Like, I am sure, many others, I am not surprised that it is now open news: "Fr Zed" is being hounded out of his current residence in the Diocese of Madison.
I have no information beyond what you can all read elsewhere on the Internet (Fr Tim; the Remnant) about who put what pressures upon whom. Nor is it my business to speculate pruriently about who may have been evil; who simply weak. The big and obvious fact is that the whole business has the fingerprints of the Enemy all over it.
At this time, it is essential ... you must all see this ... for Father to be given unqualified support. This it not the hour for "Of course I do support him but it might have been better if he hadn't ....". Our God sends us kairoi, moments of decision when it is important for each of us to be standing on the right side. Half-hearted reactions are not, as far as I can remember, much commended in Scripture. "Blessed are those who sit on fences" failed to make its way into the Beatitudes.
My brother priest John Zuhlsdorf has worked unremittingly for Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy. In season, out of season, he has informed and instructed and strengthened. Onslaughts upon his unique ministry are attacks upon things much more important than Father John himself.
And personally, I am ... let me shock you ... enough of an unreconstructed 1960s liberal to dislike anything that has suggestions about it of censorship. And these events reek of it.
I know from my own postbag how many people are distressed and feel almost broken by the current disorders in the Catholic Church; disorders, most sadly, at all levels. Particularly when they are in isolation, in a hostile parish or an almost apostate diocese, good Catholics can come very near to despair. Father has supported ... probably millions ... by giving them a sense of fellowship ... the awareness that they are not alone; that many others are with them; that a well-instructed priest is supplying needs which a local bishop or pastor is leaving unaddressed.
I hope readers will forgive me for pointing out that the laity are much less vulnerable to prelatical bullying than are the clergy. I do beg intelligent laity who have benefitted from John Zuhlsdorf's ministry to take such steps as their splendid lay-woman's or lay-man's ingenuity may suggest to them, to support this priest in his time of threats, anxieties, and sufferings.
Do not sit back feeling that others, cleverer than you and more articulate, will do what is necessary. This is the moment when precisely your God-given degree of cleverness and of articulacy is exactly what is being called for.
Please do something!!
Thank you Father, for articulating what was instinctively in my heart. "Our God sends us kairoi, moments of decision when it is important for each of us to be standing on the right side." - Indeed!
For the convenience of your readers, here is a link to my article: On the Attempted Cancellation of Father Zuhlsdorf
Thank you, Father. He is a great priest and deserves our support. Thank you so much for mentioning this, and in such a beautiful and inspiring manner
Fr. Hunwicke, thank you so much for mentioning this. As an outsider, I have no idea what is going on in Madison, but it's easy to connect some dots. Fr. Z had addressed our disastrous American circumstances by performing exorcisms, which are of course part of the purview of the Catholic faith. This rubbed some liberals the wrong way, and they squeaked to Bishop Hying, the bishop who was installed after the unfortunate demise of Bp. Morlino, God rest his soul.
Bp. Hying must have inclined his ear to those squeaks, and there was probably some "discussion", which Fr. Z was instructed to cease and desist Catholic practices that elicited such squeaks. That may have met resistance, as Fr. Z is actually a believing Catholic priest.
We have, many of us, so benefited from Fr. Z's support and Catholicism over the years, it is impossible to put that into words, how much a debt is owed the man. He has informed us, instructed us, entertained us, and taken us out of our own situations and frustrations, many, many times. He has been the glue, and how he has done it over the years, I don't know. He has given us voice, and consoled us, also given us a way to express the frustration we feel at seeing the demonic antics of our Catholic Church at this moment in time. Yes, demonic. Satanic.
He has asked for help. Truly, we owe it to him. I am happy to have signed up to give him a meager ten dollars per month to help him get a good start in which I pray will be a rewarding and wonderful direction. He is a super intelligent and very articulate priest. He'll find something to do. He has not yet reached 200 readers willing to give a mere ten dollars per month. Thousands read his blog! There should be hundreds willing to give back at this time. We benefited, return that benefit, won't readers please?
I myself wouldn't waste time talking to Madison. I've learned in life it's better not to be where you are not wanted. Shake the dust off, and get out of there.
We should keep Fr. Z. in our prayers. Change is hard, no matter what. But he takes many grateful friends he will never meet, with him. It's hard to be a faithful priest in the Catholic Church today. God be with him, and with us.
Speaking as a great fan of Fr. Z., I have to say that if is true, as has been reported, that his bishop let him go because he performed an exorcism aimed at somehow purifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, then it is hard not to sympathize with the bishop in this particular instance. Evidently, if my information is correct, Fr. Z. made the mistake of claiming, not simply that there was electoral fraud, but that President Trump actually won the election. The latter asseveration is simply preposterous. There is zero evidence for it. That claim alone put Fr. Z in the company of some very doubtful company. But to go on and instrumentalize a sacred ceremony on behalf of that claim was very poor judgement on his part in my opinion. If I err factually I welcome corrections.
