Terrific podcast at Crisis with Scott Hahn. Don’t delay.

Joyless Catholic.  That’s like married bachelor.  It’s an oxymoron.

Thus, Scott Hahn in a new podcast.

BTW… Scott is also the guy who came up with the triptych of “rad trads, mad trads and glad trads”.  I know which I want to be.

I am delighted to guide you swiftly to Crisis to listen, perhaps more than once, to the podcast interview by editor Eric Sammons with Scott Hahn.


These are hard and dark times and I suspect we feel their weight.   I found this podcast super uplifting, positive, optimistic while remaining timely and realistic.

The starting off point for the interview is a new book from Scott Hahn called It Is Right and Just: Why the Future of Civilization Depends on True Religion

I have this book.  I was so pleased to see in it an emphasis on the virtue of Religion, which for years I have been writing and talking about in terms of the renewal of our sacred liturgical worship.

Back to the podcast.   Just go there, please?  I think by the time you get a few minutes into it you might even be doing fist pumps in the air and sending the link to your friends.

I very much would like to know what you thought of it.  You might have to listen to some parts of it more than once, as I did.  There’s a lot going on in it.  I’ve saved it.  And kudos to Eric Sammons for not interrupting Scott.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Unfortunately, here is how Hahn and the problematic McGinley open their book: with Karl Marx.

    “But his thinking was a bit more complex than what is now generally understood.”

    “Even if we, as Christians, find Karl Marx’s views about religion troubling, we might find that our view of the definition of “religion” is closer to his than we should be comfortable with.”

    Well, “we might find” that Hahn and McGinley are peddling AgitProp. Th 3

    These two under-informed amateurs should have a go at this book:


  2. Semper Gumby says:

    *Th 3 = “That said, the Crisis interview could be worth a listen, as our host suggests.

  3. JonPatrick says:

    I am reading this book as part of my lent using it and other books to replace watching TV. I am finding it tough going for some reason. Usually I find Scott Hahn’s books very readable. Maybe I need to go back and start over.

  4. mamajen says:

    SemperGumby, I haven’t read the book, but it seems the keyword in your second quote there is “should.”

  5. mamajen says:

    Wonderful. It felt like having an oxygen mask put on.

    If we could hear these sentiments, this information, regularly from the pulpit, we would all be better off, and yes, joyful and more optimistic.

    It’s simple, NOT easy. But it’s so empowering and refreshing to be reminded that God is in charge, and whatever happens to our countries, governments, communities, our mission, our goal, and our hope remains the same.

    The bit about the monks and how they spread throughout Europe really struck me. People would argue that there are many obstacles in the way in this day and age, but it got me thinking “what if” we lived without apology and built our lives and institutions with our Catholic goals in mind as they did (NOT from a place of compromise as he rightly pointed out we so often do today, nor from a place of pride)? I suppose that’s what’s happening with the TLM and some religious communities in many places. Joyful, real Catholicism attracts.

  6. Semper Gumby says:

    JonPatrick and mamajen: May I suggest not wasting your time on this Hahn-McGinley political book that poses as Catholic yet opens with Marxism.

    FYI, take a brief look at McGinley’s Twitter account. First, his Tweet mocking Exodus 90 several weeks ago is now deleted- perhaps that’s a sign of personal growth on McGinley’s part. If that’s the case, Good. Second, his account is mainly RTs of a “c”atholic Marxist who is pro-BLM, anti-police (including vulgar language), and an accusation against Fr. Z of using exorcisms like “magic spells.”

    Let’s take a look at McGinley’s website:

    “As a writer and speaker, this is what I try to do: expose and explain what needs to be broken down, while building up new ways of thinking and living as Catholics in the modern world. In addition to my books, I’ve written dozens of articles in places like First Things, Plough, The Lamp, and the Catholic Herald. I’ve also edited numerous books for EWTN Publishing and addressed audiences around the country.”

    “My presentations aim to bring a fresh, lively, and candid perspective: no pandering, no predictable cliches.”

    Vanity and Karl Marx is a toxic combination.

    Hahn’s reputation has taken a hit by collaborating with McGinley, but I and others are willing to give Hahn a second chance- though Hahn is advised to be careful with his choice of collaborators in the future.

    Hahn and McGinley are encouraged to pick up Paul Kengor’s book on the diabolical Marx. Over a hundred million dead in the 20th century is a lesson these two should remember.

  7. Semper Gumby says:

    Regardless if that accusatory tweet against Fr. Z I referenced above is deleted, a friend, who regularly monitors Leftist Catholic social media, has a hard copy.

  8. Ryguy says:

    Semper Gumby: Being a close friend of Brandon McGinley I can assure you that he is not a Marxist. Also he didn’t delete just some posts, but all his Twitter posts for a very good reason.

  9. Semper Gumby says:

    Ryguy: Then we will agree to disagree. He and Hahn begin a “Catholic” political book with Marxist exegesis and McGinley consorts with Marxists. And you’re wrong, the McGinley tweets referenced above are still up. Cheers.

