Petition for use of the older Mass in the US Military

There is an online petition for the use of the older form of Mass for members of the U.S. Military.

I am not sure how this will all work.  Perhaps a chaplain or two could write by e-mail and explain what the structure of this might be.

However, I believe this needs our support.  Numbers and petitions are, if nothing else, useful benchmarks.

Check it out.

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33 Responses to Petition for use of the older Mass in the US Military

  1. momof7 says:

    There is a Priest in Iwakuni that would most likely be willing to celebrate the TLM. That is if he already isn’t doing so..

  2. george says:

    Two things hopefully will come us this -

    1) The Military Archdiocese finally will acknowledge the service members, and their families, who desire the extraordinary form. They will do a “needs analysis” and, at a minimum, provide chaplains who can and will offer the extraordinary form in locations where the availability currently is limited.

    2) The Military Archdiocese will finally start accepting chaplains from the traditional orders – even those priests who will only offer the extraordinary form. There is no reason to not accept these priests. Given that the military has only 50% of the priest-chaplains they need, is it better to have soldiers go without sacraments? Sorry, son, you must go into combat without the availability of a confessor, because the only ones available refuse to absolve you in the ordinary form. Does this seem right? Also, the military archdiocese welcomes with open arms priests from the Eastern Catholic rites into the ranks of the chaplaincy! So, an Arabic or Aramaic liturgy is fine, but Latin is not. This is pure discrimination.

  3. Maureen says:

    http://michaelyon-online.com/wp/come-home.htm

    Nice pictures of a traditional Mass in Iraq. :)

  4. Richard says:

    This will perhaps be forwarded to the Archdiocese of Military Services and one of its bishops will sort out having different installation chapels in major areas offer the Traditional Latin Mass.

  5. momof7 says:

    Geroge,

    Great points. But one thing to remember too, many Bishops won’t release their priests to serve in the Military Chaplaincy- at least for active duty. They are more likely to release them for the reserves.

    It’s crucial that many Diocese have priest shortages and many just won’t spare that “one” for military service.

    I’m not sure that ICK or FSSP would even release their priests to serve in the military. Has that ever been addressed as a possibility?

    It would seem out of the ordinary to me and while there is a chaplaincy shortage in the military, with some locations with only one chaplain at a Duty Station, it would be difficult for a FSSP priest to only offer the Extraordinary form.

    We have attended Depot chapels thoughout our Marine career-(dh retired 3 years ago)- some larger bases and some smaller. Some have 1 Mass per Sunday , others have had up to 2-3 depending on the size.

    I think that to only have the extraordinary form on base available might be difficult and could be construed as “exclusive”. Also, what would occur when a chaplain gets orders to another unit? That would pose great difficulty there as well. They do move around every 4-5 years. So where the TLM has been present at a Base chapel for 4 years, the priest leaves and now no TLM is available and he moves to a new duty station and he has to start all over again?

    Priest’s can’t be limited to just one duty station throughout their 20 year career.

    It would be interesting to hear someone chime in on this because it poses some difficulties that would surely have to be addressed.

  6. Henry Edwards says:

    Also, what would occur when a chaplain gets orders to another unit? That would pose great difficulty there as well. They do move around every 4-5 years. So where the TLM has been present at a Base chapel for 4 years, the priest leaves and now no TLM is available and he moves to a new duty station and he has to start all over again?

    Sounds a lot like civilian life! Apparently some things are about the same all over.

  7. chris K says:

    They could at least concentrate the few offerings of TLM in locations that are generally heavily populated by active duty as well as retirees – esp. where many other ceremonial functions take place – and esp. where those functions just may be televised on special occasions and/or funerals.

  8. momof7 says:

    Does anyone have the pictures that Fr Kucik sent from Iraq on the chapel they built there? I remember seeing them in the Wanderer a few weeks back..

  9. george says:

    momof7,

    If offering exclusively the old mass would be a problem, as you say, why does the military Archdiocese accept Eastern Rite priests who only offer their rite? This apparently presents no difficulties, only traditional priests are problems…

  10. momof7 says:

    Henry,

    The Fraternity priests generally have their own parishes and only move within their own parishes that are Extraordinary rite only.

