I just had a momentary waking dream….

I just had a flash of an American bishop calling a simultaneous meeting of all the clergy of the diocese together with a press conference…

Thank you for coming.   I’m Jude Noble, Bishop of the Diocese of Black Duck.

I’ve called you here today because we are going to stir a few things up.   What we have been doing for the last few decades in our local Church isn’t working.

I cannot see how we fulfill our duty to God and His people, serve either of them well, by doing the same old things that haven’t worked year in and year out.   It’s not only disservice to God and to you, it’s expensive and scandalous and crazy.   It is my goal to keep as many people out of Hell as possible, including myself.  That means that we have to make changes if we want there to be anything left of what our forebears built and which we have been diligently squandering for decades, including our moral capital.

In the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, prayerfully heeded in the light of all the other Councils, it’s time for something new.  Here’s the new plan.

Since everything starts with and returns to our worship of Almighty God, liturgical worship is of critical importance for every other aspect of our new direction.  At the Cathedral we will set the pace.  We will have Solemn and Pontifical Masses and Vespers on Sunday.  Vespers, just as the Council asked for.  It’ll be rocky at first, but we will improve.  We will be overhauling music and liturgy in parishes, too.  Many will fight this and issue wild language and threaten to shut down parishes and stop contributing.  Okay.   We will keep going, poorer, but in the right direction and give them every incentive through prayer and works of mercy to return to the fold.  I suspect there are church musicians and pipe organ specialists who will relocate here from all over the country just to be involved.  Once we get going, if some people move away, others will relocate to be part of it.  Watch.

Starting right now, every priest of this diocese has faculties to use the Traditional Roman liturgical books and I want them all to learn how to use them.  I’m not suggesting this Fathers.  I’m telling you.  Do it, men.  If you don’t, I can always bring in, vet, and incardinate some of the hundreds of cancelled priests out there.  Watch me.  [PAUSE.  Finding with his eyes and staring for a moment, one by one, at a few priests.] Test me, if you dare, Fathers.  Stir people up – like you always have in the past when you didn’t like something – and I will use interdict.  But, we would rather have you with us.   Who knows.  I can probably trade you to the Archdiocese of Red Bird for future seminarians to be named later … if they aren’t already here.

The Novus Ordo will certainly continue to be in use, although I suspect that the numbers of Masses in each Rite may undergo a kind of exchange of priority once people start voting with their feet, as it were.

We need a new way of approaching things, including formation of priests.  At noon, today, I’m sending messages out and I’m pulling all our men out of the seminaries where they have been and I’m bringing them home.  We will train them here and train them properly. We will use a parish closed by my predecessor, with its church and school for a new seminary. [Holding up a piece of paper.] Here’s the list of the new faculty.  I see Father is distributing it.  We will do this one way or another, whatever it takes.   I’ve started a special “kickstarter” campaign online for donations at IWantMyCatholicChurchBack.com, to build a good library and necessary buildings down the line.  The address will be distributed.  For now, we need profs and blackboards.   But even if the donations don’t come, we are doing this.  We – I will be closely involved – we will sleep on cots if we have to, but we will get this done.  I’m confident that if we start this project, God will provide.  Good men who want nothing more than to serve Christ and His people as Catholic priests and not facilitators of an NGO will come out of the woodwork begging to be part of it.

As for staff, I mentioned the faculty already, but also I’ve told a couple of older cardinals about this and they are eager to be spiritual directors and even instructors.  Let’s just say our Canon Law courses will be exemplary.  Seminary liturgies should be exceptional and the men will learn to carry out even the most involved rites.   As they should.  We are, after all, our rites.  It’s time that priests actually know their Roman Rite for a change. The spiritual advisors at the seminary will include older ascetic monks from traditional monasteries with long years of experience.  A traditional group of sisters has already volunteered to take care of everyone.  They will be housed at yet another parish and convent that my predecessor also…


… shut… down.

No, I am not taking questions.  There’s more.

With this decree [Holding up a piece of paper], I have suspended Communion in the hand in this diocese, but with a very short grace period.  Catechesis about Communion will begin in parishes on Sunday.


Before people run around with their hair on fire, just to be clear, Communion on the tongue is still the norm in the Catholic Church.

There was an Indult granted some years ago for Communion in the hand, at the discretion of the diocesan bishop in those areas where permission was granted.  Ironically, that Indult was granted for the explicit purpose of eventually eliminating Communion in the hand.  That didn’t work, so we are going to try something else: teach, persuade, phase it out.   Studies show that many Catholics don’t believe what the Church teaches about the Eucharist.  We are going to turn that around.