  10. I’ve turned on comment moderation. With everything going on in my life right now, I don’t have the energy to deal with what looks like a potential rumble.

  11. WVC says:

    I can’t say anything about the book, as I haven’t read it, but these are the thoughts I had as I listened to and then thought about the interview with Scott Hahn.

    -I hate the term “New Evangelism.” I dare anyone to actually define it in a meaningful way.

    -Dr. Hahn has come quite a long way on his spiritual journey. It’s wonderful to hear him seriously discuss how the way to restore civilization is to “seek first the Kingdom of God” and that means fulfilling our obligation to religious justice above all. As someone says, “Save the Liturgy, Save the World.”

    -The discussion about Natural Law seemed a little “deck chairs on the Titanic” like for me. While I agree with Dr. Hahn that politics offers no real solutions, and that people should be almost infinitely more concerned with the holiness of their own family than about who occupies the White House, I get the feeling that Dr. Hahn is among the folks who don’t quite realize how bad things actually are. Part of this may be that he lives in Stuebenville in an Academic world, and perhaps that is somewhat insulated from some of the chaos that is engulfing other parts of the country.

    -“Go and Baptize All Nations.” – yes, and perhaps this is exactly why the Global Elites have been pushing, for some time now, to destroy the entire concept of nations. What does “Open Borders Mass Amnesty” mean other than one no longer has a nation? Why do globalist governments get to set precedents for the judiciary systems of sovereign nations? (c.f. the EU basically continues to own Britain despite BREXIT, UN precedents are cited by US Federal Judges in court . . .etc.) Why are trans-national trade treaties dictating laws and taxes upon “economic partners”? (just get a load of what the TPP deal that will obviously be back on the table with the current administration dictates with regard to national immigration) Why, when someone dares call himself a nationalist, that is immediately equated with being Hitler? Part of the game that’s been played is that the Davos group want One World Government. They don’t want there to be different peoples, they want the entire world to resemble the lobby of an international airport (or my local Costco on a Saturday afternoon).

    I just finished watching “Chariots of Fire.” Aside from being a wonderful movie, I was very disturbed to watch 1920s Great Britain, so confident of itself, so clear in her identity, so proud of her people, and then compare it with 100 years later Britain who hates her history, her heritage, her heroes, and her people. Yes, it’s not everyone in Britain, but it’s all those who are in power, just like here in America. The bad guys hold ALL the High Ground (business, technology, academia, government, entertainment, news, religious leadership).

    We cannot have a holy people if we DO NOT HAVE A PEOPLE. This is part of why folks like me continue to argue that immigration isn’t just AN issue, it is THE issue. Now that the current administration will be passing piecemeal amnesty via the Reconciliation process, there will be millions (estimates are well over 3 millions) new “American citizens” within 3 years, just in time for the 2024 election, wouldn’t you know it? And these folks do not have a shared history, a shared culture, a shared tradition, or a common identity.

    We cannot have a holy people until we have a people. Christ cannot be the King over All Nations if we do not have nations. It’s as if Satan is trying to exploit some loopholes, and there are many, many people eager to help Old Snatch with his experiment.

    It’s part of why I decry the “gypsy” Catholicism of many Traditionalists. Going hither and yon whenever there’s a new Latin Mass does little to build up actual community. When there are no options, yes, one does what one must, but whenever the opportunity arises one MUST put down ROOTS.

    Sorry – off my soap box. Watching the movie got me a little stirred up.

    -The future will belong to those who bring back the Masculine Virtues of the Christian Faith. I don’t know Dr. Hahn’s thoughts on this, and I don’t think he really addresses it, but I suspect he may be at least borderline on the side of the “Respectable Church.” I think if this is the version of the Faith that we hand down to our children, we are dooming them. I think it is important to remember that Constantine, Clovis, Charlemagne, Godfrey, the Vendee, St. Joan of Arc, and many, many, many others understood that Religious Justice also sometimes calls for bad guys to get knocked on the head (can I get an “Amen” Semper Gumby?) The “Church of Nice” has no future. And, when push comes to shove, God’s rights supersede people’s feelings. We need not raise thugs or barbarians, but we need also not raise cowards and sissies. One can be Holy and also St. Nuno Álvares Pereira.

    -Catholic and joy – yes. Anyone who is in despair because of the state of the world (politics, COVID, whatever) – please do not give in to despair. Joy is the natural state of the sincere Catholic, even in the face of the worst of all possible earthly fates. I may play the sour puss online (not that I visit many online places), but consider me a Wemmickian (c.f. Great Expectations). My children live in a joyful house, despite all the woes we face on a daily basis (and we have some big ones). And I believe it is the Father’s role to bring that joy into the home. If anyone wants an example, go watch Humperdink’s opera of “Hansel & Gretel.” A good traditional version (not any of the modernist staging garbage). I’m partial to the Blegen / Von Stade at the Met from the 80s.

    -At any rate, lovely to hear Dr. Hahn talk about his boys in the seminary. And 20 grandkids! BZ to you, Scott Hahn!

