Saturday, May 30, 2015

Father John Zuhlsdorf Bans Me From His Blog

A few weeks ago I wrote about a cyber encounter with Father John Zuhlsdorf, which you can read HERE. As you will see from the post, Father Zuhlsdorf wrote a post in which he stated his disagreement with official Catholic church teaching that the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass are two forms of the same rite.  Father Z says that while he accepts that juridically the two Masses may be one rite, he says that "liturgically and theologically" they are two separate rites.

Pope Benedict XVI declared that the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms are one rite in his Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum dated July 7, 2007, and he restated this teaching again in his letter to the bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum. This same teaching is stated once again in the further instructions released by the Vatican in 2011.

I commented on Father Z's blog post that he was in disagreement with Pope Benedict XVI and put screen shots of my comments to Father Z in my post. It can be plainly seen that I was very respectful. However, Father Zuhlsdorf had what he would call a "spittle flecked nutty" and called me nasty. Father Z then blocked my home IP address and from that time on, whenever I would try to view his blog from my home IP address, I would get only a blank screen. I have had no further encounters with Father Zuhlsdorf in any way since that time.

Today when I tried to view Father Zuhlsdorf's website, I received a screen with the word "BANNED!", as shown above. It seems pretty obvious that somewhere along the way, Father Zuhlsdorf has read my blog posts, and he has had another spittle flecked nutty, to use his words, and this time it was on steroids. I am sure that Father Z will eventually see this post as well, so I am directing the rest of my post directly to him.

Father Zuhlsdorf, you are showing that you have a massive ego problem. Nothing I wrote either on your blog or on my own blog was in any way disrespectful or "nasty" as you claim. I did not even give my own opinion. I used the words of Pope Benedict XVI, whom you claim to honor and respect. You became upset because I showed that you were wrong, and your ego went into overdrive. May I remind you, Father Zuhlsdorf, that as a Catholic priest, your mission is to serve God's people. As Christ, the Good Shepherd, laid down his life for His sheep, so you are to do. And part of laying down your life for the sheep means getting rid of your ego. I can only say that you have failed miserably in your reaction to me, and by literally banning me from your site, you have only escalated your failure.

One of the basic characteristics of a shepherd must be to love the people entrusted to him, even as he loves Christ whom he serves. “Feed my sheep”, says Christ to Peter, and now, at this moment, he says it to me as well. Feeding means loving, and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of God’s truth, of God’s word, the nourishment of his presence, which he gives us in the Blessed Sacrament.
Pope Benedict XVI

Father Zuhlsdorf, you have a unique ministry in that you serve not just a local church but, through your blog, you are ministering to people around the world. Your first concern should be above all the welfare of souls. You obviously do not care anything about my soul because you do not even want me to view your website. You don't want me reading anything you have to say.  You have, in effect, told me to quite literally go to hell.

The Church excommunicates or "bans" those who are disobedient, but this is done in love in order to help them realize they are in spiritual peril. Further, excommunication by the Church bars one from receiving the sacraments and active participation in the liturgy, but the excommunicated person is still able to physically attend Mass and hear the Word of God.

Father Z, although I do not agree, I can understand if you ban my comments. It's your blog and you can do what you want. But why do you not even want me to view your blog? Your blog is your ministry. By banning me from even viewing your blog, you have banned me from your ministry. Jesus Christ never banned anyone from his ministry, not even Judas Iscariot who betrayed him. How will you answer for your actions?

I use to be one of your devout followers, Father Zuhlsdorf. I have attended several Masses at Holy Innocents Church in Manhattan in which you were the celebrant. In fact, you were the celebrant at the first TLM I ever attended at Holy Innocents in 2010. I have gone through many changes since then, and have rejected the traditionalist movement in the Church and no longer attend Holy Innocents. Your actions towards me are a prime example of why I no longer call myself a traditionalist. You, Father Z, are convinced in your own mind of your righteousness and opinions, and even when shown by the official teaching of the Church that you are wrong, you will not admit it. You just cover your ears, refusing to hear anything that does not support what you want to believe, and you demonize and ostracize anyone who shows that you are wrong.

Father Z, I can only say that your open disagreement with the teaching of the Church, and your very unchristian and unpastoral response to me indicates that you are dealing with serious spiritual issues. You may be one of the most popular Catholic bloggers on the Internet, but that will not keep you from falling.  You should keep in mind one of the men with whom you were ordained - Father John Corapi.  He was one of the most beloved priests in our country and maybe around the world, but that did not keep him safe from spiritual attacks and a great fall from grace.

