they typically field in any given day. Of course one could say the head of that organization may be leaving the secretary wide open for the response to their own little world-wide public provocations. Maybe answer your own dang phone.
    There have been too many liars and hoaxes, that use victimhood as a way to gain sympathy and neutralize the opponent or deflect attention. Of course vulgar phone calls to ladies in offices cannot be defended. Some people are truly mentally unhinged in these days.

  13. Henry Edwards says:

    Knoxville’s “beautiful new – 2 year old – diocesan cathedral. Look it up. Great photos. “

    For those great photos, see the Adoremus Bulletin‘s extraordinary photo essay on the dedication of our cathedral:

    Deep in the Heart of the South—Deep in the Heart of Christ

    The stunning photos are posted at the end of the essay. From its opening and closing paragraphs:

    “The event received local media coverage as a milestone marking the growth of Catholicism in a region where only three percent of the population identifies as Catholic. But relatively unnoticed was the cathedral’s importance in the renewal of Catholic architecture in the United States. With its intentional embrace of the classical tradition, design sophistication, theological fullness, and iconic richness, the construction of the $31 million edifice marks a singular high point in the recent revitalization of Catholic visual and liturgical culture.”

    “In sum, the patrons, architects and artists of the new Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus have done something not seen for more than half a century. . . . . The cathedral does indeed represent a great local achievement, and congratulations are in order to all involved. But it is also more. With a humble budget in a diocese of a mere 70,000 Catholics, this cathedral has set the high point to date for architectural and theological richness in the postconciliar United States.”

  14. Cy says:

    Father you may be fallaciously employing a binary argument “abused, did not abuse” which acts to besmirch your brethren. Often, in our snowflake society, the sharing of deeply convicted opinions about injustice (and it IS AN INJUSTICE for a Bishop to threaten and intimidate faithful for their piety and exercise of ALMIGHTY GOD’S Rights) strongly shared petitions are dismissed by use of such ad hominem malignations.

    Not saying is case here (dont know) but your missives lack room for that conclusion.

    [You might not share this view, but I think it is reprehensible to abuse verbally the people who answer phones and direct calls.]

  15. DeGaulle says:

    With respect to the ‘Mass is not the worship of Jesus’ ‘attributed’ quote, I encountered it today in the Eccles is Saved blog. This is a satirical site, taking a humorous view of all things Catholic. However, beneath the satire it is very orthodox and not an unreliable source of information. To confirm it I searched for other versions of the story and it is to be found on the Catholic Answers Forum, Gloria.tv, which presents his ‘tweet’ that features the said quote, and catholicmonitor.blogspot among others.

  16. ChrisP says:

    It’s pointless yelling at the secretary. Not to mention unfair. But, couple things:

    1) certain leaders know this and rely on it to avoid issues. It’s one way abuses go “under the radar”. People who yell are automatically cast in a negative light, people who are nice don’t get listened to.

    2) Twitter is not the forum to confirm or deny these things. Politicians use Twitter all the time to deflect from something else……

    That said, charity first obviously. But, after a time, gullible is still in the dictionary as well……

  17. JabbaPapa says:

    Sadly, Bishop Stika did indeed tweet that at the Mass, we do not worship Jesus, but we “adore” Him ; he reserved worship to the Father ; and “DeGaulle” is correct in linking this Error to the Arian Heresy.

    Stika : https://www.complicitclergy.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/stika-post.jpg


    (As for his chance to explain, he decided to block his Twitter account in response to complaints ; and the incident was several years ago)

    Meanwhile, and in the Grace of God …

    CCC : 1325 “The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.”

    Bishops have a stricter duty to uphold the Orthodoxy and Catholicity of the Dogma of the Church than do other clergy and other theologians. Consequently, it is far worse when they appear to abandon these Divine Virtues and Graces.

  18. TonyO says:

    The poor guy. He has a valid idea, but he is expressing it very badly.

    In the Mass, the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ is made-present-again. That Sacrifice, which Jesus as High Priest offered to the Father, is re-presented to the Father. Jesus did not offer the sacrifice to his own person, he offered the sacrifice to the Father. When the priest says Mass, he puts himself in the place of Christ and does what Christ does.

