Thursday, December 03, 2015

Fr. Z on Fr. Anthony Spadaro

Fr. Anthony Spadaro, S.J.

His introduction of Spadaro notes that the Jesuit is deeply interested in the life of an Italian writer...  Why do you think that was important to note?

Recently Jesuit Antonio Spadaro, who edits La Civiltà Cattolica and who is deeply interested in the life and works of Pier Vittorio Tondelli (HERE), made some observations about the recent Synod of Bishops which has caused eyebrows to rise. - WDTPRS

What is Fr. Z suggesting by that?  He did two posts - or posted the same post twice, the final one an update of the first.  He leads with that particular introduction.  Perhaps the update - double posting - gave me the impression Fr. Z was trying to make some sort of statement about the Jesuit?  Although Spadaro is well known in his own right as the editor of La Civita as well as for his exclusive interview with Pope Francis not long after his election - something which seems to me would be much more newsworthy and significant.

It appears Fr. Z's article is in support of Cardinal Burke, who wrote an article correcting observations and misinformation coming from Spadaro's interpretations concerning the Synod.  In brief:
To give the impression that there is another practice in the “internal forum,” which would permit an individual in an irregular union to have access to the sacraments, is to suggest that the conscience can be in conflict with the truth of the faith. Such a suggestion clearly places priests in an impossible situation, the expectation that they can “open a door” for the penitent, which, in fact, does not exist and cannot exist. - WDTPRS
I think that's fairly straightforward from Cardinal Burke - his article is available online at NCRegister and didn't impress me as needing any more obsequities, polishing or editorializing.  Cardinal Burke speaks clearly and understandably, and always charitably.  Cardinal Pell also made statements in anticipation of the final conclusions forthcoming from Pope Francis.  One is free to speculate and interpret these statements of course, and even clarify erroneous statements - nothing wrong with that.  Likewise, Edward Pentin can make of Vatican news whatever he wants - that's his job.  (The Holy Father had some things to say to journalists on his return flight from Africa he might want to make note of as well.  But I digress.)

The way Fr. Z phrased his introduction made me curious.  What if someone writing about Fr. Z always pointed to his enthusiasm for the Acton Institute and his admiration for Fr. Robert Sirico with embedded links to Sirico's homosexual past?  (I have written about Sirico's past - without linking to Fr. Z of course. My bad for bringing it up again.)

What if every time someone wrote about Cardinal Burke, someone always noted the approval he gave to a transgender woman to make religious vows in a secular institute, only to rescind the permission after a concerned member of the faithful went to the Vatican over the issue?  (That's very public, BTW.  It was once a bit of a local scandal and I too posted on it.  My bad - again.)

Pier Vittorio Tondelli

Just for the record - Pier Vittorio Tondelli was an Italian gay writer who converted and returned to the sacraments not long before he died - he praised the virtue of chastity as a mystic grace.  He's a wonderful example of conversion and reconcilliation for gay/ssa persons seeking to return to the sacraments.  I've written about him many times, and his photo is in my sidebar.  I pray for the repose of his soul, while admiring him for the reformation of his life.

Passive aggressive, suggestive innuendo flies in the face of Christian charity, perhaps even implying the mere association or interest in the life of a former homosexual indicates that person's sexual orientation or interest.  Think I'm over-reacting?  I am ashamed to admit I have done the same in the past.  Nevertheless, it remains a Pewsitter tactic, a Remnant tactic of discrediting or impugning the character of another.  If Fr. Z is doing that, I'm not saying he is, that is too bad for him.

The phrasing, the 'tone' if you will, sounds a bit familiar to me.  What it says to me is that despite what Courage Apostolate promotes, despite what the Catechism teaches, once a homo - always a homo.  You can leave it all behind - but someone - even wearing a collar - is there to remind people of your reputation, or suggest something is wrong with you because you are 'too soft' on gays.  One local priest famously told a group of people - I was among them - that in this archdiocese alone, well over 50% of the clergy are gay.  At the time his inventory included the local ordinary.  This type of jock-seminarian shaming explains why many priests can be less than willing to promote Courage or sign on as spiritual directors.  Years ago when I tried to find priests to help persuade the local ordinary to establish a Courage chapter here, the priests I spoke to sought to preserve their reputations and wouldn't get involved.  They didn't want to be labeled as gay friendly.

These days there are angry priests online, often with an ax to grind.  Perhaps thrown out of 'liberal' seminary, or kicked off the faculty of a Catholic university, they remain angry, often cloaking their bitterness in traditional vestments and clerical-wear they know will goad Novus Ordo bishops.  It's a great way to legally and boldly one-up their 'liberal' superiors and critics.  When they resort to gossip and mudslinging - they are careful to stop just short of public defamation, detraction and calumny.  I do not trust them.  Not. At. All.


  1. Bravo, man. Re your last two sentences...YEP.

  2. "When they resort to gossip and mudslinging - they are careful to stop just short of public defamation, detraction and calumny."

