According to a recent blog post by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, popularly known as “Fr Z,” his time living in the Diocese of Madison is coming to a close.
This story is about Fr. Z from another blog. Press title to be redirected to that blog:
FATHER Z TO RELOCATE FROM THE DIOCESE OF MADISON TO ANOTHER LOCATION AND WILL REDISCOVER HIS MOJO AND WHAT HE WILL BE LIKE IN TEN YEARS
I have to say that Fr. Z’s blog has evolved into something less than what it originally was.
The decline began to happen with the election of Pope Francis and the new direction for the Church of a new pope. Every pope, no matter how good, bad or indifferent, has a direction in which he will lead the Church. That’s life. I have lived through seven popes and in a time now with two popes, one reigning and one emeritus. How odd, but the new normal.
Fr. Z also strikes me as a free-lancing priest or in private practice. That is odd for a priest who is ordained for the Diocesan Priesthood. His diocese is in Italy but he doesn’t have residence in his home diocese, but rather here in the USA—he needs to remedy that situation either by returning to the diocese of his ordination, seeking membership in a religious order or incardination in a diocese in the USA. He needs to be obedient to his bishop which is what he promised at his ordination. But does he know his bishop and does his bishop know him (the one in Italy)?
He needs to get back to the academic purpose of his blog which I enjoyed. “What Does the Prayer Really Mean?” He did a great job of showing what the horrible English translation of the Latin original prayers of the Mass were compared to a literal English translation of the Latin Prayers and what was the theology or purpose of the prayer.
Of course, with the new and glorious retranslation of the English prayers, that caused him to shift the purpose of his blog and even its name.
But more recently he went off the rails with his political partisanship, believed President Trump that he was a persecuted president who had the election stolen and then performed major exorcisms on the country in order that the election results be overturned to fit President Trump’s meme that he would remain in office this coming Wednesday.
That was dumb! And I think against canon law. Fr. Z says the Bishop of Madison allowed him this privilege of performing major exorcisms and placing videos on them on his blog, but the Bishop of Madison, or his diocesan communications says it isn’t true.
I suspect the later debacle contributed in part to Fr. Z needing a new home “closer to family”. As well, there is a new bishop who is leading in a new direction compared to the former bishop who died in office and unexpectedly.
Fr. Z would do well to devote a good deal of his time in parish ministry wherever a bishop will accept him. He needs to celebrate baptisms, prepare couples for marriage, do annulments, pastoral counseling and regular celebrations of the Mass in one parish.
Maybe an FSSP parish might be good for him. But he was at his best when he was trying to improve the Ordinary Form of the Mass so that there would be more continuity with it and the Extraordinary Form.
And that renewal of the Ordinary Form cannot forsake the various lay ministries, now made official by Pope Francis, for the Ordinary Form. To deny women to be in these formal ministries when they are clearly allowed by canon law for the Ordinary Form comes across as misogynistic. Not good!
The Extraordinary Form by law does not allow female ministries in the sanctuary (lectors or acolytes) although I believe prior to Vatican II, a woman could ring the bells at Mass and respond as an altar boy would but from the nave of the church or chapel. Correct me if I am wrong.
At any rate, Fr. Z is in crisis and upheaval worried about the loss of his mojo and where he will be in 10 years. He makes it sound like he life is ending by being 30 years a priest. No Fr. Z, that’s dumb. I’m 40 years ordained and 67 years old, a pastor and a blogger looking forward to retirement of active ministry in three years to begin a new chapter in my priestly life.
Let us pray for Fr. Z during this time of transition and taking stock of what it means to be a priest today under the pope and a local bishop.