  12. I think it is not wise at this time to pick on people who are on our side in respect to many, most, important things.

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    I stand by my critique.

  14. Semper Gumby says:

    “I very much would like to know what you thought of it.”

    Pointing out serious errors to provide context and for future improvement is within that request. God bless.

  15. WVC says:

    I don’t know Mr. McGinley at all (never even heard of him), but Semper is right in that his Twitter account (which I just checked) is problematic. I can’t say what this means for the book, as I’ve not read any of it, but almost all of McGinley’s “tweets” are “retweets” of some guy called Kevin Cheerfully Cringe, and if you look at that guy’s posts he comes across as quite a bad egg. Definitely a Woke zealot.

    Neither here nor there regarding the discussion in the Hahn interview, which, as I said above, it was a pleasure to hear Dr. Hahn encourage the restoration of Religious Justice to its proper place in the hiearchy (that being at the top).

  16. Semper Gumby says:

    Solid, practical points are raised by WVC.

    Some find this interview and book motivating, that’s fine. However, others have a different perspective. Not one person I know finished this book, not one person I know was willing to listen to this interview further than about 15 minutes.

    In the first 15 minutes of the interview Hahn mentions about five other books of the forty or so he’s written. He states Catholic Americans are going the “wrong way” on the “football field of life” and have “Stockholm Syndrome.”

    Well, one can reasonably view his opinions as unworthy of their time. Pompous and demeaning Catholic tribalism and anti-Americanism is cheap these days. It does not build community or unity.

    Hahn says, “It doesn’t matter who’s in the White House.” Hahn is entitled to his opinion, others find that sentiment profoundly naive, even disordered.

    Hahn says…

    Enough. I’m stopping right here. I and others view this book and interview as banal, negative, filled with trite metaphors and Argument by Label, and is simply unworthy of a further investment in our valuable time. Those who disagree, fine.

    Hahn is fond of bible verses, which is a good thing. Here are two verses- favorites of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus by the way- he and McGinley should reflect on to arrive at a more balanced perspective: Jeremiah 29:7 and Mark 12:17. McGinley, given his mocking of Exodus 90 cited above, should develop an understanding of the importance of the virtues, of discipline, to a healthy community.

    What we have not seen by Hahn and McGinley is gratitude. Gratitude for the gift of American citizenship these two have been given, gratitude for the sacrifices made by the men and women, non-Catholic and Catholic (see John 15:13) who founded, improved this nation and provide, on a daily basis, the opportunity for these two writers to write whatever pleases them.

    Some find this interview and book motivating, that’s fine. Others have found this interview and book uninteresting. If those others are not welcome here, if their perspective is “cancelled,” if their perspective is dismissed by baseless accusations such as “picking on,” if I and others are demanded to unify around what we view as an insipid and amateurish book instead of the Good News of Jesus Christ, then I and others will decamp from here happily, today, right now, immediately and permanently.

    Here is a podcast worthy of one’s time:


    Fr. Vincent Capodanno, Servant of God. Now there is a motivating story. He was a faithful Catholic filled with love for Jesus Christ, and a solid American. Cheers.

  17. Semper, et al. It may be that you are not the target audience for what Hahn is trying to get across. You clearly “get” a great deal more than a heck of a lot of people today, somnolent, screen-beguiled, indoctrinated and sometimes woke. You get it. Many don’t. Books like this are not written for you or for me either.

    Ancient rhetoric had three main objectives, to move, to persuade, to entertain. In each case the rhetor had to consider his objective, assess his audience, and then make choices about the arguments he would use, the examples he would provide, and the tone or style of the language, low, middle or high. The successful rhetor, smart, though he was gifted and at a high level of sophistication, when seeking to move to action a group of simple people, would choose exempla they would know and speak in a style that smacked of the streets rather than the academy.

    It seems to me that the main point of the book in question is to persuade people that, if Western Civilization is something worth preserving, and that if the virtue of Religion is the key to that preservation, then people need to take more seriously the virtue of Religion.

    I think you know that the virtue of Religion is critical and that Western Civilization is at stake. You absolutely know what an evil atheistic materialism is.

    There are a lot of young people out there, and not so young, who have been subtly and not so subtly indoctrinated in Marxism via the twisting of education systems. Starting a book about the advancement of the virtue of Religion by making a first connection with something that a new audience, not nearly as advanced in thought about these as you, would know (Marxism, the Left, etc.) could be just the hook to draw them in. First, undermine their notions of what Marxism say about religion. Then take them some place they otherwise would not have gone and into something they may never have had any inkling about: the virtue of Religion.

    You could probably deliver a fine presentation of these matters without a lot of effort. Similarly, were you asked to sit through a presentation of these matters aimed at, say, college students, you might find the experience boring to the point of wrist slashing. Of course in that case the teacher (writer, rhetor) has not built the presentation for someone like you. Rather, he has to do his job and pitch it at an entry level that you have surpassed by orders of magnitude.