With this decree [Holding up a piece of paper], I have suspended the service of females at the altar.   If Father has to get his own cruets for a couple of days, so be it.  I am open to instituting male acolytes or ordaining to the old Minor Orders.

Or both!  I’m nothing if not flexible.

With this decree [Holding up a piece of paper], I am establishing regular and generous times for availability of the Sacrament of Penance at specific parishes and there will be confessions available always at the Cathedral.  Go to confession.

… Could someone get Fr. Hugalot a glass of water, or something? …  He’s not looking very…. thanks… thanks for helping, Miss.

With this decree [Holding up a piece of paper], I am establishing that all altars in the diocese which cannot now be used for Masses ad orientem, be rearranged.  If there is a main altar in the apse, it should be given priority and used.  More on that later.

As the phrase goes, this diocese needs more processions and less chattering.  So, we have a schedule.  [Holding up a piece of paper.]  For the praise and glory of Our Savior, His Blessed Mother and all the saints, to thank them and to ask their intercession, we must return to traditional devotions and novenas. Because Forty Hours Devotion, long fallen out of use, first developed in time of dire emergencies, threats of invasion or plague or famine and the like, we are going to have a diocese-wide return to Forty Hours Devotion and the schedule will be publ…. oh…

There’s more, but I see that a few of the reporters and older priests have started looking a little green and more than one has fainted.  It’s a good thing we pre-positioned a few EMTs before we started.

To be continued.

For now, that is all.

¡Hagan lío!

[Drops the mic]

But, no.  That was a momentary flash. Gosh that was vivid.

Oh well.

I’ve now returned through the wardrobe from the Diocese of Black Duck to my desk.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Lighter fare and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Philliesgirl says:

    Fr Z have you been reading Mitre and Crook?

    [I don’t know that one.]

  2. Not says:

    (sing to song “Young at Heart”) ” Bringing the True Church back can be true, it will take me and You and Mary’s Immaculate Heart”

  3. JonPatrick says:

    If only. All it would take is just ONE Bishop to do this. I know the USCCB and the Vatican would come down on him like a ton of bricks.

  4. donna555 says:


  5. Unwilling says:

    So, here’s that novel — great! I had a feeling that I had read the style before… before the last battle. Sed ubi…?

  6. oledocfarmer says:

    Just a dream…..but, man, was it beautiful!

  7. Tantum Ergo says:

    Bravo! BRAVO! I just read this to my wife and son but had to pause from time to time because of them choking with laughter! How true, and what a hoot!
    PS- Is the Diocese of Black Duck in Narnia?

  8. ThePapalCount says:

    Simply brilliant. Dreams can come true. We pray for wiser and more sane times.

  9. Don’t forget to grant faculties and otherwise and to the extent possible normalize relations with all the SSPX priests who serve within the diocese of Black Duck.

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    Now that’s leadership. That’s being a man and a Man of God and reading the Riot Act to the heathens.

    Evil and paganism are androgynous. Anthony Esolen:

    “Do you remember a time when a priest could march alongside miners and auto workers and look like one of them, not like a breathless female reporter in the locker room of a football team?”

    “How to kill vocations in your diocese? Be effeminate. Get rid of every single hymn that has anything to do with Christian soldiership.”

  11. Josephus Corvus says:

    Philliesgirl: That’s exactly what I was thinking when I started reading this. Great book from the first suppression.

  12. Gaetano says:

    They’ve tried everything else. We’ve seen the results.

    Just do it!

  13. TonyO says:

    Somehow, it appears that before he was consecrated a bishop, Fr. Jude Noble had a nickname of “Fr. Zed”. No idea why. Maybe he visited Canada once, and got stuck with it?

    [The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. Identification with actual places, buildings, or persons living, dead, undead or possessed, is not intended or should not be inferred.]

  14. Ariseyedead says:

    Was that really a dream or the fruits of the Anti-synod on Anti-synodality?

  15. Tantum Ergo says:

    “I would be a Narnian whether there’s a Narnia or not!”

  16. JSzczuka says:

    Somebody send Fr Z a copy of Mitre and Crook! I can’t believe you don’t know that one! (Or were you kidding? blush)

  17. MaterDeicolumbae says:

    Thank you Your Excellency Bishop Jude Noble!
    No more hand-holding during the Our Father!
    No more signs of peace!
    No more music during times when there should be silence!
    And there will be homilies on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament on the altar, pro-life, marriage between man and woman, why contraception is a sin, the importance of going to confession and praying daily rosaries and making Blessed Sacrament Holy Hours, how to conduct your life as a Catholic to achieve sainthood, how not go to hell, and that the devil really, really exists !!!!!!!!!