I should let you know, Father Z, that I consider the ban from your blog an indication that I am on the right track.  I know I did nothing to deserve this.  You banned me because I support the official teaching of the Church.  You got very upset when I asked if you let your readers know that you do not agree with Summorum Pontificum.  That was not disrespectful.  It was an honest question, because the truth is you do not accept all of Summorum Pontificum, and neither do most traditionalists.

As Paul Simon wrote, "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."

Father Zuhlsdorf, I will pray for you and all of your followers that you will stop fighting the Holy Spirit and accept the true teaching of the Catholic Church and not just your own version.  You may ban me, but you do not want Jesus to ban you.



  1. Dear Catholic in Brooklyn,

    Your sadness and pain at what has happened in almost palpable, and I lift you up in prayer this day. Like you, I was one of Fr. Zuhlsdorf's devotees, but was turned off, not only by his judgemental comments but also his (to my mind) frequent name-dropping and self-aggrandisement. I find my soul to be much more at peace since I stopped following his blog.

    With sincere tenderness, may I suggest that you let all of this go as it seems to bring you nothing but pain? Lift Zuhlsdorf up to God in prayer -and then leave him there.

    1. You're right. I do feel very sad about this. I am not angry or bitter or rsentful. I know I did nothing wrong. But I feel very sad about Father Z, whom I once greatly admired and respected. That feeling extends to the many people I have known whom I still respect as individuals but who I feel are separating more and more from the Church, and who lash out at me in anger because I don't agree with them anymore. Because I was deep into the traditionalist movement and now realize the dangers inherent therein, I will keep writing about it. This is where the Holy Spirit has led me, and I feel it is wrong to keep silent about something that I know can be very harmful.

  2. If you truly believe that the Holy Spirit has led you to this place, it would certainly be wrong to remain silent. Just please make sure that you're ok in your heart-of-hearts. I will be keeping you in prayer, as it's highly likely that more vitriol will be heading your way. You're a brave person.

  3. Hello and God bless you from the other side of the world. Given my next words, I am wanting to write to you but am completely happy if (even recommending) you don't publish my quote. Because I'm not sure how to contact you directly but I really wanted to say this... and I want to give you an 'out' if you don't want to publish it - (such things don't need to be public).
    Beware of pots and kettles... if you catch my drift.
    In a previous (and wonderfully put post on St Therese that inspired me) you vowed:

    "I will never again respond in any way to personal attacks made against me. I am going to write my blog and live my life according to Blessed Mother Teresa's "Humility List." I accept personal attacks from others as a tool to help me in my own spiritual growth, as a reminder that I am just a sinful human being in great need of correction.

    This is certainly not what you're doing in these current posts.
    I know all too well the temptations to respond to others, under the conviction of the real and personal right we have to defend our own reputations (as per St Francis de Sales chapter 7 in Intro to the Devout Life), and of course to 'admonish the sinner' and 'instruct the doubtful'. I have had my own battles, and some online. But may I say in charity - and lets' be clear - I am not in a 'devotee' of Fr Z or Michael Voris though I frequent their sites occasionally - and I would say the very same to them - that by your very public arguments you are doing far more harm here than any good at all. What would the blessed Mother do or say in this situation? For starters, not tell a priest publicly online that he has a massive ego problem. How is this OK? How is this charitable? Even if it's true, (and I'm not saying it is) how is it helpful? Is it likely to change his mind or heart? No. How is this in accord with the very important quotes of God the Father to Catherine of Siena against criticizing priests? You are called to something greater here. If you are in the right then take it to prayer, God knows all and you will be vindicated in the way that is just, in His Time. Because pride dies 24 hours after we do and can disguise itself in the most pious intentions. In the meantime, this is just one more example of good Catholics tearing each other apart - regardless of your good intentions. It is not helpful. It will not achieve what you want it to. Bring it to Him, who was falsely accused. He knows all. This is where the true resolution of this issue will lie. Nowhere else, including in my own typing here!
    God bless you (not a 'holier than thou' blessing but a most heartfelt, genuine one from a poor sister in Christ)

    1. Thank you for your comment. However, I am afraid you have missed the point of my posts. The reason for writing these posts is not to respond to any personal attacks against me but to show that Father Z, a public figure with a public ministry, is a spiritual danger to Catholics. He is preaching and teaching against the Church and is misleading his followers. The same is also true of Michael Voris, whom Father Z supports and promotes.

