Dear John…

Happy Easter! He is risen! I hope you all had a wonderful Holy Week and enjoyed “worshipping Easter.” Sigh. It never stops, does it?

My husband sent me this last week. He doesn’t often send me suggestions. I have zero trouble finding some insanity out there upon which to rant, but this one, apparently, was even too much for him to take, so I will give you my opinion on his behalf. Sometimes he doesn’t mind it when I do that.

Fri Apr 12, 2019 – 7:46 pm EST

New Zealand cardinal asks laity to stop calling priests ‘Father’ to fight ‘clericalism’

Martin M. Barillas

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal John Dew of New Zealand wrote a missive to Catholics of the Pacific archipelago urging them to not address priests as “Father.”

Brilliant! Let’s take men who have shown by their actions that they’ve completely forgotten their vows and priesthood and remove one of the last reminders. Might as well just ditch the clerical garb and habits, too. I mean, that might go to their heads, too, right? Heck, let’s just go with orange jumpsuits, because if they’re already having issues with this, they’ll probably end up wearing them anyways. Geez.

In providing a synopsis of an article by Fr. Jean-Pierre Roche that appeared in La Croix, Cardinal Dew said he joined the French priest in wondering why priests are called “Father.”

Yeah, let’s go with the Church in France where they’ve lost the faith so badly the Muslims came right in and filled the vacuum. How’s that working out for them?

He continued, “In August last year Pope Francis wrote a Letter to the People of God, to all of us. The Holy Father appealed to all of God’s people to take action against ‘clericalism’ which he sees as the source of abuse perpetrated by priest and bishops.” Thereafter, he summarizes Fr. Roche’s epistle.

Roche wrote that he and other Catholics are “overwhelmed, shocked and appalled” and “traumatized” by the sex abuse crisis that has afflicted the Catholic Church. Roche called for transforming the Church by returning to the Gospels and adhering to Pope Francis’s call to action against the “clericalism” that is ostensibly responsible for abuse perpetrated by priests and other clergy. Thus, he gives three reasons why Catholics should not call priests “Father.”

Yes, well, people can’t seem to bring themselves out of denial over the overwhelming cause. Remember when stats mattered? But as they say now, two plus two must equal anything but four.

The first reason Roche cites is also often used by Christians who do not share the traditions of the Catholic and Orthodox churches. “The first reason should be sufficient in itself, as it is found in the Gospels,” Roche wrote. Quoting the Gospel of Matthew, Roche wrote, “Priests wish to be disciples of Jesus, who said, ‘You are not to be called “Master,” for you have but one Master, and you are all brothers and sisters. And do not call anyone on earth “Father,” for you have but one Father, who is in Heaven’” (Mt. 23: 8–9). Saying Jesus’s words are clear, Roche wrote, “To be called ‘Father’ is, quite frankly, to usurp the place of God, the Father of all people. It is, literally, to play God!”

What an incredibly non-Catholic response from a Catholic! And we wonder why the Faith is disappearing? It must be because we’re not cool, because it’s certainly not because some people adopted Protestantism.

Apparently seeking to psychoanalyze priests and laity, Roche suggested that while priests “exercise a sort of spiritual fatherhood” by permitting the laity to address them as ‘Father,’ they may be compensating for their lack of natural children. He asked bishops to leave off the title of “Monsignor.” Finally, he said referring to priests as “Father’ is “unhealthy when it is the expression of an emotional dependence based on a false idea of obedience.”

This guy is a mental dumpster fire. Wouldn’t it be better if they actually thought of us as their spiritual children (which we are)? Duh. And really, all those saints who used the proper, respectful titles for their priests were unhealthy? Please. It might actually be more helpful, Cardinal Dew, if you put the priesthood back into the spiritual realm instead of furthering its secularization. That, as Pope Benedict pointed out, is the true problem. God has now been removed from the priesthood.

Roche has long supported the “Action catholique ouvrière” movement in France and has written books on the spirituality of work.