If you'll allow it, Father, here's the link to the PayPal donation page:
Do something? Do WHAT?
I received the lion's share of my catechesis through the old Catholic Online forum, of which Fr Z was Admin, 20 years ago. I owe him a great deal, for the solid instruction I received there -- including the warning that it is possible to fall into a ditch on both sides of the road -- has been worth its weight in gold. But WHAT CAN I DO? Pray, certainly. Write to whom? Do what else?
I read this rather clear-headed piece, from the SSPX: https://fsspx.news/en/news-events/news/letter-friends-and-benefactors-society-saint-pius-x-n-90-63843
Please do something?!
What exactly would you have us do? Everything gets immediately shut down by the parish priest!
The laity can't do anything if their priest is afraid of the Bishop.
The only thing I could usefully think to do, beyond prayer, was to write to the Bishop of Madison expressing my gratitude for his past support of Fr. Z's ministry, and to suggest to him that he could do many of us a great spiritual and pastoral work of mercy by stepping in to defend Fr. Z now.
Fr. Finigan's post suggests that Fr. Z's troubles largely arose from his opponents' writing angry letters to his bishop - a contrary outpouring of pacific and charitably expressed support can only do good, if there is any good left to be done. It might also be a mercy to the poor besieged bishop himself, who had hitherto supported Father, to have a kind word. Donations would also be helpful, of course.
I diverge from the above commenter's opinion that Fr. Z erred in his use of exorcism. I am not attached to the full "stolen-election" position, but a general exorcism by its nature surely cannot do harm. Either there is demonic activity, in which case it drives the demons out, or there is none, in which case it does nothing. Even a small chance of demonic tampering with something as momentous as a national election would justify such measures, which come at zero cost to anyone and can potentially do tremendous good.
It is a different case from a personal exorcism, where an unbalanced individual could as a result become traumatised - in that case a different standard of certainty is needed before proceeding.
Phi theta: You speak as a great fan of Father Z - but do you actually read his blog? If you do, then why do you use the phrase "if my information is correct"? Father Z's blog IS the information. He is responsible for what he wrote there. Don't blame him on the basis of sone hidden information. (He used the exorcism in favour of truth and not Trump). Maybe you can correct me with some actual quotation from his blog?
You can send him money. If you send it as a stipend, he will pray for you. And you can pray as well. That is already a lot!
All the illegally counted votes definitely made Trump the loser.
An 800,000 vote lead evaporating overnight. Plus the signed testimony from Italy from the man who actually changed votes in 17 states via the Italian defense satellite...or you can hop online and read Sidney Powell's 200 page report outlining numerous instances of fraud or if no time for that watch any of the suitcase, window covering, or truck driver videos showing the fraud. Or you can confirm that Democrats went around state legislatures in enacting illegal voting methods and rules extending voting periods. Or you can watch the video of the witness who changed votes on a Dominion voting machine while he was actually testifying at a hearing. Your choice.
Father Zuhlsdorf has been resident, but not incardinated, in the Diocese of Madison for many years. He has never had a parish assignment; he has never had to deal with the difficulties of parish life, or the cure of souls. He does not concern himself with clogged toilets, insufficient Sunday collections, 3 am sick calls, or a parish council that dislikes his manner of celebrating the liturgy. He criticizes the church and many of its priests from the cheap seats, all while shamelessly begging donations for his cheese, or coffee, or tactical(!) clerical apparel. Then he saunters off to Rome, or Manhattan, or elsewhere, all on his patrons' dime. Tell me why I should offer him any sympathy, or a cent of my money? Why would I not give that to the SSPX priest who circuit rides hundreds of miles on a weekend?
Good riddance to him. Hopefully his actual bishop gives him an assignment that keeps him busy.
" the whole business has the fingerprints of the Enemy all over it. " Indeed it has. Fr Z often warns that exorcism is a double edged weapon, which can be turned against the exorcist. My reading is that it has been turned against him by deceiving him into believing a pack of lies, about both the pandemic and the election. Under these circumstances I cannot offer "unqualified support", I can and will pray that the Lord deliver Fr Z from the snares and delusions of the Enemy, and from the hostile acts of so-called liberals. I am pleased to see that Fr Z has resumed his online Masses, I hope that means that the situation with the bishop has eased.
I agree wholeheartedly with your comment. Fr. Z is a great man and priest but I could not agree more with you more!👍
As a long time reader and occasional poster to his blog, I have to say (despite some differences with him) that Father Z has done a lot of good and genuinely ministers to his readers. Along the way, he has made more than a few enemies, most of whom deserved the treatment they received from father Z.
However, Father stepped into the mud pit of US politics, not just a little, but going "all in" in supporting the most controversial (to say the least) US President of our time -- even to the point of adopting the incredibly fallacious "stolen election" narrative, which reeks of "sore loser" syndrome.
That was definitely a mistake, compounded by his exorcism prayer. I don't think praying for exorcisms to reverse fictitious events does any harm, but his resident bishop, charged with regulating exorcisms, had a different opinion.