    Not every book has the same audience. “Dick and Jane” doesn’t do much for me. But Charles Dickens would do much for a 4 year old either.

    I think this book, put into the hands of the right readers, could be helpful in persuading the same that, NO, the Marxist (explicit or not) crap from school maybe isn’t the sum all about religion, that the idea of virtue, properly understood, is appealing, and maybe Western Civilization is not the caput malorum omnium their profs said it was.

    As I write this, the image at the header is “Save The Liturgy – Save The World”. That is entirely the point of pretty much everything, including material creation. The primary way in which the virtue of Religion is fulfilled is in worship. We do this as individuals, groups and a Church. If our worship is screwed up, we aren’t fulfilling the virtue of Religion and, hence, everything else we do (as individuals, groups or Church) is going to be disordered. Getting Religion, and everything else right, in a renewal of the Church for the sake of souls and the world – while it lasts in this form – requires massive foundational, nay rather, remedial instruction about the virtue of Religion. This must be done, if you will allow…

    … brick by brick.

  18. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Z: Thank you for your thoughtful response.

    A weakness in the interview bears mentioning. Around ten minutes in Hahn states, in a misguided effort to sum things up, “We all agree on privatizing religion.” That is simply untrue, the Founding Fathers certainly did not nor do many people of many faiths today. To compound this error he states soon after, “We [Hahn and McGinley] don’t confront that [“the deepening secularization of society”] directly, for the most part.”

    One then wonders what is the point of spending time on that interview or book. One wonders why Gramsci, Marcuse, Sanger, Antifa, BLM and the Death Party are unexplored territory given their relevancy, or for that matter a Vatican and hierary that is mainly feckless or corrupt or pagan.

    Hahn also states, “It doesn’t matter who is in the White House…like the first century…just keep your eyes on Jesus Christ.”

    I and many, many other Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, along with Jews and others, must disagree. Hahn is asking that the listener and reader indulge in quietism, despair and bad citizenship. Far more fruitful would be to read the signs of the times and, as in the Parable of the Talents, attempt to accomplish something productive.

    For those who think Hahn and McGinley undermine Marx, let’s agree to disagree. These two undermine patriotism and citizenship. We would certainly not recommend this interview or book to young readers. There are many, many good books for young readers that encourage and cultivate faith and citizenship.

    In the interview Hahn plays a semantical game by insisting that Jesus Christ did not say “baptize all nations, he said baptize all communities.” Hahn is straying into subversive agit-prop, though he might not be aware of it. Above, WVC correctly points out the problem: “We cannot have a holy people if we DO NOT HAVE A PEOPLE.” We have hundreds of thousands of communities across this nation, Hahn and McGinley, though this may not be their intention, are adding yet another divisive, centrifugal force to our currently volatile situation.

    Hahn and McGinley are invited to continue their study and reflection on these important matters. A suggestion: What motivated Fr. Capodanno? What inspired him? Why did he sacrifice his life in the jungles of Southeast Asia aiding fellow Americans, non-Catholic and Catholic, fighting Communism? Why did the United States of America award this Catholic priest the Congressional Medal of Honor? What community nurtured him and what faith set him on his path?

    That serves as as example, not a request. Such a book by Hahn and McGinley would be an inspiring, faith-filled, motivating book that could be read profitably by anyone of any age- strengthening both faith and nation.

    Thank you again Fr. Z for your thoughtful reply.

  19. Semper:

    You: “Around ten minutes in Hahn states, in a misguided effort to sum things up, “We all agree on privatizing religion.” That is simply untrue, ”

    Hang on. Hahn wasn’t saying that he and we want privatization of religion. He’s against it. We all agree that privatization of religion is a bad thing.

    “It doesn’t matter who is in the White House…”

    He has a point. We could also say that it doesn’t matter in many way who holds the See of Peter. Sure the action of a POTUS eventually trickle down into daily life and a truly wicked or incompetent POTUS would affect us and many others around the globe in a bad way. BUT… as the poet said, “Life is real, life is earnest, the grave is not the goal.” This vale of tears is temporary and a means to an end.

    “Hahn plays a semantical game by insisting that Jesus Christ did not say “baptize all nations, he said baptize all communities.””

    When Christ said “go and teach all nations and baptize them” he didn’t mean modern nation states, which didn’t exist in that time and wouldn’t exist for many centuries. The “ta ethne” Christ was aiming at, the “nations”, means “peoples, tribes, groups, multitudes of people”. A 1st century Jew (the Apostles) would have heard “foreigners, pagans who do not worship the true God”, gentiles. Hahn is right to use the word “community”. It’s closer to the word of the Lord recorded by Matthew (whose feast it is) in Greek that “nation” understood in the modern sense of “these USA”, “Germany”, the “PRC”, etc.

    “What motivated Fr. Capodanno?”

