Bottom of the ninth. What did the bishops do? Did they hit a home run?

At The Catholic Thing there is a good description by David Carlin of the miserable, enervated choke the bishops showed the world at their last USCCB meeting. As my dad, a connoisseur of baseball puts it, it’s hard to win with your hands around your own throat.

Striking Out in Baltimore

In baseball, some batters are known as “clutch hitters.” In ordinary situations, they may be no better than .275 hitters. Not bad, but nothing special. But in extraordinary situations, situations in which the game is on the line, they often rise to the occasion and temporarily become the equivalent of .350 or .375 or even .400 hitters.

Our Catholic bishops met in Baltimore the week before Thanksgiving. They met in an extraordinary situation, a situation in which the most conspicuous of all American Catholics, President Joe Biden, had for many months been making it quite clear that he intended to use his high office to promote something that the Catholic religion regards as unwarranted homicide, namely abortion.

inning. Two outs. Bases loaded. Home team down by two or three runs. Bishops at the plate. It was a golden opportunity for the bishops to prove that they are clutch hitters. Perhaps they would be inspired by the memory of the greatest of all Catholic hitters to come from Baltimore, Babe Ruth. Or perhaps they would be negatively inspired by the pro-abortion athleticism of another Baltimore native, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

And what did the bishops do? Did they hit a home run? Or a triple? Or a double? Or a single? No, none of these. Instead, they struck out. And they didn’t even strike out swinging. Just looking. Worse still, instead of trying to drive in a run or two, they stood at home plate and, using a bullhorn, gave what they took to be an edifying discourse on the nature of baseball and its rules, with particular attention paid to the dimensions of the strike zone.


Read the rest there.

The “Eucharistic coherence” efforts promoted by the bishops are not bad in themselves but they are a little dreamy.  There’s nothing wrong with aiming at Eucharistic congresses, and so forth.  However, just as all politics is local so too must be all efforts to rekindle or indeed kindle for the first time faith in and devotion to the Eucharist.

What we need to do is:

  • Recover the Traditional Latin Mass.
  • Phase out Communion in the hand.
  • Stress clear doctrine in the pulpit.
  • Reclaim the Church’s great treasury of sacred music.
  • Phase out altar girls.
  • Return to ad orientem worship.
  • Preach the need for the Sacrament of Penance and get priests into the box.
  • Phase out lay readers, etc.
  • Support bishops with the Faith and backbones.
  • Re-institute Forty Hours Devotion.
  • ?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in 1983 CIC can. 915, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. DBuote says:

    Rebuild traditional confessional boxes in many cases – something I was laughed off of a pastoral council for suggesting, imagine.

  2. xavier says:


    Bring back popular piety through the Sacred Heart, the Holy Family, Divine Mercy for the inclined.
    Bring back the feast days and have the towns/cities/neighborhoods celebrate festes majors.
    Republish in the original languague devotionaries. I find it really tough to find French and other Romance l
    language works by the saints.


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  4. Midwest St. Michael says:

    How about actually having *some* Latin during the celebration of Holy Mass?

    One would think, 50+ years on since V2, we are now the Vernacular Rite instead of the Latin Rite.

  5. mysticalrose says:

    Stop treating faithful, traditional Catholics like the enemy, I.e. stop own goaling.

    Stop seeking human respect and plaudits.

  6. HFL says:

    Develop and implement a multi-year religious education curriculum, focused on the Catechism (preferably the Baltimore Catechism), and taught by trained catechists.

  7. Chrisc says:

    I think the form/ matter connection needs to be stressed to the bishops. Conference center events or hotel ballroom committee sessions produce documents and statements that appear to be as worldly as conference centers and committee meetings. Why aren’t all episcopal meetings at a monastery for a week? There are dozens to choose from and many have plenty of empty choir stalls. The bishops get a retreat and time to pray together before the work of the episcopal conference. This would be a far more sobering indication of seriousness. If I recall they used to meet at St John’s in Collegeville, maybe back in the 70s.

  8. Ave Maria says:

    Amen to all those things we need to do!

