The longer we follow a false course, the farther we get from our goal, the harder it is to correct the error.

Today’s China is still reeling from the damage done during the Cultural Revolution.   Generations were pitted against generations.  Heritage, patrimony, identity were nearly irrevocably destroyed.

The late and lamented Carlo Card. Caffarra (one of the Five Dubia Cardinals) had received a note from Sr. Lucia saying:

“A time will come when the decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family.”

From that introduction, please pay attention to this.

In secular society we are at a crossroad.  In the Church we are at a crossroad.

Is it a surprise that segments of society would explode into rage and violence, when for decades big-business abortion has set up in their communities precisely with the intent of killing them by killing their babies?   Demons attach through the commission of certain sins.  What sorts of demons do you imagine attach through abortion on an industrial scale?

Is it a surprise that the Church has so many problems of leadership and identity when, not only our sacred liturgical worship has been violently interfered with, but so many of our pastors stand mute before the Catholic politicians who support the human abattoirs?

What can we expect for the Church down the road when the Catholics of a whole nation are callously, silently, at the summit of ministry, sacrificed in a kowtow to the world’s most extensive atheistic regime?

Just as in larger society we see a virtually cult-like movement germinating, with some of the features of the Cultural Revolution, we also see in the Church the rise of something like a New catholic Red Guards.

We are at a crossroad.  We have choices to make.

Friends, if when you set out on a trip from Chicago to, say, Minneapolis and you find yourself after some hours of driving in, say, St. Louis, but you really have to go to Minneapolis, do you say, “Oh well, if I drive around long enough, I’ll get to Minneapolis”, and continue on your errant and inefficient path? Or, do you stop the car, check the map, turn around and drive back the other way?… the way toward Minneapolis and not away from it?

Friends, if when you get dressed in the morning, you discover that you have buttoned your shirt incorrectly, off by one, do you shrug and just go forward into your day, with your shirt askew? You could. After all the shirt is buttoned, right? What difference does a button or two make, when the shirt stays closed in front. Orrrrrrr, like normal – sane – people do you say, “Hmmm, that won’t do!”, and then undo the error by unbuttoning your mis-buttoned garment, and then button it back up the way that works the best?

We’ve been buttoning our shirts wrongly. It’s time to unbutton, double-check and start buttoning again.

Friends, if when you are constructing a skyscraper you see that the pilings are crooked and too shallow …

Friends, if while you build that sailboat, you see that you didn’t seal the hull….

Friends, if when you try parachuting for the first time and your instructor seems confused about how to pack a chute…

In the little diagram at the top of this post, you can see what happens when two rays extend from the same point.  The far you go along one ray, the farther you get from the other.  The line C-E is longer than B-D.

The longer we follow a false course, the farther we get from our goal, the harder it is to correct the error.

And some errors, like the one with the parachute, result in hard landings.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. BeautifulSavior says:

    Interesting! I kept Cardinal Caffarra speech at the last conference he attended, I was thinking about it this morning and I reread it. And now you post this. Same subject. Heaven is speaking loud and clear!

  2. Antonin says:

    What happened to George Floyd had no justification. Full stop. No excuses for that vile police officer should be given even tacitly. Even Rish Limnaugh agreed. The question is what to do about it. Conservative, and I mean conservative civil rights people and lawyers have pointed to the problem of the militarization of the police which has no place in a free society and leads to the kinds of violence we see.

    I am a traditionalist and would like to see the Posse Comitatus Act restored as a first step. Stop selling military equipment to police departments who do not require it. Citizens are NOT enemy combatants. [Unless they act like they are.]

  3. Kathleen10 says:

    Antonin, I respectfully disagree. No decent person would want anything but justice for George Floyd and his family in light of the evil done to him. You said even Rush Limbaugh agreed. Rush Limbaugh is a decent person. He has been badly maligned by the Left, unfairly and incorrectly, but the facts do not slow them down. I do not know what the Posse Comitatus Act is, but when police departments face the level of evil and violence they are facing, why would they not need sufficient weaponry to face a very real threat. You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight. However, it hasn’t mattered what weapons, including “military grade” the police have. When mayors like De Blasio instruct police to use a “light touch” with violent anarchists, the police have already been disarmed. So I don’t understand your worry. People who fret that police use too much force, are going to have a big wake up when police are defunded in their neighborhood, the Second Amendment is repealed, and they hear glass breaking at 3:00 a.m.
    Support the police, people. They are literally standing between us and unthinkable violence. Now is not the time to virtue signal, we all think what happened to poor George Floyd is unacceptable. But so is what is happening to police, including poor Captain David Dorn of St. Louis. Anybody outraged about him?