    I haven’t read a biography of the great Fr. Capodanno. Did he sign up because of love of country? Did he sign up because he was worried about men dying without the sacraments? Both of those? Neither? Was he not entirely content with being a Maryknoller? I knew an old priest in St. Paul who signed up in WW2. He told me that he had no intention of coming home. He put himself in harm’s way constantly. He was in the third wave at Normandy, he was in the Battle of the Bulge. He did return home, highly decorated. But his reasons for going in the first place and his actions thereafter were driven by complicated motives. I think one reason why he signed up was because he was on the outs with the Archbishop. Whether or not that was a main reason I can’t tell. I suspect that once he got over there, that reason probably faded in the rear view mirror rather rapidly. However, yes, reflecting on what Capodanno did and why – why he took an extension to stay in Vietnam – why he refused to be evacuated when wounded – why he crawl toward an enemy position to reach a wounded corpsman – are good and sobering suggestions.

  20. Katherine says:

    Ryguy is not just a friend, but a close friend of Mr. McGinley.
    He appears in this combox thread to drop a little “truth” bomb: “I can assure you that [Mr. McGinley] is not a Marxist. Also he didn’t delete just some posts, but all his Twitter posts for a very good reason.”
    Enquiring minds want to know what the very good reason is. The statement implies that Mr. McGinley is a victim of something nefarious. I can’t put my finger on it, but there is a subtle suppression of Semper Gumby’s opinion with no facts, just an innuendo–Mr. McGinley (((had to delete all of his post for a very good reason))).
    Another commenter supports Semper Gumby with his own research confirming the fact that the Tweets have NOT been deleted. Ryguy is silent.
    Where are you Ryguy? Why do you not defend your close friend from the Marxist cudgel if he is no Marxist? Help us here at Fr. Z’s combox to understand. We are not afraid of the truth. We sincerely welcome even the hard truths here. If you have a truth to help us understand Mr. McGinley’s ideas differently than Semper Gumby has portrayed them, do not let us drown in a sea of ignorance. This is your moment to shine…

  21. Katherine says:

    I appreciate the concept that one should read a book with the audience for that book in mind. Many years ago Matthew Kelly spoke at an event I attended, and I received one of his books there. He put me off a bit, and I found his book mostly pablum. Then a friend pointed out to me that he was not speaking/writing for me, but for the thousands of “c”atholics who do not know the first thing about their Faith, have not been to Confession since 3rd grade, and receive the Holy Eucharist every Sunday in mortal sin. Well, OK then! Maybe (just Maybe) and only at first, they might need to be fed porridge and not steak.

  22. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Z thank you for your reply.

    You wrote: “Hang on. Hahn wasn’t saying that he and we want privatization of religion. He’s against it. We all agree that privatization of religion is a bad thing.”

    Note kindly, Fr. Z, that you misinterpreted what I wrote. I wrote: “in a misguided effort to sum things up.”

    I never stated privatizing religion was Hahn’s personal belief. The problem here is he decided to go with a sweeping generalization. Employing a sweeping generalization has consequences. The error of Hahn’s opinion was then exposed specifically in my next statement:

    “That is simply untrue, the Founding Fathers certainly did not nor do many people of many faiths today.”

    That is a fact, as opposed to Hahn’s error.


    ““It doesn’t matter who is in the White House…”

    He has a point.”

    Ok…let’s go with the logic of that. Then Catholics, whatever style of Catholicism they identify with, have no reason whatsoever to complain about abortion, church restrictions because of the Wuhan Virus or anything else. To continue with that logic, Catholics will then be viewed by many not as citizens but as parasites. Hahn’s logic appeals to despair by rejecting the possibility of any improvement in the future. Hahn’s logic will, in practical terms, result in Catholics locking themselves in spiritual and intellectual ghettoes. This is the end result of Hahn’s “point”: not evangelization and open churches but shadowy cult centers filled with bitter alienated people.

    As I cited above, kindly see Jeremiah 29:7 and Mark 12:17.

    “When Christ said “go and teach all nations and baptize them” he didn’t mean modern nation states, which didn’t exist in that time and wouldn’t exist for many centuries.”

    Well, obviously. Fr. Z, I stand by what I stated above about Hahn’s semantical game.

    Fr. Neuhaus can be read far more profitably than the Hahn-McGinley collaboration. Fr. Neuhaus does not rely on agit-prop, anti-Americanism, bitterness, or on toxic accusations of “Stockholm Syndrome.”

    God bless America and all her citizens, non-Catholic and Catholic. May they avoid the siren songs of tribalism, cults, ghettoes, half-baked theology, quietism and despair. May her citizens instead be inspired by the Good News of Jesus Christ and participate, as God specifically instructs us, in the welfare of the city.

    Thank you for your reply Fr. Z.

  23. Semper:

    ME: ““It doesn’t matter who is in the White House…”

    He has a point.”

    YOU: Ok…let’s go with the logic of that. Then Catholics, whatever style of Catholicism they identify with, have no reason whatsoever to complain about abortion, church restrictions because of the Wuhan Virus or anything else.

    RESPONDEO DICENDUM: That’s doesn’t follow at all. We can and must still be shocked and disapproving of vice and stupidity and the policies which reflect them and affect our lives. That said, no one promised us an easy time here and eternal salvation is the goal, not utopia.