    Thats where the problem exists within the Military community. Depot Chapels or Chaplains assigned to a Combat unit most likely would not be given that exclusivity.

    Chris,

    I agree- some of the major installations- Pendelton, 29Palms,Fort Hood, Leonardwood, Knox. But most have surrounding Parishes that may have the TLM. The remote bases as well as those OCUNUS is where the problem usually is. Most of the major Bases have 2 Chaplains-one at the Base chapel and usually another at one of the Combat units.

    The smaller ones generally have one priest and he would normally seek assistance from nearby parishes/priests if he either travels or needs help. Usually retired military Chaplains tend to retire around major Bases and they are around to assist when called upon.

    I wonder if this is a reason that the Fraternity and ICK are not currently in the Military Chaplaincy.

  11. george says:

    Also, I’ve talked with several young FSSP priests who would love to serve in the chaplaincy. And, I talked with one prominent FSSP priest after mass one day about this. I was expecting him to demure from the idea of the order sending priests into the military (given the ecumenical nature of the military chaplain’s duties). Without missing a beat, he said that it would be no problem whatsoever with a traditional priest serving in the modern chaplaincy.

  12. george says:

    momof7,
    please address my point about eastern rite priests? why apparently is this not a problem for the archdiocese?

    from the archdiocese’s webpage:
    “Note: The term Catholic as used throughout this and other AMS documents refers not only to the Roman Catholic Church, but also to all the Eastern Catholic Churches in union with Rome.”
    http://www.milarch.org/chaplains/chap_positions.html

  13. ashley says:

    This is a wonderful development. The extraordinary form would be great to have available to those who serve in the military, but I think that having Catholic chaplains present at all should be a higher priority.

  14. Nathan says:

    + JMJ +

    I have been on active duty in the Army for the past 22 years, and I think the petition is a grand idea. There simply isn’t a way to communicate through normal parish structures to implement Summorum Pontificum in the Military Archdiocese.

    I’m not particularly sanguine about the immediate outcome. I have met many good and holy priests associated with the Military Archdiocese, but (other than in recent articles in The Wanderer and The Remnant) have yet to meet one who seemed in the least inclined toward the TLM.

    I have also seen quite a bit of playing fast and loose with the rubrics and a tendency toward “community at the expense of God.” I remember a sister in Germany many years ago (who worked for the Army Europe Chaplain’s Office) who told every audience and every person she saw that we have to be ready for tons of “priestless communities” and pushed chapels toward “Communion Services” instead of Holy Mass. More recently, we had to stay away from the chapel at Ft Leavenworth because the bulletin printed a blurb on why we weren’t allowed to kneel after receiving Holy Communion—“it’s not being in communion with one another if we don’t wait to pray until everybody receives.”

    In my area, a number of the military folks who are uncomfortable with diocesan priests actually preaching on the Truth of the Catholic Faith gravitate toward the military chapels—“they’re more welcoming.”

    To be fair, I’ve made sure we belonged to a good civilian parish for a number of years. The Military Archdiocese has probably made a lot of progress toward reverence at Mass and firm Catholic teaching (based on the articles). Nonetheless, we should pray for military members and their families—given the risks associated with the profession, the Church should be especially solicitous to the state of souls.

    In Christ,

  15. momof7 says:

    George,

    I ran through the Manual and I found that Chaplains CAN celebrate the TLM… It does have some more information for Eastern Rite but its pretty limited.. Personally, I’ve never run into an Eastern Rite Chaplain inour 20 years of Active duty- we were at 7 Duty stations..

    I cant copy and paste from the .pdf however.

    Here is the link for the Document:

    http://www.milarch.org/resources/docs/PM-MAIN.pdf

    On page 10 they have the regulations for the TLM

    Chapter 2 page 12
    addresses the Eastern Rite,

    Page 18 for Eastern non-Catholics entering the Church.

    That’s all I could find..

  16. momof7 says:

    George.. one more answer I found on the http://www.catholicmil.org site Fr Echert answered the question:

    Are Eastern Rite Catholic priests allowed to be military chaplains, or only Roman Catholic priests?

