Monsignor stands up to the bullies: Wake up and smell the incense

In The Criterion of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis we find a good response to the embarrassing letter from a priest columnist for the Catholic News Service, which the Catholic News Service – operated by the US Bishops, then distributed to publications far and wide, rather like the legendary feathers St. Philip Neri spoke about.

I treated the scandalous article here.  As I said before, it was "as mendacious as it is rude."

Folks, it is necessary to stand up to bullies.  Therefore enjoy the following, with my emphases and comments.

Be Our Guest / Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel
Traditional Latin Mass has a devoted following in Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Controversy has been swirling like incense ever since Catholic News Service published a recent column about the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass by Father Peter J. Daly. The column also appeared in the Aug. 17 issue of The Criterion.

Internet weblogs (“blogs”) are full of criticism. [hmmm… who could he be talking about?] There are accusations that Father Daly’s account of a neighboring pastor who offers the traditional Latin Mass are inaccurate, and were mentioned without that pastor’s approval. Now the two pastors are in a snit; one wants to drag an auxiliary bishop into the fray. These blogs read like soap operas.

The Aug. 24 issue of The Criterion featured letters from readers critical of Father Daly’s column. Two writers mentioned the beautiful celebration of the traditional Latin Mass at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Church in Indianapolis.

As pastor of Holy Rosary Parish, along with our associate pastor, Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter Father Michael Magiera, I can say that we are grateful and proud.  [Here we go!]

As vicar general of the archdiocese [This fellow is the VG!] and as pastor of a parish that has offered the traditional Latin Mass along with the Novus Ordo (post-Vatican II) Mass for nearly 10 years, I can only say that my observations and experiences are not the same as Father Daly’s.

We are one, unified parish. We are growing; we are getting “younger.” I would have to say that his statements about the “old Mass,” and how and why it is celebrated the way it is, are simply misleading.

Yet, there are more important points to be made from this controversy.

To begin with, Catholic News Service is operated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. [This is the point I hit hard in my fisk of Fr. Daly’s article.] It is certainly inappropriate for any columnist—particularly a priest—to use CNS as a forum to vent about or to second-guess a recent decision made by the Holy Father.  [Right!]

Accompanying the pope’s moto proprio on the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970 is a letter addressed to the bishops. The second paragraph of his letter comments about the confusion created by “news reports and judgments made without sufficient information.”

Later on, in the same letter, Pope Benedict XVI comments on his personal experience with the hopes and confusion that often followed the reform of the liturgy. It is also clear that the pope only issued this directive after long, prayerful consideration and consultation. Before ending his letter, the Holy Father asks that three years into the moto proprio the bishops should “send to the Holy See an account of your experiences.”

The moto proprio takes effect on Sept. 14. No one is in a position to second-guess the decision before it even takes effect, much less to criticize it simply based on very limited (and evidently flawed) personal experience or personal preference.

I believe that the pope is genuinely interested in unity with those inside or outside the Church who have been alienated over authorized or unauthorized changes in the liturgy. To ram one’s opinions (liturgical or otherwise) down people’s throats as Father Daly did in his column hardly seems “in the Spirit of Vatican II.”  [Well put… and it was abetted by CNS.]

More importantly, take into account the Holy Father’s sense that people long for the “sacred” and transcendent in the liturgy.

More than 12 years ago, the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin spoke at the annual meeting of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils in San Diego. In soaring imagery, Cardinal Bernardin reminded priests that they are to be “bearers of the mystery of God.”

As the late prelate acknowledged a crisis of confidence and confusion among priests then (and today), he exhorted priests to embrace the role as “bearers of Sacred Symbols … who draw others to God’s love in Christ.”  [Are you enjoying this?  The author is using the late Card. Bernardin in defense of the older form of Mass.]

Particularly in today’s world, people long for that sense of mystery. The liturgy enables us to enter through Jesus Christ into the Mystery Who is God. Pope Benedict XVI must be keenly aware of this; he has a worldwide perspective on the life of the Church.

