Fr. Z Defends Pope Against Fellow Priest

MO Priest calls Pope Benedict, Bishops and the Faithful,
“Faithless and Hypocritical,” and “Whitewashed Sepulchers”

Fr. Wissman in Bolivar, MO writes in his parish bulletin some of the most outlandish  comments.  It is hard to believe he but it in writing.  Fr. Z takes issue with the post and shares his thoughts.  Of course Fr. Z comments are in red.

Dear Parishioners,

Happy Pentecost! The Easter Season comes to a final crescendo with this glorious feast! The Holy Spirit is the Person of the Holy Trinity which we seem to neglect. [Really?] But still, the age we live in since the Ascension is the AGE of the Spirit. [Hmmm….] It was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that Vatican Council II happened. History making and world shaking, the Church came up to date under the Spirit’s guidance. [I think you are getting a sense of this fellow’s age and basic formation.] The history of the Church since those moments is the successful or unsuccessful implementation of that wonderful coming together of the Church. [Here we go…] Those who have resisted the Council have resisted the Spirit. [Is that so?  Fr. Wissman knows this?  We can at least affirm that Council’s are guided by the Holy Spirit when they, with the Bishop of Rome, teach concerning faith and morals.  In Acts 15:28 we read, “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us ….”  But when the matter does not have to do with faith and morals, does the Holy Spirit guide a Council?  Also, the Second Vatican Council is considered a “pastoral”, rather than “dogmatic” or “doctrinal” Council, even though it issued a “dogmatic constitution”. What does that mean for the involvement of the Holy Spirit.] It is sad [Get this…] that the implementation did not take place in many places and that [!] has led to a great decline in true membership in the church and the increase of the powers of divergence from the Kingdom of God. [This is loaded with problems, as I am sure you have already seen.  First, the writer wants you to accept a premise: problems have come about in the Church where the Council was not implemented.  On the other hand, “Council” – especially from a liberal – could mean just about anything, including suggestions that have nothing to do with the Council’s documents.  I suspect that the shift above from the use of “Holy Spirit” to just “Spirit” in relation to inspiration for the Council was telling.  Next, what does “true membership” mean?  Is he suggesting, for example, that there is some sort of additional litmus text, known to the writer.  This smacks of gnosticism.  Notice also that phrase “powers of divergence”.  I think that means any influence exerted by anyone who does not share the writer’s outdated and rigid understanding of the Council.  And note that the writer seems also to have insight not only into “true membership” but also who belongs to the “Kingdom of God”.  This goes beyond pompous to dangerously judgmental.]

In the United States, however, for the most part the implementation took root and has made the U.S. Catholic Church very vital and a shining example of true Christianity. [Has the writer not reviewed lately statistics about Mass attendance, use of the sacrament of penance, marriage, and belief in doctrines of the Church?  Unless, though it is hard to imagine this, the plummeting statistics are what he is talking about.] The recent efforts of faithless and hypocritical people to make the church go backward are ill conceived and will fail. [So, anyone who has what Pope John Paul II referred do as a “legitimate aspiration” is faithless and hypocritical.  Benedict XVI is also “faithless and hypocritical” by the fact of the provisions of Summorum Pontificum and his statements about “continuity” and the clear explanation that what was sacred in the past is sacred also now.] What a mistake it was for the Pope (who had the best of intentions) to lift a ban on those reactionary groups who want a dead church of Latin language and a rejection of Vatican II. [Once again, the example of a liberal who invokes a Council he has never read: Latin remains the language of the liturgy, something required by the Second Vatican Council.  Furthermore, the word “ban” is inaccurate.  The writer is no doubt poorly imformed.] One of the Bishops of one group even publicly takes a stand saying that the Holocaust is a myth. [That would be SSPX Bp. Williamson.  Now get this…] These people [He is no longer talking about just SSPX Bp. Williamson…] who may appear very pious (as the Pharisees did!) are really whitewashed sepulchers (to use the words of Jesus).  [I think he just called John Paul II, Pope Benedict, every bishop who has ever granted use of the older Mass, or participated in one, every priest who uses the older forms and all the lay people who desire the opportunity to participate in the older forms… or even in the Novus Ordo in Latin… “whitewashed sepulchers”.  Does that set well with you?  Does that set well with the Bishop of Springfield-Cape Girardeau?  I think I recently saw His Eminence Card. Baum at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on 24 April – a former bishop of the writer’s diocese – participating at a Pontifical Mass with the older form.  He must be a “whitewashed sepulcher” also.]