    "They" are careful true, but resort to private defamation, detraction and calumny. What's it called again? Backstabbing?

    But hey, what do I know? Unlike "they," I just can't read minds nor hearts.

    I have to read the signs of the times instead and they aren't pretty.

  3. Fr. Z with his forced machismo is a bit of a laugh, though he and his Tea Bagging fans aren't in on the joke. A man of contradictions he is...hating Mo's but loving fine fabrics, food, gossip and the precise way to do things. Hating the left and the people who live on handouts, while he himself, with no seeming job lives on contributions from his fans...who sit at home while he jets off to Rome to try desperately to insinuate himself with the Church Hierarchy. I actually thought at first his site was a parody site but no..its real. Do as I say not as I do...Yes, there is my mudslinging but they say on reality shows, "own it."

    However a joke he may be, and to be ignored, what he promotes does seem to be a symptom of the church still reeling from the abuse scandals. To deflect its culpability some Catholics and church officials blame everything on the gays, and have taken a lot of energy to promote that "sin," as the Biggest Bad of all time..You see, its not the Church that tried to cover this up, etc, etc, its Gay Priests who are the lets root them out like a witch hunt. Doesn't matter if they are celibate and honor their vows, or aren't pedos, its the GAYS, who bear the guilt not us...(imagine if they got rid of all the gays and stopped allowing gays to be priests, you think we have a priest shortage now???) Read any of the traddie blogs..."Lavender Mafia" (I love that one, its so 1973) homosexualist (I have no idea what that is, an aspiring homo?) perves, sodomites, and worse, often these same people who hate the gays seem fixated on sex acts which not all practicing homos have ever engaged in (not to mention a fictional "gay bowel disease," thing which I never heard of until now...) Hating the gays (not to mention Vatican II) helps them blame someone else, the "other," for the terrible scandals and problems that has haunted the church and expunge their embarrassment and guilt about it...(and also sidestepping any real solutions to make sure it doesn't happen again.)

    These people also talk about both sides of their mouths....on one hand saying being gay itself is not a sin, and to love the sinner...etc. but draw lines of us vs. them and treat even chaste gays as freaks and monsters. And they wonder why most gay people and the people who love them walk out the doors and most unfortunately never come back.

    1. OMG. Even bowel diseases can be gay now? Where will this homosexualist agenda stop? Will gender-neutral medication even treat it?

    2. Fear of disease rarely works. None of the alcoholics in my family stopped drinking as family and friends died of liver disease. People still tan despite skin cancer warnings. Smokers smoke despite warning labels and price increases. People continue to buy guns even though they kill more Americans than all of out wars.

      As for Sodomites - that's anyone using contraception, back door virginity-preserving sex and other common forms of sexual immorality by heteros and homos alike.

      Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a STD? That stinks.

    3. Well if ya use the back door you just got your doctorate in "not," being a v anymore! You went from amateur to pro in no time... My friend's daughter...(thank God I never had a, they are a lot of work) thought that performing a certain act would allow her to call herself that..yes, I was shocked that anyone could be so stupid but I was more shocked that guys were still getting away with that line..some things never change do they..

      And no, its not irritable its simply "gay," (or extended or something nasty like that) that the Tradddies and those Crisis Mag loons go on and on about which doesn't really exist..but its one of those talking points they get from reading it so much they just say its true. Just like, "The Church didn't have a pedo crisis it had a gay crisis as most of the kids molested were over 8 or something"...uh...okay.....

    4. For me these concerns pale compared to what is going on with ISIS and the daily shoot outs. In MPLS it seems we have a shooting every other day or at least once a week and Black Lives Matter protesting over law enforcement.

      I'm sure you agree with me.

  4. You know how they say you hate most in others what you hate in yourself? That sums up why I rarely read Fr. Z and other bloggers who overtly peddle ecclesiastical politics. I judge them for their judgement of others. I pettily overreact to their petty overreactions. I am smug about not sharing in their particular form of smugness. It's terrible, really. It hardens my heart.

    You're spot on about Fr. Z's insinuations. I'm not saying you're reactions are the same as mine.

    I added a Chrome extension called BlockSite and when I read one now that brings out anger and divisive feelings, I add it to the blacklist. Then the next time I get there through a link or something, it blocks it. I could unblock it, of course, but that's just the little nudge I need. (Or maybe I'm just too lazy to unblock...)

    You know how you can hear something a hundred times, say you agree with it, and then one day it just dawns on you that this is a good thing and you can really, actually do it? Maybe overcoming some vice or something. I had one of those moments when I realized...

    Fr. Z is probably a fine man and he publishes some good stuff. I don't have to read him.
    Steve Skojec and 1Peter5 are often thoughtful in arguments and seem to try to include charity in responses. I don't have to read it.
    Rorarte is sometimes interesting. I don't have to read it.
    Pat Archibold is a beloved child of God. I don't have to read him.
    Ann Barnhardt is a beloved child of God. I don't have to read her.

    It was like but with "You don't have read them" instead of "it's not your fault."