  9. Raphael Sabadim says:

    Mandate people to do Penance, like Mon / Wed / Fri fasting

  10. dr robot says:

    These are all great ideas but it seems like the real challenge will be addressing the people who don’t want these changes. They need to be…what? swayed? convinced? overruled? How we deal with them will determine a lot. Everything will flow from that.

  11. LeeGilbert says:

    Resurrect and re-staff tuition free Catholic schools and once again teach our chidren the Catholic faith But how is this possible with the decline of the religious teaching orders? Among many other things that can be done, such as importing teaching nuns from the Philippines and Nigeria and India, there is one far more do-able.

    First, eliminate the stupid teaching certificate requirement. This has been done by one very successful charter school experiment in Phoenix, the Great Hearts Academy, which has twenty-two schools. They hire teachers who who are competent in a subject area and THEN teach them how to manage a classroom, etc. They emphatically do not want people with a degree in education. By the way, there are a number of Thomas Aquinas College and University of Dallas alums sprinkled throughout that system and teaching

    Secondly, ask retirees with bachelor degrees to volunteer their services as teachers, no teaching certificate required. My supposition is that there are plenty of such retirees who would be more than willing to do just that, for example, grandparents with a pension and social security who are concerned that our children be well-educated andcatechized. There is a tremendous pool of well-educated persons in their sixties and seventies who would be willing to do this if asked, if welcomed. Aside from the bachelor’s degree these people have a great experience of life and plenty of hard-earned wisdom, which is necessarily lacking in younger teachers.

    I note that Kate Brown, the dictatorial governor of Oregon, has issued an emergency order that since there is such a lack of substitute teachers throughout the state, persons without a teaching certificate and even without a bachelor’s degree are welcome to apply for these positions and five hundred people have done just that.

    Lucky for us we have no such emergency demanding that we think outside the box. No, our standards are so high and our principles so firm that our children must have the very best, even if that means that means they must have nothing at all.

  12. LeeGilbert says:

    We are at Holy Rosary, the Dominican parish here in Portland, and one of the many glories of the parish is that in the summers we usually have Dominican priest professors on their summer vacation staying in the priory. One such, Fr. Gregory Tatum, O.P, in his every homily Sunday and week-day would refer to the Eucharist using the phrase “body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Of course, this was very commendable and unarguable, and superb from a pedagogical standpoint, except to say that adding a few words to this phrase may help to drive home the Reality, saying that the Eucharist is the body and blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Risen, Living and Glorious. These additional few words would rescue the usual expression from coming across as a kind of theological autopsy. Maybe I am wrong after all, but what would be wrong with stressing that Our Lord in the Eucharist is risen, living and glorious, albeit under a sign? Besides being really present, that He is alive in the Eucharist seems to be one of the notes driven home by every Eucharistic miracle.

  13. Irish Timothy says:

    Fr. Z….. I would also add increase knowledge and devotion to the great sacramentals of the brown scapular and miraculous medal…….

  14. Charivari Rob says:

    LeeGilbert, what was standing law in Oregon about qualifications for substitute teachers before this executive order you mention? I’m only familiar with where I grew up here back east – the standard then was one only needed a couple of years of college credits to qualify.

  15. matt from az says:

    * Reinstitute minor orders.
    * Allow “reading for orders” instead of seminaries where real men have to become craven wimps to survive the Lavender Mafia.
    * If we must keep seminaries, they must be run like West Point or Annapolis.
    * hire Echelon Front, a leadership training company run by retired Navy SEALs, to teach bishops and priest s how to be LEADERS not managers and petty bureaucrats.
    * Force all priests to learn jujitsu or another martial art so they stop being total wussies.
    * Mandatory exercise programs for all seminarians and clergy, with quarterly PT tests and height-weight standards measure.
    * All priest should have a secular skill set. St Paul supported his own mission by being a tent maker/leather worker. He never took money from the faithful. He preached the Gospel to his coworkers while they were working. Priests nowadays are soft and don’t know real work unless they are exceptional. My former seminary classmates were a bunch of soft-skinned wimps who never had to work a day of real work in their lives. Total gaylords deserving of no respect. They’ll be ok if their parish is filled with faghags and Karens, but god forbid they have men under their care.

