A response from the rector of Mount Angel Seminary about TLM training

I received the following, which in justice I am happy to post.  It is a response to my entry about TLM training for seminarians at Mount Angel Seminary in Oregon. 

My emphases.

Dear Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

I would very much appreciate your printing the following response to the "report" sent into your blog from a Mount Angel seminarian.

"Fr. Z" and blog readers of the "report" regarding Mount Angel Seminary: The content of the recent blog message was imprecise and misleading on several counts.  Mount Angel Seminary will offer for the seminarians Mass according to the extra-ordinary form when it can be done properly and prayerfully and when the students are prepared by a preceding conference.  Recently those seminarians who wished were able to attend the extraordinary form of the Roman rite in a parish nearby, so they are not deprived of the opportunity.

Fr. Paschal Cheline, OSB
Interim President-Rector
Mount Angel Seminary
St. Benedict, OR  97373 USA

Remember: Summorum Pontificum is part of our landscape now.  It cannot be avoided.  It must not be avoided, especially in the training of seminarians.

I look forward to the day when all Latin Rite seminaries train their students in both uses of the Roman Rite as a matter of course.

In any event, while it sounds like use of and training in the Extraordinary Use is not formally banned, it doesn’t sound like very much is being done there.

It seems to me that sound training for seminarians today, to present them as competent candidates for ordination, should include training in how to celebrate their proper Rite, depending on which Church they belong to.  Priests of the Latin Rite should know how to celebrate the Latin Rite.

Is that too much to ask?

I’m just askin’

In any event, I am grateful to Fr. Cheline for the note.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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22 Responses to A response from the rector of Mount Angel Seminary about TLM training

  1. Fr. Z. said: “It seems to me that sound training for seminarians today, to present them as competent candidates for ordination, should include training in how to celebrate their proper Rite, depending on which Church they belong to. Priests of the Latin Rite should know how to celebrate the Latin Rite.

    So true. It shouldn’t have to be said, but it certainly needs to be. If only all bishops held that competency in both forms of the Latin Rite should be necessary for ordination (and generously provided for the attainment of that competency).

  2. “Remember: Summorum Pontificum is part of our landscape now. It cannot be avoided. It must not be avoided, especially in the training of seminarians.”

    But in Portugal they do avoid it. In fact, they ban it.

    Two weeks ago I was talking to what I have been told to be a ‘conservative’ seminarian. He called me a schismatic when I told him that I had a preference to the TLM.

    In my opinion, only the Pope can solve this huge problem that we have in Portugal.

    Our problem isn’t having a lot of modernist clergy – that happens everywhere. We just dont have any conservative or traditionalist Bishop, Diocesis or even Parish.

    Dear Readers: Pray for Portugal and please be thankful for having access to the TLM, because in Portugal there isn’t any – the bishops in practice banned it.

  3. Trad Tom says:

    But isn’t it good to know that “they” are reading Father’s Z’s blog? In this world of internet access, etc., the information literally flies around the world almost instantaneously, so “they” are aware of what good, well-formed believers are thinking, planning, and doing.

  4. Geoffrey says:

    Being of Portuguese ancestry, I have always wondered about the status of Summorum Pontificum in Portugal. I will keep this intention in my prayers for my “mother country”. I wonder about the Rite of Braga?

  5. Sieber says:

    Recently our parish sponsored a lecture on the Document of the Liturgy given by a professor of Homiletics and Liturgy from St. John’s Seminary for Los Angeles. A gentleman whom I assume was from the parish said that many seminaries in the U.S. including what he called our “Bishop Factory”, the Pontifical North American College in Rome are educating their students in the EF. He asked if St. John’s was doing the same. The professor replied, “No, the bishops who support this seminary have made no requests for it. There are no requests.”

  6. RBrown says:

    Amazing. First, the Interim Rector said that the seminary does not provide it. Then he says they are not deprived of the opportunity.

    What if he had said: “Recently those seminarians who wished were able to eat at a soup kitchen nearby, so they are not deprived of the opportunity.”

  7. RBrown: There are all sort of places about which that might be said.

  8. RichR says:

    Fr. Z.,

    When it comes to coverage and promotion of the traditional Mass and sacraments, you are turning into a “Catholic” Rush Limbaugh. Thousands (dare I say, millions) are not getting the straight answer from the mainstream Catholic media, so they are coming here to get the full story. The traffic is so high that even seminary rectors are writing in to correct any misinformation.

    This should affirm you in your quest to give this motu proprio (and all other “good news” in the Church) fair coverage. I know that if I have time to only read one blog, this is it. I know the information is loyal to the Holy Father, it is interesting, and it is encouraging. You give me hope each week, and I thank you.

  9. TJM says:

    Dear Father Z, it sounds like the good rector is punting for now. However, it would be interesting if a seminarian at Mt. Angel could get back to us, say in 6 months, to say what the situation there is with regard to the EF. I would think by then, the seminary
    staff should have had time for its “conference” and have an EF for its students. Tom

  10. I don’t know much about this place, or the rector in question, but it seems to be that when he said…

    “…when it can be done properly and prayerfully and when the students are prepared by a preceding conference.”