    YOU: To continue with that logic, Catholics will then be viewed by many not as citizens but as parasites. Hahn’s logic appeals to despair by rejecting the possibility of any improvement in the future. Hahn’s logic will, in practical terms, result in Catholics locking themselves in spiritual and intellectual ghettoes. This is the end result of Hahn’s “point”: not evangelization and open churches but shadowy cult centers filled with bitter alienated people.

    RESPONDEO: Hmmmm… will people look at Catholics as parasites? I think a lot of things would have to happen before that would result. I am reminded, however, of the fact that Western Civilization was saved after the decline of Rome by withdrawing for spiritual motives from cities into the country and eventually into monastic communities. They were criticized. Were they wrong? Early Christians were feared and despised by some, admired by others… who converted. Any truly Christian is going to be at odds with the world and its Prince. It is unavoidable. Augustine in his City of God offers a lot about what to do about that.

    I go back and forth with myself over the so-called “Benedict option”, of withdraw, seclusion, retreat into a redoubt, as it were. On the other hand, “all politics are local”. I would like to see committed Catholic take the public square by storm through local elections to local offices and by becoming precinct captains, etc. Dr. Hahn’s wife is on their city’s council. Of course the Catholics whom I would rather see involved are not the lefty lib ‘c’atholics of the Fishwrap etc, with their mishmash of 60’s goop and Marxism. This is why I bang on about the importance of Benedict XVI’s supremely important gift to the whole world in Summorum Pontificum. Only a revitalization of our sacred worship will support a revitalization of our Catholic identity. As I’ve written a zillion times, if Catholics are going to contribute in the public square, and not just be marginalized, they can’t be just like everyone else, go along to get along, and they have to know who they are. Cult. Code. Creed. Otherwise, if they have nothing to offer, why should anyone listen?

    And Neuhaus is really good. What a loss.

  24. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Z: Thank you for the tribute to Fr. Capodanno.

    You ask an excellent question regarding Fr. Capodanno’s motivations, why did he do what he did in the vineyards of the Lord? Perhaps…

    A letter written by “Doc” Dave Magnenat, a Navy corpsman who served with Fr. Capodanno in Vietnam in 1967.

    “On the night that they moved out on Operation SWIFT, I was with the regimental command group and we were staying behind until later. I was at the staging area talking to some of the Marines that I knew when I saw the Padre. For some reason, I asked him if he had forgotten about the Bible that he was going to give me. He acknowledged that he had, and tossing his gear down, he was off like an arrow back to his hutch to get it for me.

    “Shortly after he returned, they loaded and left the area. I have often wondered if I had been a few seconds later, would I have delayed him long enough so that he would have missed the lift off [helicopters].

    “I still have that Bible, and have used it a lot over the years. For the remainder of my military service it was the last thing into my seabag and the first thing out. Wherever I went it had a place of honor and has always been available for anyone to read who desired to do so. I didn’t know the Padre as well as many of my Marines did. But, when I heard about his death I was just as devastated and mad and frustrated as anyone else who had met him. Having been raised a Protestant I was greatly impressed by the fact that the Padre did not discriminate between faiths. [Fr. Capodanno was the chaplain for the battalion.] He accepted anyone to his services who wanted to join in. There were many times when I took communion from him right along side Catholics [in extremis]. He was not the average Catholic Priest, there was something different about him, he was destined for something special. Too bad that he had to die at such a young age and in such a violent manner to achieve that plateau. Who knows? Maybe some day he will be Saint Vincent…the Marines’ guardian angel.”

    Doc’s letter, and other letters, are posted at:


    A website “In Memory of my husband, Brad Reynolds 1948-2014 M Co. 3/5 1967-68 Semper fi, Darlin'”

  25. Semper Gumby says:

    *Semperus Gumbyus dons toga, steps out of villa and hails a chariot for the Forum*

    At the Forum…

    PATER ZUHLSDORFUS: We can and must still be shocked and disapproving of vice and stupidity and the policies which reflect them and affect our lives. That said, no one promised us an easy time here and eternal salvation is the goal, not utopia.

    *the Forum erupts with the clashing of spears against shields and cries of “Veritas!”*

    PHILOSOPHUS HAHNUS: It doesn’t matter who’s in the White House!

    *silence descends on the Forum, vague mutterings about the Legions crossing the Rubicon*

    SEMPERUS GUMBYUS: *tosses aside a chicken bone and takes a swig of wine* Ok…let’s go with the logic of that. Then Catholics, whatever style of Catholicism they identify with, have no reason whatsoever to complain about abortion, church restrictions because of the Wuhan Virus or anything else.

    PATER ZUHLSDORFUS: That doesn’t follow at all.

    SEMPERUS GUMBYUS: Sed contra, Pater. It follows like the Tiber flows into the sea. We do not put our ultimate trust in earthly princes, but we possess Faith and Reason, and are capable of arriving at a preference for one earthly prince over another and acting on that preference.