    But in the Mass, we worship and adore Jesus, and through Him (and with Him, and in Him) we worship and adore the Father.

    Like many people, myself included, poor Bishop Sitka stuck his foot in his mouth and then tried to cover his tracks with a “clarifying” distinction – unfortunately, a wrong one. And then thought he had to bull his way through the mess, instead of admitting his mistake. Hey, we all do that from time to time. Some of us don’t do it on Twitter (which, because it strongly encourages instantaneous words, encourages mistakes and off-the-cuff reactions, which are often the wrong kind of reaction), so we don’t do it quite so publicly, but we still do it. So he’s human.

    Eventually he’ll be able to see that his attempted clarification fails, but it probably won’t be worth making the whole issue surface again just to correct the error.

  19. JabbaPapa says:

    OTOH, Bishop Stika :

    It’s time to rid this nation of abortion. A woman has no right to choose to kill her innocent child. Almost all abortions are birth control. Men and women choose to have sex and the result often is a new life! Don’t make the child pay the price!

    Bishop Stika was one of the first bishops in the U.S. to strongly condemn Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York after Cuomo signed a bill in January 2019 that allows abortions in his state to be committed until birth. Stika tweeted, “this vote is so hideous and vile that it warrants [excommunication].

    On October 1, 2019, Bishop Stika requested that all parishes in the Diocese of Knoxville recite the St. Michael prayer after every Mass. Stika wrote that this practice was to be a “permanent addition” to Masses in the diocese.

    … that 2019 nonsense may just have been a bit of a brainfart, we all of us have them from time to time.

  20. Ms. M-S says:

    The dogs bark but the caravan moves on. Forgive the repetition, but the saying so often applies. As for me, I’m ready to hop on, with my veil and ’62 missal in hand as soon as it passes this way.

  21. What TonyO supra writes is what is my understanding also of what Mons Stika was doing, ineptly, in that now infamous Twitter thread. I am more than willing to grant that he is a good fellow, that his heart is in the right place, that he is a tolerably friendly acquaintance of the Traditional Mass etc etc etc. If I were prefect of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, however, I’d want an explicit profession from him of the orthodox Faith with an acknowledgment that he had screwed up in public; since I’m not, the incident is over with so far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately, it leaves a faint but unmistakeably unpleasant scent.

  22. Roy Hobbs says:

    “Some people actually suggested Bp. Stika, or the woman, lied about the abuse. … We don’t like the idea that people on the traditional side of things would behave in such a way, so the truth is hard to swallow.”

    In a prior comment in this thread, you asked for proof that comments attributed to +Stika were accurate. However, I do not see the same requested of +Stika regarding the alleged comments made to the receptionist. Why not?

    Alternatively, do we know the identity of this alleged caller? Taking +Stika at his word, and that the call did in fact happen, how do we know that the caller wasn’t some agent provocateur?

    While it would not surprise me in the least that some Trad would act out in this manner, most of those Trads want nothing to do with a diocesan priest/bishop in the first place. As such, pardon me if I find these allegations to be wanting in credibility.

  23. JustaSinner says:

    Of course…was just posting citations.

  24. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Fr. Z does not have to present evidence that Bishop Stika is telling the truth.

    Our Catholic tradition of charity calls for assuming the good intentions of a person, until there is proof that their intentions are not good or sinister. Absent any proof that the Bishop is lying, his account may, and should be, charitably taken as sincere and true.

    There is another factor to consider. The women at these switchboards deal with calls from a certain, regular group of people who call in to complain about activities in the diocese.

    Even if the callers remain anonymous, after awhile, these women become proficient at recognizing voices and knowing which voices are part of which “group” that calls. A had a certain group of “fans” call in to shriek about my “misogyny and trans-hating agenda” (lol) and the entertaining hysteria was humorous but never taken seriously at the chancery.

    If the switchboard operator is used to a certain group of angry liberals, or trads, I have no trouble believing that she could recognize at least some of the voices, and know where they fall on the “spectrum of angry.”

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