    ANSWER: (Fr. Echert)

    Each branch of the military accesses how best the needs of the troops are met with regards to religious preference in determining what clergy are eligible to be commissioned as chaplains. The two largest religious groups within the military are Roman Catholic and Protestant. So the largest number of chaplains is Roman Catholic and Protestant. Beyond this there are a few Eastern Orthodox priests, Jewish Rabbis and now Imams who serve as military chaplains. As to Eastern Rite Catholic, my guess is that they are eligible, most especially if they are bi-ritual and thereby able to offer the sacraments to Roman Catholics as well as their own rite Catholics. The limitation upon an Eastern Catholic who is not bi-ritual may be with regards to the number of Catholics of his particular rite that would be found in any particular location. If very few, then the military would be less inclined to consider the priest as a candidate, though it is true that he may be considered for the fact that he can still serve as a spiritual and moral leader for the wider military community, in non-sacramental ways.

    my thoughts: Perhaps they would place him in a VA hospital or a location where he could Minister to those Active Duty and those in his local civilian area. But my guess would have been that they must be, as Father called it, Bi-Ritual.

  17. Fr J. says:

    As a military chaplain, perhaps I can clarify some of the questions raised this far:
    1) Eastern Rite Catholic priests wouldn’t necessarily have to be bi-ritual to serve in the Military Archdiocese. However, they would probably receive assignments, or “billets,” where they could either travel as needed throughout operational areas (combat zones and the like) especially during the holy seasons or else draw on a larger population (such as on a large base or training depot).
    2) The only way I know of that a priest-chaplain’s situation is different from a diocesan priest’s, regarding “Summorum Pontificum,” is that he is not, canonically speaking, a “pastor,” even when he is in charge of a base chapel, since there are no parishes, as such, in the Military Ordinariate. However, practically speaking, arrangements could be made to have the Traditional Mass just as in a “civilian” parish. (I know of at least four priests serving in the military who are only too eager to offer the Traditional Mass.)

  18. John Paul says:

    I know the focus here is primarily on soldiers on deployment, but I am aware
    of the senior Catholic chaplain at the U.S. Naval Academy already getting
    permission from then Archbishop O’Brien in 2006 to offer the TLM there. I
    don’t know how often he offers it. It usually was on Saturday mornings only.

  19. momof7 says:

    Thanks Father J for the info!

