My View For Awhile and Days 3-4 of the spiffy St. Paul Center Conference for priests.

The conference has wrapped up and every one has returned home… or… they aren’t there anymore. The Conference was terrific. I would go every year and I warmly recommend it to my priest readers.  HERE BTW… many of the guys opined about how great it was to be with lots of priests and… no bishops.   They also hold conferences in Texas and California.

Dr. John Bergsma spoke on Luke (because it is used in the N.O. Lectionary this year. He gave us his finest artistic renderings.

Mind you, that one is about half finished. But, I assure you, his lectures were every bit as good!

(Seriously, I learned a heck of a lot about Luke… and Paul!)

Bergsma and Brant Pitre created one of the best scripture resources I’ve ever seen.


He told me about their progress on the NEW TESTAMENT volume.  Yay!

A more finished image from Bergsma’s stick-figure repertoire.

Fr. Cliff Ermatinger, exorcist, probably shocked and alarmed some men with his clear answers, often lacking more than one syllable.

If anyone is involved in “Centering Prayer”… STOP.  Find a good priest and have him do a minor exorcism.

If there is anyone out there in SEMINARY FORMATION…

… you MUST MUST MUST provide seminarians with training in the basics of how people get into spiritual trouble with demons, what to look for, etc.  This is on the rise.

Some values clarification from Ralph Martin.

In the evening there are receptions.  Great fun.  Some of the staff have their kids there.  This is young Mr. Entropy, demonstrating with the over-sized chess set that Original Sin is at work in every human being waaaay before the age of reason.  Those pieces simply had to be knocked, often kicked, over.  He is setting up for another run.

Scott Hahn’s Bible parked next to my stuff as Scott parked by me for evening prayer before his evening talk.  I’d really like to see inside that Bible.  Do you think there might be notes?

AND… speaking of chess… thanks to the reader who sent the superb travel set.

AND… speaking of chess, one of the group challenged me to a game.   I was black.   This is viewed from the “a1” corner where I had queened a pawn a few moves back.  I opted for a more elegant mating net without the queen.   He started very strong and I was wondering if perhaps this was going to get really ugly.  I eventually managed to gain the upper hand and, badda bing.  Thanks!  Good game!

When undertaking a journey, a priest should say his prayers.

Happily, my first flight was upgraded.  However, I don’t think I have ever had a flight in or out of PIT that wasn’t late.

The second leg was pretty awful.  We were stuck on the runway for about an hour and, while I am nearly always able to nap, the screen thingy wasn’t available to me.  Instead I had…

Anyway… it’s done.  GREAT CONFERENCES.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    From Fr. Ermatinger Explains the Trouble with Magic
    By Karen Mahoney|Nov 10, 2021

    He [Fr. Ermatinger] added that mind emptying is a dangerous practice that can allow the demonic to enter. Jesus gave us the intellectual truth and explained that God appeared in the form of Jesus Christ in the image and likeness of the Father.

    “You don’t get beyond Christ to get to something else,” Fr. Ermatinger said. “He is the fullness of Revelation. Some may feel good with yoga, but you might also feel good being drugged. Stretching is fine without falling into pagan worship. When we die, yoga won’t save us. Our Lord will through baptism, the Bread of Life; the Lord comes to rescue us from all the wounds of original sin and has a solution that far exceeds what the devil or the world can offer us.”

  2. acardnal says:

    This was an enjoyable post.

    I am now looking to purchase some of Fr. Cliff Ermatinger’s books.

    Thank you!

    [They are very good.]


    Who’s Speaking?: Discerning the Good Shepherd’s Voice from that of the Stranger


    The Trouble with Magic: Our Failed Search for More and Christ’s fulfillment of our Desires
    by Fr. Cliff Ermatinger

    US HERE – UK HERE (newly added)


  3. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Emptying the mind was also associated with the heresy of Quietism, which basically went so far beyond giving yourself to God, that it wanted people to become God’s puppets or zombies. It was like the evil twin version of mental prayer. (Nothing wrong with mental prayer itself.)

    You don’t have to look very far to find out that “centering prayer” is basically a Wicca/occult form of meditation. Even the popular Valdemar fantasy series has an explanation of “ground and center,” and how that is the starting point for spells or attempts at using psychic powers.

    I expect that if people are doing “centering prayer” and not having bad effects, they are either lucky, or that they have inadvertently reinvented Christian forms of meditation instead of doing “centering prayer.”

    It doesn’t seem to be as popular anymore, probably because occult stuff is getting more bizarre and gross, and people have moved on from this kind of gateway practice.

  4. Discerning Altar Boy says:

    Bergsma’s Bible Basics for Catholics and New Testament Basics for Catholics were required reading for Intro to OT and NT, respectively, at the seminary this year. He’s quite good and even with the lighter style they’re chock full of great information. They were a welcome change from the likes of Frs. Raymond Brown and Dan Harrington. Bergsma, Brant Pitre, and Scott Hahn to me are some of the best in the business terms of authors who will truly dive intellectually into scripture, without compromising on traditionally held views about authorship or waffling on the historicity of various books.

  5. acardnal says:

    Thank you for those book recommendations.

  6. hwriggles4 says:

    Fr. Z:

    A quick “thank you ” for wearing your clerics when you fly. I think you have mentioned on this blog you have been asked your share of times in an airport to hear a confession (maybe someone who had not gone in years – I went 13 years at one point), for a prayer, or advice. Looks like some travelers wanted to go to confession during the waiting on the plane.

    Being a priest is not a 9 to 5 job. You probably take sick calls at 0130 too.

  7. Robinrae says:

    I am new to the blog but not to Fr. Z. Love your analysis and insights Fr. Z.
    We have been blessed to be at a conference with Fr. Clifford. Amazing priest! He told us how we were to never let anyone lay hands on us as this can transfer demons. We are from the Ann Arbor area of Michigan and VERY familiar with Ralph Martin, Renewal Ministries and their involvement with Unbound and Encounter Ministries in which they teach people how to heal others by the laying of hands? In fact some of our friends who use to be Pentecostals have been to these conferences and have stated these ministries are why they left to become Catholic. You cannot teach a gift! You know Fr. Clifford so is he mistaken in what he said?

  8. Fr. Z, your screenshot from the breviary. What app is that? Does it require a data plan? I have Universalis on my phone and tablet, no data plan needed. Just curious as to which one you use. Thank you!

  9. Fr Matthias OSB says: app

    Yes, that app is Breviarium Meum. The entire office and a section with lots of blessings and prayers. I use it all the time.

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