One of the most familiar clerical initials in Catholic blogging, Fr. Z — John Zuhlsdorf — had some important news Friday night:
I have found things, dear readers, interior and exterior, that have to change. For my peace, my future, with my eye on the prize of heaven for me and for others, to serve God and neighbor better, it is time to make some moves.
I will continue to write here. I’ll will circle back more often to the original idea of the blog: commentary, sure, about lots of things… but more liturgical work again, more catechesis, etc. As a matter of fact, I did a little more of that lately and some who hate my ‘chittl’ns’ didn’t like it one little bit…
…I need to get back into writing for something other than this blog. I have books to get out at long last! I could write something new for a “legacy” Catholic publication again, since our Catholic internet presence may get suppressed if cancel culture and the New catholic Red Guard has its way. I’ve been online in a visible way since 1992! Until recently, I wrote a weekly column since 1999! I have had a break, but I could reinvent and do that again.
And he is making a geographical move, as well:
My years in my adoptive Diocese of Madison have be fruitful on many levels. However, I’ve have discerned that – while I still can – I need to be closer to family. I’m not getting younger and neither are they. That, in itself, requires me to relocate in the not too distant future, to move, or at least to spend long stretches of time other than in Madison. I’ve discussed this with necessary parties. That’s in the works. I thank God and many others who have been so good to me here. I’ll be around, however, and I won’t be a stranger…
… Expect now predictable malicious and twisted conjecture about me from the camp of the enemy – bzzzzz bzzzzz bzzzzz – from the usual suspects. They’ve been at me and others related to me for a while. They will keep it up. It’s what they do.
In anticipation, I have for a while now been praying for my enemies. I have begged God for the grace to forgive those who have done great harm to me and to others whom I respect and care for. I have been gearing up for the next wave of assault. Pray that I not weaken and give into hatred when the vilification from the Left, from catholic Antifa, starts up again.
God cannot be deceived and I tremble for them.
That’s my update.
I have a lot of details still to work out.
He has much more to say over at his blog.
This comes shortly after Fr. Z made some news — and raised some eyebrows — for conducting “election exorcisms”:
Ever since President Joe Biden emerged as the winner of the United States’ presidential election, Fr John Zuhlsdorf has been carrying out exorcisms about what he describes as “fraud” and “lying” during the vote-counting process.
The prominent priest-blogger and President Trump supporter, also claimed that his Bishop, Donald Hying of Madison, granted him the authority to carry out the exorcism rite.
But the bishop – who must give his permission for exorcisms to happen – says he never authorized Fr Zuhlsdorf’s “partisan political activity”.
… “A number of people have falsely concluded that I, as the Bishop of Madison, gave Fr John Zuhlsdorf permission to perform the rite of the sacramental of exorcism in relation to partisan political activity, to those seeking or holding elected office, or to recent developments in electoral politics in our country,” he said in a statement.
Instead, the bishop explained, he granted Fr Zuhlsdorf permission to carry out exorcisms “for the intention of alleviation from the scourge of the coronavirus pandemic” for a temporary period. An exorcism is an ancient ritual normally used for people who believe they are possessed by an evil spirit. But it can also be used to exorcise a place, locality or things. A bishop, however, must grant a priest permission to carry out an exorcism.
Mike Lewis at Where Peter Is has more background and details.
This is obviously a difficult time for him. Please remember Fr. Z in your prayers.
UPDATE: NCR’s Christopher White has some additional details:
A statement sent to the priests of the diocese on Jan. 14 said Fr. John Zuhlsdorf will relocate to “pursue other opportunities” and noted it was a mutual decision reached between Zuhlsdorf and Madison’s Bishop Donald Hying.
The statement also said that Zuhlsdorf, who has served in the diocese since 2014, remains in “good canonical standing.”
“The Bishop of Madison is grateful to the Reverend Zuhlsdorf for his faithful support of the diocese’s seminarians and priests, thanks him for his many years of steadfast ministry serving the diocese, and wishes him the best in his future endeavors,” the email stated.