Did you see the recent @CathHerald (UK) piece about St Mary of Egypt?

Did you all see the recent Catholic Herald (UK) piece about St Mary of Egypt?

I don’t know what the HELL is going on at my former publication but they published a piece by a feminist about the saint and it was, frankly, vulgar and blasphemous.  The writer was perhaps trying to be cutsie or edgy.  It was awful.

The Catholic Herald put an editorial note on the thing.   But the fact is, THEY PUBLISHED IT ANYWAY.

The great Matthew Hazel has the smoking gun:

This is very sad.

I’ve been quiet about my former publication, but… what were they thinking?

If you want to let the CH know what you think, do NOT contact them without reading the piece first.  Be fair.  HERE

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    The editor’s note includes the words “Scandalously irreverent and theologically imprecise…”

    I dunno…if I had the immense responsibility of running a Catholic newspaper/website/blog/whatever with an audience, material that I knew fit that description would not make the cut. I would fear that I was sinning by giving it a platform.

    There are a number of strong Catholic women authors who know how to write humorously and relatably, but also intelligently, without being offensive (mostly). This isn’t it.

    I wasn’t able to get through the whole thing. It’s too, as younger people say, “cringe” and “try-hard” (like just about any attempt by the Church to be cool and relevant). Big mistake for the Catholic Herald.

  2. Elizabeth D says:

    I am devoted to and edified by the story of St Mary of Egypt, even while it is not clear to me at all if this inimitable saint is a real historical person or if it is a monastic fable about penitence. Regardless it reflects ancient Christian and “Desert Fathers” ideals taken to an extreme and it’s highly meaningful as an expression of how such a life can become one of profound sanctity. I went to the article and did not get very far before I did not want to read any further. Really, really unfortunate and when this saint or Mary Magdalene or whoever else is portrayed in a decontextualized, salacious and sensational way instead of as a model penitent it utterly is against the dignity of actual women of today and all times who repent of sins and live chastely and devoutly. Since Mary of Egypt may not be a specific historic woman, the writer of that article did an evil thing against repentant women of today’s world. THAT is the point, hatred of women who call a sin a sin and reject sin. The demonic point of view is to identify such women forever as defined by their sins.

    In the story of St Mary of Egypt, the saint’s self imposed penance of lifelong exile from the Eucharistic Communion of the Church (besides extreme asceticism and fasting), is similar to one of the early Church Fathers imposed on a “fallen virgin” who had been consecrated at a young age then later decided she wanted to marry (which consequently was not valid). She had to repent and live in penance and if she did she could be reconciled and receive the Eucharist again at the very end of her life. (A fraught matter to be sure. At the time marriage or entering a convent was often about the age of puberty and the woman, who was probably still young at the time she decided she’d rather marry, was given an ecclesial life sentence of excommunication for failing to remain a virgin, to say the least a bracing expression of our how our lives should conform to the holiness of God) But the point is utter conversion to Christ after having sinned, preferring Him to anything else. St Mary of Egypt is a story of extremes, of personal holiness as pearl of great price, and of hope for anyone at all. Mary the corrupter of pilgrims had seemed to be an utterly wrecked life, but in the end she triumphed, very much by her own choice and strength of will.

  3. John21 says:

    If we’re using car analogies, this was the Pontiac Aztek of any life of St. Mary of Egypt I’ve read.

    Does it get the job done? I guess — at the very least, it conveys some basic facts about the saint’s life, but man oh man, is it hard to look at.

  4. ex seaxe says:

    Oh my! Journalists can make some pretty stupid choices, and I have known the Catholic Herald to do so, but this is beyond words.

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    Well now.


    That was quite a display by the Catholic Heretic, and during Lent no less. How ’bout next time that tabloid prints a little more England Thy Dowry and a little less “Fancy A Snog?” A little more tea and crumpets in the editorial offices and a little less absinthe. Perhaps they should stop quaffing the bong water and try a nice cold Fizzy-Bubbly.

    It’s over. The feminist scribbler Herndon-De La Roza has finally Smashed the Patriarchy. Men, turn in your Man Cards and demolish your Man Caves. This female has Brought Home the Bacon and Fried it up in a Pan, and gloriously won for women everywhere the right to behave like a deranged teenage boy.

    Her bio states she is “a sought-after speaker”…by covens everywhere no doubt.

    Right then… there’s nothing else for it.

    “Jeeves! Break out my volumes of Winston Churchill. Get me my sporting jacket and truncheon, there’s soccer hooligans to wade into. And tell Captain Aubrey to raise anchor, somewhere on the Barbary Coast there’s a fortress ruled by a two-bit Pasha in need of a thorough bombardment.”

  6. JPManning says:

    The article reads very much like the Wikipedia entry with some sweary exclamations added.

  7. APX says:

    I immediately felt sick to my stomach as soon as I read the word, “horny”. What is this crap and what is wrong with people that they write such filth for publication?

  8. GrumpyYoungMan says:

    I only made it a couple paragraphs in – got way to millennial-speak for me.

  9. GrumpyYoungMan says:

    Pardon the typo, please.