  16. JonPatrick says:

    When I read the First Hhings article it struck me that these men are the successors to the apostles, men whom we read about in Acts were risking their lives by speaking the truth. What are our current bishops risking? The loss of their tax exempt status? Government funding for the dubious projects of the CCHD?

    I don’t think any top down applications of reforms could happen with the current crowd in control. This will have to be a bottom up movement with lay people and courageous priests implementing changes at the local level. It will be hard as there will be opposition. People do not like to be moved from their comfort zone. But Christianity is all about leaving our comfort zones and putting God first.

  17. Tradster says:

    Get rid of the nominal one hour fast and return to the three hour fast before receiving Communion. Make the fasting great again.

  18. jhogan says:

    I have read many good ideas here; however, I think keeping things simple is best:
    (1) Eliminate communion in the hand.
    (2) Encourage kneeling when receiving—communion rails, kneelers at communion stations, whatever works within a particular church.
    (3) A steady stream of good, correct catechesis on the Eucharist from the pulpit (possibly the hardest to achieve).
    And if we get (3), then (4) frequent availability of Confession—maybe harder to do than (3).
    There are many corollaries that flow from these, but I think, if our clergy and religious take the Real Presence seriously in their behavior, their example will lead others to the Truth.

  19. Simon_GNR says:

    DBuote: You may be pleased to hear that when my local Catholic cathedral (Sheffield, Diocese of Hallam, England) was renovated a few years ago, proper confessional boxes were installed.

  20. The Egyptian says:

    Dear Matt,
    you are the hammer, Back in the glory days of the precious blood society here in western Ohio, the seminary ,St Charles at Cathagina Ohio, was a working farm, Dairy (award winning Brown Swiss herd), hogs and chickens both eggs and broilers, and turkeys too. Our now retired pastor Fr Ken had pictures of him working in the slaughter house as a seminarian. A steer a week as well as four to six fat hogs and dozens of chickens to feed the seminarians and priests, brothers that managed the farm and the teaching staff. all raised on the farm by the students with crops raised on the 300 acres that comprised the seminary farm (at this location). All told the CPPS farmed approximately 600 acres between the main seminary, the Noviciate farm and and Brunnerdale high school at Rensiler, Ind. Operated their own shoe shop, Ran their own power plant and had a good volunteer fire department. Every student was required to work!
    Another story, a Pastor from my youth, long since deceased, Fr Robert Stock, while stationed in Kansas during the depression, worked a full time job as an accountant for a local feed mill so that the parish could keep going, he alone provided the coal to heat the building. He loaded feed during lunch break (100 pound sacks) so that the mill could keep going. Also raised his own garden, canned his own produce and only reluctantly accepted donations of meat and milk from the local farmers. When he was sent here later in life he still raised a garden and canned. Never asked for a thing and was grateful for his life.
    Don’t know if there are many Priests like that left in the world, most act their role as princes ( princesses?)of the church

  21. The Egyptian says:

    My mistake, Brunnerdal is near Canton, Ohio, not Ind.
    Now the Glenmore country club
    Around the transition into the 19th Century, Father Brunner left his native Germany and migrated to America. His purpose was to establish his faith among the German people in Pennsylvania. The order was to be “The Society of the Precious Blood.” Their descendants kept the Society alive and established Brunnerdale Seminary High School for boys preparing for Priesthood. They named the school in honor of Father Brunner.

    The original site for the school was donated by two bachelor brothers by the name of Race, who owned the farm that surrounded the school. The classic Gothic building was built during the years 1930-1931 with the first class starting in late October of 1931. The building is approximately 167,000 square feet.

    For those of you who remember the depression, you can imagine how much an edifice of that magnitude meant to Stark county and Canton, Ohio. The building contains Belden Brick, East Canton Tile and Republic Steel, not to mention all of the labor force required to complete such a building.