  4. crjs1 says:

    I agree, and it’s so sad that the tragedy of the murder of George Floyd and other black men at the hands of law enforcement [NO! NO! NO! One cop had his knee on his neck and three rookies were there. That’s not “law enforcement”.] has been lost in the counter reaction to the riots. This is of course due in part to the riots themselves but also due to the ensuing commentary which is more focused (I’m conservative circles) on the riots than the initial problem of racism.

    We see it in the attacks on Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who’s reaction has been impeccable in my opinion. It’s just so depressing. [What’s depressing is this whole comment. You are free to make it, but your knee is jerking according to the MSM.]

  5. tho says:

    The reason we have a police force is to protect innocent people from lawless people, rioters are at the top of the list. I owned a small business during the riots of 1968, and I believe the police should be given every weapon that they need to prevent such lawlessness. Just as the Catholic church has been damaged by homosexual clergy, police forces will occasionally throw up a bad apple, and that is not a good reason to neuter them.

  6. Semper Gumby says:

    Posse Comitatus is specific towards the Army and the Air Force (which was once under the Department of the Army). The Department of the Navy, which includes the Marine Corps, generally adhere to Posse Comitatus by DoD regulations.

    Active-duty military units were deployed to the 1992 Los Angeles riots under the Insurrection Act.

    Twice during the 1920s Marines were deployed to guard the U.S. Mail during a series of robberies and murders. Marines were assigned to trains, mail trucks and post offices.

    Then there was the time…in the 1920s…that the colorful and controversial General Smedley Butler USMC was asked by the Mayor of Philadelphia to take leave from the Marines and serve temporarily as the city’s Director of Public Safety. That was an interesting chapter in Philadelphia and Marine Corps history.

  7. monstrance says:

    57 cops in Buffalo resigned after 2 fellow officers were fired for hurting an elderly man at a protest. [I think they just resigned from a specific unit, not from the Job.]
    The incident shouldn’t have happened – but our police are being placed in impossible situations with no backing from their elected bosses.
    The days are coming when a 911 call will never get a police officer to your home.
    Develop security plans and capability for your family.

  8. Antonin says:


    Posse Comitatus Act Was an act of the US this prevented the military from being used on the American population. You can look it up but the relevant text was this 18 U.S.C. § 1385. Use of Army and Air Force as posse comitatus Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

    That means that local departments were not allowed to deploy the military

    Of course, I am against riots and lootings and I can tell you that community organizers of peaceful BLM marches are too. I attended one in my city.

    The militarization of the police ESCALATES it does note de-escalate. Policing is a major issue that needs major reform.

    Here is a good book entitled the Rise of the Warrior Cop, written by a former officer that details the trend

    And here is a good history of the problem by Rania Khalek.×540/i0BelFFI02azSIMx.mp4?tag=13

    I agree that we should not turn to MSM to news but BLM is not about looting and rioting those are different agitators pursing opposite political aims and I would not be so certain that the instigators are from the left.

  9. Adelle Cecilia says:

    As Father Z’s diagram showed, the further you go along a line (riots, de-funding police? etc) the further you are from the starting point, and what all of this is supposedly about (GF).

    Arrest those policemen and this will stop. (Already Happened)
    De-fund the police and this will stop.

    None of what is going on TODAY has anything to do with George Floyd or the loss of black lives (which statistics overwhelmingly show is lost most prevalently at the hands of black perpetrators).

  10. bartlep says:

    Crjs1, I respectfully disagree with everything you say.
    This morning I put a letter into the mail to Ab. Gregory. As Ab. Vigano said in his open letter to President Trump, just as there is a “deep state” in our government, so too there is a “deep church” in our Catholic Church.
    I used Ab. Gregory’s letter as a template for my letter to him. I think his statement was despicable and it shined a spotlight of what is wrong in our church.

  11. Semper Gumby says:

    Kathleen10: Good point.

    Antonin: Take a closer look at BLM activities, which also include a measure of anti-Semitism. Consider whether BLM is helpful or unhelpful with, say, the gang violence and death rate in Chicago.

    As for your book suggestion, one could argue that the politicization of police is a greater problem than militarization.

