His Excellency Most Reverend Dolan, Archbishop of Milwaukee.
My emphases and comments.
Dear Friends United in Love and Service of Jesus Christ and His Church:
You remember Chicken Little? [?] This poor chick saw calamity in everything. Whatever happened was given the worst possible interpretation. The slightest event was cause for Chicken Little’s chant, The sky is falling!
Chicken Little appears regularly in the Church. [Folks, this is not deep historical-theological analysis, as you might have by now sensed. But let’s watch where this goes.] Sightings usually happen whenever there is rumor of a new document from the mean-old Vatican, [or "the Kremlin on the Tiber" as some of the faculty of the USA sem I was in used to call it.] and the actual publication of those statements usually bring the premature shout the sky is falling even before anyone has the chance to read the thing.
That’s what happened last week. Two new documents came from Rome, each rather short, simple, hardly surprising or unanticipated, both, upon careful review, quite moderate and nuanced. [In a way, maybe, if you think from the right framework. However, these documents are part of a far larger vision.]
The first was from the Holy Father himself, a statement called Summorum Pontificum, issued July 7. All this did was allow more use of what is popularly, if somewhat inaccurately, called the old Mass, or the Latin Mass, or the Tridentine Mass, under careful conditions. [I think this is not accurate. The conditions are actually very loose, aren’t they?] The Pope states that the new Mass, that we have all been used to since 1969, is still the way the Eucharist is to be celebrated, the ordinary rite, but that the old Mass — the proper term would be the Mass offered according to the Missal of 1962 [Now we know this is the proper term! seriously, it is a good way to talk about it. Other people have other good ways to talk about it.] — can be allowed: for instance, a priest can offer this Mass privately any time he wishes; a stable community [The Motu Proprio says something different in Latin. Remember that the word in the MP is continenter not stabiliter, and it is an adverb, not an adjective. For the thousandth time the MP says continenter and NOT stabiliter. And coetus does not smoothly translated into "community". "Community" is more structured than coetus.] of the faithful who has been attached to the Missal of 1962 can ask their pastor to offer one for them on given occasions, [More often than that!] and, if he knows how (and not too many priests, including this one, do), [I really like his honesty. Bravo.] the pastor should accommodate them.
The Chicken Littles came out: He’s destroying Vatican II!; Hes turning the clock back!; Hes catering to the right-wing fanatics! Next step is a return to fasting from midnight and hats for women! [Ehem… those might be good things, actually. Still, I like his style here. The Chicken Little thing is starting to work for me.]
For the life of me, [chatty] after reading the statement over and over, [Not in the bad translation I hope] and checking approved commentaries, [Are there any? Maybe he is thinking of WDTPRS? I approve these commentaries!] I cannot understand the fuss. It does not seem that the Holy Father has changed much at all. [Had the MP of John Paul II been implemented, we would never had seen Summorum Pontificum.] We already have here in the archdiocese a large community of good people who are attached to the extraordinary rite (the Missal of 1962), tended to by generous senior priests of the archdiocese, who meet every Sunday at St. Stanislaus for the Mass, with my permission and blessing. In fact, three months ago we moved them to this magnificent church to better accommodate them. And, if a priest ever asked me for permission to privately celebrate the Mass using the Missal of 1962, I gave it willingly, even before this instruction. [Good for him! Excellent!] And, those who moaned that this new permission was an insult to our Jewish friends, since the Missal of 1962 unfortunately contained language understandably offensive to the Jewish community in the Good Friday liturgy, obviously did not even read the document, since it explicitly states that the old Missal could not be used for the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil). [WHOA! That is NOT what the MP says! The Good Friday liturgy can indeed be used when not in schedule conflict with the Novus Ordo. At a "personal parish" it can certainly be used.]
Hold on to your hats, because the best is yet to come.
On July 10, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — not Pope Benedict XVI — issued a succinct document called Response to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church. Apparently, thoughtful theologians had been in dialog with this Vatican congregation, and had presented five questions for consideration.
