I got an e-mail from Geoffrey A. Coleman, the Business Manager of Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska about the article on what is going on at Franciscan University at Steubenville concerning the TLM.
My emphases and comments.
Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf;
It came to my attention on Friday that an article you ran on your website entitled "Students Turn Out for Local Latin Mass", apparently from Steubenville University, contains a quotation attributed to me that is erroneous.
The apparent author, one "Kristi Moore, Assistant Editor" states, in part " The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, which is responsible for thousands of latin mass training sessions across the country (sic)."
In red letters, you took issue with the word "thousands". You are correct in having done so. It is untrue.
Firstly, I have never made such an outrageous statement.
Secondly, I was interviewed by one Kristi Moore of the Washington Times newspaper BY TELEPHONE last Fall. [Curiouser and curiouser!] Subsequently, she wrote and published an article on October 28, 2007 entitled "Mass appeal to Latin tradition". That article is still available in the archives of the website. After it was published, I found the comments attributed to me were accurate and nearly word-for-word.
The brief paragraph, as it was originally published, reads as follows: "The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has collaborated with Una Voce America to host workshops for clergy in Denton, Neb. Una Voce America, which promotes the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, usually teaches the rite to 12 students a session. But in September, it increased that number to 22 to meet the increased demand for training."
It is possible that whoever published the article in Steubenville edited my statement to help make an argument for the increased availability of the Traditional Latin Mass at the University. However, in doing so, I believe severe harm has resulted in the obvious irrationality of the statement, as well as the possible perception that the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter is resorting to bravado and exaggeration in order to further its image or purposes.
I humbly request you consider withdrawing this inaccurate article from your website, in order to prevent further damage to the reputation of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and to prevent further dissemination of a patently false statement. [I think this is the better route: publish this e-mail!]
I intend to pursue this matter more directly with the source of the information, and to insist on a retraction or clarification by its perpetrators.
In the meantime, I will no longer field any inquiries from the media. [THAT is a mistake!] Our normal response to such inquiries is to direct them to our North American District Office, where the District Superior makes the decisions as to how and when to respond. I failed to do this in the instant case, as I am very close to the actual day-to-day operation of the training classes at the Seminary. [Therefore you are in a position to know what is going on.]
In truth, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, class sessions of five days in length began in June, 2007, and have run every few weeks, as our schedule permits. Approximately 70 diocesan and religious priests have participated, from all parts of the USA. The response has been gratifying and edifying for everyone involved. May God bless and reward those priests who have, and who will, undertake this intensive study of the Mass of the Ages, for their own sanctity and the spiritual benefit of their parishioners.
I humbly apologize to you for any negative thoughts you may have regarding the false statement attributed to me. Please be assured that the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has always been, and will continue to be fully forthcoming and truthful in all of its dealings.
Yours in Christ,
Geoffrey A. Coleman
Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary
P. O. Box 147
Denton, Nebraska 68339
To be clear, I never thought that there were "thousands" involved. That struck me as an flight of fancy on the part of the writer of the article, not the FSSP or anyone associated with it.