  10. mpa says:

    I read it, and then cancelled my subscription.

    I’d been thinking of cancelling for some time. This tipped me over the edge. It’s not getting any better. An editorial board that would permit something like this is irresponsible, incompetent, or malign. Whichever it is, I don’t feel comfortable leaving this magazine out for my children to read. I don’t want it in my house.

    I really thought Damian Thompson was being melodramatic, and that he had flounced off in a huff. I no longer think so. Somebody apparently decided it was time to gut the old place and spray-paint vulgar graffiti on it. I’m not funding that any more.

    I may send a note to Mr. Altieri, for lack of anywhere better to send it, but something tells me they’re not that bothered. When I cancelled, I got an automated email that said “We understand your decision.” Maybe they really don’t need to ask.

  11. Sue in soCal says:

    I just keep getting “error in the database”. Have they removed the article?

  12. Semper Gumby says:

    Sue in soCal: Good question, perhaps locusts or frogs are plaguing their database. But I’d bet my last bagel the “error” is in the editor’s brain housing group.

    John21: Speaking of Aztecs, the Death Party in California has fallen in love all over again with the Aztecs:


    Why? Behold Death Party Newspeak:

    “By affirming the identities and contributions of marginalized groups in our society, ethnic studies helps students see themselves and each other as part of the narrative of the United States,” it read. “Importantly, this helps students see themselves as active agents in the interethnic bridge-building process we call American life.”

    Er, the Aztecs and their penchant for human sacrifice should be “marginalized,” clearly the racist and low-information Death Party believes otherwise. They believe, with the fervor of their Marxist political religion, that every Latinx student must be related to the Aztecs, and must be inspired by the joys of cutting open chests with obsidian knives and clutching victoriously overhead a beating human heart. A few years ago California erected a statue to Quetzalcoatl, so morning chants to bloodthirsty gods in the classroom was bound to happen. But hey! No dodgeball during gym class, someone’s feelings might get hurt.

    Fr. Z had something to say about this in 2018:


  13. Ellen says:

    I don’t mind edgy writing but this was tacky, dumb and reeked of trying too hard. I think the writer was trying for clever, but she missed bigly.

  14. Les Buissonets says:

    The owners of Catholic Herald have been working for some time to change a faithfully Catholic journal into a sort of Hello! magazine. Luke Coppen, who was an excellent editor, was, er, ‘let go’, together with a number of the regular columnists (including a certain Fr Z) who were simply too…religious. The magazine is now full of writers who may be culturally Catholic (not all of them even have that qualification), and who do have a brief mention of Catholicism in their articles, but who are mostly there because they’re ‘celebs’ of some type.

    Unfortunately, I’m unable to cancel my subscription because I cancelled it last autumn, when the direction in which it was headed was already clear. I suspect that they’re not going to survive much longer, frankly.

  15. Veronica scriptor velum says:

    This is so shocking! There should be public outrage against the so-called‘Catholic’ Herald for publishing this femi-nazi piece of junk.
    So, once again another once-upon-a-time great Catholic newspaper bites the dust.

    The infiltration of evil, of modernism [that could be a synonym of communism here, as Ven. Fulton Sheen pointed out], into every institution, every media outlet, plus governments, schools, universities, even seminaries and the Vatican …. you name it, is growing apace.

    Did not Our Lady of Fatima warn us in 1917 that this would happen if her requests were not heeded?

    “If my requests are heeded, Russia (i.e., communism) will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church.”

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  17. Cameron466 says:

    That was painful. It seems to be a misguided attempt to make the saints “relevant” for “kids these days.”

    Putting aside how utterly pathetic such pandering always comes off as, speaking from my experience as a teacher, YOU DO NOT NEED TO DO THIS. Young people love hearing about saints. Even the non-Catholic ones. Just love the saint first, then tell the story with interest. That’s all you need.

  18. seeker says:

    I’ve been busy, so spent some time caching up on Fr. Z this morning, always a morning coffee delight. This article is just horrifying, of course. I read some words that shouldn’t be published in a Catholic publication, and was sad and uncomfortable and confused.
    Why? What possible goal do the editors have for this? I get it… they’re trying on a fresh perspective with some edgy lingo to try to appeal to the hep cats and shake up the church ladies. However, if their goal had been to introduce profane language and denigrate God’s holy saints in a Catholic publication it would also look like this. Or did someone lose a frat boy bet? Also, the tone had me wondering if the author didn’t maybe think St Mary was a little more cool before her conversion. Just sayin’. See I can use au courant phrases too, although I made myself cringe.
    I looked up Destiny and it seems she runs a wonderful prolife pregnancy center which helps poor women in Mexico, most of whom are pregnant from sexual assault. That surely is frontline heroism and holiness from this convert and mother of four daughters. She seems like a woman pursuing holiness and living the Gospel but this writing is a real misstep. Let’s pray for this woman because, like St Mary, Ignatius Loyola, Francis of Assissi, Dorothy Day and many others who didn’t live their whole lives saints, God intends her for better things than this.

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