It seems as if the theologians who presented these questions, as well as the congregation, are worried that some have misinterpreted the teaching of the Second Vatican Council in such a way as to cause religious indifferentism. That’s not a bad thing to be worried about. [I should say we should be worried!]
So, this short, helpful document re-asserts the timeless teaching of the Church: that Our Lord established here on earth only one Church, and instituted it as a visible and spiritual community, that, from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found the elements that Christ Himself instituted.
Noting the great teaching of Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, #8, the statement continues: This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic . . . this Church . . . subsists in the Catholic Church, guided by the successors of St. Peter and the bishops in communion with Him.
Enter the Chicken Littles! [Okay… here I have a serious bone to pick with His Excellency. I think this should be "Chickens Little", not "Chicken Littles".] This Pope says Protestants are going to hell!; I guess ecumenism is dead!; Another sign of the arrogance of the Catholic Church!; Im embarrassed by the triumphalism of the Church!; All our progress is washed down the drain!; What an insult to those of other faiths!
Search as I might, I find none of that in the statement. All this pretty much sounds like what weve been praying in the creed the last seventeen centuries, We believe in the one, holy Catholic, and apostolic Church. [Yep.] As the Anglican Centre in Rome commented, theres hardly anything new in the document. Metropolitan Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church actually welcomed the clarification, commenting that all ecumenical dialog is based on each faith being honest about what it believes. As our own ecumenical director, Judith Longdin, and my friend the Most Reverend Steven Miller, the Episcopalian Bishop of Milwaukee, observed, this document hardly changes much.
Does the Catholic Church believe it is the one, true Church established by Christ? Yes, it does. Always has, always will.
Does the Catholic Church honor and respect other Christian faiths, believing that they, too, share in the life and truth of Christ. Yes.
But thats not what I heard on CNN! replies one of the Chicken Littles. Which brings up a great point. The media — with some notable exceptions — rarely gets it right when it reports on the Church. [They should read this blog more often.] We should not depend on TV or the secular press to always accurately present Church teaching or practice. That’s why our Catholic press — like The Catholic Herald — is so critical. As my old teacher, the great Church historian, Monsignor John Tracy Ellis, used to say: The big problem is that most people get their Church teaching through Walter Cronkite, not the documents themselves.
I sure hope this helps. By now, though, I’ve learned: anytime the Vatican releases a document, odds are it will be given the most unattractive, inaccurate, hysterical interpretation possible, and my e-mail will be jammed.
All I can say is, The sky is not falling.
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
A chatty back-slap from the Archbishop of Milwaukee. But it is simultaneously disarming and pretty much on target, no?
There are some mistakes about the MP, but this is not a statement that attempts to define norms.
A great read!
Finally! I’m from the Arch. of Milwaukee, and had been eagerly awaiting Abp. Dolan’s message. Happy he’s my Archbishop!:-p
Fr. Z, you (and others) have challenged the phrase “stable community” as an inaccurate or imprecise translation of the original Latin. What is a better translation?
He is certainly a far cry from his predecessor.
The bishop pretty much has it right. However, the priests in the Milwaukee diocese, most from the Rembert Weakland era, are completely dug in on the issue of the motu proprio. I’m personally aware of several pastors who will not even consider the rite of John XXIII, even for those who ask for it, and, even further, will not even “allow” bulletin announcements pointing interested parishioners to the one parish in the diocese that has the extraordinary rite every Sunday. Finally, just to give those outside the diocese a real taste of the general attitude in Milwaukee: On September 14th, a Pontifical High Mass celebrating the motu proprio was celebrated at St. Stanislaus (formerly, the “indult” parish). The celebrant was Bishop Joseph Perry of Chicago, formerly a priest of the Milwaukee Archdiocese. Nothing by way of announcement appeared in the Catholic Herald, the ‘official’ diocesan newspaper. When that office was called, thinking that its omission might be an oversight, this caller was told that no such notice would be forthcoming, since this was not an “approved” celebration and was not “sponsored” by the archbishp, a pastor, or a school. Which is more than odd, considering that it took place at a parish in the diocese under the inititiative of its pastor. The point? We have a long, long way to go in Milwaukee.
