Archbp. of Denver says no to SSPXers: what comes from scratching eyeballs

An interesting story is developing in Denver.  This just in via The Rocky Mountain News.

My emphases.

By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News
August 24, 2007

A group of breakaway Catholic traditionalists who will embark on an annual pilgrimage through Denver today has been banned by the archdiocese from going inside two downtown Catholic churches.

"This is just stunning," said Grider Lee, spokesman for St. Isidore the Farmer parish in Watkins.

Since 1999, the hardier members of the parish have made a 50-mile pilgrimage to the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden to thank God for the completion of their church.

This is not the first time the pilgrims have clashed with Archbishop Charles Chaput and his representatives over their use of Catholic sites during the pilgrimage.

The congregation of 250 families belongs to the Society of St. Pius X, an international sect, which relies upon a 16th century version of the Latin Mass and opposes the Second Vatican Council and its modernizing influences on the church.

Pius X members insist they are faithful Catholics, but the Catholic Church disagrees.

In 2002, Chaput stopped the group’s plan to celebrate a Latin Mass at Cabrini because of its schismatic standing. Since then, the pilgrims have celebrated their Mass at the highway turnout below the shrine.

Until now, however, the group was never stopped from praying in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception or Holy Ghost Church, two flagship parishes that are along the route to Golden.

"By then (the pilgrims) are 25 miles into it and they’re pretty tired," Lee said. "It’s nice to get into air conditioning, frankly, and spend time with our Lord, praying."

The ban was imposed because the archdiocese was receiving complaints from worshippers in past years that the St. Isidore crowd was leaving Pius X literature in the churches and trying to make converts, Communications Director Jeanette DeMelo said.

St. Isidore’s pastor, the Rev. Joseph Lester, said the group will abide by the archdiocese’s decision.

I have two point and a piece of advice.

First, because I know that His Excellency Archbishop Chaput has for many years been very friendly to groups wanting the older Mass, I am confident this decision does NOT stem from any dislike for the older form.  Archbp. Chaput was one of the very first bishops in the USA to welcome the FSSP, when he was in Rapidopolis, South Dakota.

Second, when guests start scratching eyeballs, even the well-disposed shut down the welcome.  The SSPXers, it seems, wore out their welcome by – can you believe it – leaving their literature in the churches they visited.  Brilliant move, that. 

Folks, I am sorry to hear this news from Denver, especially when some positive expectations have been raised by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.  Nevertheless, we can take this as an object lesson.  It would be great if something could be worked out.

Remember that when you are very zealous for the traditional liturgy, and you are faced with convincing priests and bishops to be open, don’t do stupid things.  Don’t get in their faces.  Don’t be rude.  Don’t insist on your superior position.  Persuade, don’t bludgeon. 

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13 Responses to Archbp. of Denver says no to SSPXers: what comes from scratching eyeballs

  1. Ryan Jackson says:

    I know there are many (not least of which our worthy blog host?) who would disagree with me, but I believe the only way for SSPX to return is on its knees in contrition. As much as one can argue all day and night about whether or not they are formally in schism (I believe they are, once again, I’m sure many disagree with me), there is a lack of humility and charity that make me understand and agree with His Excellency’s decision. Obedience of will and of deed is the beginning of discipleship and despite their claims, I think obedience (and probably charity) is grossly lacking in the case of SSPX.

  2. Augustine says:

    Good for Archbishop Chaput. I’m a parishoner at the Cathedral, I love the 1962 mass, and I’m glad the SSPXers were turned away. They do nothing but sow dischord around here.

    The SSPXers also send “missionaries” to the local FSSP parish to pull people away from the Church. The FSSP are sell-outs according to the local SSPX.

    After Summorum Pontificum was issued they declared to the local media “I told you so” and basically vowed never to return to the Church. The “I told you so” article is preserved on my blog – http://denvercatholic.blogspot.com/2007/07/sspx-priest-says-i-told-you-so.html

    Gus

  3. Tedster says:

    Thanks….. once again to Father Z! As a catholic in the Archdiocese of Denver and a lover of the traditional liturgy, I completely understand Archbishop Chaput’s stance. This group has repeatedly created conflict for our Archbishop and he still has not abandoned the TLM.

    In fact, as Father Z has stated, he even allowed the FSSP to maintain a parish (Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Littleton) within the Archdiocese of Denver. I also hear that he may allow more FSSP parishes, beginning in the Northern Colorado area, soon.

