Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Sad Tale of Father Z and Me

Pope Paul VI
The Holy Father has now declared Pope Paul VI to be Venerable, the second stage to beatification and then canonization.  The grumblings and rantings have started among  "Traditional" Catholics.  I posted a response to one such traditional blogger here.  John Vennari of Catholic Family News has not disappointed me in his response, either.  I'm afraid he is the voice of many Catholics who call themselves "traditional".  Notice the sarcastic, dismissive tone Vennari uses against the men chosen by the Holy Spirit to lead the Church, including and most especially our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.  
The proposed beatification of Paul VI is nothing more than the triumph of wayward sentiment. Again we see Catholic terms stripped of their meaning. A beatification or canonization, once a sure sign of the heroic virtue of the person canonized, is now degenerated to the level of the Academy Awards. In the case of both Paul VI and John Paul II, it is a special achievement medal bestowed by revolutionary prelates on leaders who advance modernist causes.
Pope Benedict XVI, a life-long Vatican II progressive to this day, has shown himself first and foremost a disciple of the New Theology by agreeing to beatify its star icons.
John Vennari
Vennari, who considers himself a very devout Catholic, now blasts us with cynicism and condemnation of the Church, completely rejecting the Authority of the Pope:
The beatification of Paul VI and John Paul II also serve another purpose: it is a means of canonizing Vatican II and the conciliar revolution. The new program of Vatican II cannot withstand genuine Catholic scrutiny. It is a rupture with the past; it finds no support in Scripture, Tradition or reason.

The Conciliar revolution thus must be imposed by intimidation; not an intimidation at gunpoint, but an intimidation that overwhelms Catholics by proclaiming the alleged[??] saintliness of its most determined innovators. “Blessed “ John XXIII, “Venerable” Paul VI, “Blessed” John Paul II, new saints for the new religion [new religion? What does this mean?], all elevated to their exalted status by a new canonization process that dispenses with the devil’s advocate, and no longer insures the miraculous beyond all natural explanation.

The new conciliar program reveals its propagators as churchmen who publicly betrayed their Oath Against Modernism [he is including our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, in this condemnation], solemnly sworn to God on the night before their ordination. The eminent theologian Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton warned in 1960 that the man who took the Oath Against Modernism, and who then promoted Modernism himself, or allowed it to be promoted, “would mark himself not only as a sinner against the Catholic Faith but also as a common perjurer.”[6] Pope Benedict’s Vatican “beatifies” such men.
I truly hope that any Catholic who reads the words of John Vennari completely rejects them for the hate-filled, anti-papal venom that they are.  John Vennari is no different from the progressives that he condemns.  He rejects the authority of the Magesterium just as much as any pro-abortion, pro-homosexual politician or "nun on the bus" does.  Satan doesn't care how he gets us, just as long as he does.  One way is as good as another, as far as he is concerned.

Father John Zuhlsdorf
I took a look at Father Z's blog to see what he and his readers are saying.  Father Z took a much more mainline approach, basically just reporting the facts and not making any comment one way or the other.  But his readers didn't hold back:

