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My Kind Of Churchman

My trad Catholic friend and sometime TAC contributor John Zmirak is my kind of orthodox churchman. Here he is on his Facebook feed [1] last night, opining about the Cardinal Mahony mess:

The docility and timidity of Catholic laymen on this issue has been contemptible. Every time one of these bishops who covered for abusers appears in public, he deserves to be pelted with trash — until they are too ashamed to show their faces. Laymen drove heretical bishops out of cities like Alexandria. Maybe it’s time again….

John’s ticked off here, as he absolutely should be, but he’s really a funny guy. He’s the author of the Bad Catholic Guide series, the most recent of which is the Bad Catholic’s Guide to the Catechism.  [2] Zmirak’s Bad Catholic books are for orthodox Catholics with smart mouths who have no patience for prisspot piety, or political correctness from the Church left or the Church right.

16 Comments (Open | Close)

16 Comments To "My Kind Of Churchman"

#1 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On February 6, 2013 @ 7:32 am

I suspect the docility and timidity of Catholic laymen is due to religion being a choice in our culture. It’s always easier to switch than fight.

#2 Comment By Aaron Gross On February 6, 2013 @ 7:55 am

My kind of writer. I think John Zmirak is the best writer on the marginal right, bar none.

#3 Comment By thomas tucker On February 6, 2013 @ 8:40 am

It is past time.

#4 Comment By JohnE_o On February 6, 2013 @ 8:50 am

I suspect MH is correct on this.

#5 Comment By Benjamin P. Glaser On February 6, 2013 @ 8:52 am

It is one of the reasons why Jenny Geddes is on my wall-of-fame at our church.


#6 Comment By Richard M On February 6, 2013 @ 10:03 am

Zmirak has really been on fire on this issue lately. It’s been very satisfying to read him.

Of course, it’s hard to imagine American Catholics today driving a bishop from a city because of heresy. At most, I could round up a hundred traddies in my city for such a venture.

#7 Comment By Joe mc.. Fa ul On February 6, 2013 @ 10:12 am

It’s a different manifestation of the abused spouse syndrome. The abuser really loves the abused, didn’t actually abuse the spouse and promises to reform, and not abuse in the future.

The abused spouse always takes the abuser back, meanwhile offering excuses to the public that it wasn’t really abuse and it’s not as bad as other abuses, like those Baptists and public schools. The laity as abuse knows its place we’ll. The laity are the enablers.

In the days of Alexandria, bishops and popes were elected by public acclaim. That is no longer true. Any threat to the institutional structure results in threat of interdict or excommunication.

#8 Comment By James C. On February 6, 2013 @ 10:43 am

Seriously, if you have an opportunity to hear Zmirak speak anywhere, anytime…get to it. It’ll be one of the highlights of hilarity for the year—or any year.

Unless, of course, you’re easily offended, in which case feel free to curl yourself up into an angsty fetal ball in your sourpuss pod and allow the rest of us to laugh our a*ses off.

I saw him last weekend at Harvard, and he brought the house down, save a couple of walkouts.

#9 Comment By Clint On February 6, 2013 @ 11:28 am

It will be interesting to hear what will be said about the three Massachusetts churches which were spray painted with the word ” Brainwashed” over the weekend.

#10 Comment By Adam DeVille On February 6, 2013 @ 11:32 am

Zmirak is indeed hilarious and I’ve been enjoying his writing for several years.

If I may be forgiven for the intrusion, I would note that not all bishops were as Mahony. The RC bishop of Ft. Wayne, who died on Sunday, John D’Arcy, was one of the very few bishops to understand rightly the problem of sexual abuse in the early 1980s and to sound the alarm repeatedly. I detail some of this here: [4]

#11 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 6, 2013 @ 11:51 am

Orthodox Catholic laymen are supposed to be supinely obedient to Authority. Priests are The Apple of God’s Eye. The Bishop of Rome is Christ’s Vicar on Earth. How could a good, faithful, obedient Catholic pelt a Holy Bishop with garbage?

What if Voice of the Faithful did that to Charles Chaput?

Either the laity can exercise judgment about such matters, or they cannot.

Zmirak is calling for a second Reformation, whether he realizes it or not. After all, Luther had no idea that was how he would end up.

#12 Comment By John Zmirak On February 6, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

“Orthodox Catholic laymen are supposed to be supinely obedient to Authority. Priests are The Apple of God’s Eye.” Mottramist nonsense. I guess the sex abuse crisis is really solved, only we’re too sinful to see it.

For the record, I don’t favor laymen judging bishops for heresy–that was an historical analogy. I do favor us judging bishops for crimes against the civil law–as is our right and duty:


#13 Comment By Will in Mississippi On February 6, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

Where is John Zmirak writing these days? I’ve long enjoyed his work, but don’t see it very much. Has he left Inside Catholic? I know he left TakiMag and doesn’t appear much in TAC anymore. So where can readers find his work…

John can chime in on this one too….

#14 Comment By John Zmirak On February 6, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

I don’t intend to be a troll, so this is my last comment here! Thanks, Rod, for the shout-out. Will, I blog at [6], and when I have time I write for the National Catholic Register, and the Imaginative Conservative. I’m also Senior Editor of [7], ISI’s online magazine.

#15 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 6, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

To a Mottramist, Zmirak would BE a heretic.

Jurisdiction is a separate question from Truth.

Either you have authority to judge, or you don’t.

Same difficulty facing Anglicans who are deeply committed to authority, but disagree with those currently exercising office.

A common weasel phrase seeks to establish infallibility “when [the office holder] expounds what The Church teaches…” …which is of course, defined in the eye of the objector.

#16 Comment By Joseph D’Hippolito On February 7, 2013 @ 2:29 am

Mr. Zimrak, when laypeople are trained to believe that priests are “ontologically different” and that their salvation is based on those priests’ roles as sacramental mediators, then many of them will deny clerical evil when it happens in their midst.

If you find the reaction from laypeople disgusting, what will you think of Rome’s reaction should Rome refuse to summon Mahony for canonical trial and strip him of membership in the College of Cardinals?