The Holy Spirit always leads us into the future, not into the past. [What confused claptrap.  The writer pretends to know what the motions and urgings of the Holy Spirit are.  This is part of the writer’s gnostic approach.] As we celebrate this faith-moment honoring God, the Holy Spirit let us be aware that trust as well as faith is needed…trust in the leadership of the Holy Spirit, trust in the Spirit’s healing powers as well as creativity under the Spirit’s egis. [sic]

It is the Spirit who guards the church from the powers of hell. [Not content with “powers of divergence”, now he refers to anyone who has a vision that differs from his own as “powers of hell”.] Jesus tells us: fear not, the Father will send you the Spirit… The great and powerful God the Spirit blows throughout the universe seeking souls open to the new creation, seeking hearts open to its promptings, seeking to uphold those whose knees are weak and confirming those who seek God. And it is not just the Catholic Church that is gifted with the Holy Spirit.  Every good inspiration, every good act, every humble prayer has as its source the one and same Spirit. All religions ancient and new are impacted by the Spirit and are made ready for advancement toward truth, unity and peace[“Not just the Catholic Church… all religions…”]

Fr Pat

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4 comments to Fr. Z Defends Pope Against Fellow Priest

  • Penny

    It appears as though Fr. Wissman retired as of last September. Perhaps he is still in residence, but it doesn’t look like he’s at the helm, for what it’s worth. I think a great deal of patience is needed as this generation of priests and laity move through into retirement and beyond, with prayers for their eternal well-being. I think the tide has turned, although we still are going to pay the piper big-time. Jesus, Mercy, for all of us.

  • Mr. Noll seems to be more in an uproar than conservative Catholics. Fr. Pat seems to be a priest who might have attended a questionable seminary. Conservative Catholics merely need to pray for the Holy Father and the Church. There is nothing stronger than prayer. And after all, God is still in charge. It’s not the first time in history that the Church has been attacked from the inside and it probably won’t be the last.

  • Conrad Noll

    Fr. Z

    If I may say so, the exercise above doesn’t appear to be very christian in its intent.

    I also believe that your flaming red reaction to the liberal positions taken by Fr. Pat is an indication of a panic that appears to be taking hold in the various conservative catholic camps.

    I have seen the same thing happening within my own parish.

    Why are conservative catholics in such an uproar?


    • Dear Mr. Noll,

      Thank you for your comment. I see from your comment that I made some assumptions that may have caused confusion. Please accept my sincere apologies for that.

      Fr. Z has a blog dedicated to providing accurate liturgical translations and frank commentary about Catholic issues. When Fr. Z refers to the Mass and its rubrics, he is well-known for the motto “Say the black, do the red.” He is also well-known for highlighting points of interest in articles in bold black letters and making his own comments in red. I believe he does this for two reasons, one is for a play on the motto of “Say the black, do the red,” the other is for readability.

      Understandably, I can see where you might think that this is a “flaming red reaction.” However, it is nothing more than Fr. Z’s personal trademark when commenting on an article of interest.

      I see that you feel that Fr. Z was being unchristian in his intent. Could you please do me a favor and tell me where Fr. Z was uncharitable? I would be happy to do the same with Fr. Pat’s letter for you.

      In response to your question about why conservative Catholics are “in such an uproar,” it is merely because someone has unjustly attacked our Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ. Does this not upset you, too?

      Thank you and God bless you. Your prayers are greatly needed for me and this Apostolate.

      John Quinn

      P.S. If you want Fr. Z to receive your comment personally, you will need to go to his website and leave it there.

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