    According to the Parable of the Talents those who have the capability, acknowledging that skill and stamina vary with each person, to do something should in fact participate in improving the Civitas. Which means, among other things, paying attention to who occupies the White House, local election boards, the state-level Secretary of State and such positions. If we recline on a couch all day stuffing our faces with grapes while someone plays a small lyre the following fate awaits, per Matthew 25:25 “throw this useless servant into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” An example of useless servants are…hmm..Pater, quaeritur. What’s the Latin for no-good stinkin’ Commie?


    Remember the second-century Letter to Diognetus and the observation that Christians who are exiled in a foreign country treat that foreign country as their homeland- for the time being, as everything is for the time being. Without confusing the foreign country with their true home in the New Jerusalem, and while refusing to bow the knee to its foreign gods, they accept the opportunity to play their part as citizens, albeit as dual citizens. This means, among other things, that they take part in the political affairs of their temporary homeland.

  26. PATER Z: [adds some garum to his platter of dormice]

    Augustinus noster iamiam omnia explicavit. Utcumque… ‘pessimus’ fortasse ‘vilisque communista’, sed tautologia’st nonne?

  27. Katherine says:

    This is why I come here! Thank you, Fr. Z and Semper Gumby.

  28. Semper Gumby says:

    SEMPERUS GUMBYUS: Pater, Veritas.

    *opens box of spaghetti, breaks them in half, tosses them into a pot of boiling olive oil, takes out Ka-bar, retrieves a chunk of pepperoni hanging from the ceiling and slices it into pot, opens jar of Ragu, dumps it in the pot, steps back satisfied* Magnum opus!

    Katherine: Thank you for your comments.

  29. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Z, writing in 2019 on Archbishop Carroll’s “Prayer for Government”:

    “Fathers, you might want to have everyone pray this after Mass on major public holidays in these USA. This, and other prayers, are deeply needed.

    “The following prayer was composed by John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore, in 1791. He was the first bishop appointed for the United States in 1789 by Pope Pius VI. He was made the first archbishop when his see of Baltimore was elevated to the status of an archdiocese. John was a cousin of Charles Carroll of Maryland, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.”


    From a 2010 interview (republished in 2012) of Bradley Birzer, Hillsdale College history professor and Fellow of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Birzer is the author of “American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll,” interviewed here by Carl Olson of Catholic World Report.

    Bradley Birzer:

    “The founders, overall, greatly respected Cicero. Not only had he served as the last real bulwark against the encroachment of tyranny and empire in ancient Rome, but he represented the best a republic had to offer, then or now.”

    “As another close friend of mine, Thomas More and Shakespeare scholar, Stephen Smith, has argued in private conversation, “Cicero serves as a key to true reform and progress in the western world.” And, of course, Smith is right. We can’t even imagine St. Augustine, Petrarch, or Thomas More without the Ciceronian element. The same should be true of the American founding. To my mind, among the American founders, Charles Carroll best continued the Ciceronian legacy.”

    “Just this past weekend, I learned that 13 of our roughly 280 graduates of the Hillsdale Class of 2010 have joined the Marines. At least one graduate is heading off to a Catholic monastery; another is off to Orthodox seminary to become a priest. So, a few good men and women remain.

    “Sadly, though, these Hillsdale students serve as exceptions in a larger culture that puts security and material comfort above eternal certainties.

    “Throughout his public career, Carroll defended the soul and nature of the republic. Like many of the founders, he believed that no people could enjoy the blessings of liberty without the virtue necessary to maintain it. If a man cannot order himself, how can we expect him to order his community?

    “For Carroll, republican virtue would have flowed neatly into a Catholic understanding of the world. Virtue–our English equivalent of “virtu” or “manly power”–animates a person as well as a society.”

    “Give me a good Catholic like Tolkien, Dawson, or Carroll any day, and I’ll be a happy man.

    “After all, Carroll asked in 1826: “Who are deserving of immortality?…They who serve God in truth, and they who have rendered great, essential, and disinterested services and benefits to their country.””


  30. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Z, if I could partially repost a comment from your 2019 Abp. Carroll Prayer Suggestion post linked above.


    Kathy Schiffer at the Register:

    One of the heartwarming features of President Trump’s address at the “Salute to America” July 4 was his tributes to citizens, past and present, who by their service have helped to make America a better place.

    But the name that caught my attention was Sister Deirdre Byrne. Sister Deirdre (or “Dede,” as she is called by her friends) is a medical doctor whose long career has been marked by extraordinary service. She served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, in active duty in Afghanistan and later as a reservist, eventually rising to the rank of colonel. She served for 13 months in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. As a missionary surgeon, she devoted herself to helping the sick in Kenya, Haiti, Sudan and Iraq.

    And in 1997, as a senior resident, she delivered medical care to Mother Teresa during the missionary’s five-day visit to Washington, D.C.

