CNS article by a priest hostile toward the older Mass and people involved with it

Catholic News Service has distributed an article by a priest very hostile to the older form of Mass, derestricted by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

Catholic News Service is operated by the American Bishops’ Conference, the USCCB.  The author, Fr. Peter J. Daly (ordained in 1986), is a columnist for the Catholic News Service.

Here is the article. It was picked up from The Tidings of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

My emphases and comments.

Published: Friday, August 17, 2007

Will anyone come?

By Rev. Peter J. Daly

The parish just to the west of mine has been celebrating the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass for more than 15 years. The pastor has special permission granted years ago by the former Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal James Hickey. He is also one of the few priests around who remembers the pre-1962 ritual.

Almost nobody comes.

He gets about 30 people per Sunday, [I wonder if this is true.] even though his is the only Latin Mass for at least 40 miles around in an area that encompasses more than 20 parishes.

Most of the people who come are elderly. [I’ll bet that isn’t true!  Everywhere I have been the majority are young people.] They like this Mass because it is quiet and short. It reminds them of the olds [sic] days. A few young people come once in a while out of curiosity. They do not come back often. 

My neighboring pastor is a bit exasperated with the whole thing. It means a lot of work for him. Under the old liturgy the priest did just about everything. The people who come to the Latin Mass like that part of the tradition just fine. They don’t think they should have to do anything but show up. After all, it is the priest who says Mass. They are just spectators. [This is a vile characterization, beneath the dignity of a priest.]

Before Vatican II’s reforms, there were no lectors or eucharistic ministers. The servers said most of the responses. A lot of the prayers were said "sotto voce," i.e., inaudibly.

For my neighbor, the extra liturgy means that he has had to move the altar used for the Mass facing the people. (He has recently stopped doing this because nobody showed up to help him.) Then he has to set out different books and change into different vestments.

Most inconvenient of all, he has to prepare and preach a different homily.

Why a different homily? Because there are different readings. In the pre-1962 liturgy there was a one-year cycle of readings. We read only an Epistle and a Gospel. There were no readings from the Old Testament. [That’s odd… I read one from the Old Testament today.] We didn’t hear much of the Bible and it was heard in Latin.

Since the reforms of Vatican II our book of readings for Sundays (Lectionary) has a three-year cycle, which includes readings from the Hebrew Scriptures. So my neighbor can’t even preach the same homily for the Latin and English Masses on most Sundays.

A few folks from my parish go over to my neighbor’s parish for the Latin Mass. Mostly they are quite elderly. They don’t like all the singing at my parish. They don’t like shaking hands. They don’t like Communion in both forms. They don’t like having three readings.  [And I guess that’s wrong of them.]

They tell me what they like most about the Latin Mass is that they can get in and get out in less than 45 minutes. They put a high premium on speed. A good liturgy is a short liturgy.  [Again, this vile characterization of these people is beneath the dignity of a priest.]

For them a good liturgy also is one where they don’t have to speak to anyone or do anything. Their whole attitude says "I want no commitment and I want no communication." Hardly the "full and active participation" that Vatican II called for.

So now that Pope Benedict XVI has issued his "motu proprio" permitting the celebration of the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass, will there be big crowds at the Latin Mass? Will more parishes start to offer it? I doubt it.

Apart from the schismatic followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and a few young people who are nostalgic for a church they never knew, almost nobody is pressing for it. Nobody under the age of 55 even remembers the old Latin ritual.

I think my neighbor’s experience will be the experience of the church. We can offer it. But almost nobody will come.

This article is as mendacious as it is rude. 

