Fascinating development about the Motu Proprio, Bp. Galeone and D. of St. Augustine

I got a very interesting e-mail.

Emphases and comments mine.

Bishop Victor Galeone was on the WQOP Live Show today in the Diocese of St. Augustine, answering questions live from callers. I will record the encore show tomorrow (which will air at 12PM EST) and transcribe his response for you to post (if you like) on your blog.  [Is the Pope Catholic?]

A caller asked the bishop what sort of "qualifications" he will be expecting the clergy to exhibit before they’ll be "permitted" to use the extraordinary form in this diocese.  The caller also asked the bishop if he would be personally willing or able to use the extraordinary form. The bishop’s response was that he will expect the clergy to be able to exhibit knowledge of Latin and the rubrics of the rite.  He also acknowledged the memorandum "leak".  Furthermore, he said that he will not prohibit anybody from using the extraordinary form. 

Next, he read an excerpt from an article in some magazine on how some have said that the solution to irreverent liturgies is to bring back the old Mass.  The bishop said that he sees that it’s irreverence exhibited by priests that needs to be corrected, and that the solution is not found in bringing back the Latin Mass.  He stated that "the people don’t know Latin". 

He also said that he prays in Latin, English, and Spanish privately on a daily basis, however he would "prefer not to" offer the liturgy in the extraordinary form.

He sounds like he was prepared for a question on this, interestingly enough.

If you want to alert your readers to tune in tomorrow to the encore broadcast of the WQOP  Live Show, that would be great but I’ll be sure to transcribe it for you.

AM1600 Atlantic Beach-Jacksonville
Saturday, September 1, 2007
WQOP Live Show (encore)

Guest:  Bishop Victor Galeone of the Diocese of St. Augustine

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jeff Miller says:

    This is my bishop and I have no doubt that actual practice in the diocese will be much better than the memo suggested. I think he is a very solid bishop and one who acts promptly, such as excommunicating a priest who joined rent-a-priest. Since he became my Bishop I have seen some quite positive changes throughout the diocese such as the replacement of resurrection style crosses with actual crucifix.

  2. fr.franklyn mcafee says:

    He is an orthodox bishop.He wrote a pastoral letter strongly endorsing Humanae Vitae.He also allowed the conservative episcopal bishop to use the catholic cathedral for his installation since it was the biggest church around.The episcopal bishop pointedly told his presiding bishop to stay away because he had “consecrated” the homosexual bishop in New England.The presiding bishop said he was going to come anyway at which point Bishop Galeone withdrew permission for the episcopalians to use the cathedral. There are many good and orthodox bishops who do not treasure ,prefer,or even like the extraordinary form of the Roman rite.In my opinion the renewal of the church,the new Pentecost,will come about not through them but throught those bishops who understand and value and wish to promote the traditions of the church.After all tradition is thememory of the Church.The great renewal,the new springtime first prophesied by Pius XII.the new Pentecost will have to be driven by a spiritual engine,and that engine is the traditional roman rite.

  3. TJM says:

    Father McAfee, I have a real problem calling a bishop “orthodox” who in spite of Sacrosanctum Concilium, Sacramentum Caritatis, etc.(official Church pronouncements on the Sacred Liturgy)making statements that bringing back Latin in the Mass or the Latin Mass is not the “solution” because people don’t know Latin (a really stupid statement given the vernacular translation always accompanied the Latin in the Missal). He may be orthodox in other matters, but he is not orthodox in Liturgy, and I think Benedict XVI would be shocked by his disloyal statements. Moreover, if he cannot be pastoral enough to learn to say the Extraordinary Rite, then he should really reconsider whether he should be the shepard of his Diocese. Latin should never have left the Liturgy in the first place if our bishops had followed Church law (and the very schema they voted on at the Council). I’m sick of bishops like this. If a bishop does not support Church positions on the most sublime aspect of the life of the Church, the Liturgy, then I think they should consider another line of work. Tom

  4. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    I suppose it would be fair to ask if the issue for the bishop is Latin or something else.