I respectfully disagree with your take on “Chicken Littles”. Here, I would argue, “Chicken Little” is a proper name which indicates a class of person (e.g., “Benedict Arnold”), not a compound noun (“daughter-in-law”).
Were this a compound noun, I would agree that “chicken” is the significant word, and would take the plural (a la “daughters-in-law”). However, since it’s not, I would argue that “Chicken Littles” is correct, much as “Benedict Arnolds” is more appropriate than “Benedicts Arnold”.
I can’t say I find very much to praise either in this statement or the bishop who made it, who has always struck me as a typical American Irish politician clerical type. Any episcopal reaction that goes out of its way to assure people that things will continue to be just as bad liturgically in their parishes as they have always been does not impress. And for a bishop his age practically to boast about not knowing the old rite is actively irritating. Family in Milwaukee tell me that in practical terms Archbishop Dolan has done precisely nothing to turn around the legacy of his predecessor, who, it should be said, was quite willing to allow the Indult Mass in his diocese.
I do not think the tone of the letter befits his position, or the seriousness of the topic.
The Archbishop is in a trying situation…we could say he’s trying not to be fried, broiled, boiled, or made into soup by his cadre of Rembertian pastors–who are the very definition of “the ’60’s” in collars (sometimes).
Thus, a little humor which has a point.
Sad that his situation is such that all he can do is gently push, no?
I think the most important part of this statement is when the archbishop says that he has already been granting permission to use the 62 Missal to those priests who’ve asked. This shows a generous disposition that would reduce any concerns about any potential misreading of the MP.
since it explicitly states that the old Missal could not be used for the Sacred Triduum
Since Summorum Pontificum neither says nor implies anything of the sort (either implicitly or explicitly) — only that private 1962 Masses cannot be said during the Sacred Triduum, just as private 1970 Masses cannot be — whereas Cardinal Castrillon has stated in an interview that a pastor could in principle celebrate his public Mass on Holy Thursday e.g. using the 1962 missal — I wonder whether anyone can suggest precisely where this misconception might have originated. Same source as the “stable community” misconception?
More seriously, a question occurred to me as I read some of the personable and usually straightforward Bishop Dolan’s “nuances” that a number of these episcopal statements have suggested. Namely, whether there aren’t a number of our bishops who personally are warmer and more open to SP than they appear on the face of their words, but feel that in public they must lean over backwards to placate powerful old-guard clergy entrenched in pastorates and diocesan positions.
Which reminds me of a Cardinal George interview in 1997 upon arriving as the new Archbishop of Chicago. He acknowledged that a difficult job awaited him, because he knew Chicago to be a rough, tough big-shoulders city with some of the most practiced in-fighters and dangerous back-stabbers in the whole country. “And,” he was quoted as saying, “I’m only thinking of the folks in the chancery.” And, as is well known, some of those same faces still plague him today, 10 years later.
Thank you, Mr. Edwards, for clearing up the issue of celebrating the the Triduum according to the old use. In reading the motu proprio at first, I, like Archibishop Dolan, was under the impression that no Mass according to the old usage could be done during the Triduum. I think some people (including myself) didn’t realize that the Sacred Triduum isn’t to be celebrated in private in either form. Am I right on this?
God bless you all.
I think some people (including myself) didnâ€™t realize that the Sacred Triduum isnâ€™t to be celebrated in private in either form. Am I right on this?
Only Article 2 of SP mentions the Triduum at all. It deals only with private (“without the people”, sine populo) Masses, and mentions the 1962 and 1970 missals in parallel:
Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.
The aut … 1962, aut … 1970 (either … 1962 or … 1972) construction in the Latin seems even more explicitly parallel:
Art. 2. In Missis sine populo celebratis, quilibet sacerdos catholicus ritus latini, sive saecularis sive religiosus, uti potest aut Missali Romano a beato Papa Ioanne XXIII anno 1962 edito, aut Missali Romano a Summo Pontifice Paulo VI anno 1970 promulgato, et quidem qualibet die, excepto Triduo Sacro. Ad talem celebrationem secundum unum alterumve Missale, sacerdos nulla eget licentia, nec Sedis Apostolicae nec Ordinarii sui.