  20. Fr. Aidan Logan, OCso says:

    Since he has been cited in comments here, perhaps a few words from the “Senior Catholic Chaplain” at the US Naval Academy might be in order.
    1. I am not an official spokesman for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, (AMS) but am very familiar with this issue and have discussed it at some length and on several occasions with the officials of our chancery office.
    2. The AMS is currently “sede vacante”. Our former Ordinary, Archbishop Edmund O’Brien, has been transferred to Baltimore. We have been told that we can expect and inter regnum of about a year. During that time no changes in policy can take place. “Sede vacante nihil innovetur.”
    3. There is currently no restriction that I know of on the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) within the AMS. When I first came on active duty (1991) priest- chaplains were permitted to celebrate the TLM on those bases where the bishop of the local diocese also permitted it. This restriction was lifted some time prior to the recent motu proprio.
    4. The celebration of the TLM is at the discretion of the individual priest-chaplain. A chaplain is the equivalent in law of a parish priest/pastor. (CC. 564-572 & Apostolic Constitution Spirituali Militum Curae [21 April 1986])
    5. The AMS has no say whatever in the assignment of priests once they have be endorsed and commissioned in one of the three Chaplain Corps (Army, Navy & Air Force). In the Navy Chaplain Corps we rotate between sea and shore assignments with the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Shore assignments to chapels are for three years though priests are typically pulled out early and sent on deployment because of the needs of the service. Priest assigned to deploying units (either ships or Marine units) “help out” at base chapels for confessions and Masses when their units are not deployed our engaged in training and exercises. The will also frequently help out in local civilian parishes, as many of our people and priests live off base in civilian housing.
    6. Eastern Rite priests who are military chaplains receive bi-ritual faculties to celebrate the Roman Rite while on active duty. They must be willing to celebrate the Ordinary Form Latin Rite to receive the faculties of the AMS. The same goes for priests from “traditional” communities. It’s not a question of forbidding the TLM but rather of providing the sacraments to the faithful who have a rite to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
    7. There is a sever shortage of priest-chaplains in the Military. All our priests are on loan from dioceses, religious orders and clerical congregations. We serve at the pleasure of our bishops or religious superiors and can be recalled at any time. In theory the AMS could have its own seminary and incardinate its own clergy but, for many reasons, this option has never been seriously considered in the US.
    8. When no priest-chaplain is available for a base the commanding officer, acting through his command chaplain (obviously a non-catholic), can hire what is called a “Contract Priest” to offer a set number of Masses and hear confessions throughout the year. These priests are usually retired chaplains or priests who, for reasons of health and/or age, are no longer engaged in parish ministry. This is more likely to be done if there is no civilian parish within a reasonable distance or, if overseas, there is no English speaking parish nearby.
    9. Retired military persons (unless they are US Government employees stationed overseas, dependants of an active duty service member or actually resident on the grounds of one of the service academies) are not subjects of the AMS. This is not to say that they are unwelcome at military chapels but rather to point out that in terms of jurisdiction and petitions(!)they are members of the local civilian parish.
    10. With regard to the logistics of introducing the TLM at a military chapel it should be kept in mind that these buildings are typically shared with a protestant congregation and that scheduling during the normal hours of Saturday, Sunday and weekday evening services is very tight.
    11. Here at the Naval Academy we have the TLM on Saturdays at 0815 in our beautiful crypt chapel dedicated to St. Andrew. This is the only timeslot available in both the chapel and the midshipmen’s schedules. This is a “Private Mass” because I am the only priest in the area who can or will celebrate the TLM and thus not in a position to guarantee its celebration on a regular basis or after my scheduled departure in February 2009. I also celebrate the TLM from time to time in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel located in Bancroft Hall (the midshipmen’s barracks) in order to renew the Sacred Species.
    1. Finally, the availability of the TLM in the AMS will ultimately depend, as in civilian parishes, on the ability and willingness of individual priest-chaplains to celebrate it. This, and not the policy of the AMS, is the issue.

    Fr. Aidan Logan, OCso
    Commander, Chaplain Corps, USN

  21. momof7 says:

    God Bless you Padre and thanks for the clarification!!!

  22. PMcGrath says:

    Even though I’ve never been in the Armed Forces, I was very happy to add my name to the Military TLM petition.

    Those who support the military petition might also be interested in adding their names to another petition: a request to Cardinal Egan to offer Christmas Midnight Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Patrick’s Cathedral this year. It has garnered more than 450 signatures so far, from around the world.

  23. RBrown says:

    Fr. Aidan Logan, OCso,

    Two graduates of the USNA are members of the FSSP. I think by now both have been ordained. One was commissioned in the Marine Corps and the other flew supply helicopters in the Navy.

  24. momof7 says:

    UH OH…

    Whispers in the Loggia just posted that there might be some action on Monday at the AMS:

    “The cardinal-dean met with the Pope earlier this week. While the subject matter of the meeting remains unclear, quick-moving word indicates that festivities to mark the milestone will begin on Monday in Washington, as a Cleveland-born Dominican from Sodano’s clan gets tapped to head the archdiocese for the Military Services USA.

    Just to clarify: if you’re thinking Dominican as in “House of Studies,” think again.”

    http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/

    Can it be Fr Tom Doyle, OP ?????

  25. Louis E. says:

    Actually the latest whisper from the Loggia is that it will be Abp. Timothy Broglio,current Nuncio and former Sodano aide.

  26. george says:

    Fr. Logan,

    Apparently we are not so desperate for Catholic priests that the AMS will accept traditional priests who only offer the extraordinary form?

    Why is this?

    Traditional Catholics serving in the military, like myself (and my family), must go exclusively to the ordinary form all the time, when we’re assigned to parts of the country or the world with no extraordinary form available outside the base gates.

    To me, this seems like a point of catecheses for the Catholic laity of the AMS – instruct them in the different forms and traditions within Catholicism. We could make some headway in the priest shortage if we allowed traditional priest and Eastern rite priests (who are not bi-ritual) in the chaplaincy.

    Ultimately, as a nation at war, it’s no longer acceptable to say that some would feel uncomfortable with anything other than the ordinary form of sacraments.