    Fr. McAfee:

    How can a bishop be orthodox in his faith if he has an active dislike (disdain, if you prefer) for the form of Mass used for so many generations?

  5. catholiclady says:

    It appears the above comments beg the question, “what constitutes an Orthodox Priest?” or for that matter, “what does it mean to be an Orthodox Catholic?”.

  6. Papabile says:

    I think one would want to refer to orthopraxis rather than orthodoxy when referring to liturgy.

  7. Maureen says:

    This isn’t heterodoxy or heteropraxy, for that matter. It’s a lack of full confidence in the pastoral usefulness of all the expressions of the Latin Rite. Why? Because that’s what he was taught by our Catholic culture for the last X years.

    A lack of confidence can be solved. As the good bishop sees it working elsewhere, he’ll have his mind changed.

    Still, I understand if people in the diocese aren’t happy. Me, I would have been tempted to call in and make comments about — “The people don’t know Latin? Are you saying Latin students aren’t people?” But of course, that would be amusing but not helpful to the larger goal. (Unless you said it in a funny way, and made the bishop laugh. And btw, I’ve noticed that a dry delivery doesn’t work in fraught situations, because people don’t realize you’re joking.)

  8. Maureen says:

    “Whose fault is it that the people don’t know Latin?” is probably also not a helpful remark.

    “Of course, you’ll be instituting Latin programs in the diocese’s parochial schools and encouraging parishes to offer Latin enrichment programs” is a helpful remark.

  9. EDG says:

    I think Maureen is right in the fact that the bishop has no confidence in the pastoral usefulness of the traditional rite (I hate the term “extraordinary rite”). But I think it’s less based on his own observations than on the fact that he has been influenced by some very powerful modernist clergy who were firmly ensconced here long before he arrived and will no doubt be here long after he leaves (in 2 years). They present a united front and roll over everything in their path. He is discussing the MP with the Priests Council next week and these folks will fight tooth and nail to prevent him from accomodating people who want the traditional mass.

    In addition, Bp Galeone has signed on to the “lay ecclesial ministry” model, and the diocese has even gotten a grant to train “lay liturgists” and a bunch of other unnecessary people. Even though the traditional rite is not going to be imposed on anyone or in any parish, the “lay ministry” crowd is terrified of it because there is no place in it for them to get in and mess around on the altar – and they know in their heart of hearts that once people are permitted access to the traditional mass, the NO that they control so firmly now will begin to wither. The unfortunate thing is that Bp Galeone is firmly committed to this “lay ecclesial ministry” stuff (which did not originate with him, of course, but with the USCCB) and I think this is one of the barriers to the implementation of the MP. It means that not only is there a hardcore group of modernist priests opposed to it, but a fair number of clericalized laypeople who are afraid of losing their “ministries.”

  10. Andrew says:

    Deep, deep down under the surface a question begs to be asked: why are we “Roman” and what does it mean if anything? Can the Church exist and not be Roman? And yes, the bishop is not mistaken: people don’t know Latin. If they did, this blog might be in Latin. But the comments are written in English and if I wrote in Latin none of you would answer or even read what I wrote. So instead of aiming shots at your pastors, join some Latin speaking club by the thousands and then come back and say: “we are ready. We speak Latin.” Or rather: adsumus. Novimus latine.

    (I know, I know, I get the sour grape award and I am proud of it. And now, I didn’t think before posting.)

  11. Gavin says:

    re: “the people don’t know Latin”, one of my big peeves is hearing people respond to liturgical Latin in such a way. You don’t need to be able to translate Cicero to participate at Mass. People who respond to the MP with “gosh, now I have to go learn how to speak Latin” are dead wrong. What IS needed is a familiarity with the language. I’m always appalled to hear people say the “I don’t know Latin” excuse, because how hard is it REALLY to participate in a Mass in Latin. “Deo gracias!” Is that REALLY so difficult? How many times can you sing/hear “Gloria in excelsis Deo” and have it not connect with you? I don’t “know” Latin any more than I know German, French, or most any other language, but the texts of the Mass still carry meaning to them.