      Yes, much of what Father Zuhlsdorf writes is doctrinally sound, but it is written from the point of view of a traditionalist, and it is written with a bias against what he would call the "Novus Ordo" Church. It is a very slippery and dangerous slope. He attacked me not because I was out of line in any way but because I showed him that what he was writing was wrong. That is what I am pointing out. I would agree with you if I was writing just about a personal atatck. That is no one's business but my own. But he is promoting dissension among his readers. That goes far beyond any personal attacks against me.

    2. I acknowledge your intention to show the spiritual dangers of Fr Z and Voris. I have my own concerns about Voris in particular and the ugly division and distraction that results. But I think you have missed my point: Whatever your intention, your words - especially those you address personally to Fr Z, which you make public - are simply not constructive. They contribute to the division. They can even be a cause of scandal in your readers and they do not come across as being said with charity. Readers might be more aware of that slippery slope you refer to, but in the process you have just contributed to the ugliness of fighting Catholics. Whether you are saying them in response to a personal attack against you (and you do imply the ban on you was personal) or whether for the greater good of the faithful is simply irrelevant because of the way in which you have chosen to address this. The words of God addressed to Catherine of Siena that you have published previously apply just as much to you here as you addressed them to Voris.
      I quote from the dialogue of Catherine of Siena here:
      "For this reason, no one has excuse to say, “I am doing no harm, nor am I rebelling against holy Church. I am simply acting against the sins of evil pastors.” Such persons are deluded, blinded as they are by their own selfishness. To me redounds every assault they make on my ministers: derision, slander, disgrace, abuse. Whatever is done to them I count as done to me. For I have said, and I say it again: No one is to touch my christs. It is my right to punish them, and no one else’s."
      So I repeat: Would Our Lady have written what you have? Or what I have? If not, then it's really time for us to lay off the keyboard! And that's what I'm going to do. : ) Blessings.

    3. Again, I thank you sincerely for such a thoughtful comment. You have obviously given this much thought, and you make good points. However, I must disagree with your conclusion.

      Please remember that this all started because Father Zuhlsdorf is teaching error. He wrote something on his blog that goes directly against the teaching of the Magesterium. As usual, his readers accepted his words as absolute truth. When I saw this, I felt it was important to point out his error. I did so in a respectful manner, and I did not even use my own words but those of Pope Benedict XVI.

      He responded by bashing me and telling me that I didn't know what I was talking about. He not only refused to acknowledge his error, but he banned me for being “nasty” (his word) so that I could not even view his blog. When he read my blog, he went even further so that I get a big red “BANNED!” when I try to view his website And yes, the ban was quite personal. It was directly aimed at me to send a message that he considers me and my opinion as worthless.

      The reason for these posts is not to just complain about the way he treated me. As you correctly state, that is a personal matter and doesn't involve anyone else. But his treatment of me indicates a much larger and more dangerous spiritual problem. Father John Zuhlsdorf has a very public ministry, and many tens of thousands of people hang on his every word. They will accept what he says over bishops and even the Holy Father. He has the potential to do much good or much harm.

      My background is as a traditionalist. I know firsthand how harmful this can be. There was a time when I was a devotee of both Michael Voris and Father Zuhlsdorf, and I know the harm that came from it. I don't believe the Holy Spirit has allowed me to see this just so I can remain quiet about it.

      I am not personally attacking Father Zuhlsdorf, or even Michael Voris. My point in these posts is to point out their errors and the spiritual harm that can result. I hope that is clear, and I do apologize if I have failed.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. If you clear the cookies and maybe the history from your web browser, does the website still ban you? I didn't know it was possible for one to do that based on just an IP address

    1. Every blogger has access to the IP of everyone who logs onto their blogs through their site counter. Father Z also requires that everyone who comments on his blog register with him, which also gives him our IP addresses. I can't block anyone with Blogger, which I use, but he obviously can block whomever he chooses. And if you disagree with him, you run the risk of being banned, as I was. And you too will see nothing but a big red "BANNED!" when you try to log in.

  6. I'm rather late to this discussion, but I think an important point has been missed here. And perhaps the provocative nature of Fr. Z is in part to blame. The risk here is that in chasing crypto-Lebfevrist shadows, you may not only be seeing them where they don't exist, but allowing them to obstruct your sight of other, legitimate, motivations.

    It is important to remember that the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum is a legal document, not a teaching document. It does not pretend to be an exercise in liturgical theology or history. Its sole objective is to promulgate Church law, a law we are all bound to recognize.