    Sometime shortly after the school was completed, bandits came through the area and seeing the building in the middle of a corn field decided the brothers must have been wealthy to have built such a building. They tied the brothers up and burned their feet with hot lids taken from the old wood burning stove. However, the brothers were able to convince their captors that they had merely donated the ground and were very poor farmers. (It is interesting to note that their life savings was hidden under the floor boards they were sitting on.) Following that experience, the two brothers came to the Priests and asked to be taken in and to live out their lives here in the school. The brothers willed the farm to the Society of the Precious Blood upon their death. Thus, the school came to own nearly 400 acres which was farmed to produce the food to feed the students and staff over the years. The students were here year around except for a two-week vacation sometime in the summer. All summer they were busy in the fields doing those chores necessary to feed them the next year. The former students who have come back to visit tell many tales about the various chores they performed while here in the seminary.
    Now it is a country club
    What a Waste

  22. matt from az says:

    Dear Egyptian,
    WOW! That sounds like an awesome place.
    I would have enjoyed that.

    I am currently working on a retirement plan that involves starting a Catholic vocational boarding school. Boys will live in a quasi-monastic setting for four years while also learning a trade like masonry (stone, not free and accepted. Ha ha ha), carpentry, machining, welding, drafting, etc. My goal is to turn out Catholic men ready for the workforce with highly sought-after and well compensated skills. Moral men who will do manly work like the Benedictnes of old: “Ora et labora.” They will get married, have many children, attend mass frequently, and pray with their kids daily because we will have instilled those habits into them.

    Pray to St Joseph for me that this will happen and not just be pie in the sky.

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  24. sjoseph371 says:

    All of these things are great and all, BUT if you don’t “Stress clear doctrine in the pulpit” I can 100% GUARANTEE that NONE of the other things would follow. I’d even go so far as just stress the clear doctrine part (as well as PROPER catechesis) as a first simple step / foundation. Without being successful at that first, trying to do the others would be just like building a grand skyscraper on a squishy swamp.

  25. Chuck4247 says:

    I appreciate the Gary Gaetti reference…

  26. pannw says:

    Teach about the Eucharistic Miracles (ie. Lanciano). The Lord gives us evidence for our edification and to help unbelievers. We should know about it. A Eucharistic Miracle was cause for the institution of the Feast of Corpus Christi. Tell the people about it.

    Maybe if people knew they were holding Our Lord’s Sacred Heart Flesh in their hands, and that it could actually appear as it truly is, those without consecrated hands would stop touching it.

    Matt from az, what a beautiful dream. I pray it becomes a reality. How I wish I had been able to send my son someplace like that. Please pray for his return to the sacraments.

  27. chris griffin says:

    What we need to do is:

    1. Every Catholic should hate his life (John 12:25) until abortion is banned.

    2. Promote more Communion in the Hand which is what Jesus specified…
    “And having taken the chalice, he gave thanks, and said: Take, and divide it among you” Luke 22:17 (DR)

    “And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body” Matt 26:26 (DR)

  28. Imrahil says:

    Dear Chris Griffin,

    this is the Internet, so irony should come duly marked.

    That being said, if what you wrote had been serious, I would say that I fail to see both why an effective ban of abortion should in any way diminish our duty to fulfill a command of our Lord – in so far as it is a command* – or why the fault of others who promote or tolerate abortion should oblige us to fulfill it if we weren’t so obliged otherwise, or to fulfill it in a more harsh manner than our Lord actually did intend.

    [* The unanimous interpretation is “disdain (by comparison)”.]

  29. The Mad Sicilian Geek says:

    How about THIS for a ‘thought experiment’…

    Suppose we were to get rid of all the bishops and replace them with and elevate a whole new set of priests to be bishops…

    Could we do any worse than things are now?

  30. robtbrown says:

    Lee Gilbert,

    Excuse the delay. You have raised some important issues.

    It is important to remember that by the power of the sacrament (ex vi sacramenti) Transubstantiation takes place. Now substance does not refer to those descriptions you mentioned–risen, livng, and glorious, nor for that matter to any specific quality of the Risen Body. Those are all accidents, and accidents limit substance.

    By the power of the Sacrament Christ’s substance is made present, not His accidents. This happens whether or not the wine is consecrated. If for some reason there is no consecration of the wine, people still receive the Transubstantiated species in Communion.

    With the second consecration, that of the wine, Christ’s Body and Blood are sacramentally separated. Such a distinction between Body and Blood refers to accidents, not substance. Such a separation means Death–thus the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist.

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