  18. philosophicallyfrank says:

    Sounds like something that was done back in 2010: https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2010/07/we-cannot-tolerate-liturgical-errors.html by Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith in his Archdiocese of Colombo.

  19. Mariana2 says:

    Ainsi soit-il.

  20. prayfatima says:

    “As the phrase goes, this diocese needs more processions and less chattering.” That is a great phrase.

  21. hwriggles4 says:

    Fr. Z:

    First, I liked your reference to “older priests in plainclothes ” and to “Fr. Hugalot.” We had a priest at our parish (late 1970s/mid 1980s) who was one of those. While he was a nice guy and well liked, my mother shared with me that after a while his mannerisms made her feel a little uncomfortable.

    Second, about the “older priests in plainclothes “. I attended a Catholic college (mid-1980s staffed by a religious order – no, not SJ) where there were a few priests on campus who taught courses. I had one for philosophy who insisted on wearing his collar (I appreciated the public witness, he and I got along, and years later I found that he would sometimes do the TLM at a local parish) , but I had two others, one for philosophy and one for theology, who NEVER wore clerics. The priest who ran campus ministry (yes really – was ordained c.1975) would normally wear a black golf shirt and put something white around the buttoned up collar to pass as “clerics “. Now several of the brothers would wear plainclothes, but the older brothers often wore black pants, a white shirt and a tie when they taught courses. It didn’t hit me until years later that the order was dwindling, as the school had become more secular. Today there are good academic programs there (and my personal opinion is had I not gone there first I would not be where I am today – I do have friends from there still) along with smaller class sizes, but many of the older brothers are deceased and I don’t think there are many newer priests and brothers there. Three friends of mine entered novitiate for the order in the late 1980s, and by 1993 all left before taking final vows.

    Yes, I do appreciate the public witness when a priest wears his clerics. I also remember going through confirmation in the 9th grade (early 1980s) which was heavy on social justice, pop psychology, high school issues of the day, and very little on Church teaching. I went to my five year high school reunion and very few that went to our parish told me they no longer attended Church. Let’s not go backward.

  22. Skeinster says:

    Except for the omission of “No charitable or educational entity in the Diocese shall receive funds from the state or Federal government”, this was perfect.

  23. Philliesgirl says:

    I thought it was interesting that this post was linked on Facebook in a Catholic group I belong to. There were only a few comments when I saw it, three or four loved it and said they too were reminded of Mitre and Crook. One comment was ‘dream or nightmare?’ This was from a priest I happen to know. He would definitely see it as a nightmare. Occasionally he helped at our parish before the COVID nightmare with weekday Masses and the odd Sunday Mass (and I mean odd). At least twice he said the weekday Mass unvested (which I heard somewhere was a mortal sin for a priest- is that right Fr Z?), and he refuses to use the new translation of the NO except for those parts that involve the congregation, which he can’t avoid. The most animated sermon I ever heard him preach was an absolute rant against people who denounced Pope Francis denial of the validity of the death penalty. I looked round the congregation of about 20 elderly ladies and thought it very likely that the only person who knew what he was on about was me (I may be quite wrong of course). He was ordained in 1965 which is interesting and I think shows there were definitely problems before the ‘spirit’ of Vatican II hit us with full force.

  24. prayfatima says:

    This is leadership towards the good, ultimately towards God, Goodness Itself. It makes me think of the phrase: “When in the diocese of Black Duck, do as the duckies do.” And of the book: Make Way For Ducklings!

    The path to Heaven is not complex, it is simply straight and narrow. It has been traveled on for centuries by many Saints. The things they held dear, how they prayed, the places they went all show us the way. No need to reinvent the path, it is paved and reliable. We don’t “walk together” aimlessly, we drive fast in the direction of the good and we do not like detours!!

    Even the bumble bee doesn’t bumble and buzz without direction or purpose. The bee also wants the good, so it buzzes toward the flower and praises God with its hum-a-bum-buzz-buzz flight. It loves that God made the flower smell sweet so it could recognize what is good. The good is recognizable, attractive, simple, easy, and sweet.

  25. JakeMC says:

    Please God, send ALL dioceses bishops like this!

  26. jflare29 says:

    “I am establishing that all altars in the diocese which cannot now be used for Masses ad orientem, be rearranged.”

    Huh? Based on altars I have ever seen, I would expect the problem the other way ’round. A traditional mass altar turned around would impede the congregation’s view; the steps look just deep enough for a man’s foot, yet no more. Traditional altars also appear to me routinely perhaps 18 inches deep. In contrast, most Novus Ordo altars do not have steps and tend to be at least 3 feet deep.

    Why would an altar be unable to be used for ad orientem Mass?

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