    …it could be presumed that preparations were already underway to render conditions as described. I would take him at his word, until I saw reason to think otherwise.

    As someone once said, “brick by brick.”

  11. Geoffrey:

    Public TLMs in Portugal – 0
    Public Rite of Braga (afaik) – 0
    Public Latin Paul VI Masses in Portugal – 1 (Introduced very recently)

    This is the situation. And there is demand. And there were signatures. And there were letters to ED.

  12. Brian Day says:

    My take is similar to David Alexander’s.

    1) TLM training will be offered in the future when the preparations are complete. Fr Cheline’s answer was too vague as to a timeline, so there is no way of knowing if it will be next semester or next century.
    2) The comment about not being “deprived” was a reference to access the the TLM, not access to training.

    Not the best wording for an email to “clarify” things.

  13. Johnny Domer says:

    Wow Fr. Z, Cardinal Schonborn’s office writes you for clarification after that crazy Mass he had, this seminary writes you to try to clarify their position…

    But of course…nobody likes the Old Mass…it’s just a fad for a certain extremely small group of extremists…it’s not like your blog is popular because your (gulp) IDEAS are popular…(?)…

  14. Most Excellent Sledgehammer says:

    I do know Father Cheline and, while I have not spoken with him in some time, I know him to be a very good and holy man. Let us all remember that even well-meaning reports can be not totally correct. I always prefer to give priests the benefit of the doubt, and with Father Cheline I most certainly do.

  15. The Holy Father promulgated “Summorum Pontificum” to bring the traditional Latin Mass into the popular domain of Catholics. He wants this form of the Mass to become a normal one in the parishes so that even young communities can become familiar with the Rite which the Church has celebrated for more than 1000 years.

    After hearing the recent comments of Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos (President of Ecclesia Dei Commission) it is clear that the Holy Father considers that all should have access to this treasure of the ancient liturgy of the Church. And even if not specifically requested by the faithful, the Holy Father wants it available to all. He considers it a gift which the Church is offering to the faithful.

    The Ancient Rite has certain characteristics, theological, liturgical, and cultural, and has been united to the developing life of the church in every sense, for more than 1000 years. This Rite gave rise to the music of Gregorian chant, the great polyphonic compositions, and the famous Masses of great composers like Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. From this Rite came the great cathedrals and the wonders of religious art. This Rite brought unity to the faith and became the single expression through which the Church adores God, making present on the altar the Sacrifice of the Cross. The ancient Rite maintains the sacred silence, contemplation and it makes present the Lord Jesus in an expression of rich liturgical beauty, as the conqueror of Sin and Death. Clearly the Holy Father wanted to recover for the entire Church this form of the single Roman RIte.

    It is also clear the mind of the Holy Father concerns Catholic identity. His legislation includes the heritage of the Church. As this Rite includes: Low Mass, High Mass (Sung Mass or Missa Cantata) the Solemn High Mass (Sung Mass with full Ceremonial, i.e., one Priest assisted by Deacon and Subdeacon), plus the Roman Ritual, etc. I believe it is timely for rectors of seminaries, and bishops, to become familiarized and trained in the ancient Rite. This is the priority.

  16. paul says:

    Good clarification from Mt. Angel Seminary. I would add that the latin Rite according to Pope Benedict XV1 is one rite containing 2 forms. Every priest of the Latin rite worth his salt should know how to say the latin rite of the Mass- ordinary and extra-ordinary.

  17. Jim says:

    I’m in this archdiocese. Everyone knows there have been problems at Mt. Angel Seminary for years, maybe they are improving things, but there are two sides to every story and I think there is some validity to the seminarians feelings, whatever the details. Everyone here knows the Archbishop has been extremely hostile to the TLM (in fact forbidden it, or had his Chancellor, Mrs.Tully, do so, since he seems afraid to speak directly to his priests), before Summorum forced him to allow it. Everyone knows this is the archdiocese of the infamous garbage missalettes and music produced by Oregon Catholic Press. Maybe the Rector’s letter is technically correct, but there’s much more going on that is not said.

    What this “nearby parish” is that supposedly offers a TLM I sure would like to know, none of my trad friends in a 100 mile radius have heard of it. There are only two TLM’s regular in the entire archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, both by elderly priests, in very small, remote parishes. And if he can do so, Vlazny will keep it that way.