Now folks… just compare the love and generous disposition of the Archbishop of Milwaukee to the FEAR we see in the Peoria statement. Interesting, huh?
I believe that this is the same bishop who was photographed with a “cheese head mitre” upon his head. How much respect does he have for his office?
Would Pius X wear a “cheese head” mitre?
Wow. Some pretty humorless folks.
Archbishop Dolan has done a tremendous job of leading a diocese that had been devastated in so many ways by the twenty-five year reign of Rembert Weakland, which followed the 20 year reign of William Cousins – during this period the archdiocese of Milwaukee witnessed an almost halving of the number of diocesan priests and the near-complete destruction of St. Francis Seminary, once one of the country’s premier seminary.
Archbishop Dolan’s “brand” of folksy charm has disarmed many of his critics from the left, even as he has done a tremendous amount of work in turning the archdiocese around and instill a joyful, enthusiastic orthodoxy in the faithful. The charge that his letter treats of serious topics in a light, but not flippant, way is most certainly not unbefitting of his office (pardon the double negative). He is reaching the hearts and minds of the people of his archdiocese.
The “cheesehead mitre” is a completely bogus slam. He did not substitute the cheesehead, familiar to any fan of the Green Bay Packers (or football in general) for his ecclesiastical mitre, but donned it, in jest, during a homily (when, one should remember, a mitre is not required to be worn by the preaching bishop, nor is alternative headgear specifically proscribed) to demonstrate how he had come to embrace his diocese.
Would Pius X wear a cheese head? Doubtful, but we’ll never know since he never went to Wisconsin and died eighty years before cheeseheads were invented. Would Pius X slander a good, solid orthodox bishop? Most certainly not.
More germane to the posting – even with the errors here and there, I find this letter to be honest, compelling and refreshing. The good archbishop pokes gentle fun at the critics of the motu proprio in a way that leaves them little to do but spit and bluster. His depiction of them as “Chicken Littles” (or, perhaps to avoid the controversy, Poultry Little) is poignant. His admission of his own lack of knowledge on how to offer the Tridentine Mass is honest, and not done in a dismissive way. He seems willing to work with priests and people interested in this form of Mass, and seems to understand that this is more than just a means of reaching out to the SSPX. All in all, bravo!
I must confess that at first I mis-read the provision in SP regarding the celebration of the Triduum from the 1962 missal.
As for the “chicken little” analogy, I have experienced it several times in the last year. There are a number of people on our church staff who begin to wring their hands, gnash their teeth, wail and rend their garments at the first hint of anything remotely traditional or conservative coming from Rome or the local archdiocese. I must confess that I find it rather entertaining to watch the more liberal folk around me head for the tall grass the moment a cloud the size of a man’s hand looms on the horizon from Rome.
I know it’s lacking in charity, but given some of the foolishness they display, I think it’s a relatively easy sin to confess.
Tim Ferguson wrote:
The good archbishop pokes gentle fun at the critics of the motu proprio in a way that leaves them little to do but spit and bluster. His depiction of them as â€œChicken Littlesâ€ (or, perhaps to avoid the controversy, Poultry Little) is poignant.
As H.L. Mencken said, ‘One horse-laugh is worth ten-thousand syllogisms.’
Oops, Father, now theyâ€™ve confused even you: while it is obviously true that stabiliter is an adverb, not an adjective, Summorum Pontificum does not say stabiliter, but continenter! I think there was agreement on this blog that this means that the group requesting the forma extraordinaria Mass will attend it regularly, and not just on one occasion.