    I disagree with the assertion that priests should only need to know how the vowells go to say Mass, but for us in the laity, we only need the Latin of the Mass to take a valued, familiar role in our worship. And how can that happen if people wish to ban the whole language?

  12. RBrown says:

    Bp Galeone is of that generation that was ordained just before the Council after a very strict (maybe too much so) formation. Then a few years later everything started to unwind. Sometimes the resentment of their own seminary years has blinded them to the deficiencies of contemporary formation.

    I understand the just concern bishops might have about the importance of Latin and the use of the 1962 Missal. But I am dumbfounded why they never made it clear to the seminaries that some study of Latin was necessary for candidates for the priesthood.

  13. B Knotts says:

    I hope that more priests (including bishops) will begin to understand that there is often a false dichotomy set up between the two forms of the Mass. If they really prefer the ordinary form, they ought to understand that learning more about the extraordinary form (and occasionally using it) will enhance their knowledge and understanding of the ordinary form.

  14. alan m. rees says:

    I was amazed at the paradox presented by Bishop Galeone – that despite his traditional Italian origin, upbringing, education and formation he would hold such a negative view of tradition. What was sacred is still sacred? Moreover, he expressed his unwillingness to celebrate the traditional form despite his competence in Latin. The diocese would, however, conform to the papal directive. Obedience requires implementation of the Motu Proprio.

    While addressing the legal requirements, Bishop Galeone makes no comment on the intent of the MP as expressed in Pope Benedict’s Letter of Explanation. What was missing in his remarks was any recognition of the parity of the two forms of the Latin Rite and that one form cannot be “suddenly forbidden or even considered harmful.” Or that the two forms can be “mutually enriching.” The rights of the traditional faithful are not mentioned. The people have voted: “No more Latin, ever.” Case closed!

    The issuance of the MP stems in part from the continuing failure to grant indults on a “generous basis” as requested in Ecclesia Dei, which led to a marginalization of the traditional form by unsympathetic even hostile bishops. If Pope Benedict had allowed the continuation of this policy, (sabotage?) there would have been an almost total demise of the Extraordinary form in another generation. Are we to see a continuation of this policy, not in the form of banishment, but rather by a slow strangulation by the imposition of restrictions? Can this be justified by the false notion that the laity has rejected Latin? Some have; but some of us have not! Are we to be marginalized as before? Would it be unreasonable for Bishop Galeone to initiate training sessions in the diocese for priests or to request the assistance of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter?

    If those who are clamoring for the Latin mass are really motivated by a greater sense of reverence, as Bishop Galeone claims, what steps are being taken to reduce the “deformations” that have crept into the celebration of the NO?


  15. RBrown says:

    “Whose fault is it that the people don’t know Latin?” is probably also not a helpful remark.

    “Of course, you’ll be instituting Latin programs in the diocese’s parochial schools and encouraging parishes to offer Latin enrichment programs” is a helpful remark.
    Comment by Maureen

    Although I see your point, I probably disagree. I think it is helpful for a bishop to know that there are practicing Catholics who think that there has been serious episcopal negligence in the past 30 years. The Latin deficiency found in the priesthood is a second concrete example of this negligence, the first of course being the sexual scandals.

    To me one of the signs of clericalism is the attitude that certain pious gestures and friendliness are sufficient to satisfy the laity. And so I think many priests and bishops still don’t realize the depth of the distrust the sexual scandals have created.

  16. Andrew says:


    “the people don’t know Latin”, one of my big peeves is hearing people respond to liturgical Latin in such a way. You don’t need to be able to translate Cicero to participate at Mass.

    It is heresy to say that knowledge of Latin is not essential. That does not mean that everyone must know it. But it does mean that we can’t have a situation where no one knows it. Or that it is enough if ten people know it in the entire US. For our clergy it is a matter of Canon Law to know Latin very well. And for laity it is a matter of providing support and of enriching oneself. And I am not thinking here of reading Cicero. Augustine, Jerome, Gregory, Bernard, Thomas come to mind. And lectio divina on a daily basis.