On the Feast of the Assumption, Aug. 15, Bishop Salvatore Matano of the Diocese of Burlington, Vt., offered the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass (“The Extraordinary Rite of the Eucharist”) in St. Joseph Co-Cathedral.

The church was packed with people of all ages. Bishop Matano commented, “And if this is what it takes to fill our churches, so be it!”

I am not yet convinced that the recent moto proprio will be what it takes to fill our churches.

But my own experience makes me certain that Father Daly was wrong when he wrote: “But almost nobody will come.”

He and others who jump to the same conclusions need to “wake up and smell the incense.”

(Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel is vicar general of the archdiocese and pastor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Indianapolis.) 

Good work, Monsignor.

Okay… is there a graphic artist out there who can help with a project?

I think we need an image of a smoking thurible, perhaps swung in the hand of a bishop with a big gaudy ring at a nice altar with altar cards, with the caption "Wake up and smell the incense!"

We can have T-shirts and coffee mugs sent to some select priests and prelates.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    This was a heartwarmer. I wrote the Archdiocese
    of Indianapolis and encouraged them to submit
    this piece to CNS as an antidote to the bile
    published there. Tom

  2. Jon says:


    Just to make things perfectly clear, may I suggest the wording: “Summorum Pontificum: Wake up and smell the incense!”

  3. JMC says:

    If this shirt is ever made, I will definitely buy it ASAP!

  4. Father, look for two opening brackets (the lesser than sign: <) just before your img src just after SEQ CHAPTER in the post on norms from Cincinnati. Some browsers are choking on them, so that everything below that point doesn’t appear on your front page.

  5. Bede says:

    Oh my. That is glorious.

  6. RichR: Nice work! I put it up on my own blog … hope you don’t mind.

  7. Jim says:

    Matthew of the Holy Whapping – I hope you’ve started sketching :)

  8. RichR says:

    Here’s one more I just doctored up……..

  9. ray from mn says:

    There is a better image of RichR’s thurble, the “botafumeiro” at the San Juan de Compostella Cathedral in Spain:

    It takes 8 men to swing it.

    I’ve seen a video of it in action. Perhaps somebody can find that.

  10. RichR says:

    This is addicting. Okay, one last one….I promise….

  11. Daniel says:

    Here is a video showing the botafumeiro for those that are interested.

  12. Stu says:

    Familiar theme…

  13. JaneC says:

    I vote for Stu’s entry. It has the simplicity necessary for media like t-shirts and mugs; you don’t want people to have to stare at it for long to figure out what’s going on in the image. Awesome quote.

  14. Henry Edwards says:

    To ram one’s opinions (liturgical or otherwise) down people’s throats as Father Daly did in his column hardly seems “in the Spirit of Vatican II.”

    What delicious irony! For those who so often have seen these bully-boy tactics go hand in hand with the proclaimed “spirit of Vatican II” and an apparent assumption that only coercion can sustain its agenda.

  15. Serafino says:

    Finally, a priest in the line of the Apostles, and other heroic priestly witnesses of the Catholic Faith, who has the courage to stand up for the truth!

    Liberal clerics are like cockroaches who love the darkness of error, once you stand up to them and shine the light of Christ’s truth on them, they scatter behind the walls of non relevance.

  16. Dana Cole says:

    I, too, vote for Stu’s design. It’s a perfect graphic for mass production, and I hope you send it to every diocese in the country!

  17. DoB says:

    these bully-boy tactics go hand in hand with the proclaimed “spirit of Vatican II” and an apparent assumption that only coercion can sustain its agenda.

    Well, you have to admit, they are right about this assumption
    Arg Fr. Z Te Deum again.

  18. Other Paul says:

    Thank you, RichR. I’ve just sprayed my morning coffee all over my keyboard and monitor.

  19. Hugh says:

    Little help here – When this excellent discernment is complete, I have, FWIW, a caption which I would appreciate having imaged for mug & t-shirt:

    “Summorum Pontificum … Back To The People.”

    Suggestions gratefully received.


  20. WRiley says:

    That’s my pastor! Go Monsignor! Will Riley

Comments are closed.