Who is Fr. Z?

I have seen his name referred to often on this forum. I have never heard of him, and would like to know more about him. Can someone here give me some details?

Here is a linh to his blog: wdtprs.com/blog/

His full name is Father John Zuhlsdorf, he is of US nationality but I’m not sure where he is currently working. I think he worked for a time at the Ecclesia Dei commission in the Vatican.

From the Wikipedia (please correct if an error is found)


“John Todd Zuhlsdorf (b. October 28, 1959) is an American Catholic priest of the Diocese of Velletri-Segni[1] and a well-known Catholic Internet personality, often known as “Father Z.” He is a weekly columnist for the Catholic newspaper The Wanderer,[2] and has appeared on EWTN and the Fox News Channel. He is best known for his blog What Does the Prayer Really Say?, in which he advocates for reverent celebration of both the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite liturgy of the Mass. “The Staggers,” the blog of the British magazine New Statesman, listed Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s site as one of the top ten Christian blogs in the world.[3] A convert from Lutheranism, he was ordained in 1991 by Pope John Paul II.”

The info from the Wikipedia entry is largely correct, except that Father Z recently wrapped up his column in The Wanderer.

I go on his blog every time I’m online-Long Live Father Z! :smiley:

Father Z is a good a holy priest. And he “gets it”.


A few months back when a reporter for the National Catholic Reporter was calling around trying to find the “dirt” on Fr. Z, he wrote a blog post to “help her out” which explains a few things about who he is:

Waiting for Zagano

I think that post does a good job of answering most questions.

:thumbsup: He also has British cohorts. :smiley: We love him over here.

He’s absolutely hilarious. Did anyone listen to ‘Tamborine Women Priest’ lately?

Fr. Z’s blog is a staple for my daily reading.

Anyone who calls a Catholic paper he dislikes the “National Catholic Fishwrap” is ok in my book. :). For the record I agree with his opinion. :slight_smile:

Father Z is a great, safely orthodox read and I heartily endorse reading his blog or following him on Twitter.

To offer some balance to my endorsement, I will point out a couple of things about him which may not float everyone’s boat. He is really fixated on the idea that “if we fix the liturgy, we fix the Church” (he has some cute saying about this)… And he can be somewhat snarky…the National Catholic Fishwrap usage mentioned above is par for the course. But I for one don’t mind these at all.

My wife and I both joke about times when he quotes some reported piece and then precisely and mercilessly totally rebutts the nonsense in it inline, like a neurosurgeon excising a brain tumor. The first one of us to read his piece will often say to the other “Guess what the Red Pen of Doom said today?” :smiley:

He also refers to the NY Times as “Hell’s Bible”.

As for “dirt” on the good Father: he has appeared on Fox News :D.


I don’t enjoy his blog nearly as much as I once did - anymore, he spends more time talking about politics than religion, and the tone of some of his posts is starting to be kind of “out there”. Get a load of this:

I think this is very thought provoking…

I must say I have mixed feelings. I do wonder why he doesn’t seem to have a parish, and why he has asked blog readers to pay for his current trip to Rome?

In my earlier post (from a year and a half ago :p), I linked to a post on his blog that fleshes out his background.

Here is part of what it says:

I am a priest in good standing in the Suburbicarian Diocese of Velletri-Segni in Italy. This is one of the little ancient dioceses encircling Rome, thus “Suburbicarian”. My name appears on my diocese’s website in the list of diocesan priests. Unlike poor Roger Maris, I have no asterisk by my name. I have faculties to say Holy Mass (can. 903), to preach (can. 764), and to receive sacramental confessions (can. 969.1).

I am living, with the knowledge and consent of my bishop and his predecessor, outside my diocese and in the United States. I am working on my doctoral thesis, working on the internet, writing as a columnist for different publications, and giving talks at conferences and other events.

I am not engaged in any official external apostolate where I live. I have no assignment. I haven’t sought anything on top of what I now do. I can barely make headway on my thesis as it is! (It’s about the figure of David as an exemplum of civic virtues between Augustine and Ambrose, by the way, for the Augustinianum.) Since I am not functioning publicly in any way as a priest within the diocese where I live, I do not need the faculties of the diocese and therefore I have not sought them. I have been in the diocese with the knowledge of the last two bishops of the place. I don’t know what the present bishop knows. I haven’t been in touch. [Since I posted this, the situation is changed. I have full faculties of the diocese and I am publicly functioning in various capacities.]

This was originally posted in August 2011. I’m not sure when the bold, red addendum was added. He also says:

Oh, yes, that’s another thing. Since I am living outside my diocese, I have been living solely by what I earn by writing, by what I gain from your kind donations, and by the kindness of an important benefactor. I am, in short, a working beggar, and have been happy to be one. Being involved as I am pioneering a new form of ministry, and being outside my diocese, I have no support and I haven’t asked any from my bishop. I pay my own insurance, groceries, etc., cook for myself, clean for myself, do my own laundry. I keep it pretty simple. **[Since I originally posted this, this is all still true! Pioneers make their way!] **

It sounds as though he’s not getting a stipend from his diocese. That would explain why he is asking for donations to help him get to Rome.

Oh great, thanks for that Joe. I wonder why he is a priest of a diocese in Rome and not the USA? His situation does seem a little unusual don’t you think?

You’d have to ask him. :stuck_out_tongue: Yes, his situation is definitely not the norm. But if he received all the requisite permissions from ecclesiastical authorities to get to where he’s at, I’ll assume they knew what they were doing. :slight_smile:

It’s not uncommon at all for dioceses to have priests get PhD degrees, but I’m a LOT more used to seeing American priests sent to Rome for that rather than the other way around! That is unusual.

Not unheard of though. The priest that officiated at my wedding was an ordered priest from overseas sent by his order to a Big 10 school here to get a PhD.

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