  17. chris K says:

    Fear, fear, fear. Pride, pride, pride. People don’t know latin? So what? People didn’t know latin, outside of a few of the repetitive phrases, for decades before. So there was not an even greater respect shown for the sacred parts of the mass during all of that time? I beg to differ. The idea of latin is to place people once more in a universal realization of the same Sacrifice taking place all over the world from sun up to sun down…everywhere. We need to get beyond the limitations of parish only or personal only. We desperately need unity and obedience to be witnessed openly for the sake of the younger generations. Latin can be a sign and motivation for both.

    This smokescreen of “fear” of latin hides the real motivation of dislike of examining the sin and banality that has taken place now for years. Perhaps even Jesus Christ will be back in the center and the band will be back in the back! And I’ll probably be dead before bishops in general do anything about his “concern” that it’s irreverence exhibited by priests that needs to be corrected! and that that is what is now somehow going to be accomplished without latin’s influence.

  18. Everyone: PLEASE make the first thing you type in a comment the NAME of the person you are addressing or to whom you are responding.

  19. Mary Jane says:

    I heard the Bishop on the radio yesterday and I’m gratified to see some “movement” in his position. Bishop Galeone is very strong on marriage, family life, sexual morality, and other topics that aren’t popular with the “don’t say anything that might frighten or annoy them” school of pastoral leadership. He constantly preaches on the need for decorum at Mass – better dress (an issue in Florida where many dress as though they just finished cleaning the garage) and careful reception of Holy Communion. And these topics are not well received. When he wrote a column on appropriate dress, people called the Liturgical Commission to say that the Bishop should shut up and just be grateful they come at all. On the other hand, there are many who are impatient that he hasn’t tightened up liturgical celebration in terms of the clergy’s behavior and now are outraged over his restrictive position on the Motu Proprio. Right now, he probably feels as though he can’t “win” not matter what he does.

  20. ED says:

    Millions and Millions of people are headed for Hell and never once do i see or hear zeal for the SALVATION of SOULS. There are always other issues pro-life Latin Mass vs Novus Ordo,Social Justice etc etc etc. While all these others things are good the whole reason GOD incarnated was to get the SACRAMENTS to as many people as possible . When he ascended into Heaven he left that task to the ONLY Church he founded THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. So the next time you drive to Church look at all the homes of people that have no interest in his message and remind yourself what lies ahead for those people. Each parish should have have non-stop door to door evangelizing done by the priests and laity together in each of their parishes. But that really depends on the ZEAL you have for the SALVATION OF SOULS from going to HELLL!!!

  21. Gavin says:


    I don’t think we’re in disagreement. I’d agree with what you said (although I wouldn’t call the wrong position flat-out heresy). Priests should, both as a matter of common sense and canon law, have a working knowledge of Latin. My priest happens to be a Latinist with years of study of the language in Rome. What I was speaking of is “the people” that we always hear about. I deny strongly that you need to have more knowledge of Latin than the meanings of the major congregational parts in order to participate as a layman. If you do have more knowledge than that, it’s good, but my overall point is that the congregation is NOT denied full, conscious, active participation if all one can do is say “et cum spiritu tuo”.

  22. M Kr says:

    I strongly agree with Gavin that one doesn’t have to be an expert in Latin to meaningfully participate in worship in that language. Over time, the meanings of various words and phrases will become clearer.

    Especially, if one has a translation, there is no problem.

  23. DwD says:

    Well, Jeff- He’s my Bishop also. And I can tell you that for every example of “orthodoxy” in our diocese you can name, I can show you the opposite. Just because Galeone is more orthodox than Snyder was, doesn’t make him an “orthodox bishop”- just more orthodox than the last bishop…

    Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that he is “orthodox” in all his social-justice issues, and marriage issues, and pro-life issues- but it’s the Liturgy that should be tended to carefully, for that is often the only place where modern Catholics experience and learn their faith.