  18. Central Valley Catholic says:

    The statement from Mt. Angel comes as no surprise to me. The diocese of Fresno sends most of their seminarians to Mt. Angel. Although there are two EF communities in the diocese, the current Bishop, John Steinbock has never been a public supporter of the Extraordinary Form. The bishop has permitted the EF but he has never been “kind” to either community. The bishop will not even discuss allowing a priest from the Fraternity of St. Peter into the diocese on a full time bases, even though one was offered. Since bishops like Steinbock send their seminarians to Mt. Angel, to a certain extent they control the purse string to the seminary. It is all about money and influence. Many seminaries from Fresno and other diocese in California are trained at Mt. Angel. If only Fresno had a true shepherd who would send seminarians to a truly orthodox seminary where they would be instructed in the full truth. Liturgical abuse is rampant in the Fresno diocese under John Steinbock. If bishops like Steinbock had seminarians and priests trained in the fullness of the Church, he would look at them as trouble makers

  19. RBrown says:

    1) TLM training will be offered in the future when the preparations are complete. Fr Cheline’s answer was too vague as to a timeline, so there is no way of knowing if it will be next semester or next century.

    Exactly.

    2) The comment about not being “deprived” was a reference to access the the TLM, not access to training.
    Not the best wording for an email to “clarify” things.
    Comment by Brian Day

    It would seem easier to provide access than training.

    What this demonstrates is that the Gregorian and Pauline rite (at least, the way it’s now said–versus populum in the vernacular) are very different.

  20. Processing this says:

    “It seems to me that sound training for seminarians today, to present them as competent candidates for ordination, should include training in how to celebrate their proper Rite, depending on which Church they belong to. Priests of the Latin Rite should know how to celebrate the Latin Rite.”

    It seems to me that the seminarians should focus on how to properly celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass, as this is how the majority of the faithful embrace the Eucharist. I would think that seminarians should be able to celebrate this Mass with all the fervor and zeal and piety as some would say htat only the TLM has. I do not want, nor be perceived to put down the Extraordinary Mass. I do appreciate it, and do appreciate Summorum Pontificum which was put out by the Holy Father.

    I am of the opinion that seminarians should have the opportunity to learn how to celebrate the Extraordinary Rite, but only if they have a deep knowledge of latin (at least be able to understand the intricicies of their prayers) and if there is someone there who is able to properly educate the candidates in the Rite. If these two things (and I would say that there are others, but at least these two) cannot be met, then the seminary should not train the seminarians in the Extraordinary Rite. Those seeking to be educated in this form, at least in the states, are able to go to a training which is put on by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.

    Not being trained in the Extraordinary form I do not think would make a candidate any less of a candidate for Orders, nor does having training in the Extraordinary form make someone any more of a candidate. I say this because the Novus Ordo is the ordinary form. If the candidates have been trained to celebrate this, then they are a good candidate. If they have not, then they should not be promoted to Orders until they have received proper education in the Mass which they will be celebrating for the people.

    I realize that many here may not share my opinion, but nonetheless, I wanted to share it. Again, I do not mean to put down the Extraordinary form of the Mass. I is definately valid and licit, and it certainly has its place in the Church, but I just question whether or not seminarians (or seminaries for that matter) should be required to learn it in order to share in the Priesthood of Christ.

    This something that I am still praying about and reading in to so that I can bave the best formed and informed conscience on this matter. If any of you have any ideas, please let me know.

  21. Aaron says:

    I can’t believe you think referring to Fr. Z as the “‘Catholic’ Rush Limbaugh” is a complement, RichR!

    Part of being a seminarian is learning humility and obedience. If a seminarian’s President-Rector or Bishop does not make learning the EF a priority, that’s too bad. They’re the boss. So, until the Holy Father or USCCB mandates training for the EF in seminaries or in dioceses (before or after ordination), it really is not the place of a seminarian to slander Father Paschal Cheline or any other of his superiors.

    Oh, and Jim, I would suggest you make an appointment with Archbishop Vlazny and tell him how you feel. Please don’t use the anonymity of a blog to insult that kind, holy man. If it is as you say, you’ll probably be talking to Mrs. Tully anyway. I’m sure telling her that Archbishop Vlazny seems hostile to the EF and afraid to address his priests would be much easier than saying it to his face.

  22. Bernard says:

    Having being trained in a seminary where we celebrated the Novus Ordo Mass everyday in different languages: Latin (Monday), Spanish(Tuesday), English (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday), national language (Thursday) and a regional dialect (Friday),I have come to experience the mystery and richness of the Sacred Liturgy in different ways. Each language has its own way of drawing myself to reflect on a different aspect of the mysteries of faith and enter into a deeper communion with God. I have no problem being trained in the Extraordinary form but in my OWN experience those who are pushing for it in my seminary believe that it is the only and right way to celebrate the Mass (which is a clear ignorance that there are over 20 liturgical rites in the Catholic Church). In this way it becomes very divisive and really forfeits the central purpose of the liturgy which is COMMUNION. The problem is not really the Extraordinary Form but the attitude of some who were pushing for it because of selfish agenda. Unless this “holier-than-thou” attitude is not corrected, the celebration of the liturgy becomes a mockery of some sort.

    Knowing the EF does not make one more orthodox than those who prefer the Ordinary form. Orthodoxy involves faithfulness to the Magisterium which includes faithfulness and respect to your own local archbishop/bishop as the “primary masgister” of your local church.