But I think we should also stress what Fr. Tim Finigan pointed out ( http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2007/09/if-but-not-only-if.html ): a request by a continuously existing group (i.e. existing continuously now, not having continuously existed since 1969) is only necessary in order for the provision of Art. 5 Â§ 2 of Summ. Pont. to become operative, exhorting the parish priest to gladly acceed (libenter suscipiat) this request â€“ there is nothing that stops him from celebrating the usus antiquior without such a request, observing the other paragraphs of Art. 5.
Archbishop Dolan has a rare gift for discussing complex theological issues in a way that is both understandable and interesting to the ordinary layman in the pew. Deo Gratius
Now on to the serious matters. How would one translate
* Chicken Little
* Chickens Little
* Chicken Littles
correctly into Latinh?
Perhaps a different perspective on the issue of Masses during the Triduum. With the exception of the Chrism Mass (never a private Mass)there is only ONE Mass permitted on Holy Thursday Evening,… there is only ONE “liturgy” permitted on Good Friday, and no Masses permitted before Sundown on Holy Saturday. Correct me if I am wrong here, but at least on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday there is only ONE Mass permitted each day, and it is the PUBLIC Mass that is to be offered. This would, naturally, seem to imply that private Masses are not permitted on these days (I don’t know whether there is an actual prohibition, could someone comment on this?), whether in the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form. That is exactly what it says in SP..no PRIVATE Masses! This may eventually be clarified in a later document, but it seems to me that there would be no reason to not use the Extraordinary Form for a Holy Thursday Mass, provided that the Extraordinary Form is the (excuse me, please!) “ordinary” form used for Mass, for instance in a personal parish, or a designated Extraordinary Form parish such as we have here in our Diocese. Cardinal Hoyos has said exactly this already. Since there is only one Mass permitted on these days, however, the instances in which the use of the Extraordinary Form would be pastorally sensitive might be few in number today. This could change in the future, but for right now, that’s how I would see it.
On this side of the Atlantic, Chicken Little is Chicken Licken. He, Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurkey all finish up by being eaten by Foxey Loxey while on their way to inform the King of the great calamity. The Sky Falling was really an acorn that fell on Chicken Lickenâ€™s head.
Anyone know the moral of this story?
Irulats: Anyone know the moral of this story?
Yes… I think it is implement Summorum Pontificum as it is written, after reading it, and keep checking Fr. Z’s blog or you will be eaten by ferocious beasts on the blogosphere.
As one familiar with the planning of the Mass on September 14th, I can assure that the archbishop was aware of and supportive of the event. He had accepted an invitation to attend the Mass in choro which he later had to decline as the Holy Father had appointed a new bishop to suffragen See of Superior and he needed to attend the consecration events of that same weekend.
He was aware of and supported the invitation of Bishop Perry to the event. He also tried to assist us with securing a pontifical canon from the archdiocesan archives.
Archbishop Dolan does not need to personally lead and direct every good initiative in the archdiocese. His management style is to approve good initiatives and apostolates of the priests and faithful and then wait and watch for them to bear good fruit. He has his work to do and he expects others to get their work done without constatntly running to him for additional decisions and approvals.
Personally, I found the article charming in it’s way. As a mother I find that I have to raise the children I have, not the ones I wish I had. I wonder if a similar thing is true about Bishops.
I don’t think Bishop Dolan was writing to me. I love the Mass, ordinary and extraordinary. I get to go to both on a weekly basis and do so, interchangably. I live in a shangra-la some folks refer to as eastern NC.
I think Bishop Dolan was writing to my Mom, who converted to Catholicism in 1966 partially because she understood that the Mass was going to be in English soon. Unfortunately, the older Mass left her cold.
I think Bishop Dolan was writing to my Dad (and a lot of the parents of the kids I grew up with), who found the Catholic Church to be a cold, dark, lonely place in 1955 (or so).
I hope that those who are like my parents, those who get their information about the Church from the Drudge Report and CNN, and those who live in constant fear that the Church doesn’t love them will be exposed to articles like this one and be reassured. Maybe, they will even be inspired to pick up a Catechism.
The Archbishop says that “the Missal of 1962 unfortunately contained language understandably offensive to the Jewish community”.