    I think the bishop should be WAY more concerned about what’s being done and said by priests and ‘lay committees’ in his diocese. Show me some orthodoxy there!

  24. Andrew says:

    M Kr:

    I strongly agree with Gavin …

    I strongly agree with Gavin also. But many Catholics do not.

  25. EDG says:


    I agree that the bishop should do more to control these people, but I think he suffers from the thing that JPII suffered from and which made him fail to exercise his authority: the blight of post VatII egalitarianism. JPII took primus inter pares to an extreme, emphasizing pares to the point where he failed (IMHO) to discipline some blatantly defiant bishops. (Well, except for the conservative ones…).

    I think Bp Galeone, for a variety of reasons, believes that the priests are his equals and exercises his authority only reluctantly, and only if a priest has done something blatantly immoral or illegal. Because the raving modernists of Gainesville have controlled the diocese for decades now, there are virtually no conservative priests in positions of power or influence. Hence, Bp Galeone’s egalitarianism leads him to a peculiar accomodation of priests who probably share almost none of his own views.

    I think there are going to be many bishops in the US in similar situations, and the issuing of the MP is unexpectedly going to provide a sort of watershed moment in bishop/priest relations and in bishop/Rome relations.

  26. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Dear Fr. Z.:

    I think that this is good news. To say that he “expects” celebrants to know Latin but then to go on to say that “he will not prohibit anybody” from using the 1962 Mass is clearly a backing away from the bizarre and completely illegal restrictions of his leaked guidelines. I have a feeling that canonists have told him that his guidelines transgress the law. These canonists, in turn, might very well have come to such conclusions after perusing your site. However, where it came from doesn’t matter. What matters is this volte face itself.


  27. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    Response to Jeff Miller:

    Thank you for the comments from an actual subject of this bishop. I agree with your assessment. Moreover, I think that it can be applied in many other dioceses as well.

    Over the years, I have watched and analysed the Indult statistics very carefully. My sense is that many bishops will want to send out some ‘smoke signals’ to discourage priests from jumping onto the motu proprio bandwagon (sorry for all the metaphors). They know that they will not be able to stop determined priests. On the other side, however, they want to maintain the impression that the New Mass is to remain the norm. I think that, for the foreseeable future, they will succeed in this. But what should matter to traditionalists is that we achieve a reasonable access to the 1962 Mass in Latin. In the case of the U.S.A., that means at least one every-Sunday Mass per diocese, with the possible exception of the Diocese of Juneau (6,000 faithful in south-coastal Alaska); and a good deal more than that in the more populated sees. If Rapid City, S.D., can have one every-Sunday Mass and even the F.S.S.P. to offer it, there must be adequate support for it in dioceses such as Gallup, Grand Island, and Cheyenne (and I have already heard of a ‘coetus’ forming in Gallup, of all places).

    In the case of my own country, the Dominion of Canada, I hope for provision in at least half the sees over the next three to five years. I’m not sure if we’ll ever have the 1962 Mass in the Dioceses of Moosonee, Mackenzie – Fort Smith, Whitehorse, Labrador-Schefferville, or Churchill – Hudson Bay. But it could happen if local priests there want the 1962 Mass to advance their own devotion.


  28. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    To Andrew:

    It is not heresy to say that knowledge of Latin is inessential. At most, it is simply a great error. This is not a matter of faith or morals per se, although it is true that the teaching of the Church must be preserved in some language, and that language is currently Latin.

    What is needed now is what the Holy See has enjoined for the past four decades, that seminarists be trained in Church Latin. This should have been made mandatory but, alas, thanks to the false teachings on collegiality and subsidiarity that we have now received, the Holy See has mostly lost control over the local bishops. Corrective action needs to be taken to put the House of Rome back into order. But this Pope can only achieve so much in the time he has left. He might, however, consider very carefully the attitude of potential cardinals on this question.

    (Note to readers: no, I will not debate my comment on collegiality on this ‘blog’ [whatever that term may mean]. Those who don’t like it can settle instead for an observation that Rome has simply allowed too much scope to the power of bishops since the Council. This needs correction.)


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