Papa Z's Views and Comments

Location: Wisconsin, United States

I am a convert to the Catholic Church after serving in ordained ministry for more than nine years in another denomination. I hold a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in historical theology, and another in systematic theology, and am currently working (very slowly) on my doctorate. I work in Christian Education and Formation and teach at the University level. I am blessed with a wonderful wife and eight great kids! When I'm not studying, reading, or blogging, I enjoy eating and drinking! Like Bilbo Baggins, I have been specializing in food for many years, and my table has a high reputation!

Friday, March 19, 2010


As regular readers of this blog are aware, I am not a member of either major political party. Indeed, I am not a member of any political party at all; having made that decision when I was first ordained priest in the CEC in 1998. I took this stand (after many years of pondering a similar decision by a Catholic priest friend) because I wanted to be able to stand for or against specific issues without being accused of being part of the agenda of a political party. Even after my conversion to the Catholic Church, I have maintained my position, even though this position no doubt frustrates friends of mine on both sides of the political aisle!

I am also not in favor of the idea that all politicians whose private lives or public votes are not in accord with their professed religious faith should automatically be excommunicated. Again, this position would no doubt frustrate friends of mine on various points of the religious spectrum! This is fine by me!

To my mind, excommunication is a tool used most effectively when it is used rarely -- but when it IS used, is used to good and deliberate effect. Overused (or even over-threatened) it loses any effectiveness it might have AS a tool, both to save the soul of the excommunicate, and to take a strong public stand.

Having said all this, I would like to propose a worthy candidate for public excommunication in the Catholic Church -- namely, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. She has publicly and unrepentantly deliberately mis-stated the teachings of the Church on life issues; she has publicly and unrepentantly defied her own bishop, and now, for me anyhow, the last straw.

The Speaker, today, on this, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, publicly prayed to the foster-father of Our Lord, that the current version of the health-care legislation be passed. Also here. (Hat tip to American Papist!)

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not attacking health-care reform, nor are the Catholic bishops. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, long a supporter of real heath-care reform, have also come out strongly against the current version of the health-care legislation.

But, in this case, some extremely basic concerns about the current version of the legislation are not only being addressed, they are being ignored, and those raising those concerns are being marginalized -- at best.

It seems to me, that a public statement by the Bishops supporting substantive health-care reform, while making it clear that the Speaker's action -- publicly praying to St. Joseph for support for a bill which would, in many respects, make a mockery of authentic Catholic social teaching -- is unacceptable; even blasphemous to the point of placing her outside the Graces of the Church would be entirely appropriate!

Papa Z.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 18, 2010


After months of speculation, it has finally been formally announced that Pope Benedict XVI will beatify the Venerable Servant of God, John Henry, Cardinal Newman during his pilgrimage to England and Scotland.

For me personally, this is a momentous occasion. It was the reading of Newman's "Apologia" that really began to turn wheels in my mind and heart, culminating in my own crossing of the Tiber in 2005.

What is even more remarkable is that the Holy Father will be officiating at the Beatification service himself. During the nearly 5 years of his Pontificate, Pope Benedict has delegated Beatification ceremonies, typically to the local Ordinaries. This one he's doing himself.

What is also exciting is the fact that the Holy Father is actually making a pilgrimage -- indeed a Pastoral Visit -- to the UK -- the first Pastoral Visit by a Pope to England's "Green and Pleasant Lands" since that nasty little bit of unpleasantness known as the Protestant Reformation!

May God grant that this visit by Pope Benedict XVI -- the Pope of Christian Unity -- may further the day when all the children of Canterbury are finally home.


Papa Z.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


A few months ago, an uncle of mine who is a staunch conservative and a devout Lutheran asked me if I had heard anything about something called "The Conservative Bible Project". At the time, I had not, but I took a look and was unimpressed -- indeed, completely underwhelmed.

This Lent, I am preparing some meditations on the Seven Words of Christ from the Cross.

Guess what?

The Conservative Bible Project comes up again!

This outfit, the "brainchild" of Andy Schlafly (using the term EXTREMELY loosely) is attempting to re-translate the King James Bible by omitting alleged "liberal translation distortions" (their words)!

Like, for example, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing"!

The argument? Because certain early manuscripts do not include this verse, it must be a later interpolation by LIBERALS!!! The REAL Jesus would never have said anything so radical about forgiving one's enemies!

Other examples: The story of Jesus forgiving the woman caught in the act of adultery in John's Gospel is tossed out as well! While certain early manuscripts place this story in Luke's Gospel rather than John's Gospel, it's inclusion in Scripture has been testified for more than 1500 years. BUT, some LIBERALS, like to use this passage as an argument against Capital Punishment -- so it must go as well!!!!!!!

Check out other examples if you like -- I'm not going to waste blog space doing so.

Now conservative interpreters and exegetes have rightly criticized certain elements of the religious left for overusing the tools of higher criticism to go beyond criticism and analysis to outright deconstructionism, from the so-called "Quest for the Historic Jesus" to "The Jesus Seminar", etc. And in the opinion of your worthy blogger, many of these criticisms are valid. (Not all -- that's a topic for another post!)

But there is an old saying which says that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If conservatives are going to criticize liberals for textual deconstruction; it seems to me that they are legitimately subject to equal criticism for engaging in the same sort of faux analysis.

The "Conservative Bible Project" is an embarrassment which should be exposed for the fraud it is. The contributors (who are certainly NOT "translators" in any meaningful sense of the word) ought to be ashamed.


Papa Z.

Labels: ,