    Catholic soldiers, sailors, and airmen are dying daily. They need priests – that’s the bottom line.

  27. momof7 says:

    Quite an interesting choice for AMS. What do we know about him, other than he was Sodano’s aide. Naturally that doesnt mean he was in line with Sodano’s positions..

    Thanks for the update..

  28. jane says:

    What beautiful old photographs!! I am especially inspired by the jeep-converted altar. I guess if a traditional altar can be converted that quickly and efficiently on a battlefield, it can be done in a contemporary church.

  29. jane says:

    What beautiful old photographs!! I am especially inspired by the jeep-converted altar. I guess if a traditional altar can be converted that quickly and efficiently on a battlefield, it can be done in a contemporary church.

    jane in memphis

  30. Fr. Aidan Logan, OCso says:

    George,

    I agree with you up to a point. However, pastorally speaking, in the present level of knowledge among Catholics — especially junior enlisted with little or no real formation in their faith — it would be disastrous to simply thrust the Extraordinary Form upon them as the only option. We would simply be driving them into the arms of the protestants who are only too anxious to catch them.

    As you know, it is very common for a priest to ride a circuit among deployed units and to be in one place for just a few hours. There is hardly enough time to see those who need counseling, hear confessions and say Mass. There is certainly no time to provide the catechesis and practical instruction necessary to positively dispose them to the Extraordinary Form.

    It can be done and I have done it. But it takes time, patience, perseverance and, most importantly, stability in one place with a single unit of personnel. I begins with a reverent and exact celebration of the Ordinary Form (this itself can be a total revelation to most), eventually using the Roman Canon almost all the time. They learn to own the liturgy for the first time in their lives. We have no grandmothers aboard to make the responses for them and lead the congregation in standing, kneeling and sitting. I train the most devout to serve Mass and encourage frequent confession. If there are some good voices among them we form a schola and learn some basic Latin chants. The, after some months, we start by degrees a weekly Ordinary Form Latin Mass, adding more Latin as the become accustomed. Finally, after about six months, I institute a second daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form and invite those who wish to attend. By now they know the basic structure of the Mass and almost all the Latin responses since, with the exception of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, the servers/peoples parts of both forms are identical.

    In a perfect world Catholics should be at home in all the venerable Rites of the Church, both East and West. The truth, however, is that the vast majority are not. In fact, especially among young singe males, they are barely aware of what goes on at the Masses they do attend. To the extent that the Extraordinary Form becomes a normal part of civilian parish life and our general Catholic population becomes liturgically literate again, to that extent can we expect our military personnel to willingly assist at Mass when their chaplain celebrates exclusively in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rte or one of the Eastern Rites.

    In a base chapel, as in a parish, simply adding another Mass in the Extraordinary Form is not, in itself, a problem. But this assumes that the priest-chaplain assigned there can and will offer the Extraordinary Form. Base chapels are not parishes and the Military Archdiocese does not have any say in where priests are assigned. In addition, chaplains, like all officers, must compete for promotion if they are to remain on active duty. A priest-chaplain assigned to exclusively chapel ministry so as to provide the Extraordinary Form would most certainly be passed over for promotion and eventually be forced to return to civilian life.

    With time and the grace of God our Holy Father’s initiative in de-restricting the TLM will bring us to the day when all Latin Rite priests are able and willing to celebrate the Liturgy reverently, attentively and devoutly in both forms. That will take time and, sad to say, attrition among those who want no part of this project.

    Fr. Aidan Logan, OCso
    CDR, CHC, USN
    Catholic Chaplain
    United States Naval Academy
    Annapolis, MD

  31. george says:

    Thanks, Fr. Logan. That makes total sense.

    God bless you.

  32. george says:

    Fr. Logan,

    One more thing..

    I realize that “cheeks in the seats” is the most important metric by which a chaplain is evaluated – I would guess by both his military and his ecclesial chains of command.

    What do you think about bringing on board one priest from the traditional orders (assuming he is of the stripe which will only offer the extraordinary form of the sacraments) and seeing what happens? Not a change of policy, just a test case?

    He would have to work mightily hard to keep the congregation together. But I think given the zeal and energy of these young traditional priests, he just might be able to do it..