    Antifa, BLM and Redneck Revolt could be evolving into “Democrat” Party paramilitaries. On the other hand, perhaps the Party of Death is evolving into the political wing of these militant- and terrorist in the case of Antifa- groups.

    The Tucker Carlson monologue posted by Fr. Z mentions cults, cultural revolution and destruction, and struggle sessions.

    The defacing of the Boston monument to the 54th Massachusetts Regiment suggests not only mob ignorance or provocation, but nihilism approaching the level of the Taliban and their destruction of the Bamiyan Statues.

    One example of the increased use of incendiary and explosive devices:

    Perhaps some misguided individuals are spending their time with Carlos Marighella’s “Minimanual of the Urban Guerilla.”

    bartlep: Thanks for writing that letter.

  12. The Cobbler says:


    Perhaps you’d like to suggest what you believe the political aims of the agitators are, and why you believe so? Or who outside the left you think they could be? Otherwise, it just sounds like a no true scotsman fallacy.

  13. Antonin says:


    I watched Tucker Carlson – the only tolerable person on Fox – I never watch it or for that matter CNN, MSNBC, etc

    Take a look at the Rania Khalek clip. She makes excellent points and discusses how, in fact, all of this unrest has been created by decades of crumbling infrastructure and a lack of funding – leaving communities of colour primarily being a permanent underclass with jails becoming the new segregation colonies. There is poverty and a permanent underclass USA. Historically the Church supported labour and working people – Catholics should maintain that solidarity.

    While not a fan of Trump, I applaud his efforts at criminal justice reform, and his promise of investing in infrastructure – see if it happens.

    As for ”anti-Semitism”, criticism of the state of Israel is not the same as being anti-Semitic.

    I don’t condone or support destruction of property or riots although often these are as MLK said the voice of the unheard. When both parties exclude a large swath of voters, this is the result.

    I would also point to the degree of civilian damage the US government through it’s military has wrought in Syria where Assad is supported by over 80 percent of the Christian – and the US tends to align it’s efforts with Israel and I struggle to see how any of these incursions and the resulting damage to civilian infrastructure is in its interest.

  14. Antonin says:


    The political aim of the agitators stoking riots and looting is obvious. It is meant to undermine the political objectives of bringing to light the economic issues underlying these issues. Again, see Rania Khalek’s commentary.

    It divides people and provides a pretext to crush the larger movement and people turn against alternative voices.

    It makes the movement appear irrational and violent. It squashes the ability of genuine dialogue across political viewpoints to bring real change

  15. Semper Gumby says:

    Antonin wrote: “…different agitators pursing opposite political aims and I would not be so certain that the instigators are from the left.”

    The Tucker Carlson video you watched should be helpful here.

    “Rania Khalek”

    Note her work for Al-Jazerra, RT and Ilhan Omar.

    “…this unrest has been created by decades of crumbling infrastructure and a lack of funding…”

    There is a key factor missing from that statement.

    “As for ”anti-Semitism”, criticism of the state of Israel is not the same as being anti-Semitic.”

    Correct, no government is perfect and all should be criticized one way or another. That said, there is an element of anti-Semitism within that group.

    “I would also point to the degree of civilian damage the US government through it’s military has wrought in Syria where Assad is supported by over 80 percent of the Christians…”

    Perhaps your narrow perspective is based on Al-Jazerra and RT “reporting.” Perhaps, if that particular item is reasonably accurate, that support is unwise.

    “…and the US tends to align it’s efforts with Israel…”

    Have a pleasant day.

  16. Semper Gumby says:

    Antonin wrote:

    “The political aim of the agitators stoking riots and looting is obvious. It is meant to undermine the political objectives of bringing to light the economic issues underlying these issues.”

    Nope, more than “economic issues” (which seems to be a simplistic, Marxist lens to view these events) is going on here. A good start in grasping this is a look at Tucker Carlson’s monologue.

    “It makes the movement appear irrational and violent.”


    “It squashes the ability of genuine dialogue across political viewpoints to bring real change”

    Genuine dialogue…real change…

  17. tho says:

    Antonin… You sound like one of those hippies from the 1960s, or 70s. You can always find a straw man to justify any action, but the reality is that the taxpayers have spent trillions on ameliorating the lives of underprivileged minorities, to no avail. To try to justify looting, and the destruction of innocent peoples property, is beyond the pale.

Comments are closed.