Here are just a few comments that sound very similar to John Vennari:
Gratias says:20 December 2012 at 9:51 am  Venerable Paul VI, defender of communism in Hungary, Poland and USSR, destroyer of Catholic worship through Vatican Council II and Liberator of the Seminaries.
* * * 
restoration says:20 December 2012 at 10:12 am  If dismantling the Church brick by brick is considered “heroic virtue”, we have many more “Venerables” out there who need to be recognized. What a sick joke this “Saint Factory” has become. What a failure of leadership and truth. This Roma Curia soils the name of those declared Venerable in the past with this abominable declaration. I am ashamed that the Holy Father allowed this nonsense to be promulgated. Pope Paul VI was no hero to anyone but the Masons. The nightmare of his Papacy has not ended for the average Catholic in the world today.
Everyone makes mistakes, but a genuine hero would have begun to reverse course once the damage was obvious and fought the forces of evil that dwelled in the Church. Humane Vitae notwithstanding, Paul VI continued leading the Church deeper into chaos long after it was evident to all that he had made terrible choices . His pride and obstinate refusal, unto death, to reverse his errors is only an example to others for what NOT to do. God have mercy on his soul!
* * * 
Athanasius says:20 December 2012 at 10:54 am  All I can say is, thank God these types of decrees are not infallible, because there is a lot to be said against. Not just Paul VI’s betrayal of Cardinal Mindsentzy for sake of being nice to the Soviets, but his presiding over and giving the Church over to the devil. He did not speak with a clear voice, he did not defend the Church. Bl. Pius IX, the truly great Pope of the 19th century, by contrast, fought heroically against actual physical persecution, namely that the freemasons took up arms to kill him twice and in the end succeeded in making him a prisoner in the Vatican. He never gave into the world, or presided over pro-abortion and pro-eugenics bodies like the UN.
This just seems to me, in nearly communist fashion, to beatify anyone who had anything to do with the Council. If we want a hermeneutic of continuity, how about raising to the altars Popes like Pius XII, for whom there is a documented miracle of John Paul II telling a man not to pray to him, but to pray to Pius XII instead. I see things like this and my eyes glaze over. More reason to ignore about anything coming out of Rome. 
* * * 
jacobi says:20 December 2012 at 12:37 pm  It’s all a bit puzzling. At worst this trend devalues the concept of sainthood.
I cannot judge whether or not John XXIII or Paul VI displayed heroic virtue or not.
But objective observation suggests that John XXIII was naive and impetuous, and that Paul VI was vascillating and easily manipulated. Both were frankly out of their depth in dealing with the acute and pre-planned machinations of the liberal and Modernist elements at work during and more importantly after Vatican II.
John Paul II was initially too pre-occupied with his native Eastern Europe and only belatedly woke up to the problems of the wider world.
Thank God for Benedict.  [At least this guy is supportive of our present Holy Father, but that doesn't excuse his condemnation of the predecessors of Pope Benedict XVI] 
* * * 
shin says:20 December 2012 at 2:10 pm  So have the Post-Conciliar authorities tinkered with sainthood and all that leads up to it too?
After all, nothing else was left untouched. 
* * * 
kallman says:20 December 2012 at 6:12 pm  This must surely be, at least in part, an attempt to “shore up” the status of the post conciliar Church during a time of increasingly critical retrospectivity [What the heck is retrospectivity?].
Pope Paul VI and Father Joseph Ratzinger
There were also some great comments supporting Pope Benedict's decision to declare Pope Paul VI venerable.  There was one in particular that I really applaud:
charismatictrad says:21 December 2012 at 9:38 am  Perhaps it’s been said before, but in order to compensate for all of the negative comments, I’ll say my .02, too.
Pope St. Gregory VII, in His Holiness’ “Dictatus Papae,” says that no one shall judge the pope. The essence of Protestantism is that each man becomes his own pope. Unfortunately, some of those in the traditional crowd fall into the error of making themselves their own pope. Just as anti-Catholic Protestants are hyper-judgmental of the Faith, so too are some traditionalists. On the one hand, they say “Hooray for Summorum Pontificum,” while on the other they condemn our Holy Father’s decision to recognize Pope Paul VI as Venerable. On the one hand they say that liberals do not understand Vatican II, but they themselves fail to recognize that the documents of Vatican II did not change the liturgy. I seem to recall hearing that, while addressing an audience, the Venerable Pontiff asked, “What has happened to the liturgy?”
I consider myself a traditionalist, but I have a tendency to prefer “orthodox” because of the connotations that have been (often times) appropriately attached to traditionalists. [emphasis mine]
I very seldom comment on Father Z's blog, but I couldn't restrain myself this time.  Father Z evidently doesn't care for my comments because, although he has not kicked me off of his blog, my comments are always held "for moderation."

Here is my first comment.  The words in red are Father Z's answer:
Brooklyn says:21 December 2012 at 7:45 am  Have we all become our own Magesterium so that now we can second guess the decisions of the Holy Father? Isn’t this what led to the crisis in the Church in the first place?
Am I mistaken, Father Z, that the declaration of venerable and the canonization of saints are among those duties of the Holy Father which are declared infallible? [You are mistaken. The Holy Father's promulgation of the Congregation's decree is not an act of the Roman Pontiff teaching infallibly.]We either believe Matthew 16:19 (“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed”) or we don’t. If Matthew 16:19 is not true, then we are of all men most miserable.
I followed up with this comment, which Father Z released after editing:
Brooklyn says:21 December 2012 at 11:55 am  Father, if what you say is true, “The Holy Father’s promulgation of the Congregation’s decree is not an act of the Roman Pontiff teaching infallibly.” [Yes, what I wrote is true.] then how do we trust when anyone is declared venerable? [You don't have to accept with religious submission of mind and will that this or that person lived a life of heroic virtue.] Are you saying that this is basically a political move and not done under the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the right to second guess the Pope whenever he declares someone venerable? [You are making this far too complicated.] 
In response to my question about trusting the Pope's declaration of venerable, Father Z says:  "You don't have to accept with religious submission of mind and will that this or that person lived a life of heroic virtue."  Really?  This is the same kind of argument that people use about approved apparitions.  You don't have to accept them even though they are approved by the Church.  If they're approved by the Church, why wouldn't you accept them?  And along the same line, if you accept the God-given authority of the Pope, why wouldn't you accept his declarations?  Is it really okay to instead sit on the sidelines and throw tomatoes at the Pope?

Further, I have to say, I don't know how I am "making it too complicated" by asking whether we are free to second guess the Pope's declaration of venerable.