By e-mail I received a note from a reader who knows the people referenced in that article.  Here is what he wrote (slightly edited):

Fr. Peter J. Daly of the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. (who is a Catholic News Service contributor) wrote a very negative and uncharitable article that portrayed the Indult situation at his neighboring parish as an irreverent venue in which lazy old fogeys and an overburdened pastor are specifically why the return of the Latin Mass is going to be a bust.  He doubts that anyone will come.  My beef and why I intend to hold Fr. Daly accountable is that he could have presented his viewpoint without falsely exemplifying the neighboring parish.  I am more disturbed about it today than I was yesterday because he told Fr. Vitturino that he would put out a retraction.  Now he and possibly CNS are playing games with Fr. Vitturino.  Not on my Watch!

There is more on this mess over at Ten Reasons, including:

I just spoke to the Pastor at St. Francis deSales regarding Father Daly’s Tridentine Mass column, and he is very upset. He says the article is full of lies, and he has spoken to the Auxiliary Bishop about it. First of all, as he told the Bishop, he is NOT exasperated and that this Mass is NOT a burden; he told the Bishop that if it were a burden, he would have let him know. He does not prepare two different homilies, and yes they no longer move the altar, but only because the microphone wires kept getting damaged during the process. He said that attendance is on the increase, and that it is not all elderly people and they do not attend because they want a short liturgy, because his Tridentine Mass is at least an hour long, longer than his other Masses. This priest is truly upset, and I hope Fr. Daly is called to task on this.

And this was added in a comment:

Thanks for putting this on your blog so that the whole world could see. I was the person who first alerted the pastor about this irresponsible piece written by Fr. … Daly. His actions toward the Faithful of the parish (whether deliberate or not) and those that attend St. Francis de Sales were completely uncharitable. He could have easily presented his view without misrepresenting falsely his fellow priest and the congregation. Either he outright lied to proliferate an anti-Tridentine Mass agenda and was arrogant enough to think that he wouldn’t get caught doing it, or he is an irresponsible journalist who doesn’t check out his facts before writing an article. I don’t know for sure what his motives are, but the pastor called me back and told me that:

1. Fr. … Daly apologized to him and told him that he should have checked with him first.

2. Catholic News Service has put his viewpoint article on this subject on hold so that it will no longer be circulated.

3. Fr. Daly told the pastor that he would put out a retraction.

I also got this by e-mail:

I just got off the phone with Fr. Vitturino this morning.  Fr. Peter Daly is attempting to put out a slightly polished but still uncharitable article that continues to take a dump on the Faithful and the pastor of St. Vincent de Sales Parish.  Read the attachment and compare it to the original. According to the pastor, this is unacceptable and not what he expected after talking to Father Daly and the editor (Ed Brosnan) of Catholic News Service.  I attempted to contact Mr. Brosnan this morning to tell him that this needs to get resolved "the right way."  Tomorrow, Fr. Vitturino is going to meet with his parishioners to talk to them about this blasphemous attack on their integrity and what he intends to do.  He told me that he intends to talk to his Auxiliary Bishop about this again on Monday in an effort to force Father Daly’s hand.  The Auxiliary is Bishop Francisco Gonzalez.  It is Fr. Vitturino’s desire for Fr. Daly to print a "full retraction."  It is my desire that Catholic News Service no longer retains him.  It appears right now that CNS and Fr. Daly are attempting to save face, but their not going to be able to as long as this kind of stuff makes it onto my radar. 

What about that retraction Fr. Daly was supposed to write?  I was sent a copy of what was called a "retraction".   The only different I saw in the text I was sent:


Fr. Daly’s change

The parish just to the west of mine has been celebrating the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass for more than 15 years.

A parish near mine has been celebrating the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass for more than 15 years.

Profound dfference, no?  I hope there is a real retraction out there, somewhere.  If Fr. Daly wants to make sure lots of people see his real retraction, he can send it to me and I will post it for him. 

What concerns me the most about this is the lack of regard from that author, but also from CNS, for the people at that parish and for the priest there.  The attitude is one I have encountered quite often.  People are entitled to like or not like the older Mass.  That is not my problem.  What disturbs me is that this was distributed at all by the news service operated by the American Bishops.

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