    It is interesting that there is no clear definition or explanation of "expressions," forms," or "usages" - words the Pope used interchangeably - though it must be observed that "use/usage," at least, has some venerable history in the Church. No, Benedict considered it sufficient to say that both missals are different versions of one rite, the Roman Rite. That's a promulgation of law. That's it. There's no attempt to explain or define anything beyond that.

    But a promulgation of such law does not prevent legitimate speculation regarding the theology, history or structural aspects of this underlying question, so long as one adheres faithfully to the law. Adhering faithfully to the law means doing just that - obeying all the particulars enjoined by it, and respecting the legal status and legitimacy of both missals/forms/expressions/usages.

    It is true that some traditionalists have agendas which go beyond this, and who reject the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo, the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. But the difficulty lies in the assumption that anyone discussing the the underlying question of the true relationship of these missals to each other must be such a creature. It's certainly odd to make such an assumption of a priest blogger who, for all of his flaws, is known to frequently celebrate the Ordinary Form publicly - surely some curious behavior for a priest who stands accused of rejecting its legitimacy.

    It could well be that Pope Benedict chose this path as a political move, one which would greatly ease priestly access to the traditional Roman Rite/EF's celebration over the option of calling it a truly distinct rite. Fr. John Hunwicke, a noteworthy liturgist, blogger and priest of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, put it succinctly back in 2008: "[O]ur Holy Father pulled a neat dodge by making the Tridentine Rite an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite rather than a separate rite. Had he made it a separate rite, it would have been necessary for priests of the Latin Church to be given special permission to celebrate it; just as they need special permission to celebrate, say, the Syro Malankara Rite. By making it clear that there are two forms of the Roman Rite, he cut through all the red tape which would have impeded clergy from using it."

    I don't think that such discussion or speculation must automatically be called a "disagreement" with Pope Benedict, or at least not a legal disagreement, since both priests in question have made quite clear that they respect the law in question, and are known to celebrate both forms. It simply cannot be ruled out, after all, that Benedict himself to this day considers his law to be a kind of polite juridical fiction, albeit a very necessary one. After all, there is nothing to keep a future Pope from promulgating a law which may change this status, declaring them separate rites.

    1. You say: "It is important to remember that the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum is a legal document, not a teaching document. It does not pretend to be an exercise in liturgical theology or history. Its sole objective is to promulgate Church law, a law we are all bound to recognize."

      And just where do you get the authority to make such a judgment? Where in this document does it even hint at Pope Benedict XVI saying that "although I am telling you that the two Masses are one rite, you are free to see them as two rites." If that was the case, why would the statement from this "legal document" be repeated in two more documents released by the Vatican - the accompanying letter to the Bishops, and the further instructions from 2011.

      You are making judgments here for which you have no authority. The SP is an official Vatican document, and it is absolutely wrong for a Catholic priest who had pledged loyalty to the Holy Father and the Church to preach against it in any way. And that is exactly what Father Z did.

      Yes, Father Z occasionally celebrates the OF, but as he himself has admitted, it has become a rare occasion for him to do so, as I wrote about here:

      Father Z's exact words:

      "Every once in the while, when I was saying the Novus Ordo far more often than I do today (last Sunday was the first in several months, after the EF and before an EF baptism), why I used the Roman Canon and never Eucharistic Prayer II."

      The point of my post was that Father Z has taken it upon himself to reject an official prayer of the Mass, even though this prayer is completely valid and is accepted by the Holy Trinity in changing bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. But that's for another time.

      As far as Father Hunwicke is concerned, those are his thoughts and opinions and again have nothing to do with official church teaching. I will listen to Pope Benedict XVI and the bishops before I will listen to Father Hunwicke's personal opinions.

      To separate the OF and the EF into two rites promotes the hermeneutics of discontinuity. It is a way of saying that these Masses are fundamentally different from one another. That is exactly what SP does NOT say. Yes, that is what traditionalists say, and they use this as a reason to reject the OF. But to reject the OF or any part of it (which Father Z has done) is to reject the official TEACHING of the Church, and puts you in opposition to Holy Mother Church.

      It is interesting that you don't say anything about Father Z banning me from even viewing his blog. Do you think that is a correct way for a Catholic priest to react to someone who respectfully disagrees with him, and who points out this disagreement not with my own words, but with those of Pope Benedict XVI? Do you think Father Z is showing very much concern for my soul? Or is he in effect telling me to "go to hell"?

    2. I'm sorry. I gave you a wrong link to my blog post. It is as follows:


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