Cardinal Dew presumed the reasons why priests are called “Father” by their flocks, writing, “Being called ‘Father’ may seem important to some priests, but is it really that important?” He goes on to write, “Making a choice to tell the people we serve not to call us Father (or for me ‘Your Eminence’ or ‘Cardinal’) might seem a very small thing to do, but it may be the beginning of the reform in the Church which we have been asked to do by Pope Francis.” The papal letter to which the cardinal refers was issued after revelations of clerical abuse in Pennsylvania that had been covered up and largely involved homosexual acts.

Gotta say, the more he talks, the more I’m warming up to the idea of stripping out his title, at least. That said, this is and always has been the most ridiculous reason given for this whole, evil debacle. Erasing the line between priest and laity has been a nice chunk of the problem. Furthering the erasing of that line? Disastrous.

In a comment to LifeSiteNews, Papal Dame Colleen Bayer wrote: “Faithful Catholics feel betrayed by our Shepherds down here in New Zealand[.] … Dew is doing nothing at all to instil confidence in those whom he is charged with shepherding, in his latest attempt to belittle the reality of spiritual fatherhood, just as he has also decided to reduce the number of churches in his diocese.”

Dame Colleen is the national director of Family Life International in New Zealand. She added that she is “deeply saddened that those faithful who have always respected … the Fathers of the Church our Holy priests, are now expected to address His Eminence as John.” Writing that tiny New Zealand, “God’s Own,” has “lost its soul,” Dame Colleen said that she fears the day when Cardinal Dew must “face the reality and truths of the real problems facing the Catholic Church in New Zealand regarding homosexuality in the priesthood.”

I love this woman, and it’s not just because she has a wicked cool title! She gets it. And for those whining about a lack of women with roles in the Church, note her gender. I’m betting some are wishing SHE weren’t so present.

Echoing the criticisms of many Catholics disappointed by February’s controversial conference of bishops at the Vatican to discuss the abuse of minors, Dame Colleen wrote that the crisis “has nothing to do with showing respect for spiritual fatherhood.” She wrote that the term “clericalism” stands for a game played, “where nobody is supposed to know what the meaning or goal of the game actually is. So much goes on to divert and break down the truth and beauty of His truth.”

BAM! Right. On. The. Money.

Cardinal Dew has been criticized in the past for arguing that divorced and “remarried” Catholics should be admitted to the Eucharist. He has also taken liberties in the liturgy of the Mass.

Why some Catholics want to be Protestant influencers is beyond me. Been there, done that since 1517.

“Catholic theologians and commentators have noted in the past the reasons why Catholics generally refer to priests personally as “Father.” For example, as the apologists at Catholic Answers explain, to take the words of Jesus Christ literally would mean that no one would call his own paternal parent “Father.” The use of the term in the Old Testament was not limited to one’s natural father. For example, in the book of Genesis, Joseph tells his brothers that God had given him a fatherly relationship with the Pharaoh of Egypt: “So it was not you who sent me here, but God; and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt” (Gen. 45:8). The Prophet Job says: “I was a father to the poor, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know” (Job 29:16). And the Lord told King David’s steward, Eliakim: “In that day I will call my servant Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah … and I will clothe him with [a] robe, and will bind [a] girdle on him, and will commit … authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah” (Is. 22:20–21).

In the New Testament, protomartyr St. Stephen refers to “our father Abraham” (Acts 7:2), while St. Paul speaks of “our father Isaac” in Romans 9:10. Also, various early writers, such as St. Clement of Rome and St. John Chrysostom, are known as “Fathers of the Church.”

It has been suggested that Jesus was engaging in rhetoric in order to make a point. The entire passage of Matthew 23 reads: “But you are not to be called ‘rabbi,’ for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called ‘masters,’ for you have one master, the Christ” (Mt. 23:8–10).

Because Jesus appointed his disciples as teachers (rabbis) and Paul preached the Church as apostles, prophets, and teachers, some commentators have indicated that what the Gospel recorded is that Jesus was appealing to scribes and Pharisees, who were not humble before God.”