    So this conflict is not about the TLM in general, but about a radical group that betrays the Bishop where they reside. Very unfortunate.

    Thanks for all you do Father! Keep up the good fight!

  4. Legisperitus says:

    Leaving unapproved literature in churches you visit is very bad form for a guest, no matter who you are. Although I don’t consider the SSPX schismatic, I respect this decision by Abp. Chaput.

  5. David says:

    Thank you, Father Zuhlsdorf, for your read on the story!

  6. Gregg the obscure says:

    I’ve seen some of the SSPX recruitment literature left on car windshields at a Latin NO Mass. I congratulate his excellency Abp. Chaput for standing up for the faithful who might be subject to confusion or even doubt on finding such items left in their churches.

  7. ACS says:

    Greg,

    SSPX people really put literature on windshields? Oh my goodness!

  8. Bernard of Arezzo says:

    Actions like this make one wonder: Lets grant that SSPX is not formally in schism, could it not be the case that they are materially in schism?

  9. More information/commentary HERE.

  10. Steve says:

    So a Catholic Cathedral can be used by non-Catholics celebrating non-Catholic rites but SSPX pilgrims can’t say a Hail Mary in a Denver church? Would they be welcomed if they were Buddhists?
    Good Lord…
    ____________
    Catholic cathedral site for Rehnquist funeral

    Washington, Sep. 6, 2005 (CWNews.com) – Funeral services for Chief Justice William Rehnquist of the US Supreme Court will be held on September 7 in St. Matthew’s cathedral in Washington, DC.

    Although the late Chief Justice was a Lutheran, the funeral has been scheduled at the city’s Catholic cathedral at his family’s request. The family chose the cathedral because of its location in the heart of the capital city and its capacity for 2,000 people. The Wednesday-afternoon service will be Lutheran.

  11. John says:

    David,
    It is not true that the Archbishop assigned Fr. Whipkey to a parish with a High School or any school for that matter.

    Steve,
    You also are mistaken. Anyone, including the individual members of the SSPX pilgrimage group, is welcome to come into the Cathedral to pray. The letter banned them from entering as a group and asked them not to leave their literature.

    Peter McMahon,
    I don’t even know where to begin, so I won’t. Suffice it to say that there is no freedom to lie by exageration or omission just because it is on the internet. Hypothetically, if you and those who think as you do were right about everything you disagree with the Church on, your exagerations and lies to promote those positions would still be worthy of condemnation. God will judge you.

    Cordially,
    John

  12. John says:

    David,
    It is not true that the Archbishop assigned Fr. Whipkey to a parish with a High School or any school for that matter.

    Steve,
    You also are mistaken. Anyone, including the individual members of the SSPX pilgrimage group, is welcome to come into the Cathedral to pray. The letter banned them from entering as a group and asked them not to leave their literature.

    Peter McMahon,
    I don’t even know where to begin, so I won’t. Suffice it to say that there is no freedom to lie by exageration or omission just because it is on the internet. Hypothetically, if you and those who think as you do were right about everything you disagree with the Church on, your exagerations and lies to promote those positions would still be worthy of condemnation. God will judge you.

    Cordially,
    John

  13. Steve says:

    John,

    So Lutherans can “enter as a group” and even conduct their own rites (which, one would assume, would be far more damaging than an SSPX Latin Mass tract). On the other hand, SSPXers may not enter as a group but they may enter in pairs to say an Ave or two. Very accommodating.

    Leaving literature behind is tasteless and childish and I certainly condemn it but that can be handled by a phone call to the SSPX priest. “You’re welcome to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, God bless you on your pilgrimage but please respect us enough not to leave your brochures behind”

    Archbishop Chaput himself spent Holy Saturday at an Orthodox Divine Liturgy (in the sanctuary); the last time I checked, the Orthodox were not in communion with Rome (full or partial). Pope John Paul prayed in mosques and synagogues and allowed Buddhists to use the Sanctuary of St Francis Basilica in Assisi for their rites…

    I would suggest that some form of Fr Z’s five rules be followed by the Denver chancery. Here we have the SSPX — in a climate of reconciliation following the MP — asking to pray before the Sacrament confected at a Novus Ordo Mass and they’re turned away…

    If the Holy Father is encouraging “a reconciliation in the heart of the Church”, the Archdiocese of Denver is not listening.