Never mind whether it actually is offensive, I want to extend your grammatical analysis of Chicken Little and ask what exactly is “understandable” here? Is it understandable that the Jews should feel offended by the language, or is it understandable that offensive language should be included in the Mass?
At the risk of going a smidgen off-topic: could I put in another plug for http://www.sanctamissa.org ?
I was especially struck by their new addition, “Spirituality of the Tridentine [sic] Mass”; in “Explanations of the Prayers and Ceremonies in Holy Mass”, Dom Prosper Gueranger (Abbot of Solesmes) gives a beautiful description of some of the spirituality behind the silent Canon of the Mass (which had heretofore aggravated me). Note to dial-up people: that particular file is a 450KB+ PDF file…
This might help a few semi-open-minded people get a bit less out of the “chicken little/licken” camp. It’s certainly given *me* reason to rethink my preferences…
If only one Mass was permitted on Holy Thursday, even in the older form, what would additional priests (e.g. those who were not assigned to parishes, or were associate pastors) do? Would they be allowed on this day to concelebrate at the one parish Mass or at the Mass of Chrism? Or would they not celebrate? I’m just wondering about the 1962 norms and pastoral practice…
Abp Dolan was highly regarded when he was rector at NAC. He spent only about a year as an auxiliary before being named as ordinary in Milwaukee. It is unusual that a man with only a year as auxiliary would be made an archbishop. IMHO, this indicates two things: 1) Those who had input in the Milwaukee decision respected his talent, and 2) The archdiocese was considered such a mess that no one else was interested in the job (cf Chicago).
Remember that this was a place where archdiocesan funds were being used by WeakBrain to shut up his ex boyfriend. The second collection this Sunday is for hush money for the Archbishop’s boyfriend.
The associate priests usually served as Deacon and Sub-Deacon, MC, etc., for the Mass of Holy Thursday and of Holy Saturday.
If not engaged in that, they were ‘in choro’ attendees.
1. think Bishop Dolan was writing to my Mom, who converted to Catholicism in 1966 partially because she understood that the Mass was going to be in English soon. Unfortunately, the older Mass left her cold.
2. I think Bishop Dolan was writing to my Dad (and a lot of the parents of the kids I grew up with), who found the Catholic Church to be a cold, dark, lonely place in 1955 (or so).
3. I hope that those who are like my parents, those who get their information about the Church from the Drudge Report and CNN, and those who live in constant fear that the Church doesnâ€™t love them will be exposed to articles like this one and be reassured. Maybe, they will even be inspired to pick up a Catechism.
Comment by RosieC
1. I wonder whether she would have converted 30 years later after she found out that one of the architects of this English liturgy she loved turned out to be using archdiocesan funds to buy silence from his ex boyfriend.
2. Was the Church a cold, dark, lonely place? Funny–when that was changed, everyone seem then to forget about Purgatory.
3. Anyone who gets his information on the Church from Drudge, CNN, or any other TV network, needs to look elsewhere.
BTW, I converted in 1970. Since then I have consistently been treated like a leper by these same people you somehow think are now so loving.
Fr. Z commented:
Had the MP of John Paul II been implemented, we would never had seen Summorum Pontificum.
What was the MP of John Paul II exactly? Am I correct in understanding he had already liberated the use of the TLM?
Betty — Pope John Paul II’s motu proprio Ecclesia Dei asked for a “wide and generous” granting of the indult for the TLM.
Paragraph 6 c) reads: “moreover, respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962.”
Kim, priests attending Holy Thursday Mass in the traditional rite received communion from the hands of the celebrant wearing surplice and stole. This was considered reflecting the actual last supper where the apostles ‘received’ from Our Lord.
Every year there is at least one mass where a recording made by Archbishop Dolan is played during the homily – usually about stewardship if I recall correctly. This letter is pretty much how I remember him talking, I could even imagine it being in his voice as I was reading it.
Personally, I liked it. The people who go nuts whenever the Pope does anything really are “Chicken Littles.”