And that's part of Father Z's problem. He's a freelance priest, and that's not a good thing. He is an American priest incardinated in an Italian diocese, but has lived in the US for many years (originally for academic study, but I'm not sure if that is still true). His Italian bishop can't effectively control him, and his US resident bishop does not have responsibility for him. In my opinion, Father Z should seek incardination in an American diocese, accept local pastoral responsibilities and episcopal supervision, and hopefully be allowed to continue his blog on the side, as do many other priests (like Fr. Hunwicke himself).
Phi Theta, I would enjoy knowing, how people like yourself can declare that all claims Trump may have won the election is "preposterous". Over 75 million Americans are not sure at all, 1000 Americans signed sworn affidavits of shenanigans at the polling places, there are reports and videos of illegal activity, and we are being cancelled by the new regime of tyrants if we say that word, "fraud", they are that afraid, yet you are certain? Please tell us how you arrived at this certainty, because we are in a state of discord over it, and obviously, you can settle it, since you know. Please leave the corrupt media out of your answer, because they are entirely rotten.
Brian M. Those grapes you're chewing are pretty sour.
Suffice to say, Fr. Z has more than earned the little pittance we can give him to help him out after years of great content every day on that blog. Over 580,000 people a month visited his website, and many, including myself, got a great deal out of it. He is a gifted and prolific writer and inspired us often. A faithful priest is worth his weight in gold. The usual lot in our Catholic Church today are not worth their weight in saltines. An SSPX priest surely deserves it, but so does Fr. Z. The love he has for Catholicism as it truly is has been as impactful in the world as a figure such as Mother Angelica was in her day. He loves the faith, and he's helped many others to love it and to value it, on an international scale. He's been a friend to faithful Catholics, when there are very, very few friends in sight.
I hope he writes a book.
Phil Theta and Brian M. each make legitimate points.
Evangeline. From across the Atlantic I cannot be certain, but if Republican state governments are sure there was only insignificant fraud, and Trump's lawyers have NO persuasive evidence to show the courts , I can draw highly probable inferences.
Woe is us. We have been struck a strong blow.
How will we react? Godly men will react with God in our hearts: by prayer, and by penance, and by good works. Do good in return for evil.
Pray for Fr. Z. It's gotta sting like hell to be kicked out of a VERY good home. Commiserate with him, and give him time and space to find a new balance. Support him - including monetarily.
Pray for his bishop. Whether he did right or wrong, he needs God's grace, so ask for it.
Pray for the haters who complained, and do penance for them. Evildoers will have their day, but they cannot ultimately win. We will be on the winning side, if, that is, we stay the course and do good to those who do evil.
About the exorcism: it SIMPLY DOESN'T MATTER, for purposes of Fr. Z's exorcism, whether there was fraud in favor of the Dems or not: if you read the words of the exorcism, you can see that his prayer ALSO would protect and defend all those who were acting rightly and being attacked for it (such as Dems who properly handled balloting duties), and would attack at its (satanic) roots the vicious support for ALL those who were damaging election rigor, including Republicans who were lying about things. His prayer was properly directed to per se good election behavior, not to Trump. And EVEN IF it were the case that his comments about the election were not temperate enough, they still were nothing remotely like improper enough to be cast aside from the diocese.
Some people seem to have difficulty with the concept of evidence:
"Ball’s article reveals a lot, from why there were no street riots by Democrats either on November 4 or on January 6 – the organizers of this “conspiracy” stopped them – to who was behind the push to alter election rules in key states and set up mail-in voting, who organized “information” campaigns about the results of the election, and WHO EVEN THREATENED ELECTION OFFICIALS INTO MAKING THE "RIGHT" DECISION TO CERTIFY THE VOTE [emphasis mine]."
In other words, Molly Ball's TIME article is a massive admission against interest.
I did something. I wrote a blog post about it, for my five random readers who only show up because they are looking for French spring soup (from back in the day when I blogged about food and wine). Still, you never know.
I will pray for Father Zulhsdorf and, if I can get an address (as I do not use Pay Pal) will send him a donation. But the nagging question remains for me: why, in the name of ecclesial obedience, so many of these good priests insist in remaining with hostile forces, or as commenter puts it above, where they are not wanted. After half a century of destruction, now more open and brazen than ever, why do they not seek apostolates independent from these tyrants and wolves---such as the Society of St. Pius X. Archbishop Lefebvre, in his innate equanimity, made it very clear that it is impossible to work for the Faith with those who do not possess the Faith by having betrayed it. It is perilous work, always susceptible to the whim and malice of the liberals. Speaking of which, Father Hunwicke, I truly lament I did not know you in the fateful 60s, when I was finishing high school and later going to college and graduate school: in my rather extensive experience as an academic I never once met the open-minded, "unreconstructed" liberal among whom you number yourself. To the man, they were intolerant, opinionated, biased, and tyrannical---then and now. I am sorry I missed your variety; it would have made life more pleasant and the future look less ominous.
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