    Lusts are little adulteries and ecclesiastical politics and divisiveness are little schisms. Gay-shaming through insinuation is a little schism. Telling the Jesuits to get out is a little schism. Currently calling Francis "Bergolio" is a little schism. Going into crisis mode about a Synod before anything final from the Pope is published is a little schism. This is not a time for any schisms, big or small (no time is really). I want nothing to do with it. The Church and the world would go on just fine without the uber-Catholic peanut gallery.

    1. I like you! Thanks Joshua.

      I'm glad you mentioned Skojec - he's usually pretty fair and he is thoughtful and charitable. I like him - though I would disagree with some stuff. Also Fr. Z publishes some good stuff - but.


    2. I do think he is thoughtful and tries to be charitable, but my general take is that if Ann Barnhardt had manners and self-awareness, it would be difficult to tell her apart from Skojec. He soft-peddles Barnhardt as a repeated guest on his podcast, he publishes "thoughtful," "serious" articles about Vatican II being a Masonic inside job, and gives a platform to many Francis-and-or-the-bishops-hating screeds (e.g., just about anything from Hillary White or Maureen Mullarkey). It's shameful and scandalous. No Catholic who talks about the ordinary form of the mass as being an instrument of the demonic destruction of the Church should be taken seriously. (Of course, this is phrased along the lines of "erm...well, we know that the Church is divinely protected, so it won't go away entirely...we remnant Catholics (wink, wink, you know who you are) will always be...but practically speaking it will be destroyed...which we're kinda excited about, really...erm, derpy derp") That is not within the legitimate spectrum of faithful opinion. The "faithful opposition" crap, the "we're the remnant" crap, they're all little murders because they are predicated on slander, detraction, aspersions, and above all pride and an outright eagerness to judge others.

      Now you see why I can't read it! I turn into an asshole.

      I'll make a counter point to this that deeply impresses me. I go to Opus Dei Evenings of Recollection. The priests and the guys who attend are--speaking very broadly--very conservative theologically and politically. If there was a group of guys who you would expect to grumble about Francis, it just might be these guys. But they don't. The priests repeatedly talk about supporting the pope, how if we read what he actually says we won't need to trouble ourselves, and highlight and expound on the especially positive and merciful parts of what Francis says. When the guys talk afterward, if someone talks about disagreeing with Francis politically (and there is room for that), it is with respect. No one would think the speaker thinks Francis is an idiot or evil (that's probably the biggest indicator of stinky fruit among the uber-Catholics--if a a blog imputes stupidity or evil to the pope, run). When Laudato Si came out, the politically-conservative supernumerary who organizes the group was passing out copies, just like every other encyclical, and encouraging everyone to read it and benefit from it. It's so refreshing. This is how the Church should be.

      I like you too, Terry. And I like that I know who Tondelli is because of you.

    3. And thus, as I have always believed and will continue to do so, the backbone of the Catholic Church are not the pride filled, self-righteous shrill online bashers of our Holy Father, who claim to be "the last remnant of devout Catholics" but the faith filled quiet ones who go about their daily duty, pray and endure and remain hopeful and respectful towards all.

      Thank you Joshua for your commentary on the Opus Dei Evenings of Recollection and those in attendance. I plan to look around here in L.A. to see if I might come across such evenings as I want and need to be in the company of those who build up the faith rather than poison it.

    4. Thanks Joshua - so glad you have Opus Dei contact. They are great guys! I admire the spirituality of St. Escriva. I'm happy you are able to be part of the Evenings of Recollection. Fantastic formation!

      I was reading something Z said when adding his 'red' commentary on the Pope's presser returning from Africa. The Holy Father very politely let the journalist know what he was up to and answered his question saying 'it sounded like a manipulation' and then continued his response. Z commented (ya think?) - which was nothing less than snide. That stuff gives the impression the pope is dumb and Z and his critical team is more sophisticated. That's just arrogant and is the ongoing problem with these people reporting on what the pope said.

      When the pope is speaking to journalists - secular journalists, or people he encounters, one has to consider to whom he is speaking and the nature of the questioner and his bias or focus. In these cases he obviously politely and graciously focuses their attention on the subject at hand - the focus he is trying to call people's attention to.

      Fr. Z has told the story how the Cardinal he worked for sent a letter back to him to be redone - saying it lacked charity. The Cardinal was very kind to him and pointed out the harshness of his tone and guided him in a better response. That is what these folks need - someone to guide them in how they respond - they lack charity and they fall back on scorn and scoffing, without understanding. I'm sure it is more than that with some of these online Inquisitors, but like you said earlier, one doesn't have to read them.

      I keep thinking think Skojec has a sense of humor - which will hopefully save him - but I totally disagree with his ultra-conservative embrace of Mularkey and Barnhardt and White. The blanket discrediting/dismissal of VII is always the signal something is seriously wrong.

      Anyway - stay the course, keep the faith.

    5. Spoke too soon: Skojec: Synod was just a power grab ... more

      Oh well.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.