    Sister Deirdre’s accomplishments don’t end there. As a young doctor in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, after the planes flew into the World Trade Center, she and her friend made their way to Ground Zero, then spent the next two days delivering supplies and support to firefighters.

    But while serving as a medical officer was rewarding, Deirdre felt called to serve God in yet another way. After a period of discernment, she entered the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a traditional religious order whose life is centered on prayer and Eucharistic adoration.

  31. Semper Gumby says:

    “I am reminded, however, of the fact that Western Civilization was saved after the decline of Rome by withdrawing for spiritual motives from cities into the country and eventually into monastic communities. ”

    An excellent point by Fr. Z. The Rule of St. Benedict (c. 528) and the monasteries were vital to preserving civilization amid widespread barbarism.

    While writing the Rule, St. Benedict drew on previous experiences of the monastic life, such as those of the Desert Fathers, St. Basil and Cassian. St. Benedict recognized certain practices in Egypt were unsuitable for the climate and security conditions in Italy, or Gaul and elsewhere in Europe for that matter. St. Benedict sought to avoid extreme asceticism, laxity and demoralization. The monastic life would be centered on prayer (Psalm 119: “seven times a day I praise Thee,” the Rule has some 200 bible citations), but the monastic life would also consist of manual labor.

    The combination of prayer and manual labor resulted in the monasteries serving as influential oases of virtue and discipline, and more. The swamps and bogs the monks cleared and drained became productive agricultural land. Fruit trees, fish ponds, bee keeping, cheese making, vineyards, irrigation, waterpower for milling wheat and fulling cloth- the monks’ skills were passed on to the peasants. In the scriptorium the surviving works of Aristotle, Virgil, Pliny, Cicero and others were slowly copied and circulated from monastery to monastery.

    In 595 Pope Gregory the Great sent forty Benedictine monks led by Augustine of Canterbury to evangelize England. Meanwhile, two decades earlier, Irish monks such as Columbanus had landed in Gaul with a band of monks, evangelizing and building monasteries across north-west Europe.

    It was Columbanus, the Irish monks and the Celtic monasteries that led the way to what would eventually become a widespread educational movement under Charlemagne and his court scholar Alcuin some two hundred years later.

    Meanwhile, another threat to civilization arose: Islam and its Empire. Islam spread and conquered rapidly, by 732 the Caliphate had conquered Spain and invaded Gaul. Charlemagne’s grandfather, Charles “the Hammer” Martel assembled an army and in 732 crushed a Muslim army on its way to sack the Abbey of St. Martin of Tours southwest of Paris. Alcuin would later be Abbot of this monastery.

    St. Benedict, Pope Gregory the Great, St. Columbanus, St. Benedict’s sister St. Scholastica, Charles Martel and Charlemagne, and many, many nameless peasants, knights, priests and monks laboring in both scriptorium and swamps all contributed to the steady if uneven progress of civilization.

    Then, this success reached the ears of the bearded warrior tribes of the North- the Vikings. The first large-scale raid appears to have been the sacking of a monastery on England’s east coast at Lindisfarne in 793. The Vikings were a serious threat to civilization for quite some time.

    Perhaps the epic poem Beowulf, combining swordplay and Christian themes, aided in showing these thick-skulled barbarians fond of trashing churches a better way.

  32. Semper Gumby says:

    “… if Catholics are going to contribute in the public square… they have to know who they are. Otherwise, if they have nothing to offer, why should anyone listen?”

    An excellent point Fr. Z. A friend just pointed out a minor example of how not to do that.

    There is some sort of meme circulating online, and some Christians, including at least one Catholic priest, are submitting out of ignorance and perhaps guilt to its “truth.” The meme caption is “Boys in the First Century” with two men depicted. One says to the other “They have arrested the Lord to crucify Him! What do we do??” The other man says, “Runnnnn!!!!!!”

    This is a minor piece of the larger pagan and anti-Christian propaganda campaign. The campaign is subversive: meant to re-paganize the West and prepare the way for additional anti-Christian policies by governments such as the Installed Death Regime in the U.S. It also mocks the manly virtues.

    God blessed us with Faith and Reason, those who fall for this should use their brains and take a closer look.

    Note “First Century.” That timeframe includes Peter drawing his sword earlier to fight for Jesus Christ, John at the foot of the Cross, and it includes many of the Apostles dying later as Martyrs for the Faith.

    That full timeframe is basic Christianity. Christians should know their Bible and resist pagan blasphemy. Those Christians submitting to pagan propaganda are probably the same type of Christian who whine about “Liberalism” and “Americanism” while at the same time lusting greedily after a Theocracy or an Integralist state.

    It’s Lent. The suggestion to lukewarm Christians is do not be so gullible and believe everything you see, particularly tarted-up memes. Know your Faith and Resist Blasphemy. If you want God in the public square then be Men and Women of God: use the brains God gave you, show some backbone, and fight lies with the Truth.

    If you do not have a fraction of the faith, fortitude and intelligence of St. Stephen (also First Century, see Acts) then you may want to keep silent until you learn not to be Pagan. God bless you in that endeavor.

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