Well that just saved me a whole lot of education time. It’s nauseating that a red hat of the Church would make such a sophomoric argument that denies all the history of the Church. A ten-year-old could rattle off a more cogent argument than Cardinal Dew, and I’ve had many so I would know. The attempt to constantly sucker in people who may not know is just, well, evil. The “call no man ‘Father’” attempt is going to sound weird to anyone but the most strident dissenter. The dissenters know the truth but they just reject it. The rest of the Church? They’re going to think a little more logically. Do you really think they’re going to buy into the lame argument that calling priests “Father” made them do it? Get a clue.


19 thoughts on “Dear John…

  1. Sorry to see such sorry excuses for clergy. As ab Dew and sadly most of the clerics promoted by Bergoglios F. cino.papacy… Examples are B. F. appointees like Tobin nj., Cupich , Daneels,Mahoney. And Martin of Amer. Mgz. ….It is not Clericalism it is homosexuals deviancy and indifference 0f the faith from. The hierarchy like Dew and Bergoglio F. Himself That is a scourge of the faith. … … Young people will NOT follow an cino cult whose leaders Depaglia ,Dew and B. F. Etc. Cannot figure this out or promote the Rc. Faith and morals sexual and otherwise.


  2. You know how bad the church is now? It’s so bad, I am seriously considering not admitting I am Catholic. I no longer want to be associated with it. It has become an embarrassment. Who wants to belong to any organization where 90% of the fellow members and leadership actually hate the tenets and act with zeal to tear it down.
    Denying we are Catholics may be good practice, because when the Muslims take over I’m not sure we will want to admit we are Catholics then either.


    1. We Catholics have a 2000 year history coated with the blood of martyrs for the faith, right up to the present day. I pray that I can withstand the present day wrongs. I’m not embarrassed at all, I am outraged, hurt, betrayed by many who shepherd the Church, and I am determined to do whatever I can to help my Church, our Church, overcome this and cleanse herself of evil.

      Will I live to see a pure and spotless and perfect Church, all she was meant to be as the Bride of Christ? Of course not, tomorrow will bring another generation another set of failures and shortcomings, and yes, even evil actions and betrayals. And the Catholic Church will, by the actions of the faithful through the grace and mercy of God, live to fight another day, just as it has been for 2000 years.

      You stand at the foot of the Cross with Jesus. Or you abandon it, a daily battle for every one of us.


    2. Go to Eastern Orthodoxy, they have their own problems but do not have priests and bishops who don’t know who or what they are. They have kept the faith and not perverted it with nonsense. They also do not worship the pope as we have virtually done for centuries. Now look where that has lead us.


  3. In grad school, i had two priests for professors. The first did not want to be called Father, and I being the stubborn Texan who was raised right always did call him that. As for the secomd, i didn’t realize he was a priest until halfway through the semester.

    Did i mention both were Jesuits……

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so thankful that at my FSSP parish, we parishioners respectfully address our priests by “Father (Last Name)”. None of this “Father Bob” stuff. As a retired military officer, I can assure you that with good leaders titles work both ways. They serve to create a proper distance between the leader and the followers. Even with the most committed servant leader, it reminds both parties that: “my duty is to lead according to this title I carry” and also serves as a constant reminder to that leader that their job is not to “be a pal” or to cross the line of familiarity, but to remain approachable, compassionate and service-oriented. Some of the best priests I know were military chaplains who seemed to fully grasp this concept. (When we troops wanted to be slightly more familiar with our priests we went as far as calling them: “Padre” or “Chaps”. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ms cangelosi, I second your criticism of this “Father Bob” stuff because such a title sends a mixed message. You want me to think of you as a buddy but NEVER forget you’re a priest. Many modern Jesuits do not use Fr. before their name, so when I refer to them I don’t say “Fr. James Martin,” I simply say “James Martin” and I don’t think of him as a person of authority since he isn’t claiming any more authority than I.


      1. In my humble opinion, James Martin is nothing short of a traitor to the authentic priesthood! In the world of the military, if you were caught doing undercover acts wearing the uniform of the other side, you could be executed! Just sayin’ …

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Stupid is as stupid Dews. Call NO man father! So, out with the fourth commandment too! . I wonder what Cardinal Dew calls his own father? “Dad”!


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