Father Z edited out my statement that I was in total agreement with the comment by  charismatictrad, in which he spoke against judging the Pope and said that, in this regard, some traditionalists are as bad as progressives in the Church.  I also said that both traditionalists and progressives would do well to take note, which was also completely eliminated by Father Z.

I posted one other comment which I knew Father Z would delete, and sure enough, that is exactly what he did.  He did, however, send me an email answering the comment.  Here is my original comment as contained in the email I received from Father Z:
Author : Brooklyn 
Comment:Father Z, is there a reason why you will not allow me to say that I agree with @charismatictrad?  I've tried twice, and you've deleted both comments.  One was at the end of the last comment of mine that you published, and another you deleted entirely.
 This was Father Z's answer in the email he sent:
Say it in a separate comment.
Also, I don't allow discussion of my moderating or editorial choices.  Period.  It wastes my time and everyone else's.
Fr. Z
Father Z certainly has a right to put whatever he wants on his own blog.  He does not have to post anything from me or anyone else.  But as you can see, he refuses to answer my question about why he edited out my comment about being in agreement with charismatictrad.  Why would he allow some readers to post downright disrespectful comments against the Holy Father, but not allow me to post in support of the Pope's actions?  Is it just me taking this too personally, or does Father Z seem to side with those who condemn the declaration of Pope Paul VI as Venerable?

Here is one comment supporting Venerable Pope Paul VI.  Father Z's comment is in red:
Maria says:20 December 2012 at 1:07 pm  I hope Pope Paul VI becomes a saint. [You realize that Paul VI died in 1978, right?]
What difference does it make when Pope Paul VI died?  As I posted in another place, St. Gregory the Great was canonized on the day he died.  St. Anthony of Padua was canonized less than a year after his death.  Father Z's comment seems very prejudicial in regard to Pope Paul VI.  I don't like what seems to be between the lines.

I know that Father Z has his ardent supporters who think he can do no wrong, and if any of them should happen to read this post, they will get very upset with me for daring to question Father John Zuhlsdorf.  But we must always use the critical part of our thinking.  There is only one person in this world whom you can totally trust, and then only what he says in regard to faith and morals.  That person is our Holy Father.  With every other person in the world, we must listen with a critical ear and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to know what is right and wrong.  At the same time, if you should ever hear anyone criticizing and/or condemning the Pope, just turn around and walk away, because you are not in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

The real reason for all of the criticism leveled at the Holy Father, from both conservatives and progressives, is a lack of humility.  We think our opinion is right, and no one else has as good an understanding of what is happening as we do.  If we don't like something, we feel we have every right to be as critical as we want to be, even it involves the Holy Father and the Magesterium.

We have some horrific times ahead of us.  Here in the United States we are suffering from the very beginnings of persecution, but in other parts of the world there is outright martyrdom.  We will not survive the shaking that is to come if we are not grounded in the Foundation of Jesus Christ.  A major part of that Foundation is the Vicar of Christ.  It is not important that we understand or personally agree with everything the Pope says and does.  But we must not judge him.  Only our Lord has the right to judge His Vicar.  We are standing on very shaky ground once we allow ourselves to become critical and dismissive of our Holy Father.

I do want to make it clear that I am not condemning Father Z.  He does a lot of good things.  I have been at Masses where he was the celebrant, and he says the Mass with great reverence and skill.  I certainly admire his knowledge of the Church and theology.  But he is not the Pope.  We can't just accept everything he or anyone else says on face value without critical thinking.  None of us, including and most especially yours truly, are exempt from falling.

I'm just a little piece of the Catholic blogosphere.  Father Z gets more hits in an hour than I do all day on my little blog.  What I write here isn't going to make a whole lot of difference to anyone.  But for what it's worth, I do want to remind everyone that Pope Benedict XVI is the Vicar of Christ, he is the one we should look to as our final authority on earth.  Our Lord gave us an ironclad promise that He would never allow His Vicar to lead the church astray.  I do pray that all Catholics, both liberal and traditional, will stop all this arguing and bickering, finger pointing and condemning, and come to unity in the Holy Spirit.  We are faced with a fierce enemy who has taken control of a vast portion of our world.  He will be defeated in the end, but we need to make sure we are not one of his victims.


  1. Vatican II said this in it's Constitution Dei Verbum:
    "Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence."

    Vatican II showed that traditions should be kept with loyalty. Look it up!

  2. I think you are being a little uncharitable to Father Z.

    As for apparitions that are Church approved, they do not have to be accepted, but I believe that it is error to renounce them. Same with approved Saints, one can choose not to believe or accept. I don't see why this should be a problem for you.

    Vatican II did have several Protestant observers who likely participated in that Council, so there is a problem. The pews did empty rapidly after the Council ended. The attacks on the Trad Mass and Latin are in opposition to long Church history.



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